Academic Standards

Columbia Business School’s academic standards ensure the integrity, consistency, and long-term value of the MBA experience while providing a framework for students to acquire the knowledge and the social intelligence to become sophisticated, ethical leaders.

MBA Student Handbook

The Student Handbook is currently being updated (link to the handbook is currently disabled).

For a comprehensive overview of the Columbia Business School policies and procedures, please download the 2016-2017 MBA Student Handbook.

Core Grade Distribution

Click here for past classes: Class of 2015 | Class of 2014

Class of 2016 onward:

H: 25–30%

HP: 55–65%

P1, LP, F: 10–15%

+/- may be used in core grades with the following restrictions: there is no H+ in the core and the number of pluses must be equal to or less than the number of minuses.

Recommended Elective Grade

H: ≤50%

P1, LP, F: ≥5%

+/- may be used with elective grades without restrictions.

Since the Fall term of 2012, the grade of H+ is permitted in electives but strictly limited to 2% of the class enrollment, rounded up to the nearest integer.


H+: 11

H: 10

H-: 9

HP+: 8

HP: 7

HP-: 6

P1+: 5

P1: 4

P1-: 3

LP: 1

F: 0

Please note, while you do not receive pass/fail grades for courses taken, should you successfully exempt from a course, it will appear with a "P" on your transcript to denote that you passed. This will not be factored into your GPA, nor will receive any credits. It is strictly a notation that you passed your exemption exam.

The courses that make up the core curriculum are:

First Term Core Courses

Pre-Term First Half Second Half
Lead: People, Teams, Organizations
(1/2 term equivalent)**
Managerial Statistics Business Analytics
Strategy Formulation Marketing
Financial Accounting
Corporate Finance
Managerial Economics Global Economic Environment


Second Term Core Courses

First Half Second Half
1/2 Elective Operations Management
1/2 Elective 1/2 Elective

*Statistics will each meet for 90 minutes on three additional Fridays at the beginning of the first term.

**Appropriate scheduling of a debrief by the faculty and coaching for all MBA students, based on their 360 Self-Assessment feedback launched by the Leadership faculty during pre-term, will occur during two or three 90 minute sessions the first and second terms of the first year.

Minimum GPA Requirements, Probation and Dismissal

During the academic review process at the end of each semester, the Office of Student Affairs monitors the academic performance of all students and makes available a support system for those in need of assistance.

Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below the minimum requirements are subject to probation or dismissal.

For dual degree students, the Business School GPA is determined by the grades received while in residence at the Business School; and includes all courses taken in those semesters, even those offered by the student's other school. Grades for Business School courses taken while in residence at their other school are not included in their cumulative GPA for the Business School.

Minimum cumulative GPA requirements by term and for graduation are as follows:

Timing GPA Requirement Consequence
After Term 1 GPA equal to or less than 5.900 Warning
GPA equal to or less than 4.800 Probation
GPA equal to or less than 4.400 Dismissal
Subsequent Terms GPA equal to or less than 5.900 Warning
GPA equal to or less than 5.20 Probation
GPA equal to or less than 4.80 Dismissal
Graduation GPA greater than or equal to 5.50

You can use this GPA calculator, developed by EMBA, if trying to calculate a possible GPA.

Please note:

  • A student can be on probation for one semester, at most. A second probation implies dismissal.
  • A student can appeal his/her dismissal to the Academic Standards Committee that could allow the student to stay in the program under certain conditions.
  • A student who was dismissed from the School might apply, via regular admissions procedure, to the program. If admitted he/she might have the option of using credit for certain past courses taken at the School.

Students receiving federal financial aid should see the Office of Financial Aid's information regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress.