SIPA Academic Policies

Code of Academic and Professional Conduct

As part of the preparation of students for careers in international and public affairs, the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) promotes the highest academic and professional standards. To clarify the school’s expectation of professional and ethical conduct, including honesty, accuracy, and integrity in academic and professional activities, the administration, faculty, and students have adopted the following Code of Academic and Professional Conduct. It is the responsibility of all members of the SIPA community to encourage academic integrity and to deter, confront, and report all acts of academic dishonesty. To signify their knowledge and acceptance of the SIPA Code of Professional and Academic Conduct, students will review and sign the following pledge.

“In order to promote honesty, professionalism, fairness, and academic integrity within the SIPA community, I hereby pledge to abide by the standards of academic and professional conduct outlined below”:

“I will fully participate in the academic life of the school by understanding degree and course requirements, and putting forth my best efforts in completing all assignments and exams according to the guidelines and procedures established by faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants.”

“I will dedicate adequate time to my studies by effectively managing conflicts between my academic responsibilities and other commitments. I will communicate responsibly with faculty, administrative staff, and the Office of Student Affairs about matters that affect my ability to participate as expected in my classes and other school activities.”

“I understand that the falsification of academic or admissions records can result in disciplinary actions.”

“I will recognize the diversity of SIPA and understand that professional and civil conduct is expected to guide interactions between all constituents of the school: including employees, students, faculty, administrative staff, and student staff. SIPA students are ambassadors for the school and should behave accordingly in professional and academic settings.”

“I understand that the commission of criminal acts against Columbia students, the University, or its employees is considered a violation of the SIPA Code of Academic and Professional Conduct.”

“I will read and abide by the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct, and will undertake my academic work with honesty and integrity. I will submit original work and will properly attribute any ideas that are not my own according to established academic procedures. If I am unsure about what constitutes proper academic procedure in a particular instance, it is my responsibility to consult with a professor or appropriate staff member. I will not give or receive unauthorized aid on any assignment or exam. I will not cheat or plagiarize or condone such conduct in others in any academic or professional undertaking while enrolled at SIPA.”

“I understand that cheating comprises the giving or receiving of unauthorized and/or unfair aid in academic work. This may include, but is not limited to: lying, deceiving, stealing, talking, signaling, copying from other students, and unauthorized usage of books, data (both in hard copy and electronic formats), study aids, or other sources in a manner inconsistent with the expectations established by SIPA and my classroom instructors. I understand that cheating also includes falsifying data in support of laboratory, internship, Workshop, or Capstone Project work.”

“I understand that plagiarism includes but is not limited to:

  • Submitting written work of any kind (e.g., reports, essays, exercises, papers), or portions of such written work that is not my own, but rather the written work of another author;
  • Failing to acknowledge, through proper footnotes and bibliographic entries, the source of ideas not my own;
  • Failing to indicate through proper use of quotations and footnotes whenever my work includes paraphrases of ideas or verbatim expressions not my own;
  • Submitting written work prepared for one course to meet the requirements of a second course without having received in writing prior permission from both instructors;
  • Collaborating with other students or outside sources on an assignment or examination without specific permission from the faculty member to do so;
  • Using another person’s or institution’s research or data without attribution.”

“If graded together with other students in study groups, I pledge to contribute to my fullest capacity. I will not seek unauthorized help outside my study group, unless specifically authorized by the faculty member.”

“I have read the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct, and will undertake my academic work with honesty and integrity.”

As a professional community of faculty and students conducting research in international and public affairs, we at SIPA must be mindful of the need for accuracy and consistency in citing the sources of our research findings. SIPA’s reputation and yours are one and the same, and we must all work together to ensure the integrity of academic work conducted here.

In addition, many SIPA students come from universities and academic systems with different practices and traditions in regard to citing sources. It is therefore imperative that we all share a common understanding of prevailing standards and practices at U.S. institutions of higher learning.
In order to provide you with ample resources for ascertaining the proper style of attribution in presenting your research, we have compiled a series of links to documents from various North American universities that we think will be very helpful to you. You should all make a point of consulting them before your first assignment, as inaccuracy and imprecision in citing sources can lead to the charge of plagiarism, a violation of the SIPA Code of Academic and Professional Conduct that, when proven, may result in dismissal from Columbia University. Please take the time now to study these useful and important aides to your research.

Students sign the Academic and Professional Conduct Pledge to acknowledge that they are responsible for reading and understanding the materials listed above. If a student is uncertain of the procedures for documenting and citing sources, they must consult these resources and seek assistance from faculty or Office of Student Affairs staff in making sure academic work conforms to these standards.

Dean's Discipline Policy and Procedures

Dean's Discipline Procedures

Preface to Procedures

The continuous review of University policies and practices, federal laws, new and unanticipated situations and other considerations may result in changes in the policies, rules and regulations applicable to students. The Faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) therefore reserves the right to amend these policies at any time. These changes may affect such matters as tuition and all other fees, courses, degrees, programs offered (including the modification or possible elimination of programs), degree and other academic requirements, areas of concentration, academic policies, rules pertaining to student conduct and discipline and regulations applicable to students.

The authoritative version of the School of International and Public Affairs Academic and Disciplinary Policies is updated annually and published on the web.  It is also available in printed form.  In the event of any discrepancy, the version published on the SIPA website is the authoritative version. Students are expected to be familiar not only with SIPA policies, but also with rules and regulations of the University as well as those specific to their own degree program(s).

Procedures

Disciplinary procedures apply when students or student organizations are found to be in violation of University or SIPA policies, including the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct.  In certain cases, SIPA’s disciplinary procedures are superseded by the Rules of University Conduct, which cover alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, equal opportunity and nondiscriminatory conduct, and such activities as demonstrations, rallies, picketing, and the circulation of petitions. The Rules of University Conduct can be found in the, Essential Policies for the Columbia Community 2009-2010.

All suspected violations of University or SIPA policies should be reported to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, who will receive the complaint and, if necessary, initiate proceedings as described below or refer the matter to the appropriate university office. Complaints regarding the conduct of SIPA students may be submitted by students, staff, or faculty. All members of the SIPA community are expected to report actions that are inconsistent with the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct and University policies.  Reports will be assessed by the Associate Dean to insure that possible violations are reviewed in the appropriate venue and according to applicable disciplinary procedures outlined below.

Informal Resolution

In many cases charges of misconduct are resolved by the individual faculty member and the student involved. Either party may wish to involve the Associate Dean for Students at the outset of the resolution process. 

Informal Procedures

Evaluation of student performance is the exclusive province of the faculty. If in the faculty member’s opinion, there is evidence the student has committed an act of academic misconduct, the faculty member is responsible for taking appropriate action. The burden of proof rests with the faculty member, who will gather the available information and supportive documents. Whenever possible the faculty member will discuss his/her allegations with the student(s) as soon as possible, giving the student(s) an opportunity to explain. Upon determination that an infraction did occur, the faculty member must report the act of dishonesty to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, who will contact the student(s) to provide information about the charges and schedule a meeting to discuss the alleged infraction. The Associate Dean will also counsel the relevant faculty member on the appropriate sanction to be applied; prior infractions may result in harsher penalties. 

