Columbia Business School’s academic standards ensure the integrity, consistency, and long-term value of the MBA experience while providing a framework for students to acquire the knowledge and the social intelligence to become sophisticated, ethical leaders.

CBS Core Grade Distribution

H: 25–30%

HP: 55–65%

P1, LP, F: 10–15%

+/- may be used in core grades with the following restrictions: there is no H+ in the core and the number of pluses must be equal to or less than the number of minuses.

CBS Elective Grade Distribution

The required grade distribution for CBS Elective Courses is as follows:

H+: No more than 2%*

H+, H, H-: ≤50%

+/- may be used with elective grades without restrictions.

*Since the Fall term of 2012, the grade of H+ is permitted in electives but strictly limited to 2% of the class enrollment, rounded up to the nearest integer. For courses with less than 50 students, no more than one H+ grade is permitted.

The recommended grade distribution for CBS Elective Courses is as follows:

P1, LP, F: ≥5%

+/- may be used with elective grades without restrictions.

Grading Notations

H+ A+ 11.00
H (Honors) 10.00
H- A- 9.00
HP+ B+ 8.00
HP (High Pass) 7.00
HP- B- 6.00
P1+ C+ 5.00
P1 (Pass) 4.00
P1- C- 3.00
LP (Low Pass) 1.00
F 0.00
P (Unweighted Pass) P (Unweighted Pass) N/A -- For Exempted Core Courses Only: See note (1) below.
W (Withdrawal) W (Withdrawal) N/A -- See note (2) below. Given to a student who drops a course after the add/drop period.
IN (Incomplete) IN (Incomplete) N/A -- See note (3) below.
R (Registration Credit) R (Registration Credit) N/A -- For Exchange Courses Only

(1) While you do not receive pass/fail grades for courses taken, should you successfully exempt from a core course, a grade of "P" will appear on your transcript to denote that you passed. This will not be factored into your GPA, nor will receive any credits. It is strictly a notation that you passed your exemption exam.

(2) Students are not permitted to have a course deleted from their academic record after the add/drop deadline. If a student withdraws from a course after the drop deadline, the transcript will show a mark of "W" for that course. This is a permanent mark, and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course. This grade will not be factored into your GPA, nor will receive any credits. Students cannot withdraw from a course after the date noted on the MBA Course Registration Schedule.

(3) Incomplete (IN) Grades: Incomplete grades are granted or denied at the discretion of course Instructors. If an instructor grants an incomplete for a course, the instructor and student must agree on a date in which the coursework will be completed. Note that students cannot be certified for graduation with a notation of incomplete (IN) on their transcript.

The incomplete must be resolved by 1) the conferral date or 2) six (6) months from the date the incomplete grade was earned, whichever is earlier.

It is the student’s responsibility to make sure a grade is submitted by the agreed upon date or the incomplete deadline as determined by the above. The instructor is not required to submit a grade for the course after the applicable deadline. The mark of incomplete (IN) is not a final grade. Therefore, if a final grade is not submitted by this date, the mark of IN will revert to F (Failure). For further details or to apply for an incomplete, please visit Incomplete Grades.

Grade Non-Disclosure

Columbia Business School students voted to implement a student norm of grade non disclosure. This community norm states that students will not disclosure grades, GPA’s, or transcripts to employers until a student accepts a full-time, post-graduation position with an employer. Students however may continue to disclose receipt of academic honors (e.g., Dean’s List) and membership in honor societies. Students can review the information shared with employers here.

First Year Core Courses

MBA and EMBA students must take their core classes with the program to which they applied and were accepted.

B6500 Lead: People, Teams, Organizations (Pre-Term Block Week)**

B6100 Managerial Statistics (First Semester)*

B6101 Business Analytics (First Semester)

B6200 Managerial Economics (First Semester)

B6001 Financial Accounting (First Semester)

B6601 Marketing (First Semester)

B6300 Corporate Finance (First Semester)

B6502 Strategy Formulation (First Semester)

B6301 Foundations of Valuation (First Semester) B6302 Corporate Finance (First Semester)

B6201 Global Economic Environment (First Semester)

B6102 Operations Management (Second Semester)

*Statistics will each meet for 90 minutes on three additional Fridays at the beginning of the first term.

**Appropriate scheduling of a debrief by the faculty and coaching for all MBA students, based on their 360 Self-Assessment feedback launched by the Leadership faculty during pre-term, will occur during two or three 90 minute sessions the first and second terms of the first year.

12-Credit Minimum Enrollment Requirement

The MBA degree requires a minimum of 60 credits, with an expectation that students earn roughly 15 credits per term over four terms. Beginning in spring 2022, all full-time CBS MBA students will be required to register for, at the very least, 12 credits of coursework. The 12 credits can be spread out through the duration of the semester, including block weeks, A term, B term and full-semester courses. If students would like to take fewer than 12 credits, they must submit a written request to their Academic Advisor and receive approval from the Office of Student Affairs.

Minimum GPA Requirements, Probation and Dismissal: 

Minimum GPA Requirements 

All students are required to hold a GPA of 5.5 to graduate; maintaining a GPA of 5.5 each and above each semester is essential to your success as a CBS student. During the academic review process at the end of each semester, the Office of Student Affairs monitors the academic performance of all students and makes available a support system for those in need of assistance.  

Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below the minimum requirements are subject to probation or dismissal.  

For dual degree students, the Business School GPA is determined by the grades received while in residence at the Business School; and includes all courses taken in those semesters, even those offered by the student's other school. Grades for Business School courses taken while in residence at their other school are not included in their cumulative GPA for the Business School.  

Minimum cumulative GPA requirements for Good Academic Standing, Academic Probation, and Academic Dismissal are below: 

Good Academic Standing  

GPA equal to or greater than 5.5000 

Academic Probation  

GPA less than 5.5000 and greater than or equal to 3.7000  

Academic Dismissal  

GPA less than 3.7000 

 You can use this GPA calculator, developed by EMBA, if trying to calculate a possible GPA. 

 Students receiving federal financial aid should see the Office of Financial Aid's information regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress

 Academic Probation 

 Students on Academic Probation should prioritize their academic performance as part of the MBA experience. To assist in this process, students on Academic Probation must comply with the following: 

  • Students on Academic Probation may take no more than 15 credits per semester until Good Academic Standing is achieved.  
  • Students on Academic Probation may not hold leadership positions at Columbia Business School. This includes leadership roles in student clubs and organizations, as well as Peer Advisors (PAs) or CMC Fellows.  
  • Students on Academic Probation must meet with their academic advisor once per month to discuss academic progress, until Good Academic Standing is achieved.  

These standards are designed to provide the support and focus required to achieve Good Academic Standing. 

Academic Dismissal 

A student can appeal their dismissal to the Academic Standards Committee by written petition no later than 5 business days after receiving notice of their dismissal. Students are required to meet and share their statement with their academic advisor prior to the committee meeting. However, the academic advisor will not be present at the committee meeting.  

The written petition should contain: 

  • A statement addressing any circumstances that contributed to the students' academic performance. 
  • A proposed schedule with rationale for class choices for all remaining semesters at CBS, and concrete steps the student will take to earn the necessary grades in each class. 
  • A completed cumulative GPA calculation with projected grades that are needed to return to Good Academic Standing by the end of the subsequent semester.  

 If a student is granted permission to continue in the MBA program, they are required to meet with their academic advisor every other week until Good Academic Standing is achieved. A student who was dismissed and whose appeal was not successful may re-apply, via regular admissions processes, to the program with a supplemental essay explaining the circumstances and how they have grown during the elapsed time.