Advice for Prospective Visiting Scholars and Students
The Department is often approached by scholars and graduate students from other institutions who have plans to spend time in New York and who are seeking a "visiting" (courtesy) affiliation with us. We are delighted to host several Visiting Scholars and Students annually, under a variety of program auspices, and many of us have been graciously hosted at sister institutions in the past. Visiting Scholars and Students enhance the life of our community and create new connections for future exchanges.
However, we receive far more requests for such affiliations than we can possibly honor, and can only accept a small number of affiliated visitors in any given year. Setting up an appointment as a Visiting Scholar or Student (especially for international visitors, where there are visa issues involved) is a complex, time-consuming process for the Department's office staff. It is also important to understand that Columbia provides no financial compensation, assistance, or support, and no health insurance, to Visiting Scholars and Students. We cannot provide office space, support services, or other major resources. Generally, a visiting appointment is a courtesy status, with very limited privileges beyond the affiliation as such.
Here are some general guidelines if you are seeking such an affiliation.
1) Students: GSAS and the Department of Music will permit students enrolled in other graduate programs in Music to spend up to one year (only) in residence, subject to faculty approval. Visiting students must be affiliated with a sponsoring program (such as one of several university consortia or a major granting agency such as Fulbright or DAAD).
2) Scholars: The Department allows visiting scholars with significant credentials to spend up to one year (only) 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).
3) Scholars and Students: The process for applying for visiting status requires that you:
a) Give us significant advance notice, generally meaning you contact us at least a semester before your visiting period begins, and up to one year in advance.
b) Send an initial inquiry directly to the Department Chair (2011-12: Prof. Gerbino), cc'd to the head of the relevant academic area of the Department (2011-12: Prof. Boynton for Historical Musicology; Prof. Dubiel for Music Theory; Prof. Fox for Ethnomusicology; Prof. Lerdahl for Composition) and to the Academic Department Administrator (Anne Gefell, email@example.com). Always include a CV, brief statement of your reasons for wanting to be at Columbia specifically, along with your research or dissertation proposal if appropriate. Be prepared to provide two names of references, generally faculty members in another music department. We may choose to contact your references for a letter, so let them know you've listed them or have them send a letter directly by email to the Chair.
c) If you are funded for the proposed visiting period, provide information (in your initial communication) on the source of support and contact information for the supporting agency so that we can verify your 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 only after we have approved your application as a visitor by the same process described above. We do not do so routinely unless it is necessary and we would otherwise be able to accommodate you. Therefore, make sure you contact us early in your process of seeking funding with the same materials requested above.
4) Visiting Scholars must be willing to give a colloquium in the Department during their period of residency for no additional compensation.
5) In general, Visiting Students are welcome to attend appropriate classes and seminars with instructor permission, and for credit only if the sponsoring program requires this and has a reciprocal arrangement for Columbia students. Visiting Scholars are generally not expected to attend classes or seminars, but may do so as auditors only with instructor permission only.
6) We generally show preference for visitors whose work is of direct interest to at least one member of our faculty. All visitors must have a sponsoring faculty member during their residency. We can suggest such sponsors for you, but if no member of the faculty is willing to undertake your sponsorship, we cannot accommodate you.
7) Visiting Scholars and Students must be approved by a majority of the full-time faculty in the Department. This is an important reason why you must give us at least several months' advance notice ahead of your planned period of residency.
8) While Columbia's International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will assist international Visiting Scholars and Students, the visitor is solely responsible for knowing and conforming to applicable immigration policies and laws. There may be fees attached to processing your immigration paperwork for Visiting status, and if so, you (or your granting agency or home institution) are expected to cover those fees.
9) In general, we can accept no more than 4 Visiting Scholars and no more than 3 Visiting Students at any one time. Once again, if you are hoping to be affiliated with us as a Visitor, you must make contact with the Department Chair's office (not just an individual faculty member) with your request as far in advance as possible.
10) No individual member of the faculty can approve or confirm Visiting status for a scholar or student without approval from the Chair's office and a majority of the full-time faculty, nor can any other agency or office at Columbia University. Requests must be sent first to the Chair and the appropriate Area head.
11) Former visiting scholars and students SHOULD NOT claim to have earned a degree from Columbia or attended a Columbia University-sponsored training program unless the terms of their sponsorship specify otherwise (IUDC visiting students, for example). Visiting status is not enrollment or matriculation. A visiting scholar or student's affiliation with Columbia begins and ends with the period of visiting appointment. We do not, ever, issue credentials, degree, or subsequent formal affiliation to visiting scholars or students.