The faculty member in whose course the infraction has occurred may elect to assign a lower or failing grade for an assignment, examination, or the entire course. The faculty member will notify the Associate Dean of his/her decision and may recommend that additional sanctions be considered. The Associate Dean will notify the student in writing of the all sanctions imposed as a result of the infraction.  All records of academic dishonesty shall be maintained for five (5) years; in cases of severe infractions the record may be maintained for a longer period or permanently.

Formal Resolution

Incidents of Academic and/or Non Academic (behavioral) misconduct involving SIPA students in which the alleged violation, due to its severity, cannot be resolved informally result in formal disciplinary proceedings under the direction of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  Such misconduct includes, but is not limited to, egregious acts of cheating or plagiarism or behavioral misconduct such as theft, acts of violence, and offensive or disruptive behavior that interferes with the normal academic and community activity.

Investigation Phase

When a SIPA student is charged with a violation of University or SIPA policy, including the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct, the Associate Dean makes a preliminary inquiry into the case and determines whether there is sufficient cause to bring a formal complaint. If there is sufficient cause for a formal complaint, the student is notified in writing and provided with a copy of the disciplinary procedures.

Disposition of the Complaint

If the Associate Dean determines that a formal complaint is warranted, the Associate Dean: (1) may issue a letter of warning, which becomes a part of the student’s file until graduation; or (2) may convene a Discipline Hearing Panel, notifying the student of this in writing.   Upon receipt of a letter of warning, the student may request that the Associate Dean convene a Discipline Hearing Panel.

Discipline Hearing

All complaints not disposed of informally or by uncontested letter of warning from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or referred to another university office, must be reviewed by a Discipline Hearing Panel. A panel is assembled for each case, comprised of two students, an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and two faculty members, all of whom are selected by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. All members chosen for the panel are expected to recuse themselves if they have a relationship with the accused student that may affect their ability to hear the case objectively.

The Discipline Hearing Panel informs the student of the charges made and asks him/her to respond in writing. The panel members are charged with fact-finding and designate one panel member to carefully document all testimony and proceedings. The student has the opportunity to present information on his/her behalf, which may include testimony by witnesses, written information or other evidence, but may not have an attorney or other advisor present at the hearing. Witnesses giving testimony must have direct knowledge of the situation being investigated; character witnesses are not allowed in disciplinary hearings. The student is not present to hear witnesses and there is no cross-examination or adversarial aspect to the hearing process. The Associate Dean is present at the hearing to present the facts of the case and is also available to the student to answer questions and provide information about the hearing process. The Associate Dean is not a voting member of the hearing panel.

After hearing all the evidence, and reviewing the facts, the Hearing Panel reaches a decision about whether a violation has occurred and, if so, imposes appropriate disciplinary measures. Sanctions may include a warning or censure to be placed in the student's file, notation on the student's transcript, loss of certain rights and privileges, reduced or failing grade, probation, suspension or expulsion from the school. The Hearing Panel's decision is determined by a majority vote.

The Hearing Panel notifies the student of its findings via email and letter within 24 hours of its decision. At the same time, a copy of the findings and a written report of the proceedings, including relevant documents and evidence are forwarded to the Dean of SIPA.

Appeal Process

In the event that the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or a Discipline Hearing Panel finds a student to have committed a violation of University or SIPA policy, the student may appeal the decision and disciplinary sanction to the Dean of SIPA. Appeals must be made in writing within five working days of the student's receipt of the decision of the Discipline Hearing Panel, and must clearly state the grounds for the appeal.

In reviewing the appeal, the Dean relies on the written record and does not conduct further factual investigation, except in instances where the Dean determines that further information is needed. The purpose of the appeal process is to determine if the decision made and the discipline sanctions imposed are reasonable. The Dean notifies the student of the decision in writing. There is no further appeal within the University.

Records

The detailed record of each disciplinary case and the proceedings of the Hearing Panel will be retained by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for access by future hearing panels. The Student Affairs Office will retain all records related to complaints brought, and both confirmed and unconfirmed violations, in a secure file. All records will be kept secure and confidential, and names will be kept confidential, regardless of the finding. The Dean may release general information about cases and proceedings as long as this information does not violate the right to privacy of the individuals involved. All disciplinary cases are retained on file for five (5) years.

SIPA Grading System and Academic Progress

Grading Scale

SIPA uses a standard A-F grading scale:

Grade GPA Equivalent
A+4.33
A (Excellent)4.00
A-3.67
B+3.33
B (Good)3.00 (*A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to remain in good academic standing and to graduate)
B-2.67
C+2.33
C (Fair)2.00
C-1.67
D (Poor)1.00
F (Failure)0.00
P (Pass)N/A

Grading Notations

The grade of P (pass): Core, concentration, and specialization courses cannot be taken pass/fail.  Students can opt to take only elective courses on a pass/fail basis. There is no limit to the number of elective courses that can be taken pass/fail.1 Please note the regulations below regarding taking a course pass/fail:

  • Instructor's permission is not required to change the grading option to P/F (pass/fail). However instructors can opt to have a course blocked from pass/fail registration.
  • Students can change the grading option to P/F (pass/fail) online during the Add/Drop period (first two weeks of classes) and at any time via a Registration Add/Drop Form until the "last day to change grading option" on the Academic Calendar (the ninth week of classes every semester).
  • Once a grading option of Pass/fail is selected, it cannot be changed back to letter grade.
  • A grade of Pass is not figured into a student's grade point average. Certain courses, such as one-point short-courses or Professional Development are offered only on a Pass/Fail basis.
    1

    Students in the MPA-DP program may take a course P/F if it is an elective, however the MPA-DP program only allows for P/F courses to count towards the 54 required credits IF the course does not offer a letter-grade option

Auditing/R credit (registered for the course; no qualitative grade assigned):

Students who audit classes (register for R credit) must still be registered for the course in SSOL. SIPA does not allow for students to “sit in” on classes. Students who wish to be given R credit for a course must request permission from the instructor during the registration period. Instructors are not obligated to grant R credit; however, if permission is granted, the student must meet course requirements established at the discretion of the instructor. Upon successful completion of the course, instructors will submit the grade of R for these students. Should students not meet course requirements or fail to attend class, instructors have the option of submitting a grade of UW or F.

  • Courses taken for R credit do not count toward the 54 points required for the MIA or MPA degree.  Students enrolled for R credit receive no academic credit.
  • Students who wish to be given R credit for a course must request permission from the instructor no later than the "last day to change grading option" on the Academic Calendar (the fifth week of classes every semester).  
  • Instructors are not obligated to grant a student’s request for “R” credit.
  • Taking a course for “R” credit exempts a student only from the final exam. All other requirements are established at the time the professor grants permission to take the class. The instructor will award an R grade if a student meets the agreed upon requirements.  Students can fail an “R” credit course if they do not meet these requirements.
  • Once awarded, the grade is not subject to change, nor may a course that has been taken for R credit be repeated for a qualitative grade (A-F).
  • The grade of R will be posted at the END of the semester to ensure that the student continues to attend the course.
  • R credit courses appear on a student’s transcript and the University charges full tuition for R credit registration.

