Teaching Scholars Program


The Teaching Scholars Program affords advanced graduate students — those 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 or not to apply for the Teaching Scholars Program, students should consult their department's Director of Graduate Studies.

Program Policies and Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must be in an Arts & Sciences program and have fulfilled all M.Phil. degree requirements by the time they begin their stint as Teaching Scholars.
  • Students must be within the seven-year limit for GSAS funding during their year of service.
  • No more than 10% of a department’s post-M.Phil. population may be nominated as Teaching Scholars by a department in any given year.
  • Courses taught by Teaching Scholars will have an enrollment limit of 15 students, with the minimum enrollment prescribed by each department.
  • No student may be designated a Teaching Scholar more than twice in his or her graduate career, including being a Summer Teaching Scholar.
  • Departments must consider their nominations for Teaching Scholars in the context of their overall TF needs.  In other words, a department may not request additional TF appointments from GSAS in order to cover needs created by its Teaching Scholar nominations.
  • The supervising faculty course 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.
  • In the semester that they are not teaching the proposed course, academic-year Teaching Scholars serve as Teaching Fellows for their department. The Teaching Fellow classroom assignment will be determined by the department after it assesses its overarching curricular needs.
  • Teaching Scholar appointments may not be deferred to a later year.



Summer Teaching Scholars are compensated at the Summer Term instruction rate (for the Summer 2016 term, $4,650). If a course is canceled due to low enrollment, Teaching Scholars will instead be paid $2,000 for their work 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. 



Friday, September 25, 2015 – Deadline to submit your proposal for Summer 2016 courses to your DGS

Friday, October 9, 2015 – Deadline for DGSs to submit nominations to the Teaching Scholars Review Committee

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

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
      • Designation of required and recommended materials
      • Week-by-week schedule of reading assignments
      • Full description and schedule of all other assigned activities
      • Assessment criteria
      • Class and university policies, including a statement on academic integrity and information for students with disabilities
  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

Selection Criteria

Summer Term

The selection committee for the summer term Teaching Scholars Program is composed of administrators from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Continuing Education, 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.

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. Selection of Teaching Scholars will be completed by February of each year for the following academic year.