Important Updates Regarding Final Exams and Assessments

May 01, 2024

Dear members of the Columbia community,

There are many questions among our community following last night’s events. The university will continue to communicate and provide updates. Meanwhile, we want to share with you some important information about exams, which are on the minds of both faculty and students.

Given the evolving campus situation, we are working hard to provide support and accommodation to our students, particularly those who are in residence on our Morningside campus. Again, the safety of our community is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations.

Final Exams

In order to address the concerns of our members in an evolving campus environment, all academic activities for schools on the Morningside Heights campus will be fully remote for the remainder of the semester (with carve-outs noted below). Any remaining class meetings, review sessions, or office hours should be held fully remotely, and all final exams and other final assessments should be fully remote. Instructors should be in touch with students in their classes as soon as practicable to explain how the remote version of final exams and final assessments will be conducted. Please see more guidance below on possible adjustments that instructors might make.


  • School of the Arts: All undergraduates will have final assessments provided remotely. Graduate students will receive specific information from faculty regarding any in-person assessments.
  • Practice-based programs/Laboratory-based programs: If a class does not permit adapting to the remote assessment format, we encourage faculty to provide other accommodations generously (including postponed completion) to students who have requested support for virtual assessment. Access to specialized equipment necessary to complete course requirements for graduating students will require permission from the Dean of the School.
  • Medical Center and Manhattanville: Normal final assessment arrangements as scheduled, but granting accommodations based on religious reasons, or approved disability accommodations.

The following guidelines also apply to final exams and assessments in classes offered through Arts & Sciences (with the exception of the School of Professional Studies and the graduate programs in the School of Arts) and Engineering:

1. Adjustments to the current week:

  • Final exams in classes for this Friday, May 3, will automatically be rescheduled for Friday, May 10. Instructors and students in classes whose exams will be rescheduled will be contacted with more details shortly.
  • Final papers, presentations, projects, or take-home exams that are due this week in classes should be reassigned later due dates, to a date that is on or after Monday, May 6, and before the end of the term on Friday, May 10.

2. Adjustments to final exams/assessments:

  • Faculty are encouraged to provide accommodations in their final assessments which may include giving a take-home final, modifying the final’s weight, adjusting the grading policy such that the final exam does not negatively impact the final grade (i.e. a no-harm final), making the final exam optional, or canceling the final exam. Faculty are encouraged to consult the academic deans of their schools for support in considering which option may be best for their classes.
  • Final exams must provide for an asynchronous option to accommodate students who have left campus and returned to homes that may be in different time zones.
  • Instructors may remind students that they are bound by their respective school’s honor codes: Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, General Studies, Barnard

3. Submission of final grades:

  • The deadlines for the submission of grades for graduating students has been moved from Friday, May 10, to Monday, May 13.
  • The deadline for the submission of all other grades remains Thursday, May 16.

Students who qualify for disability accommodations via Disability Services will be advised by that office, and colleagues from Disability Services may reach out to coordinate final assessments with faculty and instructors.

Faculty Support

Colleagues in the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) continue to be available to consult with instructors about the possible ways of adjusting course assessments. Faculty may attend CTL Zoom "office hours" Monday-Friday from 9:00AM-5:00PM (drop-in—no appointment necessary), or make an appointment by writing to [email protected]. The CTL also offers online resources that provide guidance in creating online course assessments:

Additional resources are available from CUIT:

Counseling and Psychological Services

For Morningside, Manhattanville and Teachers College students, Counseling and Psychological Services is available for appointments and 24/7 support (212-854-2878). In addition, virtual urgent mental health drop-in is available today from 5pm-7.30pm (call 212-854-2878 and a secure virtual link will be provided).

This is a challenging time for all of us committed to our central mission of teaching and research. Implementing these accommodations may require additional effort from you but will benefit our students in these difficult times as they strive to finish the semester achieving their full potential. We are here to support our faculty, students, and staff. 


Angela V. Olinto
Professor of Astronomy and of Physics