Leave of Absence & Stretch

We understand that after joining CBS circumstances may change, resulting in the need to either suspend studies for an extended period of time (leave of absence), or to take fewer credits per term which necessitates the need for more than four semesters of study (stretch).

Leave of Absence

Columbia Business School is aligned with the University’s Voluntary Leave of Absence Policy and Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy.  Please note that CBS reserves the right to administer an Involuntary Leave of Absence in the event that a student neither registers for classes in a given term nor applies for a Voluntary Leave.

Students who wish to suspend their studies for health or other reasons must apply for a leave of absence (LOA) by completing the LOA form, followed by a meeting with OSA.  All students in good academic standing have up to 5 years of their date of matriculation to complete the MBA program.

Regardless of the type of leave requested or enforced, students who are on a leave will not have access to CBS systems (including but not limited to Slack, COIN, BOSS, or Starfish) nor will they have access to University facilities and services outlined in the University policy along with CBS-specific services such as Career and Academic Advising. Students on leave of absence are not permitted to participate in CBS academic, 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 from leave.

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 a leave of absence. Those who begin the program in January are expected to complete four consecutive terms, without interruption.

Students who interrupt their studies for LOA prior to finishing their first complete semester of studies/semester 1 of Core will need to return to the program in the same semester to complete on track with that program, regardless of the length of the leave.  Students returning from leave will not receive an additional opportunity to attempt exemption exams for withdrawn or incomplete courses or Core courses not yet attempted, as this opportunity occurs in advance of matriculation.

Stretch Policy

Students interested in decreasing the amount of credits they take in a term (otherwise known as a "stretch"), such that it would require more than four terms of study with us, 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 12 credits (full-time enrollment) in a term that is part of their program (ie. J-term students during the summer term). 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 a stretch or leave of absence. Those who begin the program in January are expected to complete four consecutive terms, without interruption.