FAQ

Cohort Placement Survey | Courseworks | Starting the Core Missing class Exams and Examsoft Certificates | Teaching Assistants Miscellaneous
 

Cohort Placement Survey

What is a cohort, and why does it matter?

A cohort is a pre-assigned cluster of students that advance through the Core together. These students take the same courses at the same time. Within each cohort there are approximately 5 Integrative Science and Practice (ISP) sections. These ISP sections are kept together for the entire first year and meant to foster a small sense of community in a rather large MPH program.

I did not receive the link for the cohort placement survey. Where can I find it?

Please email msph-oep@cumc.columbia and we will send you the survey link.

After I have been assigned to a cohort, can I switch cohorts?

Cohort assignments and Integrative Science and Practice (ISP) sections are determined in consideration of a variety of factors. Due to the complexity of these factors, switches are not accommodated.

Courseworks Calendars and Schedules

How do I subscribe to my Courseworks calendar?

A tutorial regarding subscribing to the CourseWorks calendar can be found by clicking here. If you are experiencing difficulties with subscribing to the calendar, then please contact courseworks@columbia.edu for assistance.

I am having trouble subscribing to my Courseworks calendar. Who should I contact for help?

If you are experiencing difficulties with subscribing to the calendar, then please contact courseworks@columbia.edu for assistance.

Where can I see my exam schedule for the semester?

Information regarding the exam schedule can be found on the CourseWorks Studio sites in two places: (1) Studio syllabi, or (2) Core Assessment document (located under the “Core Information Tab”).

I can’t see all of my courses (studios) on Courseworks. What should I do?

If you are unable to see all of the Core Studio sites, then please contact the Office of Educational Programs at msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu.

I submitted my Courseworks assignment, but now it is not there. What should I do?

Every assignment that is submitted receives a confirmation email. Please forward this email confirmation to the Lead TA in support of your case. If you find that you do not have a confirmation email, then please reach out to the Lead TA’s immediately to explain your experienced difficulty. If you have further technical Courseworks questions, then please contact courseworks@columbia.edu for assistance.

Where can I find a map of the campus, so that I can find my classrooms?

During Orientation Week, all students are provided with a brochure called “The Core, Navigating Your Academic Program: A Quick Guide for Students” which includes a map of the CUMC campus (please refer to this map). This brochure is also located on the CourseWorks sites, under the “Core Information” tab.

I am having trouble accessing the required readings listed on CourseWorks. What should I do?

Students should log into their library account (My CLIO). Navigate to the library website , and in the upper right hand corner, log in to My CLIO (this is different from My Library Account, which just shows you what books you have checked out). Please note, if you are on campus on the athens network, you should already be logged in to the library and have access.

Starting the Core

Where can I find information on textbooks and other required course materials?

Students should refer to the studio syllabi, which is located on their CourseWorks sites.

Where can I access the “Navigating the Core” brochure?

Students can access the “Navigating the Core” brochure and other Core relevant resources by logging into CourseWorks, clicking on any studio, and then clicking on the “Core Information” tab.

Where can I access the Orientation presentations and materials?

The Orientation presentations and materials are also located in the “Core Information” tab on CourseWorks (see answer to question above).

Can I work while taking classes?

During the first semester of the Columbia MPH and the Accelerated MPH, while engaging in the integrated core, students are strongly advised against extra-curricular work commitments. In second, third, and fourth semesters of the program, schedules are more flexible and students may engage in some part-time work.

Missing class

What is the Core’s excused absence policy?

The Office of Educational Programs handles any missed assessments (quizzes or exams) while the individual faculty or TA handles any late homework or assignments. Our assessment make-up policy is to allow make-up exams only for religious observation, family emergencies or illness. We can make a one-time exception for personal conflicts, but that is usually restricted for educational purposes. For assignments and assignments, please work directly with TAs on homework and blog assignments. Unless you are ill, generally you will need to turn in all homework early, or make an alternate arrangement with each module. Turning in homework early will also alleviate the burden of work while you are away.

I would like to request a homework extension. How should I go about doing this?

For homework and assignments, please work directly with TAs on homework and blog assignments. Unless you are ill, generally you will need to turn in all homework early, or make an alternate arrangement with each module. Turning in homework early will also alleviate the burden of work while you are away.

I have to miss a class. Who do I contact about making up missed class time/coursework/assignments?

Students should reach out to the Lead TA of the studio to inform them of the planned excused absence. Unless you are ill, generally you will need to turn in all homework early, or make an alternate arrangement with each module. Turning in homework early will also alleviate the burden of work while you are away.

I am unable to find the Echo recording. How soon after the lecture are the recordings uploaded?

All lecture recordings are posted to the CourseWorks sites approximately 4-6 hours after the lecture ends. If this course is not available, then please contact the Office of Educational Program at msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu.

Exams and Examsoft

Where can I download Examsoft/ExamPLIFY?

ExamSoft is accessed online and is not a program available for download. You should have received information from your instructor about where and how to download Examplify. Please contact your instructor with Examplify related inquiries or visit their website for any other logistical concerns.

How do I access my ExamSoft/examplify account?

You can log into your ExamSoft account by going to this website and logging in under the Exam Takers title with your Student ID (uni) and your unique Examsoft password. If you are experiencing any difficulties, then please contact support@examsoft.com or call (866) 429-8889.

Help! My computer crashed and I have an exam tomorrow/right now. What should I do?

If you are experiencing any technical difficulties, it is important that you, first, notify the Office of Educational Programs immediately. Second, please visit the 2nd Floor Help Desk in Hammer Life Sciences Center to see if there is a loaner laptop available for check-out. The loaner laptops are limited, and available on a first-come first-serve basis. If there are no laptops available, please contact msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu and we will make accommodations accordingly.  

I have an exam today but I am sick/have a family emergency. What should I do?

Please email msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu to explain your situation and we will determine whether or not you are qualified to receive a make-up exam. Please note that our assessment policy is to allow make-up exams only for religious observation, family emergencies, or illness. We can make a one-time exception for personal conflicts, but that is usually restricted for educational purposes.

Can I use my friend’s laptop to take exams?

Absolutely! However, please make sure that you have a basic understanding of how the laptop functions before attempting to begin an exam. For example, Examplify must be downloaded on the computer and you must login under your account, the laptop must have Internet access, and the laptop must have adequate battery life or a charger accompaniment.

I am not sure if my exam uploaded. What should I do?

Open Examplify on your computer and click on “Exam History” at the bottom. Here you will be able to see all the exams you have uploaded. If you are still unsure, or do not see your most recent exam, please email msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu and we can assist you in troubleshooting.

My exam closed before the time was up. What should I do?

Unless your computer’s battery died, most likely you did run out of time on the exam and then Examplfiy closed the exam without notice. We are happy to investigate this using our ExamSoft administrative access. In the future, we recommend using the timer feature in Examplify to notify you when 5 or 10 minutes is left in the testing window so you are not taken by surprise.

My exam results are blank, and will not load. What should I do?

We recommend trying to open your results in another Internet browser to see if that solves the problem. Please contact msph-oep@cumc.columbia.edu if the problem persists after you have tried multiple browsers.

When will I receive my grades?

Typically, teaching assistants are allotted approximately two weeks to grade an exam that includes short answer or multiple-choice questions. These exam grades can be released sooner or slightly later than two weeks depending on various factors. Multiple-choice exams are usually released within a week of the exam date.

I finished my exam on time, but it never uploaded. What should I do?

Typically, exams should upload automatically from your hard drive when your laptop has a strong Wi-Fi connection. If this is not occurring, you can manually upload your exam from your hard drive by following the instructions in this link. Please contact ExamSoft Support at support@examsoft.com or call (866) 429-8889 for additional assistance with this process.

Certificates

What is a certificate?

A Certificate is a New York State recognized, and Columbia University approved credential that provides students with advanced training in a focused area of public health beyond the departmental discipline.

Do I need a certificate?

All 2 year MPH students are required to enroll in a certificate program.

What certificates are currently offered?

Please click here to see a complete list of the certificates offered.

I am an accelerated/dual degree student. Do I need to complete a certificate?

No, Accelerated, as well as Dual Degree, students are not required to enroll in a certificate program. Both program curriculums are uniquely designed to be completed in a year, which does not include fulfilling certificate requirements.

Where can I check if I am eligible for a particular certificate?

Eligibility prerequisites vary by Certificate. Please go to this page to learn more about certificate prerequisites by clicking on a certificate, and scrolling to the “Admissions Eligibility” tab.

Where can I check if I am meeting the requirements for my certificate?

Certificate requirements may change from year to year, so it is very important that you review the requirements that are applicable to your enrollment year. Please follow the provided link to learn more about certificate requirements: (on this site, you may also extract PDF curriculum sheets for your record). 

Can I switch my certificate? How?

Students have the opportunity to declare their certificate status on their initial admissions applications. During the fall semester of the first year, students will have the opportunity to change their certificate status during the “Open Enrollment Period”. All students will be emailed at some point during the fall semester regarding important dates about the Open Enrollment Period.

I already have a certificate and have no intention of changing it. Do I still need to fill out the certificate application during open enrollment?

Yes. Students who are satisfied with their certificate enrollment are required to finalize their Certificate during this process. It is very important that students verify that they are enrolled in the certificate they are allowed to be in. To verify, please contact Troy Hoffman at th2654@cumc.columbia.edu.

Where can I find more information about when and where the Certificate Information Sessions will be offered?

Please click here to learn more about when and where the Fall Certificate Information sessions will be offered.

When is the open enrollment period?

The Certificate Open Enrollment Period occurs during the fall semester (usually early/mid November). This enrollment period spans the course of approximately two weeks.

Will I have an opportunity to change my certificate at a later time (e.g. Spring semester of 1st year, second year)?

Students are provided extensive exposure and resources during the Fall Open Enrollment Period so that they are able to identify and enroll in a certificate that is best for them. Because of the thorough selection process, we do not facilitate any switches outside of the enrollment period. It is highly encouraged that students do thorough research on each certificate before enrollment.

Can I have more than one certificate?

Students are only permitted to have one certificate. Primarily, for reasons of credit balance, students are not permitted to have more than one certificate.

Am I limited to the courses listed on my certificate, or am I permitted to take courses outside of my certificate curriculum?

Students are permitted to take electives that are outside of the certificate curriculum. However, students should be aware that exceeding the 60-credit limit falls outside of the tuition model, and may incur additional fees. If you have additional questions regarding the 60 credit limit, then please contact Troy Hoffman at th2654@cumc.columbia.edu.

My certificate requirements do not meet the 52-60 credit value criteria. How should I proceed?

Not all Certificates will accumulate 52 credits based on the listed curriculum. To fulfill the MPH curriculum, please enroll in elective courses accordingly. It is vital that all students meet the minimum 52-credit threshold.

I have been given permission by my Certificate advisor to take a different course in place of a listed requirement. Will this propose a problem?

This will not be a problem. However, in this situational accommodation, it is very important that you ensure that your certificate advisor emails the Office of Educational Programs so that we have record of this accommodation. Your advisor should provide us with your UNI, and the course number. It is also very important that you contact the Office of Student Affairs at msph-osa@cumc.columbia.edu to fill out an Request to Deviate from Academic Plan (RDAP) form. 

Teaching Assistants

Can I hold another position within Mailman?

Yes, you can hold another position within another studio of The Core (and a position within a department course) at Mailman. Please note that these instances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis (based on the type of position of the outside department) and must be compliant with Columbia University’s HR working hour policy. Per the University, a TA cannot work more than 20 hours a week.

Can I hold another position outside of Mailman but within Columbia University?

Yes, you can hold another position outside of The Core and of Mailman. Please note that these instances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis (based on the type of position of the outside department) and must be compliant with Columbia University’s HR working hour policy. Per the University, a TA cannot work more than 20 hours a week

What if I am interested in becoming a Department Teaching Assistant?

