Teachers College
Columbia University

Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars Policy and Program Information


Teachers College welcomes visitors and others who do not hold academic appointments at the College to come to TC to facilitate their research and to participate in its activities. To accommodate the needs of these individuals and recognize their contribution to the intellectual life of the College, TC confers Visiting Scholar status, with limited benefits and privileges, according to the policies and procedures described below.

Eligibility for TC Visiting Scholar Status

Visiting Scholars generally hold a doctorate or its equivalent, from a country other than the United States or are a recognized expert in the field, and are on leave from a faculty appointment at the institution where they are employed. Visiting Scholar status may be offered to scholars from abroad and from American universities and colleges outside the New York metropolitan area who are not teaching at the College or participating in a research project sponsored by the College.

Practicing professionals and creative artists or international officials and former officials of government or non-government organizations, such as UN and their affiliates, are also eligible to be a Visiting Scholar.  In these cases, the requirement of the doctorate may be waived, if needed.

Others eligible for Visiting Scholar status include Teachers College doctoral alumni; staff and doctoral students from foreign universities and government ministries who are engaged in research of special interest to a Teachers College faculty member; and such other persons as will contribute to the intellectual life of Teachers College and are approved by the Vice Provost.

Faculty Host Recommendation

Visiting Scholar status is conferred on behalf of the Provost and Dean of the College, by the Vice Provost or the Director of the Office of International Student Services, on the recommendation of a faculty member in whose academic discipline the proposed visiting scholar has an interest. The faculty host should also obtain the approval of the department chair. TC institute directors and senior staff may also recommend an individual for Visiting Scholar status. A curriculum vita and description of research goals must accompany an application for Visiting Scholar status.

The faculty host will facilitate mutually beneficial interactions between the Visiting Scholar and department colleagues and students. Visiting Scholars are encouraged to present a summary report on their experience at Teachers College to the Provost.


Visiting Scholar Privileges at TC

Visiting Scholar privileges are limited to auditing courses with the permission of the instructor, attending open lectures, a University UNI (for access to electronic resources), e-mail account, and services at Teachers College libraries. Borrowing privileges at other libraries are not included. Information about access to other University libraries may be obtained at the Information Office, 201 Russell.

Individuals may be granted Visiting Scholar status for up to one year. The designation may be renewed for no more than one additional year. "Visiting Scholar" is a courtesy designation and does not signify a formal association with the College. No official records are maintained and no statement of activities is issued.

Visiting Scholars receive a special Teachers College identification card. They are responsible for arranging their own financial support and benefits. They are not eligible for Teachers College housing or Columbia University Health Services/Medical Insurance. They may not be paid compensation from a Teachers College account, given a fellowship or be reimbursed for expenses without prior approval of the Vice Provost or the Director of the Office of International Student Services. They may receive an honorarium for participating in a conference or giving an occasional lecture if they are citizens or permanent residents or, in the case of non-resident aliens, if they have an appropriate visa and the prior authorization of the Director of the Office of International Student Services.

Visiting Scholars are not permitted to enroll in any classes for credit. Prospective visiting researchers wishing to take classes at TC should request an application for non-degree student status from the Office of Admission. Individuals in F-1 or J-1 student status are not granted Visiting Scholar privileges and are required to be full-time students. Contact the Office of International Student Services for more information.

J-1 Visa Sponsorship for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals will ordinarily need a J-1 (research scholar category) visa in order to visit Teachers College. Upon submission of all documentation required by the government, the Office of International Student Services will issue a Form DS-2019 needed to support the J-1 visa application. Federal regulations require that the applicant for J-1 status have sufficient funds for the period of stay at Teachers College and meet the medical insurance requirements of the U.S. Department of State while in the United States. The Application for Visa Certificate (to obtain Form DS-2019) is available from the Office of International Student Services. This office can provide complete details on complying with these requirements.

Please note that, all Visiting Scholars on a J-1- VISA (ie a J-1 Exchange Visitors) must register with the Office of International Student Services slu@tc.columbia.edu

An individual interested in Visiting Scholar status should contact:

Ms. Samantha Lu

Office of International Student Services

Teachers College, Columbia University
Tel: 212-678-3939  
Fax: 212-678-3990