Visiting Doctoral & Postdoctoral Researcher Applications

visiting students and scholars


The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) welcomes applications from doctoral students or post-doctoral scholars in higher education from all over the world to do research related to the Center’s areas of expertise. We provide a scholarly home for a limited number of students or post-docs for one to 12 months. 

Visiting Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researchers

Current doctoral students working on a dissertation topic that must include an American higher education component to be considered for affiliation as a Visiting Doctoral Researcher. Post-doctoral scholars may also apply. These opportunities are limited and are offered only in connection with current CSHE initiatives or research projects.

Selection Criteria for Doctoral Researchers

  • Applicants must be writing a dissertation in any discipline related to higher education and must have advanced to candidacy before applying.
  • Must be enrolled at another university (not the University of California) for the duration of their appointment.

Selection Criteria for Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Applicants must have completed their dissertation in any discipline related to higher education no more than four years ago.
  • Must either be employed at a university or have an external fellowship for the duration of their appointment. 

Selection Criteria for both categories

  • Must have sufficient funding to meet UC Berkeley’s compensation requirements.
  • Applicants must have a clear reason for basing their research at CSHE and at UC Berkeley. 
  • Candidate’s research must be related to one of the areas of expertise at CSHE.
  • Each visiting Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Researcher must be sponsored and supported by a CSHE affiliate or faculty member.
  • Research projects need to be conducted at CSHE and UC Berkeley and Researchers must be in residence at UC Berkeley for the majority of their stay.
  • Advanced English Language Proficiency
  • In order to obtain a J-1 visa, the US State Department requires that scholars must have sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement, in order to successfully participate in their programs on a day-to-day basis.
  • The application requires one of three ways to verify English language proficiency:
  • In addition, the proposed CSHE sponsor will conduct a zoom interview with applicant to verify English language skills.

Expectations for both categories

  • A CSHE Researcher will be your sponsor and meet with you regularly to discuss your research.

  • That you participate in the Center's scholarly life and programs, including lectures, seminars, and conferences throughout the academic year.

  • That you participate in regular meetings for Visiting Scholars and Doctoral Researchers with the Center’s staff and affiliates.

  • That you enjoy full access to UC Berkeley’s libraries and electronic resources and receive a University e-mail account for the duration of the  stay. Additionally, you will have access to shared office space.

  • That you give presentations on your research, including a final public presentation about the outcome of your research while at CSHE.

Application Review

Those planning a longer stay are encouraged to apply a year in advance. CSHE prefers to review applications for Visiting Doctoral Researchers twice a year,  Preference is given to applications submitted before the deadlines.

  • For arrival during the Fall Semester (August 15 – December 20) – deadline is February 15
  • For arrival during the Spring Semester (January 5 – May 15) – deadline is September 15

Application Procedure

A complete application consists of:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in coming to the Center that includes:
    • Proposed arrival date and length of stay;
    • Names of potential sponsors at CSHE;
    • How and where you learned about the Center;
    • Brief statement on how affiliation with CSHE will help you accomplish your research goals and further your career development; and
    • A description of funding sources for your visit.
  • A complete curriculum vitae including full publication list.
  • A three-to-five page proposal that includes:
    • Title of proposed project while in residence at Berkeley
    • Description of research project and plan of research
    • Research goals during period of affiliation and a timeline
    • The campus resources you intend to use while at CSHE. The project should be clearly articulated and specifically linked to the resources and opportunities available at the Center and on the Berkeley campus.
    • See link for suggested proposal outline.
  • Test on English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS scores for those for whom English is not their native language. Regardless of your score, your potential sponsor will interview you over Zoom or Skype.
  • Two letters of reference mailed directly to or the address below. Letters not mailed directly to Dr. MacLachlan will not be considered.

Submission of Application

Completed applications may be submitted in the way that is most convenient for you:

  1. Email to and
  2. Mailed directly to:

Anne MacLachlan, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholars Coordinator
Center for Studies in Higher Education
771 Evans Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-2310

Completed applications are then reviewed by the CSHE Visiting Scholars Committee. Applicants will be notified of the Committee's decision in writing within a reasonable period of time.

After Selection

Successful applicants will be asked to submit additional application forms and pay required non-refundable fees upfront before the J-1 visa is processed and the appointment letter is issued.


Visiting Scholars are expected to pay a range of required fees to the university and US government for processing the visa and other services. Also, they must provide proof of health insurance, which may carry additional fees.  See the current itemized fees list.

The CSHE Affiliation Fee for Visiting Doctoral Researcher and Post-Doctoral Researcher is:

  • $1,000 (6 months or less)
  • $2,000 (6 months to one year)

Proof of Funding

To obtain a J-1 Visa, international students must provide proof of funding.

CSHE does not provide funding for visiting students/scholars it agrees to host. Applicants must submit documentation verifying and detailing funding for the entire period of their desired affiliation. If funding documentation is not in English, the applicant should provide a translation. See the latest requirements for providing proof of funding.

Note: If you are applying for funding from any international or national agency, such as Fulbright, it is very helpful in obtaining this kind of funding to be ALREADY accepted by the institution where you wish to work. So, apply early.

Helpful Links

Visiting Scholars and Post Doc Affairs

Berkeley International Office

List of Temporary Housing Options

Suggested Proposal Outline