Academic Standing

Academic Honors

Dean’s List

To be eligible for Dean’s List honors, an undergraduate student must achieve a grade-point average of 3.5 or better and complete at least 15 graded credits with no unauthorized incompletes, UWs, or grades lower than C.

Honors Awarded with the Degree

At the end of the academic year, a select portion of the candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree who have achieved the highest academic cumulative grade-point average are accorded Latin honors. Latin honors are awarded in three categories (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) to no more than 25 percent of the graduating class, with no more than 5 percent summa cum laude, 10 percent magna cum laude, and 10 percent cum laude. Honors are awarded on the overall record of graduating seniors who have completed a minimum of four semesters at Columbia. Students may not apply for honors.

Academic Monitoring

The Undergraduate Committee on Academic Standing determines academic policies and regulations for the School except in certain instances when decisions are made by the faculty as a whole. The Undergraduate Committee on Academic Standing is expected to uphold the policies and regulations of the Committee on Instruction and determine when circumstances warrant exceptions to them.

Academic performance is reviewed by advisers at the end of each semester. The Committee on Academic Standing, in consultation with the departments, meets to review undergraduate grades and progress toward the degree. Indicators of academic well-being are grades that average above 2.0 each term, in a coordinated program of study, with no incomplete grades.

Possible academic sanctions include:

  • Warning: C– or below in any core science course or in a required course for their major; low points toward degree completion
  • Academic Probation: Students will be placed on academic probation if they meet any of the conditions below:

– fall below a 2.0 GPA in a given semester
– have not completed 12 points successfully in a given semester
– have not completed chemistry, physics, University Writing, The Art of Engineering, and calculus during the first year
– receive a D, F, UW, or unauthorized Incomplete in any first-year/sophomore required courses
– receive a D, F, UW, or unauthorized Incomplete in any course required for the major
– receive straight C’s in the core science courses (chemistry, calculus, physics)
– not making significant progress toward the degree

  • Continued Probation: Students who are already on probation and fail to meet the minimum requirements as stated in their sanction letter
  • Strict Probation: Students who are already on probation, fail to meet the minimum requirements as stated in their sanction letter, and are far below minimum expectations. This action is typically made when there are signs of severe academic difficulty.
  • Suspension and Dismissal: Students who have been placed on academic probation and who fail to be restored to good academic standing in the following semester can be considered either for suspension or dismissal by the Committee on Academic Standing. The decision to suspend or dismiss a student will be made by the Committee on Academic Standing in the Center for Student Advising and the Dean’s Office in close consultation with the student’s departmental adviser when the student has declared a major. In cases of suspension, the student will be required to make up the deficiencies in their academic record by taking appropriate courses at a four-year accredited institution in North America. Students must be able to complete their degree requirements in their eighth semester at Columbia after readmission. If this is not achievable, then students should be considered for dismissal instead. The courses that the student must take will be determined by the Committee of Academic Standing and by the student’s departmental adviser when the student has declared a major. All proposed courses will be reviewed by the appropriate faculty who teach the equivalent classes at Columbia University. All courses that are being taken to fulfill a major requirement or as a technical elective must be approved by the student’s departmental adviser. Courses being taken to count as a nontech elective or to count as general credit would only require the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing. The existing procedures for the approval of outside credit will be followed in these cases. Students must receive a grade of B or better for the credit to be transferred.

The courses that the student must take will be determined by the Undergraduate Committee of Academic Standing and by the student’s departmental adviser when the student has declared a major. All proposed courses will be reviewed by the appropriate faculty who teach the equivalent classes at Columbia University. All courses that are being taken to fulfill a major requirement or as a technical elective must be approved by the student’s departmental adviser. Courses being taken to count as a nontech elective or to count as general credit would only require the approval of the Undergraduate Committee on Academic Standing. The existing procedures for the approval of outside credit will be followed in these cases. Students must receive a grade of B or better for the credit to be transferred.

The Office of Graduate Student Affairs monitors the academic progress of graduate students in consultation with the departments.

 

Medical Leave of Absence

A medical leave of absence for an undergraduate student is granted by the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising to a student whose health prevents him or her from successfully pursuing full-time study. Undergraduates who take a medical leave of absence are guaranteed housing upon their return.

A medical leave of absence for a graduate student is granted by the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, so please consult with this office for more information.

Documentation from a physician or counselor must be provided before such a leave is granted. In order to apply for readmission following a medical leave, a student must submit proof of recovery from a physician or counselor. A medical leave is for a minimum of one year and cannot be longer than two years. If the student does not return within the two-year time frame, he or she will be permanently withdrawn from the School. Students may only return in the fall or spring term, not in summer sessions.

When a medical leave of absence is granted during the course of the semester, the semester will be deleted if the leave begins prior to the drop deadline. If after the drop deadline, the course grades will normally be W (official withdrawal) in all courses. In certain circumstances a student may qualify for an incomplete, which would have to be completed by the first week of the semester in which the student returns to Columbia. If the Incomplete is not completed by that time, a W will be inserted.

