Account and Password Help and FAQs
Most at CUMC have two primary accounts:
- UNI - the main Columbia account, used across Columbia schools and departments. It is your login for myColumbia (paycheck and benefits), Student Information Systems, CourseWorks and many other programs.
- MC account (CUMC Email/MC Domain) - specific to the Medical Center, it is used for your CUMC email, network drive access, and computer or "domain" login.
While both employ the same username - your UNI - the passwords do NOT synchronize automatically because they are separate accounts.
You can set both to have the same password if you prefer. Just remember that changing your UNI password does not automatically change your MC/CUMC email password and vice versa.
Both require that you change the password after a period of time.
You will receive an email notice that specifies either just your UNI account, or just your MC Domain (computer login/Exchange email) account. Be familiar with the process for each to avoid confusion, account lockouts, and phishing attempts.
For information on other accounts and programs please see the list of CUMC Applications and Access. If a program uses your UNI or MC account for access, the FAQs below will help.
What should I do if I can't login, forgot my password, or want to change it?
Use the appropriate website to immediately pick a new password:
If you are not able to successfully change your UNI or CUMC email/MC password, contact us at extension 5-Help (212-305-4357), option 5, for assistance and have your Columbia ID at hand. For other accounts see the CUMC Applications and Access page.
- Columbia UNI account: Manage My UNI
Select the Change Your Password or Forgot Your Password link. If you forgot your password, you will be prompted to answer security questions you set up when activating your UNI account.
- CUMC Email/MC Domain: myPassword
The initial prompt is for your UNI login; then select a link to Change or Reset your password.
IMPORTANT: before picking a new password make sure set any phones, tablets etc. that are configured for your CUMC email account to airplane mode to prevent a locked account.
You must have already set up a profile (selected security questions and answers) on the myPassword website in order to manage your CUMC email/MC account.
I just changed my password, why did I get an email that it's expiring or needs to be changed?
Review the email carefully; you will receive separate reminders for your UNI vs your MC Domain/Email account. When you change one, the other does not automatically change since they are two different accounts on two different systems.
The emails may appear around the same time if you set up both your UNI and MC/CUMC email accounts at about the same time.
See the FAQ above for help with changing either password, and the next FAQ for suspected phishing emails.
How can I be sure that I'm using the right tool to manage my account, or that an email about my account or password isn't a phishing attempt?
The Email Security page explains how to detect and report phishing attempts.
If you receive an email to update your password, don't click on links in the message which could take you to a malicious website. Instead, manually type in a known website address and navigate to tools or help for your account as follows:
There is also a Using myPassword link on the CUMC IT home page with more detailed information.
- Columbia UNI - go to www.columbia.edu, select Email in the upper right, then the Manage My UNI link.
- CUMC Email/MC Domain - go to www.cumc.columbia.edu/it (the CUMC IT home page), then select the myPassword link under the Quicklinks heading.
IMPORTANT: The first login prompt to reach the myPassword website uses your UNI account.
What should I do if I can't open or send email from Outlook or my mobile device after changing my password?
Please see this FAQ in the Email at CUMC section of the website.
Why do CUMC Email/MC Domain accounts use the same password, but not UNI accounts?
In short, CUMC Email/MC accounts are part of one system while UNI accounts are another and provide access to different sets of resources.
CUMC (Exchange) email and MC accounts are specific to CUMC and are part of a structure managed by CUMC IT called Active Directory, which centralizes accounts and the rights or "permissions" the account has to login to the Exchange mail and calendar system, computers, and network drives. They are essentially the same account, though not everyone with an Exchange account will also be able to login to MC-connected computers or access the same folders and files on network drives.
UNI accounts are typically used across Columbia schools and departments, with individual accounts being granted access to programs or sites as needed for the individual's work or academic needs.
Why do I have to change my passwords so frequently? Why are the rules for picking a password so difficult?
Accounts and passwords that access sensitive data must meet University policy requirements, including password changes every 45 to 180 days and a minimum level of complexity. This includes UNI accounts which commonly provide access to sensitive individual information including pay stubs and social security numbers on my.columbia.edu, and CUMC email/MC Domain accounts due to CUMC's status as a HIPAA covered entity. Maintaining a high level
of security by requiring regular changes and a level of complexity helps prevent others from guessing or using an old password.
How do I get a login to my department's network drive or computer?
Please see the Computer Login and MC Domain accounts page.
Can I let someone else use my account to access files and other resources?
Sharing of any account is strictly prohibited in the University. Casual employees and consultants are able to receive UNI and MC accounts by following account request procedures, please contact your Department Administrator or supervisor if needed.
How do I get an account for other programs, like IDX or ARC?
Many of the programs used CUMC require a separate account or special access added to an existing account . A list of common programs and how to request help or access is on the
CUMC Applications and Access page.
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