Interrupting Your Studies

We understand that after joining CBS circumstances may change, resulting in the need to suspend studies for an extended period of time (leave of absence), take an unexpected pause from studies mid-semester (withdraw from a semester in-progress), or take fewer credits during a term and creating a need for more than four semesters of study (stretch).

Leave of Absence

Students who have completed their first semester and wish to suspend their studies must apply for a leave of absence (LOA) by completing the LOA form and meet with OSA prior to the semester during which they will take an LOA. In addition to a voluntary LOA, students may request a medical LOA or be placed on an Involuntary LOA. A medical LOA may have other implications, which will be discussed in the required OSA meeting. Columbia Business School is aligned with the University’s Voluntary Leave of Absence Policy and Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy.  

All LOAs must be requested by 5pm ET on the business day prior to the semester start date. All students in good academic standing have up to five (5) years from their date of matriculation to complete the MBA program.

Note that students who begin the Full-Time MBA Program in August are permitted to take the summer off between their first and second years; this summer break is not considered an LOA. Those who begin the program in January are expected to complete four consecutive terms, without interruption.

A leave of absence cannot be taken prior to the completion of the first semester of the program. Students in their first semester may be able to withdraw from a semester in-progress; see details in the next section. Students must start the program at the entry point for which they were admitted. In the event students cannot begin the program at the entry point for which they were admitted, they should contact Admissions. Students may not come back from an LOA during the summer semester unless all first semester core classes are complete.

Withdrawal from a Semester In-Progress

In the event students need to interrupt their studies mid-semester, they may request to withdraw from a semester in progress using this form. This request will be reviewed and students will be informed if the request is approved or denied within one week of submitting their request. Students in their first semester cannot request to withdraw from the semester in-progress until at least one (1) class is completed. If you are considering withdrawing during your first semester, please review the University’s refund rate for withdrawals and be sure to consult our Financial Aid office for further guidance.

Regardless of the type of separation requested or enforced, students who suspend their studies will not have access to some CBS systems (see chart below), CBS-specific services such as Career and Academic Advising, or University facilities and services outlined in the University Policy. While separated, students are not permitted to participate in CBS academic, career, club, community, or social events unless they are open to the general public. When preparing to return from a leave, students must notify OSA in writing with the expected semester of return to devise a plan for return.

Students returning from a separation will not receive an additional opportunity to attempt exemption exams for withdrawn, incomplete courses or Core courses not yet attempted, as this opportunity occurs in advance of matriculation.

System Access while on LOA or withdrawn? System Access while on LOA or withdrawn?

BOSS

No

Starfish

No

Canvas - historical classes

Yes

Slack

Yes

Canvas - audit new classes

No

CampusGroups

No

CBS Directory

Yes

Qualtrics

Yes

COIN

No

Watson Study Room Reservation

No

GSB Email

Yes

SSOL

Yes

Tech Support

No

Poll Everywhere

No

Stretch Policy

Students interested in decreasing the amount of credits they take in a term and studying for more than four semesters (otherwise known as a "stretch"), should meet with OSA as well as the Office of Financial Aid to understand the academic and financial implications of this decision.  Be aware that all degree requirements must be met within 5 years of the date of matriculation and there may be tuition and fee, financial aid, student visa, student housing, and/or health insurance implications. Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa may not drop below full-time enrollment (12 credits) in a term that is part of their program (e.g.. J-term students during the summer term), However per ISSO, students can drop below 12 credits in their final term of a degree program if the student does not need a full-time course load to complete degree requirements. As noted that students who begin the Full-Time MBA Program in August are permitted to take the summer off between their first and second years; this summer break is not considered a stretch or leave of absence. Those who begin the program in January are expected to complete four consecutive terms, without interruption.