16-Month Students

As one of the Columbia University School of Social Work’s 16-Month students, you are on an accelerated path, starting in the winter term and taking classes over the summer. To assist you with keeping up this pace, we present a list of questions we frequently hear from 16-monthers about their field work, their course work--and how to finance it all.

  • Field Placement, Advising & Registration - Header

    Field Placement, Advising & Registration

  • What is the difference between the 16-Month Program and the Two-Year Program?

    There is no difference in the graduation requirements for the 16-Month and Two-Year Programs. The difference between the two programs lies in the time it takes to complete these requirements. As a 16-Month Student, you begin your program in January, continue with field and coursework throughout the summer, and then complete your second-year requirements in the subsequent Fall and Spring terms. 

  • When do I receive my field placement?

    You will receive your field placement assignment during Orientation Week. (You will be notified before orientation only if your placement requires special tests—e.g., fingerprinting or medical clearance.)

  • What will I be doing at my field placement?

    You will be doing direct practice work with individuals, families, groups or a combination thereof. While gaining this hands-on experience, you will be learning and practicing skills including engagement, contracting, assessment, and termination. In some cases, there will be opportunities to learn intervention techniques. Please review the Field Education Manual to familiarize yourself with possible assignments, education plans, process recordings, and the learning objectives for your first-year placement.

  • If I have questions about my field placement, who can I talk to?

    Please reach out to your advisor or the Office of Advising (send an e-mail to swadvising@columbia.edu). Your e-mail should detail your questions and concerns.

  • When will I find out who my advisor is?

    Your advisor’s name and contact information will be viewable on Student Services Online by the end of Orientation Week. You will be notified via e-mail once the information has been posted online. Prior to that, if you have questions about class scheduling or registration, please contact the Office of Student Services (sw-studentservices@columbia.edu). NOTE: If you have questions about your academic program, class scheduling or registration prior to orientation, please contact the Office of Student Services by sending an e-mail to sw-studentservices@columbia.edu.

  • What is my advisor's role?

    Your advisor is a social work professional who is employed by CUSSW to serve as your educational support in both the classroom and the field. You may consult with your advisor about issues concerning your courses or program requirements. If you have to miss class, it is always a good idea to keep your advisor in the loop. In addition, your advisor assesses your performance in the field. He or she meets with your field instructor and also reviews that person’s evaluation of your work at the end of the term. In preparation for your second year, your advisor helps you decide on your method specialization and field of practice.

  • What is my field instructor’s role?

    Your field instructor is the agency employee responsible for overseeing your training at your field placement. He or she is there to support your learning in the field, to answer questions you may have about interactions with clients and agency employees, and to help you develop direct practice skills. At the end of the term, your field instructor evaluates your work at the agency for your advisor and recommends whether you should receive a pass or fail grade. NOTE: Your advisor is the final arbiter of the grade you receive for field education. Under some circumstances, he or she may choose to override the recommendation of the agency field instructor. 

  • How do I register for classes?

    The School takes care of registering you for your first semester of classes. In the semesters that follow, you register yourself via Student Services Online (SSOL), the University’s Web-based registration system. NOTE: Our Office of Student Services will be there to assist you with the self-registration process by providing a detailed how-to guide as well as reminders.

  • What classes will I take in my first year?

    For the first term, all 16-Month Program students are registered for:

    • T660A Human Behavior and the Social Environment-A
    • T6501 Social Work Research
    • T6801 Social Welfare Policy
    • T7100 Foundations of Social Work Practice
    • T6010 Field Education. 
    In the second term, you are required to register for: 
    • T660B Human Behavior and the Social Environment-B
    • T7102 Direct Practice II
    • T7103 Advocacy in SW Practice
    • T6010 Field Education. 
    Go to sample study plans for 16-Month Program students in the 2012-13 Student Handbook.
     
  • What will my schedule look like in the summer?

    Summer term is essentially the same as the second term for a Two-Year Program student who began in the Fall. You will register for Field Education, T660B HBSE B, T7102 Direct Practice, and T7103 Advocacy in SW Practice. There are a limited number of electives offered in the summer in which you may enroll assuming that they fit your overall program plan. As in the Spring term, you will be in classes on Wednesday and Thursdays, and in field on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Summer term begins at the end of May and continues for 10 weeks, through the end of July.

  • I've already taken some social work courses. How do I receive transfer credit?

    The School will allow you to transfer a maximum of nine credits, of which no more than six can be for elective courses. You can receive credits for prior courses if they were taken at another accredited school of social work within the past five years and you earned at least a B. You are required to submit a form listing those courses for review. For more details, go to our Transfer Credit Policy Statement (PDF: 2 pages).

  • Where can I find detailed course descriptions and course requirements for my classes?

    By the time orientation week begins, all of your courses—including their requirements, syllabi, grading policies, and online readings—should be posted on New CourseWorks.

  • Are my instructors evaluated? If so, where can I find copies of their evaluations?

    Instructor evaluations are available in a binder in the Social Work Library (2nd floor) and the Student Union Office (4th floor). We would also encourage you to reach out to your second-year colleagues for feedback about instructors’ teaching styles, classroom expectations, and areas of specialization.

  • How do I change my classes?

    During the first two weeks of classes each term, space permitting, there is an add/drop period when you can switch certain courses via the online registration system in Student Services Online. NOTE: Since your T7100 Foundations of SW Practice course is linked to your field placement and advisor assignment, this course can only be changed via a request to the Office of Advising (send an e-mail to swadvising@columbia.edu).

  • I would like to take classes at another Columbia graduate school. How do I do that?

    You are able to enroll in classes at other Columbia University schools to count either as elective credits (related and pre-approved graduate-level courses only) or as “extra” courses that are covered under the School’s flat-rate billing program, which allows you to register for a maximum of 19.5 credits per term in the Fall and Spring. NOTE: Our flat-rate tuition plan does not cover classes taken at Teacher’s College, Jewish Theological Seminary, or Union Theological Seminary. If you choose to register for a course at one of those schools, you will be charged tuition in addition to your flat-rate cost.

    As each Columbia graduate school has its own cross-registration policies and procedures, our Office of Student Services compiles a document every term with links to classes at other schools that are open to CUSSW students along with detailed instructions for registration, with links to necessary forms. This information is e-mailed to all students during the registration period and can also be found online.

  • What minors do you offer, and how do I sign up?

    The School offers three minors for 16-Month students: 
    1. Business
    2. International Social Welfare
    3. Public Policy and Administration 
    As a 16-Month student you are not eligible to pursue the Law minor as it requires two years of course requirements, including a first-term course that is only offered in the Fall. For more information on minors, go to the Student Handbook.
     
  • I am interested in finding out more about dual-degree programs.

    Typically, a dual-degree program reduces the requirements for doing two full-time programs by approximately one academic year because fewer credits are needed for each of the two degrees. If you are interested in pursuing a dual degree with another Columbia graduate school, you must apply separately to the school in question during your first year at CUSSW. You will also need to discuss your academic plan for completing requirements at both schools.with the Manager of Enrollment and Student Services, Colin Sullivan (cps2133@columbia.edu). To update your student record once you have been accepted into the other school, please notify our Office of Student Services at sw-studentservices@columbia.edu

  • I haven't been in school for years and am worried about returning to academia and writing papers.

    The School’s Writing Center will be glad to help prepare you for conceptualizing and writing graduate-level papers. In addition, the Office of Student Services can arrange support groups for students who share similar concerns, when there is sufficient number. Please contact us at sw-studentservices@columbia.edu if you are interested in this possibility. NOTE: While the Writing Center can assist with questions of grammar, punctuation, and APA style, they are not set up to provide copy-editing services.

  • How does the Field Education Department determine my placement in the second year?