The mark of W (Withdrawal): Given to a student who drops a course between the end of add/drop and the fifth week of classes. Students cannot drop/withdraw from a course after the date noted on the SIPA academic calendar

The mark of UW (Unofficial Withdrawal)

  • Given to a student who discontinues attendance in a course, without submitting an official request to withdraw prior to the stated deadline on the SIPA Academic Calendar (fifth week of classes).
  • A “UW” is a permanent grade and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course.

The mark of CP (Credit Pending): A CP should be posted when a short extension (less than two or three weeks) has been approved for submission of coursework.  Once the work has been submitted, you can change the CP to a letter grade using the web grading system. The mark of CP indicates that the student has made satisfactory progress and that the final mark will be submitted very soon.

The mark of IN (Incomplete):

  • Incompletes are only granted in cases of incapacitating illness, serious family emergencies, or in circumstances of comparable gravity. Incompletes are granted and/or denied at the discretion of the course instructors.
  • A student requesting an “IN” must have satisfactorily met the requirements of a course except for the completion of certain assignments or the final examination.  
  • To receive an Incomplete, a student must submit a request form to the Dean's Office, having first obtained approval from the Instructor.  If requesting an “IN” in more than one course, you must first speak with one of the Deans in the Office for Student Affairs.
  • In the School of International and Public Affairs the “IN” must be completed by the end of the following semester unless a shorter time period is otherwise stipulated by the instructor. If not removed within the stated time, the “IN” will be converted to a UW. Students are advised to avoid incompletes as they are a counterindication of satisfactory progress toward the MIA and MPA degrees.
  • Students with two or more grades of IN will have a registration hold placed on their account.

The mark of AB (Absent from the Final Examination): Granted by the instructor, not later than the day of the examination, to a student whose attendance and progress have been satisfactory and who cannot be present because of sickness or some other extreme emergency, which must be substantiated. The student must make arrangements with the instructor to remove the AB.

The mark of YC (Year Course): A temporary mark given at the end of the first term of a course in which the full year's work must be completed before a qualitative grade is assigned. The grade given at the end of the second term is the grade for the entire course.

Academic Progress: Students must maintain a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average for all courses applicable to the MIA or MPA degree.  A student whose performance does not meet these standards may not be permitted to continue to enroll in the degree program and appropriate action will be taken by the School. If at the end of a semester a graduate student fails to meet the GPA requirement, or accumulates 2 or more INC grades, or in other ways fails to meet the standards for progress, the student will receive a written warning concerning the lack of academic progress. The student must remedy the problem within one semester. Failure to re-establish satisfactory academic standing may result in dismissal from SIPA, subject to review by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. A student who is dismissed must wait a minimum of one calendar year from the date of dismissal before applying for readmission to the graduate program.

Satisfactory academic progress for a full-time student is defined as a minimum GPA of 3.00 and completing a minimum of 9 credits per term toward the degree. Full-time students who do not earn this minimum number of credits will have a Dean's Hold placed on their registration.

A Dean's Hold prevents a student from registering for classes and from receiving the degree. Students with two or more IN or UW or one or more grades of F will have their registration placed on Dean's Hold. In serious cases of unsatisfactory performance, a Dean's Hold may lead to dismissal from the School upon recommendation by the Committee of Deans. Students who are placed on Dean's Hold must be granted permission to register by the Associate Dean.

Effective Fall 2011: Students are required to complete all of the MIA or MPA degree requirements within five years of the first semester of matriculation at SIPA. 

The total number of attempted credits toward the degree should not exceed 90 credits.

Advanced Standing/Transfer credits do not impact the cumulative GPA, but count as both attempted and completed credits.

*Note – students enrolled in the part-time Executive MPA Program (EMPA) are required to complete an average of 6 credits per term instead of the 9 required for full-time students.

Policy on Incomplete Coursework

Incompletes are granted or denied at the discretion of course Instructors. Incompletes can be granted in cases of incapacitating illness, serious family emergency, or in circumstances of comparable gravity. Permission can also be granted in order to allow a student to consult research materials not obtainable in the course of the semester.

Any student who believes that his/her situation warrants the granting of "IN" must complete the Application for Incomplete Form (https://sipa.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/OSA_APPLICATION%20FOR%20INCOMPLETE.pdf) and submit it to the Office of Student Affairs BY THE LAST DAY OF FINAL EXAM PERIOD.

  • A student applying for an "IN" should first obtain the approval signature of the instructor before submitting the form.
  • If you are requesting an "IN" in more than one course, you must speak with one of the Deans in the Student Affairs Office.

If an instructor grants an incomplete for a course, the instructor and student must agree on a date in which the coursework will be completed. This date must be within three months of the end of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure a grade is submitted by the agreed upon date. The instructor is not required to submit a grade for the course after the agreed upon date. If a grade is not submitted by this date, the grade will revert to a UW (Unofficial Withdrawal). This means the credits in the course will be forfeited.

SIPA policy states that if the outstanding coursework is not completed within three months, the grade will automatically revert to Unofficial Withdrawal (UW), defined as "student did not complete attendance and/or assignments, but failed to withdraw." The UW is a permanent grade that cannot be changed. Students with two or more grades of Incomplete “IN” will have a registration hold placed on their account.

Proficiency Exam Policies and Procedures

Proficiency/Economics placement exams allow SIPA students to demonstrate competence in a number of subjects so that they can be exempted from course requirements in either the core curriculum or their concentration.  A student who takes and passes a proficiency exam is exempt from taking that course and may substitute another course.  Passing a proficiency exam exempts you from taking a class, but does not grant you credit towards your degree. Exams are offered at the beginning and end of each term. You can view dates of upcoming exams and sign-up on the Proficiency Exams Guidelines page

Each semester, exams are offered for the following subjects and languages:

  1. Economics
    ​-  
    SIPA U4200 Microeconomics for International Public Affairs Course Video/SIPA U4201 Macroeconomics for International Public Affairs
    -  SIPA U6400 Microeconomic Analysis for International Public Affairs Course Video/SIPA U6401 Macroeconomic Analysis for International Public Affairs 
    -  Policy on Advanced Standing in Economics: All students are required to fulfill 6 credits of Economics coursework as part of the SIPA degree, regardless of academic or professional background.  Students who have completed graduate level Economics courses (Micro and/or Macro) and were awarded a graduate degree (outside Columbia University) may apply to have those courses counted as ELECTIVE transfer credit.* If a student feels they have sufficient knowledge of Economics and would like to waive out of the core Economics courses in order to take more advanced coursework, they may take the Economics Placement Exam (previously referred to as a Proficiency exam). The Placement Exam consists of a Micro section and a Macro section.  Students may elect to take one or both of the sections, but may only take each section once during their academic career.   If a student is successful in passing one or both sections of the Economics Placement Exam, they are still required to complete an alternate Economics course(s) (3-6 credits) to fulfill the SIPA Master’s degree Economics requirement Note: Students who pass these placement exams are still required to take 6 credits of other Economics classes to substitute for the Economics core. See Policy on Advanced Standing in Economics below for further details.
  2. Quantitative Analysis 
    -  SIPA U6500 Quantitative Analysis for International Public Affairs
    -  SIPA U6501 Quantitative Analysis II for International Public Affairs  
  3. AccountingSIPA U6200 Accounting for International Public Affairs
  4. Languages
    ​-  
    French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish
    -  Language proficiency exams consist of two parts: written and conversational. The written part takes 2 hours and consists of grammar, translation, vocabulary and reading comprehension (at the level comparable to an undergraduate Intermediate II course). If you pass the written part of the exam you will be contacted by email to schedule the oral exam. It might be helpful to take a placement exam first through the specific language department.  Please contact the individual language departments for more information.

