Current Students

New Pathways for Fall 2020/Spring 2021

Welcome, current CSSW students, both new and continuing! We hope you are feeling as energized as we are about this academic year. The COVID-19 pandemic and other profound societal challenges have shown how important trained social workers are to our society, and have motivated us to find novel ways to deliver the same rigorous educational programming for which our school has always been known. This page outlines the pathways and supports we have created for new and returning students. More details can be found in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Information Hub. Please log in here.*

*Students having issues accessing the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Information Hub should email with the subject line “Request to be added to Info Hub” and in the email please provide your name, UNI, and CSSW affiliation.

What to expect in Fall 2020/Spring 2021:


The health of our community remains of paramount importance. For that reason, fall and spring semester coursework will be primarily online. We will also offer a selection of key courses in-person, which will be clearly designated as such in the online directory of classes. Additionally, students living in the New York City area will be able to engage in on-the-ground research and volunteer opportunities whenever possible and safe, consistent with the latest public health guidance. Please note that many students may choose to take all of their classes remotely this fall and spring, whether enrolled in the Residential Campus or the Online Campus.


All courses will be taught by the same outstanding faculty as before, all of whom are committed to delivering the richest academic experience possible. Columbia School of Social Work has the advantage of an established Online Campus and considerable in-house expertise. Many of our faculty have already taught online and many are engaged this summer in robust training programs that emphasize best practices in interactive and effective teaching approaches. The School also has taken the step of assigning every faculty member additional technical support staff for courses to be offered remotely. Residential Campus courses will be offered primarily through Zoom, while Online Campus courses will be offered primarily through Adobe Connect. We are offering support and training for students in both campuses on engaging with technology and remote learning.

Students looking for further information on Zoom/Adobe Connect should visit the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Information Hub.


Our approach to field education mirrors our approach to coursework. Working with its partners, our Field Education Department has developed a flexible suite of field placement options, so that field education can be completely virtual when necessary but can also shift to in-person activities whenever public health conditions allow. Protocols for students in field placements during the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 semester can be found here. Notably, Fall 2020/Spring 2021 field placement options include some exciting new opportunities for our students to learn how to engage clients remotely through telehealth or other digital technologies. Information on how to approach and engage in telehealth is available in the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Information Hub for more details.


The return to campus life will require each of us to commit to a common set of health and safety protocols. In consultation with leading public health experts, University has instituted the Columbia Community Health Compact, to be affirmed before coming to campus by each individual, whether they are a student, a faculty member, or an administrator. At the heart of the Compact is the ethos that each member of our community is responsible to abide by these protocols not only to protect themselves, but also to protect others.

For up-to-date information on Health and Well-Being, please visit the Health Guidance section of Columbia University’s COVID-19 website. Resources for coping with stress, anxiety, and other concerns due to COVID-19 can be found on this page in the Columbia Health site.


CSSW’s wide array of support services for students will continue to be available, with ample opportunities for remote access. Career counseling, advising, field, and financial aid—as well as the robust racial justice programs and affinity group support spaces offered by our Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion—will continue to respond to the needs of our students throughout the academic year. Advisors will check in regularly once the school year begins, to offer support for navigating strategies for success with your academics and field education. On the financial aid front, remote opportunities are available for students receiving funding for Federal Work-Study positions, and the School will continue to review COVID-19 related appeals for emergency funds and tuition support. We encourage you to contact the Financial Aid team for guidance and help by email at

Finally, incoming and returning students should note that Columbia University provides extensive counseling and psychological services for students in need. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), a branch of Columbia Health, has been offering virtual support spaces. It also provides a range of online coping tools for students, as well as individual counseling (see their website).

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