Personal and Health Matters

I’m religiously observant and cannot attend classes or practicum on religious holidays. What do I do?

Please notify your advisor, your instructors and your practicum instructor of the upcoming holiday(s) and note what day(s) you will not be able to attend classes and practicum. They can help you develop a plan for making up any missed work or days in practicum. It is the University Senate’s policy to give students who are absent because of their religious beliefs “an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements.” You cannot be penalized for absence due to religious beliefs, and alternative means can be sought for satisfying your academic requirements.

What happens if I get sick or have a personal emergency and miss classes and practicum?

If you are unable to attend classes, please immediately notify your instructors and advisor. If you are unable to attend practicum, please immediately notify your practicum instructor and advisor. It is also extremely helpful if you notify the offices of Advising, Practicum Learning and Student Services so that we can reach out to your instructors and field placement as needed. You may e-mail us at, and

NOTE: You will be required to make up missed hours of practicum work.

I’m not feeling well. Where can I go for medical attention?

Basic medical services are provided on campus at Columbia Health, on the 3rd and 4th floors of John Jay Hall. You may make an appointment online, by phone (212-854-7426), or in person at the information desk on the third floor of John Jay Hall. If you have an emergency, we encourage you to call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. (If you live near campus, you should head to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room, on 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 212-523-3347.) Your Student Medical Insurance Plan covers emergency room visits.

For more details about your student medical insurance, go to Columbia’s Health Insurance page. NOTE: You will receive an Insurance ID card in the mail. If you need medical assistance off campus prior to receiving that card, you may download atemporary card (PDF: 1 page).

I’m feeling depressed and/or anxious, and I think I need counseling services. Who can I talk to?

Columbia Health’s Counseling and Psychological Services, located on the 8th floor of Lerner Hall, offers short-term individual counseling, couples counseling for you and your partner, student life support groups, medication consultation, and related services—all of which are covered by your Health Services Fee. To schedule an appointment, call 212-854-2878 or walk in to a Residence Hall Counseling office. For assistance after hours, call 212-854-9797 to speak to an on-call clinician or, in the case of an emergency, call 911 to find out where your nearest hospital is. (If you live near campus, you should head to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room, on 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 212-523-3347.)

I am currently taking prescription medication. Will my student medical insurance cover those prescriptions? And where do I get them filled?

Your Student Health Insurance Plan offers a prescription drug program through Aetna. To find your nearest pharmacy in the Aetna network, go to the Aetna Prescription Drug Program site.

I need to take a leave of absence. How does that work?

If you are in good academic standing, you may request a personal leave of absence for a maximum of one year. All leaves of absence, including those undertaken for medical reasons, must be requested and processed through the Office of Advising ( You will need to complete paperwork and discuss how this leave will affect your academic program and then map out a plan for resuming your studies once the leave ends. A Student Services staff member will process your leave and remove you from classes, if necessary. And if your leave of absence commences before the term ends, you should also arrange to meet with someone in the Office of Financial Aid, as it may require returning loan funds to the federal government. For more details on policy and procedures, go to the Student Handbook. NOTE: If you take a medical leave of absence, you will be required to submit documentation of medical clearance, ensuring you are able to attend classes and participate in practicum, before returning to campus

I have a disability. What services are available to me?

If you have a temporary or permanent disability, you must first register with Columbia University’s Disability Services. Disability Services staff will review your documentation and determine any reasonable accommodations and support services such as note-taking assistance, extended time on exams, and access to assistive technology, after which they will notify our Office of Student Services. (Accommodations are not applicable retroactively.) NOTE: Our instructors and Practicum Learning administrators are not able to grant disability accommodations. They are, however, obligated to ensure that you have received applicable Disability Services accommodations, with assistance from our Office of Student Services.

What resources does the School and the University offer for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender students?

The School and the University have a number of organizations that support LGBTQ students on campus. These include the Queer Caucus at School of Social Work and various campus-wide groups such as Columbia Queer AllianceEveryone Allied Against HomophobiaGayava (a Jewish LGBTQ group), and Proud Colors. Additionally, Columbia Health Services runs a Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP), and the Columbia University Center for Career Education offers job search, résumé, and interviewing advice to LGBTQ students.