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement and Advanced Standing Policy

Full-Time Enrollment

In addition to requiring 54 points of credits for graduation, both the MIA and MPA degree programs require students to enroll full-time for four semesters. Students who make arrangements for advanced standing based on graduate degrees completed before enrollment at SIPA may reduce their period of study to three semesters of full-time enrollment. Below are procedures for requesting advanced standing.

Advanced Standing

Advanced standing for the MIA and MPA degree is awarded based on graduate degrees completed before enrollment at SIPA in fields relevant to the MIA & MPA degrees. All students requesting advanced standing must fill out the Advanced Standing form and return it to the Office of Student Affairs.

Examples include MBA, JD, MPH and master's degrees in political science, economics, history, urban planning, sociology and/or anthropology; although the associate dean for students may accept advanced standing from other graduate degrees at her/his discretion.

Advanced standing credits depend upon the dean's office assessment of the quality and relevance of the work. Advanced standing will not be given for language courses and advanced standing will only be awarded for postbaccalaureate courses that were part of a completed graduate degree, with the exception of relevant postbaccalaureate courses taken at Columbia University. At the discretion of the Associate Dean, relevant postbaccalaureate classes completed at Columbia University may count toward advanced standing; but in no circumstance, will advanced standing beyond 12 credits be awarded.

Students must have a grade of B or better in courses for which they seek advanced standing credit.

Policy on Advanced Standing in Economics: All students are required to fulfill 6 credits of Economics coursework as part of the SIPA degree, regardless of academic or professional background. Students who have completed graduate level Economics courses (Micro and/or Macro) and were awarded a graduate degree (outside Columbia University) may apply to have those courses counted as ELECTIVE transfer credit. If a student feels they have sufficient knowledge of Economics and would like to waive out of the core Economics courses in order to take more advanced coursework, they may take the Economics Placement Exam (previously referred to as a Proficiency exam). The Placement Exam consists of a Micro section and a Macro section. Students may elect to take one or both of the sections, but may only take each section once during their academic career. If a student is successful in passing one or both sections of the Economics Placement Exam, they are still required to complete an alternate Economics course(s) (3-6 credits) to fulfill the SIPA master’s degree Economics requirement.

To prepare for the test you can study these textbooks.

  • Microeconomics: Besanko and Brautigan
  • Macroeconomics: Bernanke and Abel
  • Microeconomics: Pyndyck and Rubenfeld
  • Macroeconomics: Blanchard

Requests for advanced standing are evaluated by the Office of Student Affairs. No evaluation can be performed until initial orientation/registration. All advanced standing requests must be received by October 15th. No requests for advanced standing will be accepted after those dates.

Transfer of Credit Policies

Master of International Affairs/Master of Public Administration

Full-Time Enrollment

In addition to requiring 54 credits for graduation, both the MIA and MPA degree programs require students to enroll full-time for four semesters and thereby earn four full-time residency units.  Part-time attendance is not permitted.  Students who receive advanced standing based on graduate course work completed before enrollment at SIPA may reduce their period of study to three semesters of full-time enrollment. Please see below for policies and procedures for requesting advanced standing.

Advanced Standing for non-Columbia University graduate course work

Advanced Standing for the MIA and MPA degrees is awarded based on graduate degrees in relevant fields completed at non-Columbia academic institutions before enrollment at SIPA.

Examples are: MBA, JD, MPH, and Master’s Degrees in Political Science, Economics, History, Urban Planning, Sociology, and/or Anthropology, although the Associate Dean for Student Affairs may grant advanced standing for other graduate degrees at her discretion.

The amount of Advanced Standing granted depends upon assessment by the Associate Dean of the quality and relevance of the work, but cannot exceed 12 credits/1 residency unit. Advanced standing will only be awarded for post-baccalaureate courses that were part of a completed graduate degree. Students must have a grade of B or better in courses for which they seek advanced standing credit. Advanced standing will not be granted for language courses, independent study credits or internships.

Advanced Standing for Columbia University graduate course work

Advanced standing for the MIA and MPA degrees is awarded based on graduate course work in relevant fields completed at other Columbia University schools before enrollment at SIPA. 

Students may apply for advanced standing for graduate level course work completed at other Columbia schools, as long as those credits are not being applied towards another Columbia credential. The amount of Advanced Standing granted depends upon assessment by the Associate Dean of the quality and relevance of the work, but cannot exceed 12 credits/1 residency unit. Students who have earned a Columbia degree may not apply those credits towards a second Columbia credential except where an accredited dual-degree program exists between the two schools and programs and the student is matriculated as a dual-degree candidate. Please see http://sipa.columbia.edu/academics/degree_programs/dual_degree/ for a list of accredited dual degree programs.

Procedures for Applying for Advanced Standing

Requests for advanced standing are evaluated by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. No evaluation of prior graduate work can be performed until the student is matriculated at SIPA. Advanced standing should be evaluated and applied to degree requirements in the student’s first semester, observing the following deadlines. All Advanced Standing requests and official transcripts must be received by October 15th. 

Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM)

PEPM Students who have previously completed a graduate degree in economics or a related discipline may apply to transfer up to 12 credits from their previous graduate degree toward the PEPM MPA degree.  Requests for advanced standing will be reviewed by PEPM’s directors and will include only courses from a completed graduate degree, with grades of B or better, and which the PEPM directors deem as fully satisfying the requirements of PEPM coursework.  Students who wish to apply for such transfer of credit should contact the PEPM Office prior to orientation or as early as possible in the fall semester. Criteria for determining whether credits may be transferred will include: whether the course(s) in question was part of a completed graduate degree, the degree to which the course(s) in question relates to the PEPM course(s) for which a transfer is requested, and the student's performance in the course(s) elected to be transferred.

Executive MPA (EMPA)

EMPA students who have previously completed a graduate degree in a related discipline may apply to transfer up to six credits from their previous graduate degree toward the EMPA degree. Students who wish to apply for such transfer should contact the EMPA office as early as possible in the fall semester. Criteria for determining whether credits may be transferred include: whether the course(s) in question was part of a completed graduate degree, the degree to which the course(s) in question relates to the EMPA course(s) for which a transfer is requested, and the student's performance in the course(s) elected to be transferred.

