Visiting Scholars

We welcome Visiting Scholars to participate fully in the creative and intellectual community of the Department. 

All requests for Visiting affiliations must be sent to the Department Chair, at least one semester before the proposed visiting period begins, and requires the approval of a vetting committee. 

The Department (governed by University policy) can invite colleagues with significant credentials (typically a faculty or postdoctoral appointment at another university, although there are other possible qualifications) to spend up to one year (which is renewable for one additional year only under very particular circumstances) in residence as Visiting Scholars. Generally, such visitors are supported by their home institution (such as a sabbatical leave) or by a major granting agency (for example, Fulbright). 

Application procedure

Please email your inquiry directly to the Department Chair with copy to the Academic Department Administrator at least a semester before (and up to one year in advance) of the proposed visiting period. Include a CV, and a brief but formal statement of your reasons for wanting to be at Columbia specifically, and your research or dissertation proposal if appropriate. If you are funded for the proposed period, provide information on the source of support. If you are in the process of seeking funding and require us to attest that we will accept you as a visitor (sometimes the case with Fulbright and other fellowships), we will do so after we have approved your application.

  • All visitors must have a "sponsoring" faculty member during their residency. We generally show preference for visitors whose work is of direct enough interest to at least one member of our faculty to incline them to undertake such sponsorship(s). If you already have a relationship with (or a referral to) a faculty member, approach that person first to determine their interest in sponsoring your Visiting status. The duties of such a faculty sponsor are minimal, and not a major imposition in terms of time or effort. But the sponsor provides a point of contact for the visitor in case of difficulties, or if communication is required between the Department and the visitor's home institution. Please note that Columbia is on summer break from approximately May 15 to approximately Sept 1, every year. During the summer we do not have faculty meetings and cannot act on Visiting Scholar requests. In general, we discourage such requests during the summer months, although you may make individual inquiries with possible faculty sponsors for your proposal.
  • All visiting Scholars are asked to present their work to one of the centers or working groups affiliated with the department, i.e. the Maison française; the Early Modern Salon or the Beyond France workshop. Their faculty mentor will help to make the arrangements.

Please note that Columbia provides no financial compensation, assistance, or support, and no health insurance, to Visiting Scholars. We cannot provide office space, support services, or other major resources. A visiting appointment is a courtesy status, with very limited privileges beyond the affiliation as such. Visiting Scholars are generally not expected (nor generally encouraged) to attend classes or seminars, but may do so as auditors only, and with the individual instructor permission only.

  • There are fees attached to processing your visa paperwork for Visiting status, and if so, you (or your granting agency or home institution) are expected to cover those fees.
  • Visiting Scholars do not teach in any formal capacity at Columbia while they have Visiting status. (Do not confuse the status of "Visiting Scholar" with the appointed status of "Visiting Professor." A Visiting Scholar is not considered to be a member of the faculty of Columbia University in any sense, at any time, and should never claim otherwise.)
  • Per University policy, former and current visiting scholars SHOULD NOT claim to have a Columbia University affiliation for such professional purposes as conference presentations, media appearances, or publications.