In exceptional cases, an undergraduate student may apply for readmission following a one-term medical leave of absence. In addition to providing a personal statement and supporting medical documentation for the medical leave readmission committee to review, the student will also need to provide a well-developed academic plan that has been approved by the departmental adviser and the Center for Student Advising as part of the readmission process. This plan must demonstrate that his or her return to Columbia Engineering following a one-semester leave of absence will allow the student to properly follow the sequence of courses as required for the major and to meet all other graduation requirements by their eighth semester. The final decision regarding whether or not a student will be allowed to be readmitted after a one-semester leave will be made by the Medical Leave Readmission Committee. The deadlines for petitioning a readmission after a one-semester leave are June 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester. Graduate students should contact the Office of Graduate Student Affairs for more information about petitioning for readmission after one-semester medical leave. 

During the course of the leave, students are not permitted to take any courses for the purpose of transferring credit and are not permitted to be on campus. For more information about the medical leave of absence policy, consult your advising dean.

Voluntary Leave of Absence

A voluntary leave of absence (VLOA) may be granted by the Committee on Academic Standing to undergraduate students who request a temporary withdrawal from Columbia Engineering for a nonmedical reason. Students considering a voluntary leave must discuss this option in advance with their advising dean. Voluntary leaves are granted for a period of one academic year only; VLOAs will ordinarily not be granted for one semester, or for more than one year. Students must be in good academic standing at the time of the leave and must be able to complete their major and degree in eight semesters.

A voluntary leave of absence for a graduate student is granted by the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, so please consult with this office for more information.

When a voluntary leave of absence is granted during the course of the semester, the semester will be deleted if the leave begins prior to the drop deadline. If after the drop deadline, the course grades will normally be a W (official withdrawal) in all courses. In certain circumstances a student may qualify for an incomplete, which would have to be completed by the first week of the semester in which the student returns to Columbia. If the Incomplete is not completed by that time, a W will be inserted.

In exceptional cases, an undergraduate may apply for readmission following a one-term voluntary leave of absence. The student will need to provide to the Committee on Academic Standing a well-developed academic plan that has been approved by the departmental adviser and the Center for Student Advising as part of the admission process. This plan must demonstrate that his or her return to Columbia Engineering following a one-semester leave of absence will allow the student to properly follow the sequence of courses as required for the major and to meet all other graduation requirements by their eighth semester. The Committee on Academic Standing will review the student’s academic plan and request for readmission. The deadlines for petitioning for readmission after a one-semester leave are June 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester.

Students may not take courses for transferable credit while on leave. Finally, students who choose to take voluntary leaves are not guaranteed housing upon return to the University. International students should contact the International Students and Scholars Office to ensure that a leave will not jeopardize their ability to return to Columbia Engineering.

Undergraduate Emergency Family Leave of Absence

Students who must leave the University for urgent family reasons that necessitate a semester-long absence (e.g., family death or serious illness in the family) may request an emergency family leave of absence. Documentation of the serious nature of the emergency must be provided. Students must request an emergency family leave of absence from their advising dean in the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising.

When an emergency family leave of absence is granted during the course of the semester, the semester will be deleted if the leave begins prior to the drop deadline. If after the drop deadline, the course grades will normally be W (official withdrawal) in all courses. In certain circumstances, a student may qualify for an incomplete, which would have to be completed by the first week of the semester in which the student returns to Columbia. If the Incomplete is not completed by that time, a W will be inserted.

To return, students must notify the Center for Student Advising as soon as possible, ideally by November 1 for the spring semester and June 1 for the fall semester. Students must request readmission in writing and submit a statement describing their readiness to return. Once readmission is granted, housing will be guaranteed. SEAS students may request permission to return after one semester as long as they can demonstrate that they can remain on sequence with their course work and have the prior approval of the departmental adviser.

Students who decide not to return must notify the James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising of their decision. The date of separation for the leave of absence will be the date of separation for withdrawal. Leaves may not extend beyond four semesters. Students who do not notify the Center for Student Advising of their intentions by the end of the two-year period will be permanently withdrawn.

Leave for Military Duty

Please refer to Military Leave of Absence Policy in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community (http://facets.columbia.edu) for recent updates regarding leave for military duty.

Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy

Please refer to Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community (http://facets.columbia.edu).

Required Medical Leave for Students with Eating Disorders

Please refer to Required Medical Leave for Students with Eating Disorders in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community (http://facets.columbia.edu).

Readmission

Students seeking readmission to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science must submit evidence that they have achieved the purposes for which they left. Consequently, specific readmission procedures are determined by the reasons for the withdrawal. Further information for undergraduate students is available in the Center for Student Advising. Graduate students should see the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.

Students applying for readmission should complete all parts of the appropriate readmission procedures by June 1 for the autumn term or November 1 for the spring term.