For Teaching Assistant positions within the 6 academic departments, please plan to reach out to the respective academic liaison.

Who is involved in the selection process of the Teaching Assistant?

While OEP assists with the collection of applications and the hiring process, we do not select Teaching Assistants. Faculty has final say in which student will be receive the position of either Teaching Assistant or Lead Teaching Assistant.

What are the benefits of being a Teaching Assistant? 

The benefits of becoming a Teaching Assistant are boundless.  First, the role of the Teaching Assistant provides you the necessary experience should you want to pursue a career in teaching or higher education. Should you be interested in a doctoral program, teaching assistant experience is highly sought after. Should you pursue a career outside of education, holding a teaching assistant position shows to your prospective employer that you are a leader amongst your peers. In addition, it provides the forum to master your presentation and management skills (from constant interaction with your fellow students and faculty). Another benefit of becoming a Teaching Assistant will help to master the knowledge in the skills that you already learned. Should you be selected to become a Teaching Assistant, the role will provide you opportunity to collaborate with faculty on a multitude of items (from assigned readings, to homework’s, to even the creation of exam questions). Your time spent with building content will also build a form a bond with your faculty member.

How much will I be paid as a Teaching Assistant?

Because the workload for each studio varies, compensation varies by studio and teaching assistant level [regular teaching assistant, or lead teaching assistant]. Prospective teaching assistants are provided with an offer letter, which includes the amount of payment expected based on studio and teaching assistant level. If you have further inquiries regarding compensation, then please contact Marjorie Perez Richardson at mp3686@cumc.columbia.edu.

How many hours per week will I be expected to work?

Working hours vary per Teaching Assistant role. Information regarding specific work expectations [such as weekly hours, and duties] will be thoroughly outlined in the prospective Teaching Assistant Offer Letter. The hours in the offer letter reflect the average length of expected work load for the entire semester. It is important to note that there will be some weeks where work may require not as many hours, and some weeks where you are working close to your limit – depending on the structure of the studio. However, as per Columbia University HR policy, Teaching Assistants cannot work more than 20 hours a week. If you find yourself working above the average weekly amount specified in the Offer Letter, then please do not hesitate to contact the assigned Lead TA of your studio, or Lauren Westley at law2171@cumc.columbia.edu

Miscellaneous

Where can I check if I am meeting the requirements for my degree?

Students can log into Student Services Online (SSOL) to view relevant information regarding courses, registration, and account holds. Students should also utilize the MSPH Certificate Directory to print the certificate curriculum plan and verify that they are meeting the requirements.

How and when can I sign up for classes?

Students should register for classes by logging into SSOL. Students should refer to the academic calendar to identify registration dates for each term. 

Where can I find information on accelerated degree requirements?

Students should refer to the following link for information regarding Accelerated Degree Requirement. Students should also refer to the Student Handbook.

Where can I find information on dual degree requirements?

Students should refer to the following link for information regarding dual degree requirements. Students should also refer to the Student Handbook.

I am not comfortable writing in English. What resources are available to help me?

Please reach out to the International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO) at isso@columbia.edu or (212) 854-3587 for information about available resources.

My outlook email account is not working. What should I do?

Students experiencing difficulties with their Outlook email account should contact CUMC IT.

When should I expect to receive my final grades for the Core?

Since grades must be uploaded for such a large number of students, they are typically available to view in SSOL by mid-January.

I had a negative experience with a Core Teaching Assistant. Who should I contact to report this experience?

Depending on the specifics of the experience, please contact your studio lead teaching assistant, studio faculty member, or the Office of Educational Programs (OEP) directly at msph-oep@cumc.columbia. We will all work together to make sure your voice is heard and the appropriate outcome is reached.

I believe that I was graded unfairly on an assessment. Who should I speak to?

For grading disputes, please contact either your studio lead teaching assistants or your studio faculty directly. While OEP administers the ExamSoft assessments, we are not involved in the grading process. For more information, students should refer to the "Grade Grievance" policy in the Student Handbook.