Visiting Scholars Program
During recent decades, Columbia Law School’s Visiting Scholars Program has hosted thousands of exceptional international scholars, professors, judges, practitioners, and government officials.
The individuals who participate in the program each year are immensely diverse. Their research and scholarship touch on a multitude of legal disciplines, including comparative and international criminal law, human rights, legal philosophy, commercial and corporate law, and constitutional law as well as international private and public law. Visiting Scholars range from senior faculty at the world’s leading research institutions, to doctoral students who are at the start of their scholarly careers.
All are invited to participate in the bi-weekly Visiting Scholar Forum series, at which visitors present their work-in-progress to peers from around the world. They may also, with permission from the instructor, audit up to two classes each semester. Visiting Scholars also have access to Columbia Law School’s renowned Arthur W. Diamond Law Library as well as a dedicated 24-hour workspace equipped with wireless access, free printing and other amenities.
The Office of International Programs will generally not review applications, regardless of when submitted, until shortly after the deadline associated with each respective intake period. Exceptions may be requested in conjunction with applications that must be submitted early to meet the requirements of prospective funding sources. In all cases, however, applicants should anticipate that a response will take approximately eight weeks.
Attention: Applicants from Greater China should review special instructions.
All prospective Visiting Scholars, regardless of country of residence or any existing affiliation, must submit an application form and the supporting materials.
The required documents are:
- Completed Visiting Scholar Application (Please use Adobe Reader to open the application, fill in your responses, make changes and save as YOUR FULL NAME_VS Application.)
- Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
- One-page research proposal
- List of Publications
- Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
Important Instructions for the Visiting Scholars Application form:
- Please use Adobe Reader to open the application form, fill in your responses, and make changes.
- Please complete all sections and enter “not applicable” or “N/A” as needed.
- After completing the application, save it using your name in the following naming convention: YOUR FULL NAME_VS Application
- Submit your saved application along with the other required documents as separate attachments (not a zip file) in an email addressed to IntlProgramsManager@law.columbia.edu.
- Any questions should be directed to IntlProgramsManager@law.columbia.edu.
Applications will be reviewed three times during the year, corresponding with three program intakes, as follows:
- Fall intake - Candidates who propose to join the program in the Fall term should submit their applications no later than April 1.
Candidates from Greater China - please review special instructions.
- Spring intake – Candidates who propose to join the program during the Spring term should submit their applications no later than September 1 of the previous year.
- Summer intake – Candidates who propose to join the program during the Summer break should submit their applications no later than March 1.
The Office of International Programs, after sending an invitation, is generally not able to defer the intake period for which a visitor has been invited. Invited applicants may, however, choose to re-apply at a later time.
Application Fee. There is no application charge at this time. Prospective applicants should be aware, however, that a $75 application fee is under consideration and may be instituted in the near future.
Program Fee. There is an administrative Program Fee of $7,500 per academic year; $3,750 for the fall or spring intake periods; and $2,000 for a summer-only stay. Visitors who are not primarily employed as scholars, students, government officials, judicial officers or civil society leaders will be assessed a 33% surcharge.
Visa Processing Fee. Visiting Scholars who require a visa will be charged a fee of $500 by the International Student & Scholars Office (ISSO) of Columbia University.
Fees Cannot be Pro-Rated. Visitors are charged the full program fee for any portion of any intake period (fall, spring, summer) in which they are in the United States and designated as a Visiting Scholar. This fee cannot be pro-rated for late arrivals or early departures. Visitors who are otherwise designated as Visiting Scholars for two academic semesters may, however, participate in the summer intake period without any additional charge.
The U.S. State Department requires that Columbia Law School ensure that visitors' English language proficiency will permit day-to-day functioning and allow for a productive experience while here. Preference is given to applicants with standardized test scores equivalent to the TOEFL 100/250/600 range.
Applicants with no standardized test scores may instead provide English-proficiency certification from their home institutions. If you are not reporting a test score as part of your application, you may list the name of an institution that will certify your English proficiency if you are selected. Native English speakers need no certification.
Applicants who are accepted into the Visiting Scholars Program will be required, as part of the separate visa application process, to provide acceptable certification of their English proficiency.
China Scholarship Council (CSC) funding recipients are solely responsible for certifying English proficiency for CSC purposes.
Sponsorship at Columbia Law School
Visiting Scholars may, in some cases, be invited with the sponsorship of a Columbia Law School faculty member, Center, or Institute. These sponsors agree to provide guidance regarding a visitor’s research, but applicants should be aware that the extent of such consultation may be limited. It is the responsibility of prospective visitors who may require closer consultation to determine, before arriving at the Law School, that their expectations for guidance match those of their particular sponsor.
Visiting Scholars who do not wish, or are unable, to secure a sponsor may in some cases be sponsored by the Office of International Programs on an “independent” basis. Participation in the Visiting Scholars program on an “independent” basis is not generally appropriate for those requiring guidance from Columbia faculty, whose own research commitments may make it impossible for them to engage with visitors.
If you would like to be considered for sponsorship, on the application there is space to propose between one and three faculty members, Centers or Institutes with academic specializations that correspond with your own.
- Failure to propose a sponsor may reduce the likelihood of an invitation.
- You are not responsible for contacting prospective sponsors directly to ask their agreement. The Office of International Programs will contact them on your behalf after receiving your application.
Application Deadline: To facilitate administrative coordination with the China Scholarship Council (“CSC”) fellowship program, preference will be given to applications from Greater China that are received by January 15. Applications received after this date, regardless of whether the candidate plans to apply for a CSC grant and/or the Edwards Fellowship in Chinese Law, will be considered only as long as space remains available.
China Scholarship Council (CSC) Funding Recipients: 1) Applicants are solely responsible for providing their English language proficiency certification for CSC purposes. Columbia Law School is not able at this time to test and certify English language ability; 2) CSC award letters need to state the dollar amount awarded per month.
Edwards Fellowship: If you intend to apply for an Edwards Fellowship you must submit the separate Edwards application, along with the Visiting Scholar Application, to the Office of International Programs.
Verification Letters: Visiting Scholars from Greater China who require a letter verifying basic information about their stay at Columbia may request one by writing directly to their sponsor (e.g., Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Office of International Programs, etc.) Please note, however, that letters cannot be provided more than about one month before a Visiting Scholar's departure date.
Apply now for the Edwards Fellowship
Apply now to the Visiting Scholars Program