International Travel Policies

SIPA students traveling abroad for research, study, summer internships or other university business, are required to submit the following documents prior to departure to the Office of Student Affairs:

Documents Required by OSA

International SOS (I-SOS) Travel Assistance Program

With well-being of travelers as a top priority, Columbia University has retained International SOS (I-SOS) to provide worldwide travel assistance services for all faculty, staff and students.  International SOS provides 24-hour, worldwide emergency medical care and security evacuation services when traveling abroad. Personal travel, including vacations or travel home to visit family is not covered. Please refer to Using the ISOS Program for more information on International SOS and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

For general guidelines on I-SOS for Columbia students please refer to the Columbia International SOS Travel Assistant Program website.

SIPA students need to do the following well before their scheduled departure:

  • Obtain a laminated I-SOS card from the Office of Student Affairs, Room 600, IAB, or print one on-line.
  • Register your profile, travel itinerary and emergency contacts using the I-SOS Travel Locator.   You must also update your travel information (flight, hotel, country, etc.) in I-SOS Travel Locator if it changes during your trip.  If this is not possible, you should notify SIPA’s Office of Student Affairs of any change of plans. This allows us and I-SOS to reach you in case of an emergency and to reach out to your emergency contacts. 
  • Update your emergency contact information in Student Services Online (SSOL): http://ssol.columbia.edu.

Health Insurance

I-SOS is not health insurance.  If you are enrolled in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan, your travel insurance benefits, including medical evacuation, are provided by On Call International (Travel Assistance Program).  For information on coverage and exclusions, see the Student Health Insurance Plan brochure.

If you are enrolled in another health insurance plan you should become familiar with its policies on overseas coverage and payment requirements.

Before departure, make sure you visit a travel health clinic or meet with a doctor to ensure that all immunizations, vaccinations, prescriptions and preventative health needs are taken care of.  Columbia offers these services on campus for students paying the Health Services fee.  For information on Columbia health services please refer to the Columbia University Medical Services website.

For a good summary of both On Call International and I-SOS, please refer to Columbia University Travel Assistance Information.

Visa Requirements

Check and verify visa requirements for each destination country and plan ahead as visa procurement can take several weeks.   Visit the host country’s Office of the Consulate General website for information on visa requirements. US citizens may refer to the US State Department’s general visa information service website.

International students must verify with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) that travel meets the condition of their student visa.  Please visit the Columbia University International Programs and Services website.

SIPA Travel Grant Program

SIPA provides internship grants to qualifying students to help defray the costs of unpaid or low paid internships abroad.  For more information, please refer to the SIPA Travel Grant section.

SIPA Contact Information

Students in the Economic and Political Development (EPD) concentration frequently take part in workshops abroad.  EPD students who may need assistance should first contact Ilona Vinklerova: (212) 851-4105; iv2105@columbia.edu.

Students in the Development Practice (MPD) degree program must complete a summer internship.  MPD students should first contact André Corrêa d’Almeida:  (212) 854-2636; ac3133@columbia.edu

All other students should contact the Office of Student Affairs: (212) 854-8690; fax: (212) 854-1657; Stefan Brown, Senior Assistant Dean, stefan.brown@sipa.columbia.edu

Other Useful Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides helpful tips for travelers as well as health information specific to the country you will be visiting.

For background information on your destination(s) visit the U.S. State Department website.  Keep the US or your home country’s in-country embassy address and contact information with you when you travel. 

The International SOS/Columbia University portal also houses helpful pre-travel information in the form of Country Guides and E-mail Alerts.

For additional resources on Health & Safety and General Travel, please consult Columbia’s Office of Global Programming.  The site contains passport and travel agency information for students and has a link to an on-line training course for travel abroad called “What’s Up with Culture?”

For information about data security during international travel, please review the Security Guidelines for International Travel (PPT).

Student Grievance Procedures

I. University Guidelines

Columbia University is an academic community committed to fostering intellectual inquiry in a climate of academic freedom and integrity. Its members - students and faculty alike - are expected to uphold these principles and exhibit tolerance and respect for others.

The University Statutes and the general policies of the University describe the roles and responsibilities of faculty in their teaching and research. The rights, duties and obligations of the faculty can be found in the Faculty Handbook at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/fhb/main.html. Faculty have a right to expect freedom in the classroom to discuss their subjects and not to be penalized for their private opinions. Faculty do, however, have special obligations arising from their position in the academic community. Chapter 7 of the Faculty Handbook reads in pertinent parts:

The University's commitment to the principle of academic freedom is defined in Section 70a of the University Statutes. That commitment assures officers of the freedom to determine the content of what they teach and the manner in which it is taught and the freedom to choose the subjects of their research and publish their results. It also guarantees that they will not be penalized for expressions of opinion or association in their private or civic capacity.

In conducting their classes, faculty should make every effort to be accurate and should show respect for the rights of others to hold opinions differing from their own. They should confine their classes to the subject matter covered by the courses and not use them to advocate any cause.

Due to the size and diverse nature of the University’s scholarly community, each school maintains its own processes for addressing a variety of student life issues, including students’ concerns about experiences in the classroom or with faculty at their school. Experience has shown that most student concerns are best resolved in a collaborative way at the school level, starting with the staff of the Student Affairs Office, as explained below in section III. The Ombuds Office is an additional and alternative source available to students to advise on various areas of redress and can mediate a dispute, if both parties agree. Ombuds Officers do not have authority to adjudicate any complaint. Further information on the Ombuds Office may be found in Appendix D below or at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ombuds/.

The procedures in Section III of this document are part of a process to ensure that student concerns about experiences in the classroom or with faculty are addressed in an informed and appropriate manner. For all complaints except grade disputes, there is a provision for a final appeal to the University Provost.

II. Types of Grievances

The University and SIPA have established policies and procedures for various types of misconduct. A student’s first step is to determine which office to approach for consultation. In all cases any Associate or Assistant Dean in the SIPA Student Affairs Office can provide guidance in that determination.

