“Change of Status” describes an action taken to modify a student record. All change of status requests must be approved by the department and the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.

Change of Status Form

Use the form below to request a leave of absence, program extension, or other changes to your academic status: 

Processing Time & Procedures

Students must submit requests online through the Change of Status Form. Requests are reviewed by your department and Office of Graduate Student Affairs in 7 to 10 business days. If you have not received an email notification after 10 days, please contact your department.

Requests will be denied for the following reasons:

  • Missing documentation (ex. medical documentation, support letter for MS or doctoral program extensions, etc.)
  • Missing information (ex. number of points, effective date, residence units, empty boxes, reason/s for your request, etc.)
  • Does not meet eligibility requirements for the type of request

Please make sure to indicate the effective date and the reason for all requests.

Students should consult the Engineering Bulletin or their Department Administrator if they have questions about a Change of Status request.

This form can be used for the following:

Advance Standing

"Advance Standing" refers to a student receiving academic credit for additional work completed with the following parameters:

  • Advance Standing towards the MS degree must be from 4000 level courses or above, taken at Columbia University only, and can not have been counted towards a previous degree. No more than 15 points of advance standing will be awarded.  Transcript (and program plan), listing of courses that are being sought for credit will be required 
  • Advance Standing towards the Professional, or Doctoral degrees must be from 4000 level courses or above, taken at Columbia University only, and can not have been counted towards a previous degree. Students possessing a conferred MS degree may be awarded 30 points of advance standing, and 2 residence units towards their Doctoral degree with departmental approval. Transcript (and program plan), listing of courses that are being sought for credit will be required

Degree Concentration Change

These requests can only be made if the concentration is within the same academic department. If not, students would be requesting a change of degree program which requires admission into the new program. In this case, the Admissions Application for Current Students must be submitted

Degree Level Change

If a student wants to change their degree level from the Doctoral program to the MS degree program, they could use the “Change of Status Form”. However, if a student wants to change their degree level from MS to PhD, they would need to complete an admissions application.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence is essentially an authorized temporary leave from your academic studies. Students will often request a Leave of Absence for medical reasons, financial reasons, and other factors that require the student to take a break from their academic program. All leave and return requests must be submitted via the Change of Status Form and approved by the department and the Office of Graduate Student Affairs. 

There are three types of leaves: medical, voluntary, and military.

  • Medical Leave of Absence
    • Medical documentation from a physician or counselor is required for approval
    • A return from a medical leave requires proof of recovery from a physician or counselor
    • The maximum amount of time for a medical leave is two years, or four semesters
    • 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
    • Students who leave before the end of the semester will have their current term record deleted
    • 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
    • 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

Deadline(s) for petitioning a return from medical leave for graduate students after one-semester are July 15 for the fall semester and December 15 for the spring

  • Voluntary Leave of Absence
    • Students must have completed 1 semester of study
    • Students must have a minimum GPA of a 2.5
    • Students on leaves, other than medical, relinquish their housing at UAH
    • Students who fail to return or register after completion of their leave of absence will be withdrawn from Columbia
    • Student must be aware that the maximum approved leave is for 1 year, or 2 semesters. SEAS PhD students must also adhere to GSAS policies on Leave of Absences
  • Military Leave of Absence

Please refer to Military Leave of Absence Policy in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community for recent updates regarding leave for military duty

Readmission

  • Readmission requests can be submitted through the “Change of Status Form” only under the following conditions:
    • MS students are only eligible to submit a Readmission request within five years of their admission start date
    • Doctoral students are eligible to submit a Readmission request within seven years of their admission start date
  • Students who go beyond the Readmission time limit must contact the Graduate Admissions Office about submitting a new admission application

Withdrawal

  • A withdrawal is a permanent leave with no intention to return from one’s academic studies and Columbia University
  • Withdrawals are either voluntary at the student’s request, or at the request of the student’s academic department or the Office of Graduate Student Services

MS Petition for Program Extension

  • Degree requirements for master’s degrees must be completed within five years
  • Students may petition for a program extension
  • An academic plan must be submitted by the department via the “Change of Status Form”
  • A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 (in all courses taken as a degree candidate) is required for the MS degree
  • Some departments may require a higher minimum cumulative GPA for MS students

Doctoral Program Extension Request

  • Doctoral degrees must be completed within seven years
  • Students may petition for a program extension
  • An academic plan must be submitted by the advisor via the “Change of Status Form”
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for the Doctor of Engineering Science (EngScD) degree. The minimum residence requirement for each Columbia degree is 30 points of coursework completed at Columbia
  • Some departments may require a higher minimum cumulative GPA for Doctoral students

Certification Letter

  • Students who need academic certification from the University may submit a request to the Registrar
  • Students who need certification from the Engineering school for employment or visa purposes may submit a Certification Letter request via the “Change of Status Form”
  • Should students need additional verification, they may contact their department

Petition to Walk

  • MS students who have completed at least 24 credits may request from their department to participate early in graduation ceremonies
  • Doctoral students must inquire with the Dissertation Office about walking early
  • Please inquire with your department about eligibility requirements

All Other Requests

Instructions and Application for Doctor of Engineering Science Graduation (PDF)

Instructions and Application for the Master of Philosophy Graduation (PDF)

Application for an MS Degree or Certificate:

  • must be submitted by the student DIRECTLY to the Registrar's Office in 205 Kent Hall
  • the Office of Graduate Student Affairs does NOT collect these forms
  • this application applies ONLY to MS. degree students.
  • MPhil, PhD, and DES candidates are processed by the Dissertation Office in Low Library

For more information about degree application procedures and deadlines, please see the Registrar's website.