Visiting Scholars

"Visiting Scholar" is a courtesy designation that does not signify a formal association with the University. Individuals named to these titles may not claim a University affiliation for the purpose of applying for grants and contracts and should not represent themselves in their publications and correspondence as having a University affiliation.

Visiting Scholars receive a Columbia University identification card. They are not given office space and are not entitled to secretarial assistance. Visiting scholars are responsible for arranging for their own financial support and benefits. In addition, CEEM is unable to assist Visiting Scholars in obtaining housing in the Columbia/New York area.


Eligibility for Columbia University nonimmigrant sponsorship through a Provost's designation of visiting scholar/scientist is reserved for those people who wish to do their own research at Columbia University. A Visiting Scientist is not allowed to do collaborative research in a laboratory with Columbia officer of instruction or officer of research. Those who plan to do collaborative research, whether or not they are funded by the University, should obtain a University appointment. Appointments as officers of research, regardless of whether they carry compensation or not, are reserved for persons who are participating actively in a formal research program of a department, school, institute, or center. Visiting scholars are normally allowed to stay a maximum of one-year.

The University does not offer "courtesy" appointments to scientists or scholars who wish to be affiliated with in order to pursue research of their own. Title of Research Scientist/Scholar requires a PhD for a University appointment.


  • Visiting scholars are normally allowed to stay a maximum of one-year.
  • Applicants for Visiting Scholar status must hold an earned doctorate or be currently working on their doctorate thesis.
  • Visiting scholars are allowed to use the libraries at no charge. Borrowing privileges can be obtained through the library directory for $30 per month.
  • Visiting scholars are not allowed to participate in collaborative research with University officers of instruction or officers of research - including laboratory research in the Carleton Laboratory or its subsidiary research labs in the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department without a University appointment.
  • Visiting scholars are not allowed to take courses for credit, except for English language training.
  • Visiting Scholars are welcome to participate in all events organized and sponsored by the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department.

Foreign Applicants

Visa to the United States

In order to come to the US as a visiting scholar, foreign applicants will need a J-1 visa. Columbia University is able to provide visiting scholars with a DS 2019 form, a document that is to be presented to the US Consulate authorities, must submit the following documents:

  1. Application for J-1 Visa Certificate - this application will be provided once the visitor is accepted by the Department for Visiting Scholar designation.
  2. Acknowledgment of understanding and promise to comply with Medical Insurance Coverage Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors.
  3. If the person requesting J-1 status has been in the US in the past two years, or is currently in the US, a copy of all previously issued DS-2019 forms.
  4. Funding documents showing the minimum amount per month as set by the Provost's Office each year. The J-1 holder must show at least $2,800/month for the J-1 and $1,000/month for an accompanying spouse plus $500/month for each accompanying child. These amounts are expected to increase each year. All documentation should be submitted in English and should be less than three months old.
    • 12 month minimum $33,600 (individual)
    • 12 month minimum $45,600 (individual + spouse)
    • 12 month minimum $51,600 (individual + spouse + 1 child)
  5. Photocopy of passport identification page
  6. Copy of the CV
  7. Fee authorization form - $500 is charged for filing this application