FAQs for Students

Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions in advance of the 2021-2022 academic year. This page will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available. 

Updated June 8, 2021 

When should I plan to arrive on campus? 

Students are expected to be on campus beginning on the first day of their academic program. The Law School will be returning to pre-pandemic policies whereby students unable to be on campus should seek a deferral or leave of absence.

  Program Start Date Deadline to Upload Proof of Vaccination
Incoming J.D. students (1Ls) Monday, August 23 Friday, July 23
LL.M. students (incoming and continuing) Monday, August 16 Friday, July 16
Continuing J.D. students (2Ls and 3Ls) Wednesday, September 8 Monday, August 2

If I am an incoming student and I am unable to be in New York in time for J.D. or LL.M. orientation, or for introductory classes (Legal Methods I, Introduction to American Law) in August, may I participate online?

No. Students are expected to be in New York, ready to attend orientation and introductory classes on campus in August. 

If you are an international student facing uncertainty regarding visa and travel arrangements, we will continue to accept requests to defer admission to Fall 2022 until Friday, July 16, 2021. If by this deadline, you have not obtained a valid visa, or if you have not scheduled a visa appointment that would allow you sufficient time to travel to the U.S. by the relevant deadline (above), you will be asked to request a deferral.

If I am a continuing Law Student and I am unable to be in New York in time for the start of classes on September 8th, may I participate online?

Students are expected to be in New York, ready to attend classes on campus, beginning on September 8. 

If you are an international student facing uncertainty regarding your ability to be present on campus by September 8, please contact Student Services to discuss the particulars of your circumstance no later than July 7, 2021.

Will I be required to get a vaccine in order to access campus? 

Yes. Students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated in order to access on campus this fall. If you do not upload proof of vaccination (all FDA- and WHO-approved vaccines accepted) by the appropriate deadline (see above), you will not be able to access campus buildings.

Limited exceptions will be available for those seeking medical or religious exemptions. International students unable to obtain a vaccination prior to arriving in New York will be able to obtain the vaccine at Columbia at no cost. These students will be able to access housing, classes, and campus facilities, but with additional safety precautions in place (e.g., additional testing requirements, face coverings) until the vaccination process is complete. 

What is the deadline for submitting proof of vaccination? 

See the table below for deadlines specific to each class. 

  Program Start Date Deadline to Upload Proof of Vaccination
Incoming J.D. students (1Ls) Monday, August 23 Friday, July 23
LL.M. students (incoming and continuing) Monday, August 16 Friday, July 16
Continuing J.D. students (2Ls and 3Ls) Wednesday, September 8 Monday, August 2

How do I submit proof of vaccination? 

Students who receive a vaccine from Columbia Health on the Morningside campus have their records updated automatically and do not need to upload records. Verification can be viewed at any time by accessing the Immunizations section of the Patient Portal.

Students who were vaccinated at any site other than Columbia Health on the Morningside campus must upload documentation of their vaccine in the Medical Clearances section of the Patient Portal (here are instructions). This includes students that were vaccinated at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes, but is not limited, to the following:

  • CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Card
  • WHO Vaccine Booklet
  • Documentation provided by a health care professional/organization/country

All documentation must be submitted in English or accompanied by a certified translation (at the employee’s or student’s expense). Verification of documentation is at the sole discretion of Columbia University. Additional information or documentation may be requested and if requested must be provided in order to verify a submission.

What are the University's vaccine recommendations for students and employees currently in international settings? 

We strongly recommend that all individuals, students and employees in international contexts, be vaccinated as soon as possible and receive the full dose series for optimal protection. Vaccines authorized by the FDA or by WHO will be acceptable. Vaccination will be available to all affiliates who have been unable to get vaccinated internationally. Vaccination must be obtained at the earliest opportunity upon arrival in the United States.

What if I don't want to get vaccinated? 

Columbia has a process for requesting medical and religious exemptions. 

Where can I find the academic calendar for AY 2021-2022?

The academic calendar for 2021-2022 is available at https://law.columbia.edu/academics/academic-calendar. This calendar is preliminary and subject to change. 


Will classes take place on campus in the fall?

All classes will take place in person on campus. Students are expected to attend classes in person, in accordance with the pre-pandemic attendance policy.

Students may, as always, request individualized accommodations by contacting the University’s Office of Disability Services. 


If I am an international student unable to obtain a visa in time for the start of classes, may I participate online instead of in person for all or part of the semester?

For incoming international students facing uncertainty regarding visa and travel arrangements, we will continue to accept requests to defer admission to Fall 2022 until Friday, July 16, 2021. If by this deadline, you have not obtained a valid visa, or if you have not scheduled a visa appointment that would allow you sufficient time to travel to the U.S. by the relevant deadline (above), you will be asked to request a deferral. Please know that we understand that individual circumstances vary widely; we encourage you to keep in contact with us if you continue to face uncertainty as the July 16 deadline approaches.

For continuing international students facing uncertainty regarding your ability to be present on campus by September 8, please contact Student Services to discuss the particulars of your circumstance no later than July 7, 2021.

What will the Law School's grading policy be in 2021-2022?

We will return to our usual, pre-pandemic grading policy beginning in Fall 2021. 

Will externship field experiences be held in-person?

Whether students will be in person or remote for their fieldwork depends on the host organization.  The externship program is working closely with our supervisors to determine whether and when students will be able to perform their fieldwork at the host site. Students can contact the Externship Program with any questions.  

 

Will the University require students to be vaccinated?

Yes. Students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated in order to be on campus this fall.

Will Columbia be providing vaccines for students? 

Columbia is currently operating multiple vaccination sites offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. For eligibility information and to schedule an appointment, visit the vaccine page on the University's COVID-19 Resource Guide. 

Will visitors be allowed on campus in the fall? 

Per University policy, academic visitors may be allowed on campus in situations where they are actively engaging in collaborative research or projects or other academic activities, subject to approval of the Dean and adherence with public health requirements. 
 

Will co-curricular events, programs, and activities be offered on campus in the fall? 

The Law School expects to offer a robust array of co-curricular events, programs, and activities in the fall. Classes, academic activities, and faculty and co-curricular programs involving members of the Columbia community will be prioritized for on-campus space. Other events (e.g., conferences, employer recruiting programs, and professional gatherings) including visitors from outside the Columbia community should continue to be held virtually. 


Will the option to participate in events and programs remotely be offered? 

Decisions about whether to offer a virtual attendance option as a supplement to an in-person event held on campus will be made at the discretion of the individual event organizer and subject to the availability of IT infrastructure and support. IT support will remain prioritized for classes and instructional activities.