    At the mandatory Field Placement Fair held in February of your first year, you will have opportunities to meet with agency representatives and listen to panel discussions from instructors who teach in the four method specialization areas and seven fields of practice. You will also have access, online and in hard copy, to a Placement Planning book, which provides instructions regarding placement selection, an overview of the various methods and fields of practice, and an annotated list of placement sites. Field Department staff will work very closely with you throughout this process and if need be will grant you additional time to consider your options before deciding on your top six placement choices. Most students receive one of their choices. (In rare cases, Field Department staff may develop a new placement they think would be a great fit for a particular student, but they will approach the student first before moving forward.) NOTE: One of the best sources of information about your second-year placement are students who are now completing their second year. Opportunities will be provided for you to reach out to them as well during the selection process.

  • When will I find out who my advisor for the second year is? Will I have the same advisor as last year?

    Your advisor for your second year will likely be different from your first-year advisor. Your second-year advisor will be assigned by the end of the first week of classes in September, and you will see his/her information on SSOL by then. 

  • I understand I will be assigned a faculty mentor. Who will be my faculty mentor and what does my mentor do?

    In your second year, you will be assigned a mentor who is a member of the School’s faculty who teaches or conducts research in areas similar to your method specialization. He or she can discuss your career goals and provide a sounding board to discuss your plans post-graduation. Faculty mentors are generally assigned by the first week of October. You will be notified via e-mail of your mentor’s name and information. 

  • Where can I find detailed course descriptions and course requirements for my classes?

    By the time orientation week begins, all of your courses—including their requirements, syllabi, grading policies, and online readings—should be posted on New CourseWorks.

  • How do I verify that I’m taking all the required courses and sufficient credits to obtain my degree at the end of this year?

    Program requirements are listed in the 2012-13 Student Handbook, which can be used as a checklist for completing your degree requirements. We suggest that you also get in the habit of checking your Degree Audit Report on Student Services Online (SSOL). Additionally, you are welcome to reach out to the Offices of Student Services and Advising to verify that you’re on track. NOTE: The Office of Enrollment and Student Services monitors students’ enrollment and registration and, where possible, will alert you if any problems are identified, but it is your responsibility to complete your degree requirements.

  • I want to complete the required LCSW licensing coursework, even though I’m not a Clinical Method student. Is that possible?

    If you are interested in completing the clinical licensing coursework requirements for New York State prior to graduating, it is possible to do so, even if you have not chosen to specialize in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice. This is particularly easy for an Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming (AGPP) student, who can simply ensure that all nine credits of electives are approved clinical electives. Social Enterprise Administration (SEA) and Policy students, on the other hand, will need to take more than the 60 credits required to complete their degree requirements. NOTE: For clinical licensing requirements for states other than New York, go to the list of state Social Work Regulatory Boards on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) site.

  • Financing Your Education - Header

    Financing Your Education

  • What is the cost per year?

    Tuition and fees for 2013-14 total an estimated $43,989. Of that, tuition accounts for an estimated $19,304 each term. This is a flat-rate cost that allows you register for up to 19.5 credits per term at a cost equivalent to 15 credits. Your Summer term costs will be less than your Spring term, as you are not charged an additional Student Medical Insurance Fee. Your insurance plan will cover you through Aug. 31, 2014. For an explanation and breakdown of other fees, go to Cost of Attendance.

  • What types of financial aid are available?

    Financial aid awards typically include a mix of institutional/merit scholarships, Federal Work-Study, federal loans, and other types of loans. Though you will not be eligible for work-study in your first year, you will be given priority for consideration in your second year, based on qualifying FAFSA data. NOTE: Those who have served in the military should find out if they are eligible for veterans educational benefits by completing the checklist linked from Columbia University’s Veteran Affairs site. Likewise, those who have completed a term of service with AmeriCorps should contact AmeriCorps directly to see if they are eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

  • How can I apply for financial aid?

    Your first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once we receive your FAFSA data, we can begin the evaluation process for determining your financial aid award package.

