Visiting Scholars Requirements

In keeping with the university’s strategic priorities, St. John’s welcomes visiting scholars from around the world to undertake research, typically for a period of up to one year. The entire St. John’s community—faculty and students alike—benefits from the exceptional diversity and wealth of experiences and perspectives brought by international scholars.

Eligibility Requirements

Prospective visiting scholars should be faculty members and/or doctoral candidates from institutions outside the U.S., and should typically hold terminal degrees (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D.) unless they are in-progress graduate students (usually, at the ABD stage). They must also have:

  • Sufficient English language proficiency to carry out the project specified for their stay at St. John’s.
  • A dedicated SJU faculty sponsor or mentor (for applicants with terminal degrees and those without, respectively), who will be responsible for facilitating their time at St. John’s.
  • Department chair and dean approval (or approval by his/her designate).
  • Adequate health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents that covers them for sickness or accidents during the exchange, as mandated by the U.S. Department of State. (Note: the International Student and Scholar Services Office, also known as the ISSSO, will provide a list of recommended insurance companies to the scholar.)

Please note: Individual St. John’s college deans may set unique criteria for visiting scholars in their division, though these should not contravene the university’s overall policies.

Resources Available to Visiting Scholars:

  • Access to the University library, gym, and computer labs
  • A St. John’s ID and email account
  • Opportunities for collaborative research with SJU faculty
  • Access to presentations, lectures, and cultural events hosted by the University
  • Participation in events and training organized by the Center for Teaching and Learning

Generally Unavailable:

  • Computers
  • Funding
  • Office space (except as available in a given department)
  • Housing, though referrals can be made to reputable real estate companies

Hosting/Becoming a Visiting Scholar at St. John’s

Any dedicated St. John’s faculty member may serve as a sponsor to visiting scholars or as a mentor to in-progress doctoral candidates, and will be responsible for facilitating their time at St. John’s. The basic process follows:

  1. Prospective scholars and their St. John’s faculty sponsors/mentors work together to determine whether they would collaborate well given the intended research project.
  2. John’s faculty members speak with their chairs and deans to ensure that there is appropriate support within the department and college to host the scholar.
  3. If that supports exist, the prospective scholar should submit the following documents to the sponsor/mentor, which will be submitted by the sponsor/mentor to the International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSSO):
    • A brief outline of the research to be conducted at St. John’s.
    • A curriculum vitae.
    • Proof of English proficiency, which can take any of the following forms and which should be specified on the St. John’s DS-2019 application (see below): a TOEFL score of at least 61 or an IELTS score of at least 6 (from last 5 years); signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school verifying English proficiency; or an interview conducted by the sponsor/mentor.
      • The interview should be held in person, by videoconference, or by telephone if videoconferencing unavailable. Documentation of the interview should be available in the inviting department’s records and made available to the Department of State upon request.
    • The John’s DS-2019 application, leaving section 6 (“Sponsoring Department at St. John’s University”) blank. Notes to visiting scholars:
      • A DS-2019 is a U.S. immigration form, supplied by St. John’s, that will allow the scholar to apply for a J-1 visa.
      • Please do not submit the supporting documents (e.g., passport copies, financial support documentation) to your sponsor/mentor. As you will see below, the ISSSO will request these documents directly from the scholar.
      • In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you will need to pay a $220 fee (updated November 2020) to the U.S. government after the DS-2019 is issued.
  4. The sponsor/mentor should review these materials, then write a letter supporting the scholar’s stay at St. John’s. The letter should include details on the type of research to be completed. If the sponsor/mentor needs assistance writing the letter, e-mail [email protected].This faculty letter can also serve as a letter of invitation for the scholar's home school. In addition, the sponsor/mentor should fill out section 6 of the scholar’s DS-2019 application (“Sponsoring Department at St. John’s University”), which requires a signature from the sponsor/mentor, the chair, and the dean. NB: electronic signatures are acceptable.
  5. The St. John’s sponsor/mentor should then email the full packet of materials (i.e., the items listed in numbers 3 and 4 to the ISSSO at [email protected]
  6. The ISSSO team will email the scholar with complete J-1 visa application instructions, and will also request final supporting information (e.g., passport copies, financial support documentation).
  7. After the ISSSO reviews the completed application form, a member of their team will e-mail both the scholar and St. John’s faculty member once the DS-2019 form is issued and sent, a process that usually takes one week once all materials have been submitted.The ISSSO will mail the DS-2019 form via express mail and will provide the scholar with the information needed to make an appointment with a U.S. consular office to apply for a visa.
  8. The scholar will then be responsible for contacting the ISSSO and their St. John’s faculty sponsor/mentor if and when their J-1 visa is issued.