University Senate                                                                                  Proposed: April 26, 2002








WHEREAS,     the Senate Education Committee recommends that the University Senate affirm the importance and value of dual degree programs, and their contribution to the education of students, and to the diversity and reputation of Columbia University;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED     that the University Senate adopt the attached statement as policy for University dual degree programs, to assure that Schools provide the appropriate information and services.






Committee on Education

Student Affaris Committee




Concerns have been brought to the attention of the Senate Education Committee suggesting some dissatisfaction with the administration of graduate-level dual degree programs at Columbia. Upon investigation, including informal input from current dual degree students and the use of a survey to Schools, it became clear that improved availability of information and strengthened communication between students and Schools are needed to support the University’s dual degree programs. The Senate Committee on Education submits the accompanying guidelines to the Senate as a general statement of University educational policy to assure that Schools provide the appropriate information and services to students in dual degree programs.


The Senate Education Committee surveyed the deans of Schools participating in graduate joint degree programs to collect information on their dual degree programs and their perspective on the problems associated with the administration of such programs, as well as their perspective on the accompanying guidelines.



University Senate                                                                                                          April 26, 2002







Guidelines for Schools offering dual degree programs


“Dual degree students” include any student participating in a recognized “dual degree” or “joint degree” program, or any graduate student pursuing two separate degrees simultaneously or concurrently. Dual degree students will be considered students by both schools upon their commitment to take up an offer of admission by both schools. Students should be considered as “enrolled” by both schools, whether or not students are in a particular term registered for courses in both schools.


(1)        Dual degree students should have access to all services and facilities of both schools for the duration of their enrollment as candidates for either degree. This policy should be stated on the website of each school and in all printed materials.


If, for some reason, such a policy would be unworkable for a particular school, both websites and printed materials should make clear which facilities and services are available, and when, so that students know in advance when they can take advantage of these important services/facilities, e.g., internship placement services, job services, computer labs, inclusion to listserves.


(2)        On the website of each school, there should be an easily accessible link entitled “dual degree programs” that links to a page providing information on each of the various dual degree programs (some schools use the term “combined degree programs”—we recommend consistent terminology across all schools); mere linking to the homepages of other schools does not provide the required information. Each dual degree website should be jointly coordinated so that information is consistent, up to date, and accessible from both locations.


(3)        Each school should as well develop a printed document or handbook listing the requirements for graduation specific to dual degree students. The handbook should encompass requirements for degree combinations, not just the degree awarded at the school. It should also describe clearly for each degree combination how scholarships, financial aid, and fellowships are administered for dual degree students.


(4)        Each dual degree program website and handbook should include a clear definition of the program, a fee structure, the name of both the key faculty member and the key administrative officer responsible for administering the dual degree program and advising its students, respectively. It should include, as well, a sample program (this, to address the sequencing of courses), year-by-year, to illustrate what is entailed for students considering applying to the dual degree program.


(5)        Each dual degree program’s costs should likewise be illustrated on a year-by-year basis, to make transparent the fact that in some years students will be charged one school’s tuition rate, in another year, the other school’s tuition rate.


(6)        A named Assistant or Associate Dean should be identified as the school’s advisor to students in each dual degree program, preferably someone other than the chief student affairs officer of the school.


(7)        Each school should name a person to serve on a standing dual degree consultation committee, to meet at least once a year to identify and recommend solutions to administrative problems arising from dual degree programs. The Vice President for Student Services should be the chair of this committee.


(8)        The information appearing on the websites of the schools should also be included in the bulletin of the school.


Guidelines for the Vice President for Student Services


(1)        The Registrar should assist the schools to set up student records in ways most likely to assure that the student record system identifies dual degree students in a consistent and transparent way, and to assure correct billing of students.


(2)        The Vice President for Student Services should convene annually the standing dual degree consultation committee to consider administrative problems that arise and to propose solutions to those administrative problems.