Part-time Study and Leaves of Absence

At the Center, we welcome adult learners with busy professional and personal lives. The wealth of our trainees’ life experiences and work outside the Center enriches our program immeasurably, and we strive to support trainees’ efforts to advance their learning while also meeting their other commitments and goals. We strongly encourage trainees to enroll full-time; our curriculum is designed so that a given curricular year’s technique, process, writing, and theory courses work in concert to coordinate and to reinforce both content and process. But in some cases, a trainee’s schedule cannot accommodate a full course load. In such cases, trainees may choose to complete their course work on a part-time basis or take a leave of absence.

Part-Time Status

Trainees wishing to study part-time may do so for one or more semesters. Typically, trainees choose to take either the two Monday classes in a given semester or the one Thursday class. They then take the other classes the following academic year. There is no limit to the number of semesters a candidate can take on a part-time status.

Leaves of Absence

Trainees can temporarily withdraw from class work by taking a Voluntary Leave of Absence. Trainees sometimes request a leave for family or medical reasons (such as the birth of a child, the illness of a family member, or their own health reasons) or because of a significant but time-limited change in their professional responsibilities.

During a Leave, a trainee who has purchased Columbia Student Health Insurance may choose to continue coverage. Other University benefits are not available during an official Leave. Trainees do not pay tuition while on leave for an entire semester or longer but may not be able to get fully reimbursed for requests made after the start of a semester for which they have registered.

Trainees who must miss classes for less than a full semester typically register for courses, pay tuition, and obtain credit for the courses if they keep up with coursework by making special arrangements with their course chairs, independently doing readings and reviewing lecture notes, and at times meeting privately with instructors following their leave.

All courses missed during a Leave must be completed prior to graduation. A Leave may be extended as long as two years. After that time, a trainee will be considered no longer matriculated and may reapply to the program should they wish to resume their studies. This information supplements the general Columbia University policy on Voluntary Leaves of Absence.

Clinical Commitments 

Trainees’ responsibilities to their analytic patients are not changed by their change in registration status. Whether trainees opt to take classes on a part-time basis or to take a Leave of Absence, they are expected to continue their patients’ treatment. This includes continuing in supervision with their Supervising Analyst for each control case. Consequently, clinical supervision fees paid by the trainee to the Center are required to be paid during a Leave of Absence. If a trainee must take a leave from their practice as well as from their classroom work, as in the case of a family or medical leave, they are expected to arrange for their control case patients’ clinical needs to be met by a colleague during their absence.

How to Change Your Status

Candidates considering changing their status from full-time to part-time or taking a Leave of Absence should consider discussing their decision with their Mentor, supervisors, and/or the Chair of Training. Once a candidate has made a decision to change status, they must fill out a Change of Status Notification Form in advance of specific filing deadlines (below). This form will be reviewed by the Training Chairs, who will contact the candidate to discuss any relevant issues and advise the candidate on how to proceed to make the change depending upon the particulars of their situation.

Minimum Class Size

Please bear in mind that the Center does not offer classes when enrollment falls below four trainees. In the event of below minimum enrollment, courses for all candidates in the affected curricular year are canceled, resulting in significant disruption to the training of candidates and the schedules of faculty members. In these instances, we do our best to reorganize the curriculum so that learning can continue for as many trainees as possible. Please note that a course that a trainee is not able to take one year may not be offered the next for similar reasons, which can result in prolonging a trainee’s completion of the curriculum.   

Notification Deadlines

To enable us to make the necessary curriculum adjustments and meet the needs of as many trainees as possible, we must require that notifications of part-time status or a Leave meet the following deadlines:

For a change in the upcoming Fall semester enrollment, the Change of Status Notification Form must be submitted no later than April 30th of the same calendar year.

For a change in the upcoming Spring semester enrollment, the Change of Status Notification Form must be submitted no later than October 31st of the prior calendar year.

Occasionally, unforeseen circumstances which make it impossible for you to continue full-time enrollment may arise after a filing deadline. If this is the case, you may make a waiver request directly to the Training Chairs, and the Training Committee will work with you to address your circumstance as best as possible.