  1. Discrimination and sexual harassment may be dealt with through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the Ombuds Office, the SIPA Student Affairs Office if the accused is a SIPA student, or the Department of Security if the situation may involve criminal activity. See appendices below for an excerpt from the University’s policy statement on discrimination and harassment.
  2. Sexual misconduct by a student may be dealt with through the Office on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education. See appendices below for an excerpt from the University’s policy statement on sexual misconduct.
  3. Professional misconduct or fraud in research on the part of a faculty member should be brought to the attention of the dean of the school according to the procedure outlined in Appendix C of The Faculty Handbook.
  4. Professional misconduct or fraud in research or academic work on the part of students should be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at SIPA according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Academic and Professional Conduct. To view the Code and related policies see: http://sipa.columbia.edu/resources_services/student_affairs/academic_policies.html.
  5. Grade disputes: Responsibility for academic assessment of students resides with the faculty. Grievances relating to academic evaluation involving accusations of discrimination or sexual harassment should be referred to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (see above). In other cases, SIPA will only act to ensure that the assessment was made impartially and according to procedures applicable to all students as published in the course syllabus. After attempting to resolve grade disputes informally, the Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs will conduct an initial investigation to determine whether there is a plausible case that the assessment was not made in an impartial manner or according to procedures established in the course syllabus. See Section III A below for details.
  6. Issues about the conduct of SIPA faculty: In fulfilling their instructional responsibilities, faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs are expected to treat students with civility and respect. Conduct that is subject to grievance procedures includes: failure to show appropriate respect in an instructional setting for the rights of others to hold opinions differing from their own; misuse of faculty authority in an instructional setting to pressure students to support a political or social cause; and conduct in the classroom or another instructional setting that adversely affects the learning environment. Students seeking a resolution for this type of grievance should follow the procedures in section III B below.
  7. Issues about the conduct of faculty or students from other schools: If a grievance involving a member of the faculty appointed in a department or division of the university outside SIPA cannot be resolved informally, and if the grievant wishes to file a formal written grievance, it must be addressed to the appropriate dean, department chair, or vice president. The SIPA Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs will advise the student with whom the grievance should be filed. Formal grievances filed against administrators and/or students of Schools or administrative units other than SIPA must be filed with the dean of that School, or the Vice President to whom the administrator in question ultimately reports.
  8. Conduct on the part of SIPA faculty or SIPA students not covered above: Students are encouraged to discuss problems, questions, and grievances with any Associate or Assistant Dean in the Student Affairs office. They may also discuss them with the University Ombuds officer, a neutral complaint-handler who seeks fair and equitable solutions to problems. Grievances may be brought against individuals subject to the authority of the Dean including administrators, faculty members, or fellow graduate students. If the grievance in question does not fall into the areas of responsibility of another university office, an Assistant Dean may advise the student on SIPA’s grievance procedures. If resolution is not reached through informal procedures, a written grievance may be submitted. Both the informal and written grievance procedures are outlined below.

III. Procedures for SIPA Grievances

A. Procedures for Grade Disputes Involving SIPA Courses:
Informal Resolution

Any informal or formal inquiry or grievance about a grade must be initiated within one semester of the completion of the course. If possible, the student should discuss the matter with the responsible faculty member. If no resolution results from the conversation, students should consult with the SIPA Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. Every effort should be made to resolve the matter at an informal level without escalating the complaint to the status of a formal grievance. Discussions aimed at informal resolution remain confidential and generally should last for no more than 30 working days.

Formal Resolution

If no informal resolution occurs, the Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs will conduct an initial investigation to determine whether there is a plausible case that the assessment was not made in an impartial manner or according to procedures established in the course syllabus. If the Senior Assistant Dean determines there is a plausible case, the student will be requested to compose a written statement documenting the misconduct causing the complaint, its adverse consequences, the informal efforts at resolution made to date, and a description of the remedy sought (see attached guidelines for a grievance). The written grievance should be submitted to the Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs in a timely fashion, that is, usually within 30 working days of the end of the semester in which the misconduct occurred.

Initial Review of the Grievance

After receiving the grievance, the Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs will convene a committee consisting of the director of the relevant degree or curricular program, one other full-time faculty member selected by the Senior Assistant Dean and the elected student representatives of the SIPA Committee on Instruction. If one of these people is named in the grievance, has a conflict of interest, as determined by the Senior Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, or is unable to participate because of other obligations, the Senior Assistant Dean will appoint a replacement. Faculty will be replaced with faculty, students with students. If the Senior Assistant Dean is unable to serve on the committee for one of the foregoing reasons, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will replace him.

The Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs chairs the meeting. The committee will independently interview the grievant and the faculty member in question. Each of them may select a faculty member, graduate student or SIPA administrator to attend the meeting and serve as his or her advocate. The advocate may not pose questions or intervene in the proceedings, but may consult with the grievant. If the grievant or faculty member chooses not to attend, he or she will be informed that the committee will proceed to a decision. The merits of the grievance are evaluated within the context of University and SIPA policy, a resolution is reached by a majority vote and, when appropriate, a remedy is recommended. In the case of a tie vote, the Senior Assistant Dean will cast the deciding vote.
The Committee responds with a written decision in a timely fashion, that is, within one week of the conclusion of the grievance hearing, unless there are extenuating circumstances. If the grievant or the faculty member wants to dispute the committee decision, he or she may appeal in writing to the Dean. This appeal must be submitted within thirty working days of the decision, and should clearly indicate procedural or substantive grounds for the appeal. In the case of grade disputes, the Dean’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

B. Procedures for Concerns about Faculty Conduct:

Students who feel that members of the SIPA faculty have violated their instructional responsibilities as outlined in Section II. 5. above may take the following steps (the procedure below also applies to complaints against instructional and administrative staff):

Informal Resolution

Students are encouraged to seek a resolution to their complaints about faculty misconduct by talking directly with the faculty member. If they feel uncomfortable handling the situation in this manner, they may ask for assistance from the SIPA Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will assist students with complaints about faculty members and other academic personnel. If students have complaints about administrators, they should speak with the Senior Associate Dean of SIPA. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or Senior Associate Dean tries to resolve any issue by informal meetings with the student and others, including faculty as seems appropriate. Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome may request a meeting with the Dean of SIPA. The Vice Dean for Academic Affairs will review the Associate Dean’s or Senior Associate Dean’s recommendation and seek informally to resolve the student’s complaint.

Students may bring their concerns to the University’s Ombuds Officer, who serves as an informal, confidential resource for assisting members of the University with conflict resolution. The Ombuds Officer provides information, counseling, and referrals to appropriate University offices and will also mediate conflicts if both parties agree. The Ombuds Officer does not have the authority to adjudicate disputes and does not participate in any formal University grievance proceedings.

Formal Resolution

Students may seek a grievance hearing if informal mediation fails. The grievance procedures students should follow will depend upon the school within which the faculty member is appointed and the nature of the alleged misconduct. If the faculty member holds an appointment in SIPA, the student will use the procedures described below. If the faculty member belongs to another school, students must use the procedure of that school. They may, however, ask for assistance from the SIPA Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

If the informal mediation mentioned above failed, the student should compose and submit to the SIPA Vice Dean for Academic Affairs a written statement documenting the grievance, including a description of the remedy sought. This should be done no later than 30 working days after the end of the semester in which the grievance occurred.

The Vice Dean will review the complaint to determine if a grievance hearing is warranted. If so, the Vice Dean will convene an ad hoc committee consisting of the SIPA Associate Dean for Student Affairs; a faculty member chosen by the Vice Dean; and a one of the elected student representatives on the SIPA Committee on Instruction.

The faculty member is given the student’s letter of complaint and invited to submit a written response. The Committee reviews both statements and is given access to any other written documents relevant to the complaint. It will normally interview both the grievant and the faculty member and may, at its discretion, ask others to provide testimony. Both the grievant and the faculty member involved in the case may be accompanied by a supporter of his or her choice from the Columbia community who, however, may not participate in the proceedings. The merits of the grievance are evaluated within the context of University and SIPA school policy.

