Grievance procedures

This is a reference page for Graduate student information.


What the handbook says

It is our goal to strive to maintain an environment in which students feel free at any time to discuss issues and concerns with any member of the Faculty. However, it is recognized that in some circumstances, more formal approaches may be desirable.

Within the Department, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is the primary contact for all graduate students. He/she organizes the periodic meetings of students with their faculty research project or dissertation committee, advises on course and research topic selection, and communicates to students evaluations of their research performance. For most issues, the DGS is the first person to turn to for advice and is the person with whom students should raise concerns. If for some reason this is unsatisfactory, the student should seek a meeting with the Department Chair.

In some circumstances, a student may feel he or she would like to speak to someone outside of the Department. The University has several offices designed to facilitate such communications:

  • The Dean of the Graduate School and his/her staff (typically the Associate Deans) are available for students seeking advice or to air complaints not satisfactorily addressed within the Department. (
  • The Ombuds Officer is a neutral complaint-handler serving all four campuses: Morningside, Health Sciences, Lamont, and Nevis. She seeks fair and equitable solutions to problems which might arise. The Ombuds Office is available to the entire Columbia University community, including students, faculty and staff. In considering any given instance or concern, the rights of all parties who may be involved, along with the welfare of the University, are taken into account. (
  • The Counseling and Psychological Service is available to all undergraduate and graduate students who are under the Health Service plan. A dedicated and experienced professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers; along with postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology, and psychiatric residents is available to discuss, in confidence, a wide variety of concerns about oneself or others. (
  • The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action administers the University‚Äôs nondiscrimination polices as well as policies on sexual harassment. (

Additional information

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