Art History and Archaeology COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

This page is intended to address frequently asked questions specifically pertaining to the Art History and Archaeology community. For all official university and GSAS announcements and resources, please visit:

International students are strongly encouraged to consult the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for the latest information and most accurate guidance on visa and immigration affairs. If you are on a Fulbright, we encourage you to get in touch with your country’s Fulbright liaison.

Please continue to monitor your inbox for any updates and announcements.

  • Health Questions
  • Use of offices and other Schermerhorn spaces
  • Courses
  • Exams
  • Library
  • Graduation Dates and Requirements
  • Employment, Career Development, and Alumni Events
  • Health Questions

    Are students or faculty who contract the virus requested to report that either within the department or to the university? What protocol do I need to follow if I plan to return to campus this fall?

    No, matters of personal health are confidential. There is a CU hotline, 212-854-9355, but it is for information only.

    Information on returning to campus this fall, can be found here:

    Use of offices and other Schermerhorn spaces

    May students use the Stronach Center?

    In the interest of safety and security, the Stronach Center will remain closed until further notice.

    Will mail delivery continue to Schermerhorn?

    Faculty may access the Campus Mail Room in Schermerhorn Hall, which is open from Mon-Friday 9-5:00 pm. Standard mail will be delivered to the main office on an interim basis. We encourage you to have any documents sent to you electronically, and your mail and packages re-routed to your home address. For urgent questions about campus mail and packages please write to Sonia Sorrentini.


    What kind of format will Fall 2020 courses have? What will 2020-21 look like?

    Per President Lee Bollinger’s August 14 announcement, all Fall 2020 undergraduate courses will be online. Graduate courses will be conducted in online or hybrid formats. Please check the Directory of Classes and our Fall 2020 courses page on our department website.

    On June 17, the provost announced that the academic year will be divided into three terms: fall, spring, and summer. Please see this page for details. For an overview of our department’s course offerings, please refer to our 2020–2021 Year at a Glance page.


    Are in-person orals and defenses still permitted, or must all be done remotely?

    All exams and defenses should be conducted remotely. Please write to Nicole Meily for more information.

    Students should take their exams using Zoom. Postponing may have longer term consequences for their progress through the program. All students preparing to take exams should discuss the situation with their committees.


    What services are available at Avery Library at this time?

    As of August 31, the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library is open with limited capacity. Patrons are required to reserve a seat (two-hour time blocks) in order to enter. For complete information and all updates about use of materials, remote and in-person access, and other protocol regarding library use, we encourage students to regularly check Avery’s website:

    Please also write to if there are library materials that you can’t access remotely.

    AHAGA is gathering a list of online resources here. Columbia’s libraries are also actively working to expand their online resources to assist students. Please visit this page:

    Graduation dates and requirements

    For those who want or need to complete their MA thesis in October, what is the procedure for submitting the MA thesis?

    Instead of submitting a final bound copy of the thesis in person to Nicole Meily, as is normally required, students should email her a PDF version of their final thesis (i.e., the version that your advisor has approved). Once the Department office reopens, Nicole will add these to the students’ files.

    Students should also complete an MA Thesis Approval Cover Sheet and email this to their advisors. Once advisors have signed the sheet, they should email it to Nicole, CCing the student. Alternatively, they can write an email to Nicole, confirming that they have approved your thesis, CCing the student. All MA thesis advisors will be informed of the new procedure, so that they know what to do/expect.

    Thesis advisors must submit grades no later than Friday, October 9. Please work with your advisor to determine a timeline of submission that will allow them enough time to read and make any final comments.

    Employment, Career Development, and Alumni Events

    What support does GSAS offer with job searches during COVID-19?

    There are targeted programs for both MA and PhD graduates.

    As MA students learned in a May 13 message from GSAS, they may join GSAS Compass – the new Graduate School career development unit – for a weekly workshop series in June. Designed for MA students and 2020 graduates seeking jobs during the pandemic, it will focus on what students can do this summer.

    As of July 1, Rachel Bernard, the Director of Graduate Career Development in GSAS and Associate Director, Francesca Fanelli, will be taking over individual career counseling from the Center for Career Education. They will be holding one-on-one meetings with recent graduates of GSAS (MA and PhD) to assist them in their post-graduate goals. Sign up will be through the GSAS Compass website.

    CCE’s page on career exploration for Humanities PhDs:

    Are there resources available to locate remote work opportunities during the pandemic?

    Job boards for remote work: