Teaching Scholars Program


The Teaching Scholars Program affords advanced graduate students who have already received the M.Phil. the opportunity to prepare and teach independently a course of their own devising. Students may apply to teach a course either during the academic year or during the summer term. 

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 at the time of applying to the Teaching Scholars program.
  • Students should not apply to be Teaching Scholars for the year in which they are intended to receive their Dissertation Fellowship.
  • 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 15 students, with the minimum enrollment prescribed by each department for course viability.
  • No student may be designated an Academic Year or Summer Teaching Scholar more than twice in his or her graduate career.  Preference should be given to students who have not been appointed Teaching Scholars previously.
  • 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.

Summer Term Process

Departments may forward any number of vetted proposals for consideration by the Teaching Scholars Review Committee, which considers both academic merit and perceived interest for the distinct summer population.

Academic Year Process

  • Departments make the final selections of the Teaching Scholar proposals they wish to offer as courses. Proposals are evaluated and ranked within the department, as opposed to the summer process, which uses the Teaching Scholars Review Committee for that purpose. Directors of Graduate Studies and their faculty selection committee evaluate the quality of the application and a student's teaching experience. Departments only advance to GSAS a number of proposals that does not exceed 10% of the post-M.Phil 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.
  • Academic 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.


Summer Term

Summer Teaching Scholars are compensated at the Summer Term instruction rate (for the Summer 2016 term, $4,700). If a course is canceled due to low enrollment, Teaching Scholars will instead be paid $2,000 for their work in developing the course.

Academic Year

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 ($26,286 for the 2015-16 academic year), as well as facilities and health fees —in other words, the standard Teaching Fellow appointment package.


Summer Term

Friday, September 23, 2016 – Deadline to submit your proposal for Summer 2016 courses to your DGS

Friday, October 7, 2016 – Deadline for DGSs to submit nominations to the Teaching Scholars Review Committee. Please submit materials electronically to

Academic Year

Friday, January 29, 2016 – Deadline to submit your proposal for 2016-17 academic year courses to your DGS

Monday, February 15, 2016 – Deadline for DGSs to submit departmental selections to GSAS. Please submit materials electronically to

How to Apply

A complete application includes the following:

  1. A completed application form (PDF)
  2. 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
  3. 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 unique resources (at Columbia, in New York City, elsewhere) engaged by the course
    • Syllabus, to include
  4. A 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
    • Representative sample of recent evaluations of your teaching, if available
  5. A course approval form, completed by the course instructor, DUS, and DAAF.

Selection Criteria

Summer Term

The selection committee for the summer term Teaching Scholars Program is composed of faculty and administrators from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the undergraduate COI, and the School of Professional Studies, which administers the summer term. Proposals for the summer term will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Intellectual quality and coherency of the course
  • Strategic design of assignments and other engagements of students
  • Innovative use of resources that may be available to students through Columbia University or New York City (cultural or governmental institutions, research opportunities, presentations by relevant local figures, etc.).
  • Purposeful use of digital tools and resources
  • Fit within department for majors
  • Applicant’s active participation in GSAS and other teaching development programs
  • Applicant’s ability to deliver proposed course while making progress towards doctorate

Applicants are advised to discuss their initial ideas for a course proposal with their DGS, as well as with their departmental summer representative (if available), in order to maximize the feasibility and appeal of the summer course.

Successful proposals will be submitted by the DGS to the Teaching Scholars Review Committee. Selection of Teaching Scholars will be completed by mid-December of each year for the following summer.

Academic Year

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. Selection of Teaching Scholars will be completed by mid-March of each year for the following academic year.