Visiting Scholars Program
Over the 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 have access to Columbia Law School’s renowned Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, and a dedicated workspace is open for their use 24 hours each day and equipped with wireless access, free printing and other amenities.
All prospective Visiting Scholars, regardless of country of residence or any existing affiliation, must submit the online application form as well as these supporting materials: CV, one page research proposal, publication list, two letters of recommendation.
PLEASE NOTE: A new application form has been adopted as of February 26, 2014. Older versions of the form will continue to be accepted, but applications that are submitted with the new form are likely to receive responses more quickly.
Please download a Visiting Scholars application or request one by contacting the Office of International Programs as follows:
Visiting Scholars Program
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street
New York, N.Y. 10027 USA
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.
Note for Candidates from Greater China - 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 February 10. 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.
- 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 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.
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 a single semester; 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 U.S. government mandated fee of $300 by the International Student & Scholars Office (ISSO) of Columbia University.
Prospective visitors who are not native English speakers will be asked to report a score from the TOEFL, IELTS, or other internationally-recognized English-language proficiency test.
Preference will be given to applicants with scores equivalent to those required by Columbia Law School’s LLM program (i.e., the TOEFL 105/620 range). Applicants who cannot report such a score must request a waiver of this requirement by providing, on the application form, a self-evaluation of their English-language proficiency and explaining how they achieved that. Applicants who request a waiver will be asked to provide a telephone number at which the Office of International Programs may call them, as well as the best time of day to reach them at that number.
Sponsorship at Columbia Law School
Visiting Scholars may request to be invited with the sponsorship of a Columbia Law School faculty member, Center or Institute. Such sponsors agree to provide guidance regarding a visitor’s research, but applicants should be aware that the extent of such consultation varies and 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.