Visiting Scholars

Per the Office of the Provost, faculty and researchers from other academic institutions or researchers or professionals from industry, museums, or other entities who want to use University facilities to pursue their own independent research with no collaboration with or mentorship from Columbia faculty or officers of research should be designated a visiting scholar. The Visiting Scholar designation is a courtesy designation which carries no formal association with the University. Visiting scholars may not claim a University affiliation for the purpose of applying for grants and contracts or in publications or other correspondences. Since persons with this designation do not hold appointments, they receive a special Columbia University identification card which allows them limited library borrowing privileges. They are not given office space and are not entitled to administrative assistance. Visiting scholars/scientists are responsible for arranging for their own financial support and benefits. 

In exceptional circumstances graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or certain professional fields at another academic institution who want to use University facilities to pursue their own independent research for their Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation without any collaboration, training, or mentorship from Columbia faculty or officers of research may be designated a visiting scholar/visiting scientist, depending on their field.

To apply, and after consulting a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy about your visit and confirming their sponsorship, please provide the following for departmental review to the Department Chair and the Director of Academic Administration and Finance with your proposed faculty sponsor in cc. Applications must be submitted at least six months in advance of the proposed start date.

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Research proposal - this proposal must outline the specific research you plan to do within the context of their overall research project while using the University’s libraries or other research facilities and its relevance to the department’s larger mission. Please see the Office of the Provost page above. 
  3. Invitation letter from your faculty sponsor.
  4. Acceptable evidence of English Language Proficiency.
  5. Proposed dates of your visit. The length of a visit can be up to one year. 
  6. Indication of whether or not a J-1 visa will be necessary for your visit.

Please note that all applications for the Visiting Scholar designation are subject to the approval of the Department of Philosophy, the Office of the Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, and the International Students and Scholars Office. Please be aware that the review and approval process may take several months. 

More information can be found here. If you have any questions about the Visiting Scholar designation, please write to the Director of Academic Administration and Finance. 

For any questions related to J-1 visa matters, please consult the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) website. Please note that the Department does not cover the administrative fee for processing the J-1 visa.