Teaching Scholars Program

The Teaching Scholars Program is a professional and academic development opportunity that affords advanced doctoral students in Arts & Sciences programs the opportunity to design and teach a course in their area of expertise in preparation for the job market.

In considering whether to apply for the Teaching Scholars Program, students should consult their director of graduate studies.

Program Policies and Eligibility Requirements
  • Doctoral students must be in an Arts & Sciences program and have fulfilled all M.Phil. degree requirements and passed their prospectus defense by the time they would begin their appointment as Teaching Scholars.
  • Students may not apply to be Teaching Scholars for the year in which they are scheduled to receive their Dissertation Fellowship (typically the fifth year).
  • Students must be within the seven-year limit for GSAS funding during their term of service.
  • Courses taught by Teaching Scholars will have an enrollment limit of fifteen students, with the minimum enrollment prescribed by each department for course viability.
  • No student may be designated a Teaching Scholar more than once in his or her graduate career.
  • The supervising faculty sponsor will commit to visiting the class at least twice during the semester to evaluate and offer guidance and feedback on the student's pedagogical performance.
  • Teaching Scholar appointments may not be deferred to a later year


  • Departments make the final selections of the Teaching Scholar proposals they wish to present for consideration. Proposals are first evaluated and ranked within the department.
  • Directors of Graduate Studies and their faculty selection committee may only advance to GSAS a number of proposals that does not exceed 10 percent of the post-MPhil funding-eligible population in any given year. 
  • GSAS subsequently submits all of the endorsed proposals to the undergraduate COI for final review. The expectation of GSAS and the COI is that once any additional COI feedback is incorporated, all courses will be approved to be offered in the coming year.
  • Teaching Scholars are appointed for one full year: for one semester, they teach their Teaching Scholar course; in the other semester, they serve as Teaching Fellows in an assignment determined by the department upon assessment of its curricular needs.
  • Departments must consider their nominations for Teaching Scholars in the context of their overall Teaching Fellow needs. In other words, a department may not request additional Teaching Fellow appointments from GSAS in order to cover needs created by its Teaching Scholar nominations.

For the year in which they teach, students will receive an appointment as a Teaching Scholar in one semester and as a Teaching Fellow in the other; this year-long appointment will include tuition, a combination of stipend and salary ($28,290 for the 2017-18 academic year), as well as facilities and health fees —in other words, the standard Teaching Fellow appointment package.


Friday, January 27, 2017 – Deadline to submit your proposal for 2017-18 academic year courses to your DGS

Monday, February 13, 2017 – Deadline for DGSs to submit departmental selections to GSAS. Please submit materials electronically to gsas-dean [at] columbia.edu.

How to Apply

A complete application includes the following:

1. A completed application form:

A. Proposed course summary, which includes the following:

  • Course title
  • A one-paragraph course description, suitable for the course bulletin, including any prerequisites
  • Rationale for proposed course and its role in the departmental curriculum, with emphasis on innovative aspects of the course

B. Proposed course details, including the following:

  • Full course description, including designation of main topics, themes, sections of the course
  • Top course learning objectives, specifying specific skills and expertise that students will gain
  • Identification of any unique resources (at Columbia or elsewhere) engaged by the course

C. Applicant teaching profile, which includes the following:

  • List of teaching experience, both formal and informal, to date
  • Description of teaching development activities at Columbia and elsewhere
  • Description of your teaching strengths, strategies, style – anchored by example(s) or representative anecdote(s)
  • Brief indication of the relation of proposed course to your research

2. Syllabus, to include:

3. Representative sample of recent evaluations of your teaching, if available 

4. A course approval form, completed by the course instructor and DAAF. (Note: A signature from the DUS on the course approval form is not required. Upon initial approval by the undergraduate COI, DAAFs will then be asked to submit an official online course approval form with DUS approval by March 15, 2017.)

Selection Criteria

Proposals for the academic year are evaluated by the respective departments, using the following criteria:

  • Fit of the course with department's curriculum and programmatic needs
  • Quality of the student's previous teaching performance
  • Overall intellectual quality of proposal
  • Quality of course content, student learning activities, and assessment of student learning
  • Proposer's ability (based on his or her academic track-record) to deliver the proposed course while continuing to make satisfactory academic progress toward the degree

Successful proposals will be submitted by the DGS to the Graduate School. GSAS then submits all of these proposals to the undergraduate COI for final review. Confirmation of Teaching Scholars will be completed by mid-March of each year for the following academic year.

The Summer Teaching Scholars Program was concluded in Summer 2016.