Columbia University School of Nursing
Visiting Scholars, Scientists and Students for Scholarly Activities

International Vistors

Visiting Scholars Policy

School of Nursing faculty members with expertise in specific areas receive requests from graduate students or faculty members from other schools, often international, to study or work with them for varying lengths of time. Such requests may be considered if the scholarly visitor (a) will contribute positively to the faculty member’s research and to the School’s mission and goals and (b) has full funding for the entire visit, including housing, travel, cost of living, and School/University fees.

Short-Term Visiting Scholars

In many cases, visitors involved in research or scholarly activities are appointed as officers of research or designated as visiting scholars or visiting scientists. In a few exceptions, short-term visitors have no appointment, formal affiliation, or designation with the University, but come to the University for a brief period for training or to observe research techniques. In preparation for such visitors, the University has Guidelines for Short-term Visitors in Research-Related Activities posted on the website of the Executive Vice President for Research at

All short-term visitors must register by submitting a registration form to the Director of Faculty Affairs, for CUMC. The registration form must be approved by the principal investigator and relevant chair, director, and dean/vice president. A blank form that can be printed or downloaded is appended to the Guidelines at

Requests for short-term visits (e.g. ≤1 year) must follow the University Guidelines for Short-term Visitors in Research-Related Activities, and short-term visitors (including students working on research projects for the summer) must comply with the University's policies concerning safety, training, human subject protection, and other requirements. Short-term visitors must obtain a temporary University ID; procedures are described in the Guidelines.

Special provisions apply to minors, defined as individuals less than eighteen years of age, performing (as opposed to being present during a tour for strictly observational purposes) research-related activities in University laboratories.

  • A parental consent form must be completed and signed by parent or guardian to allow minors to work in a laboratory.
  • No one under the age of fourteen shall be allowed in any University laboratory.
  • No one under the age of eighteen may handle radioactive materials.
  • No one under the age of eighteen may work with animals.
  • No one under the age of eighteen is allowed to be alone in a laboratory.
  • No one under the age of eighteen can handle human blood, human cell lines, or any other material defined as "other potentially infectious materials" by OSHA (Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030).

International Visitors – Short Term Visits

Columbia University School of Nursing and its WHO Collaborating Center for the International Nursing Development of Advanced Practice welcomes international visitors for short term visits of one to three days. Groups may consist of one to 5 persons.

Advance notice is required in order to accommodate visitors and a request must include:

  • Proposed dates of visit
  • Names and titles of visitors
  • Goal of your visit
  • Names of any CUSON faculty you would like to meet. Our office will contact them.
  • Email and other contact information. 

Many faculty are not available in August. Visits from the middle of December until the first week in January are not available as school is not in session at this time. 

CUSON is not able to arrange any visits to hospitals or other clinical sites.

All international visitors wishing to visit CUSON must contact the WHO Collaborating Center director, Elaine Larson ( to proceed with a request

Visas: Both short-term visiting scholars and short term international visitors may need to apply for J-1 visas ( International students who are coming to Columbia to matriculate for a degree need to apply through the Office of Student Affairs and will need an I-20 visa. Assistance is available for both J-1 and I-20 applications. 

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships


A postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Nursing is a recent recipient of a doctoral degree who has won a competitive, reviewed award to develop more advanced research competency under the guidance of School of Nursing faculty, or an individual with more experience who has won an award permitting retraining in a new specialty or discipline under similar guidance.

The primary purposes of postdoctoral training are to facilitate the development of the trainee for a scholarly career in a focused area of research, to add to the published body of knowledge in the field of study, to develop grant applications for further study, and to enhance the research program of the faculty scholar and the School. The specific aims are to provide a doctoral graduate with focused support and to enhance both the individual recipient and the scholarly strengths of the School through the development and support of strong research faculty. Hence, postdoctoral research fellowships must be in areas of study currently under exploration by faculty.

Types of Fellowships 

The University recognizes three types of fellows relevant to the School of Nursing:

Postdoctoral Research Scientists/Scholars (PDRS) are recent recipients of the doctorate, or its professional equivalent, who may be appointed for full- or part-time service for a term of up to twelve months, renewable for a total period of service in a postdoctoral rank of up to three years. Extensions for up to an additional two years may be made with the prior permission of the Provost. Officers appointed in this rank are paid a salary through the Office of the Controller or by an affiliated hospital or institute.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows (PDF) are recent recipients of the doctorate, or its professional equivalent, who have won awards, usually from external agencies, to continue their training at the University or individuals of greater experience who have won awards permitting them to retrain themselves in a new discipline or specialty. PDFs may be appointed for full- or part-time service for a term of up to twelve months, which is renewable for a total period of service in a postdoctoral rank of up to three years. Extensions for up to an additional two years may be made with the prior permission of the Provost. In contrast to postdoctoral research scientists and scholars, these fellows are generally not paid a salary. Instead, they usually receive fellowship stipends, either through the University’s Office of the Controller or directly from an external funding agency.

