Visiting Scholars | Teachers College Columbia University

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Teachers College Policy Library

Visiting Scholars

Owner: Vice Provost

URL: Scholars

Visiting Scholar Policy

Teachers College (TC) welcomes visitors who do not hold academic appointments at the College to come to TC, for a specific period of time, to facilitate their research and to participate in the activities of the College. To accommodate the needs of these individuals and to 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 from a regionally accredited higher education institution in the United States or its equivalent in another country, and are on leave from a full-time faculty appointment at the institution where they are employed.  In exceptional cases, a recognized expert in the field may also be nominated for Visiting Scholar status.

Practicing professionals, creative artists, former government officials, international officials (from entities such as the UN), leaders of NGOs, TC doctoral alumni and staff who are engaged in research/teaching of special interest to a Teachers College faculty member and are approved by the College may also be eligible for Visiting Scholar status.   In these cases, the requirement of the doctorate may be waived by the Provost. 

An individual who is not eligible for visiting scholar sponsorship but is currently a doctoral student in an institution outside of the U.S. may apply to the College’s non-degree program. For details, please see the Visiting Doctoral Students Policy at


Faculty Host

Visiting Scholar status is conferred on behalf of the Provost and Dean of the College by the Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs.

An individual who wishes to be a Visiting Scholar must be recommended by a faculty member in whose academic discipline the scholar has an interest. The faculty host must be in residence during the visiting scholar’s approved period of stay and is responsible for facilitating mutually beneficial interactions between the Visiting Scholar, faculty colleagues and students. Visiting Scholars are encouraged to participate in scholarly presentations at the College and to present a summary report on their experience at Teachers College.

Directors of TC Institutes and members of Senior Staff may also recommend individuals for Visiting Scholar status.



A prospective Visiting Scholar must complete an application, available on the Office of International Affairs website, and submit a faculty host recommendation letter (noting the approval of the department chair), a curriculum vita and a description of research goals.


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) and e-mail account, and services at Teachers College libraries. Borrowing privileges at other Columbia University 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 not compensated and are not eligible for College or University health insurance.   Visiting scholars are responsible for arranging their own financial support and insurance.  Visiting Scholars may not be compensated from a Teachers College account or given a TC fellowship, and many not be reimbursed for expenses without prior approval of the Executive Director of the Office of International Affairs.  They may receive honoraria 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 Services.

Visiting Scholars may not enroll in classes for credit. Prospective visitors 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 must be full-time students. Contact the Office of International Services for more information.


J-1 Visa Sponsorship for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals ordinarily need a J-1 (research scholar category) visa to visit Teachers College. Upon receipt of all documentation required by the U.S. government, the Office of International Services will issue a Form DS-2019 to support the J-1 visa application. Federal regulations require that applicants 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. The Visiting Scholars Form DS-2019 Application is available from the Office of International Services. This office can provide additional details on complying with these requirements.

Please note that as of May 15, 2015, prospective Visiting Scholars applying for J-1 visa sponsorship from Teachers College are required to demonstrate English Language proficiency.

All Visiting Scholars on a J1 visa sponsored by TC must check-in with the Office of International Services upon arrival to receive a welcome orientation.  

An individual interested in Visiting Scholar status should contact:

Ms. Blessing Nuga 

Office of International Affairs

Teachers College, Columbia University
Tel: 212-678-4010 
Fax: 212-678-4133


Please note: Individuals who do not qualify as VS (Visiting Scholars) or a VDS (Visiting Doctoral Students) are not eligible for visa sponsorship from the College.


Last updated: March, 2016