The investigative committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Dean of SIPA. It is expected to complete its investigation in a timely manner and submit a written report to the Dean, who may accept or modify its findings and any recommendations it may have made to remedy the student’s complaint. The Dean will inform both the student and the faculty member of his decision in writing.

The committee ordinarily convenes within 10 working days of receiving the complaint from the Vice Dean and ordinarily completes its investigation and sends the Dean its report within 30 working days of convening. Copies of the committee’s written report should be sent to both the grievant and the faculty member. The report should state whether there is merit to the complaint and why. If the committee finds that the complaint is valid, it should also recommend remedies. The Dean normally issues his or her decision within 30 working days of receiving the committee’s report.

The Dean may discipline faculty members who are found to have committed professional misconduct. Any sanctions will be imposed in a manner that is consistent with the University’s policies and procedures on faculty discipline. In particular, if the Dean believes that the offense is sufficiently serious to merit dismissal, he or she can initiate the procedures in Section 75 of the University Statutes for terminating tenured appointments, and nontenured appointments before the end of their stated term, for cause.

Either the student or the faculty member may appeal the decision of the Dean to the Provost. Findings of fact, remedies given the student, and penalties imposed on the faculty member are all subject to appeal. A written appeal must be submitted to the Provost within 15 working days of the date of the letter informing them of the Dean’s decision. Normally, the Provost will take no longer than 30 working days to evaluate an appeal. The Provost usually confines his or her review to the written record but reserves the right to collect information in any manner that will help to make his or her decision on the appeal. The Provost will inform both the student and the faculty member of his or her decision in writing. If the Provost decides that the faculty member should be dismissed for cause, the case is subject to further review according to the procedures in Section 75 of the University Statutes, as noted above. Otherwise the decision of the Provost is final and not subject to further appeal.

All aspects of an investigation of a student grievance are confidential. The proceedings of the grievance committee are not open to the public. Only the student grievant and the faculty member accused of misconduct receive copies of the decisions of the Dean and the Provost. Everyone who is involved with the investigation of a grievance is expected to respect the confidentiality of the process. Students who believe that they are able to demonstrate that the Dean did not ensure that proper procedures were followed in addressing their complaint about faculty misconduct in an instructional setting may petition the Provost to review the case. The Provost only reviews appeals of cases already decided by the Dean.

Appendices Related University-wide Procedures, Policies & Resources

A. Policy Statement on Discrimination and Harassment, Statement of Nondiscriminatory Policies, Discrimination Grievance Procedure, Policy on Sexual Harassment, and Romantic Relationship Advisory Statement (Excerpt FACETS)

Columbia University is committed to providing a working and learning environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Consistent with this commitment and with applicable federal, state, and local laws, it is the policy of the University not to tolerate discrimination or sexual harassment in any form and to provide faculty, students, administrators, and staff who feel that they are victims of either with mechanisms for seeking redress.

The University offers several options for those seeking the intervention of the offices and individuals who are authorized to respond to their complaints. These include informal counseling, mediation, and a formal process for having their complaint reviewed.

All members of the University community are expected to adhere to the policy in this statement and to cooperate with the procedure it describes for responding to complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment. They are also encouraged to report any conduct they believe to be in violation of this policy. Management and supervisory personnel in particular are responsible for taking reasonable and necessary action to prevent discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and for responding promptly to any such claims.

After a formal investigation conducted according the appropriate University procedure, individuals found to have engaged in discrimination or sexual harassment will be subject to discipline. The sanctions imposed can range up to and include termination of employment in the case of officers and staff or dismissal from the programs in which they are enrolled for students. Retaliation against anyone who files a complaint or participates in an investigation is prohibited may be addressed in an independent claim.

Consensual, romantic relationships between faculty and other employees and students and between individuals who work together are generally not considered sexual harassment and are not prohibited by University policy. However, individuals should be aware that these relationships are susceptible to being characterized as non-consensual, and even coercive, if there is an inherent power differential between the parties, and can lead to complaints of sexual harassment. Individuals should refer to the University’s Romantic Relationship Advisory on the World Wide Web at http://eoaa.columbia.edu/student-policies.

Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University’s educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and sexual harassment do not extend to statements or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to the subject matter of courses.

What to do if you feel you are the victim of discrimination or harassment:

Students who feel they may have been harassed or discriminated against based on race, color, age, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, and related issues may consult or file a complaint with:

  • the EO/AA Office if the accused is a University employee (faculty or staff) or student;
  • the Ombuds Office;
  • their own dean;
  • the dean of the school of the accused if the accused is a student;
  • the Department of Security if the situation may involve criminal activity.

For the disciplinary procedure applicable to discrimination and sexual harassment, please see the entire text of Appendix E in FACETS which is available on the web at www.columbia.edu/cu/facets. For information and a more comprehensive explanation of the University’s policies and procedures, or regarding discrimination or sexual harassment, contact:

  • Susan Rieger, Associate Provost
  • Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
  • 402 Low Memorial Library, Mail Code 4333
  • (212) 854-5511
  • sr534@columbia.edu
     

B. Sexual Misconduct Policy and Disciplinary Procedure (Excerpt from FACETS)

On February 25, 2000, the University Senate adopted a Sexual Misconduct Policy and Disciplinary Procedure that can be used as an alternative to Dean’s Discipline. The Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students in all schools of the University.

The Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Misconduct applies to these same students, with the exception of the Law School, but including the students of Teachers College and Barnard College. The policy prohibits sexual misconduct by any student. A comprehensive program to educate students, faculty, and administrators about the issue of sexual misconduct has also been developed. Copies of the policy and procedure are available from the Office of the Dean of Students of every school.

Policy on Sexual Misconduct

The University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct requires that standards of sexual conduct be observed on campus, that violations of these standards be subject to discipline, and that resources and structures be sufficient to meet the physical and emotional needs of individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct. Columbia University’s policy defines sexual misconduct as non-consensual, intentional physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts. Lack of consent may be inferred from the use of force, threat, physical intimidation, or advantage gained by the victim’s mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the perpetrator was aware or should have been aware.

What to do if you are the victim/survivor of sexual misconduct or assault:

  • Please consider getting medical attention and contacting the NYPD;
  • contact the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
  • consult or file a complaint with the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education if the accused is another student;
  • consult or file a complaint with the dean of the accused if the accused is another student;
  • file a complaint with the Department of Security;
  • consult with the Ombuds Office

For the disciplinary procedure applicable to cases of sexual misconduct, please see the entire text of FACETS or contact:

  • Misumbo Byrd, Program Director
  • Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education
  • 703 Lerner Hall, Mail Code 2617
  • (212) 854-1717
  • mb2068@columbia.edu

C. Statement on Professional Ethics and Faculty Obligations and Guidelines for Review of Professional Misconduct (Excerpt from the Faculty Handbook)

The Statement on Professional Ethics and Faculty Obligations and Guidelines for Review of Professional Misconduct was adopted by the University Senate on September 29, 1972, and revised by that body on April 18, 1986.