Postdoctoral Clinical Fellows (PCF) are recent recipients of the doctorate, who come to the University to gain additional clinical training after completing their residency, or individuals of greater experience who wish to change clinical specialties. PCFs may be appointed for full- or part-time service for a term of up to twelve months, which is renewable for a total period of service in a postdoctoral rank of up to three years. Extensions for up to an additional two years may be made with the prior permission of the Provost. These fellows may simultaneously hold appointments as officers of instruction in the rank of assistant in clinical (department). Depending upon the source of funding, one of these appointments will be full-time and the other, part-time. When the fellow receives a stipend, the appointment as a postdoctoral clinical fellow is full-time and the assistant in clinical (department) is part- time. The reverse is true when the individual is paid a salary.

Selection and Appointment

Guidelines for potential postdoctoral fellows are available through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, A postdoctoral fellow is appointed by the Dean. The appointment may be made on the recommendation of the Associate Dean for Research and the potential faculty sponsor following successful completion of the application process. An appointment is for a twelve-month term, renewable once for a maximum of two years, depending on available funding and potential for continuing development. Additionally, the end date of postdoctoral appointments may be affected by visa issues and/or the terms of a sponsored project.

For international visitors, The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to institute procedures for verifying that a job applicant is authorized to be employed in the United States. A postdoctoral fellow is required to produce the necessary documentation that he or she is either a US citizen or authorized to be employed in the United States as a condition of the appointment via completion of the government-issued Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) no later than the first day of work.


Faculty members at the rank of associate professor or professor (modified or unmodified title) with an established program of research are eligible to sponsor postdoctoral research fellows. Each such faculty member usually supervises no more than two postdoctoral research fellows at any one time.

Application and Review
Applicants will submit a letter of intent/interest to the proposed sponsor, who will review the proposal with the Dean and Associate Dean for Research. The preferred source of funding for postdoctoral experience is the National Research Service Award (NRSA) or similar awards from the National Institutes of Health ( or comparable funders. The application for such an award requires a faculty sponsor and the same level of review as other proposals being submitted to NIH or other federal agency.

Qualifications for the applicant include:

  • Outstanding record of achievement in doctoral studies, including manuscript summarizing 
doctoral dissertation published or accepted for publication;
  • Clear outline of the plan of research or scholarly work and how it contributes to the faculty sponsor’s work and applicant’s future career goals;
  • Documentation of full funding for expenses related to the fellowship.

Applicants should submit a CV, proposal for scholarly work, budget, and any other documents required by the University and faculty sponsor.

Financial Policies

Postdoctoral research fellowships are generally funded by way of specific research grant allocations of School of Nursing faculty or through institutional or individual NIH-funded National Service Research Awards (NSRAs) or similar external funding sources. NIH funded fellowships are highly desirable and should be the first source of funding considered by potential applicants and their sponsors. In addition, the School of Nursing may offer postdoctoral training funded through the Dean’s Office.

Fellowships funded through an NRSA or other federal training grants have designated financial parameters. Individual fellowships funded by sources other than NIH must include the overhead costs necessary to provide office space, support services, and faculty mentoring for the fellow. All applicants for fellowships from non-federal sources must have written documentation of full funding before their application can be reviewed. International scholars must include documentation of support for living expenses as other requirements for a visa application. Arrangements for office, computer and other support service as well as living arrangements are made on an individual basis.

In addition to living expenses (see cost of living estimates below), estimated training-related expenses per semester include the following:

Compensation for faculty mentoring, institutional overhead, which includes office space and equipment and use of University resources

Total training costs/semester: $3,500.

Note: Postdoctoral fellows do not generally take courses for academic credit, but in some circumstances the fellow may apply to the school offering the course as a special non-degree student. A limited number of applicants may be granted admission as special (non-degree) students, and policies of the specific school offering the desired course must be followed.

Approximate Cost of Living for New York City (per semester):
  Per Semester
Housing* $4,500
School Administrative Fee/semester (includes overhead and faculty time and mentoring) $3,500
Transportation (subway, bus, taxi) $450
Food and miscellaneous $1,800
TOTAL $10,250

*No housing is provided by Columbia; each person is responsible for finding their own housing Excludes any extra costs such as telephone, shopping, personal items.

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