  • When will I find out about my financial aid package?

    We usually begin processing financial aid packages in mid-October, and notifications are sent out thereafter. You will receive an e-mail at the address used for your admissions application.

  • When will I get the money I need to cover my daily expenses?

    Generally you will receive this money during the first two weeks of school. Refunds are determined based on any credit remaining after all expected funding has been applied to your student account to cover your tuition, fees and other charges that may be on your account. The University will issue a refund either via direct deposit—you can select this option online (it requires entering your personal banking information)—or a paper check. Refunds are initially processed during the first two weeks of school, and then processed throughout the year whenever credit balances appear. NOTE: New students should come to school with enough money to see them through the first 2-3 weeks. For various reasons, some students may not receive a refund until week 3 or 4 of classes. Most students will receive their refunds near the end of the second week of classes.

  • What if I’m not satisfied with my package?

    Newly admitted students can direct appeals for more scholarship money to the Director of Admissions at cussw-admit@columbia.edu. (If you have received a higher scholarship offer from another graduate school of social work, a copy of that offer should be included in your appeal.) All other appeals, including appeals for work-study, should be e-mailed to swfinaid@columbia.edu. Please be mindful that our scholarship and work-study funding is limited, and we do our best to provide need-based awards to all eligible students. Appeals are reviewed in August, and you will be notified via e-mail of the status of your appeal by the end of the first two weeks of classes.

  • What types of loans can I apply for?

    All students who complete a FAFSA are eligible to receive the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Once you accept the loan, you must complete an entrance interview, sign a master promissory note, and fill out a loan request form. The funds will then be disbursed automatically to your student account at the beginning of each term. NOTE: The Department of Education charges a 1% origination fee on this loan, which will be deducted prior to the funds being disbursed. 
     
    In addition to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you may choose to borrow either a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan or a private loan. The maximum amount you may borrow for either loan is listed under the Alternative Eligibility fund in your award letter.
     
    The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed interest loan program that enables graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for their educational expenses. This loan, which is based on credit-worthiness, requires a separate entrance interview, Master Promissory Note (MPN), and loan request form. For more information, go to Questions and Answers About Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students (PDF: 2 pages). If you are approved for a PLUS loan, the funds will be disbursed automatically to your student account at the beginning of the term. NOTE: The Department of Education charges a 4% origination fee on this loan, which will be deducted prior to the funds being disbursed.
     
    If you are a first-time borrower or have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid at swfinaid@columbia.edu or 212-851-2293; or make an appointment to speak to one of us.

     

  • What if I’m denied the PLUS loan or a private loan?

    If you are denied the PLUS Loan, we strongly encourage you to request a copy of your credit report and clear up any delinquencies of 90 days or more, or challenge any discrepancies you find on that report. You should then appeal to the Department of Education, providing documentation that those discrepancies or issues have been resolved. In our experience, most students who do this succeed in having their initial denial overturned. Another option is to reapply for the PLUS Loan with a credit-worthy co-signer or endorser. If neither of these options works, we suggest that you reach out to our Office of Financial Aid. A financial aid officer will ask you to compile and submit a monthly budget listing all of your basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities, personal expenses, etc.). This additional information will allow the financial aid office to calculate the assistance you still need and how much CUSSW can cover.

  • How do I pay for Columbia housing?

    Your charges for Columbia housing may be billed to your student account each term, or else you may be asked to sign a contract stipulating the amount of monthly rent you owe to the University. We advise you to discuss the terms of your rental agreement with University Apartment Housing (UAH) prior to signing the contract.

  • What if I need more money?

    If you need more money at any point during the year and have remaining “alternative eligibility” in your financial aid, you must submit another PLUS Loan Request Form or apply for a private loan to borrow up to the total amount of that remaining “alternative eligibility.” If you have maxed out on your aid and received all for which you are currently eligible, please make an appointment with our Office of Financial Aid so that we can assess your situation and need for funding.

  • Still have questions?

    Still have questions?

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