I. Teaching

The freedom traditionally accorded to members of the faculty to decide for themselves in large measure what they teach and how imposes a correlative obligation of responsible self-discipline. Every effort must therefore be made to be accurate, to be objective, to demonstrate appropriate restraint, and to show respect for the opinions of others. Faculty members may not enroll or refuse to enroll students on the basis of those students' beliefs, or otherwise discriminate arbitrarily or capriciously among them. Evaluation of students and awards of grade and credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged, not on matters extraneous to that performance; grades and other evaluations shall be provided to the University promptly as required for each student, for each class. Faculty members shall meet their classes as announced and shall also make themselves regularly available to their students outside the classroom. When it is impossible to meet a class, alternative instruction shall be offered, and adequate notice given, such as to satisfy the students' expectations and the faculty member's contract with the University; this obligation can be met in various ways, and the method adopted should be endorsed by the department chairman or the dean. Exploitation of students or of junior colleagues for private advantage is to be avoided, and all significant assistance must be publicly acknowledged. Faculty members must respond conscientiously to requests from students or former students for references; the confidential nature of teacher-student relationships is to be respected.

II. Faculty Relationship

All members of the faculty share responsibility for the governance of the University and for the preservation of an atmosphere of scholarship and rational discourse. Faculty members may not use their positions to cause interference with personal security, property, or freedom of movement, expression, or assembly on campus. Faculty members should join in the broadest possible search for academic talent, and in the appointment or promotion of the best qualified candidate, making every effort to be objective in their professional judgments of colleagues and potential colleagues. Faculty members must acknowledge indebtedness to other scholars. Senior faculty members should stand ready to counsel their junior colleagues and to give them due credit for any assistance given. When faculty members assume obligations outside the University, they should assess the amount and character of these obligations with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within the University. When a faculty member speaks or acts as a private person outside the University, a special effort must be made to avoid giving the impression that he or she speaks or acts on behalf of the University.

III. Research

A climate must be maintained at the University where creativity and productivity in research are promoted in an atmosphere of high ethical standards. It is essential that the integrity of research be maintained at all times, since long-standing, often irreversible damage can result from breach of academic commitment to truth in investigative activities. Misconduct in research is herein defined as gross lack of integrity in conducting basic or clinical investigations involving dishonesty, knowing misrepresentation of data, and/or violation of accepted standards.

Academic misconduct or fraud can destroy public trust in the academic community as a whole and in our own institution in particular; it can shatter individual careers; it can undermine sensitive relationships between investigators, students, and the public.

In modern collaborative research, the implications of academic misconduct or fraud go far beyond the individual; they also affect collaborators whose own work has been committed to objective search for truth. The specter of guilt by association may lurk in the background for many years to come. Therefore, joint authorship requires joint responsibility; each author claiming credit for the entire work must also be aware of joint discredit. Investigators in collaborative research projects each must make reasonable and periodic inquiry as to the integrity of and processes involved in gathering and evaluating data. It should be understood that overall responsibility for the integrity of collaborative research rests with the principal investigator. Senior investigators cannot be allowed to escape the consequences of the discovery of misconduct or fraud committed under their supervision.

Every member of the faculty has a duty to respond promptly to any well-founded suspicion of academic misconduct or fraud. Allegations must be made with caution; nevertheless, the results of long-standing misconduct or fraud are so devastating that potential irregularities must be brought promptly to the attention of the proper authorities. At the same time, the rights of those whose research procedures or results are in question from the standpoint of possible falsification or adulteration must be carefully protected while a careful and fair investigation is being carried out.

For the guidelines for the review of professional misconduct or fraud in research, please see the complete text of Appendix E of The Faculty Handbook which is available on the web at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/fhb.

Note: These and other passages from the Faculty Handbook also inform policy regarding graduate students. Graduate students engaged in teaching and research are at all times expected to uphold the ethical standards that are here applied to the faculty.

C. The Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Officer is a neutral complaint-handler who seeks fair and equitable solutions to problems. The Ombuds Office serves the entire Columbia University community. In considering any given instance or concern, the rights of all parties that may be involved, along with the welfare of the University, are taken into account.

The Ombuds Office is a safe and confidential place to voice concerns. No formal permanent records of individual cases are kept, except anonymous aggregate statistical data on the categories of complaints or inquiries. The Ombuds Officer will not report the names of callers or visitors or the specific content of problems reported unless permission is granted, or in the very rare instance in which there is reasonable cause to believe that the safety of the caller or others may be endangered.

Except in emergencies, the Ombuds Officer does not take action or investigate an issue without the permission of the person who introduced the information to the Ombuds Office. The Ombuds Officer will listen, offer information about Columbia University policies and procedures, present a range of options for resolving a problem or help find ways to convey information while maintaining the confidentiality of the source.

The Ombuds Officer may conduct an informal, impartial investigation or facilitate a resolution upon request. However, the Ombuds Officer does not arbitrate or adjudicate. The Ombuds Officer has no power to establish, change, or set aside any University rules or policies. However, the Ombuds Officer is a resource for administrators and, when appropriate, may make recommendations or propose general changes in existing practices to correct problem areas or stimulate discussion of issues affecting the University community.

The Ombuds Office supplements, but does not replace, the existing resources for conflict resolution and fair practice available at Columbia University. The Ombuds Office is independent of existing administrative structures and reports directly to the President of the University. Discussions with the Ombuds Officer are off-the-record and do not constitute formal notice to the University.  

  • Marsha Wagner, Ombuds Officer
  • 660 Schermerhorn Extension, Mail Code 5558, or
  • 101 Bard Hall
  • (212) 854-1234; (212) 304-7026
  • wagner@columbia.edu

Clery Act Notification of Availability of Annual Security Report to Prospective Employees and Students

Columbia University prepares an annual security report which is available to all current and prospective employees and students. The report includes statistics for the three previous years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Columbia University, and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to an accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning sexual assault, and other matters. 

View Annual Safety Report

University Regulations

This website contains valuable information to help students, faculty, and staff understand some of the policies and regulations of the University. View Essential Policies for the Columbia Community.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Columbia University is committed to providing a learning, living and working environment free from unlawful discrimination and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Consistent with this commitment, and with all applicable laws, it is the policy of the University not to tolerate unlawful discrimination in any form and to provide persons who feel that they are victims of discrimination with mechanisms for seeking redress.

Columbia University prohibits any form of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs.

Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University’s educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and discriminatory harassment do not extend to statements or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to the subject matter of courses.

Inquiries or complaints regarding any form of discrimination or harassment may be directed to: 
Melissa Rooker
Associate Provost, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action 
Title IX Coordinator
Section 504 Compliance Officer
103 Low Library 
(212) 854-5918 
mrooker@columbia.edu 

Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights (New York Office)
(646) 428-3800
OCR.NewYork@ed.gov