Application Process and Instructions

Step 1: Initial Inquiry, Pre-Funding

  • The applicant needs to establish contact with a Katz faculty member in the area of their research.
  • If the Katz faculty is interested in hosting, then the Katz faculty will conduct an online interview with the potential Visiting Scholar.
  • Katz faculty may send an informal invitation letter if the Visiting Scholar needs such a letter to secure funding from their institution. This step is not necessary if the Visiting Scholar already has secured funding.

Step 2: Preliminary Determination

The following documents are needed to make a preliminary determination to accept an applicant as a Katz visiting scholar. Applicants need to submit these via email in PDF format to

  1. Current Curriculum Vitae
  2. Brief statement of proposed research project and research agenda
  3. Intended dates of residence
  4. Letter of Reference or Recommendation from a professor in good standing at a recognized higher education institution who has expertise related to the applicant’s proposed research agenda.
  5. Letter of Funding. A formal Letter of Funding is required from the applicant’s sponsoring institution. If self-sponsored, a Letter of Funding from a reputable financial institution that ensures sufficient funding for the applicant’s proposed duration at Katz. Alternatively, Katz will accept a Letter of Funding from the institution at which the applicant is currently employed. The Letter of Funding must be provided in English.

Once the preliminary determination to accept the applicant has been made, the application information has to be submitted to the University of Pittsburgh’s visitor processing system. At that time, unless further information is required, a formal Letter of Invitation and a Visitor Participation Agreement will be generated. The Katz Visiting Scholar must complete and sign both one copy of the Letter of Invitation and the Visitor Participation Agreement, and have the Agreement signed by an authorized person of their home institution.

Step 3: Visa-Related Documents

After the formal invitation letter and the participation agreement have been executed, the Katz Visiting Scholar applicant needs to email the following further documents in PDF format to

  1. Evidence of English Language Proficiency.
    • A certification of English language proficiency of recognized English test such as TOEFL iBT (minimum score of 80 with all sub scores in at least the intermediate or fair range) or IELTS (minimum score of 6.5) or English3 J1 (minimum score of 2.5) or Duolingo (minimum score of 90; or minimum score of 45 for tests taken prior to July 22, 2019) within 2 years; or
    • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school. Acceptable documentation includes a transcript or diploma certifying completion of a degree at an institution where the sole language of instruction is English or official certification of completion of an English language program within the previous two years where proficiency attained is clearly indicated.
    • If above pieces of evidence are not available, an English language proficiency interview may be required as an option.
    • Applicants from a country whose official language is English will be exempted from this requirement.
  2. Valid Passport
    • Applicants must provide a copy of a current passport, which must include the full name of the applicant, photo, passport number, date of birth, date of issue, and date of expiration. If applicants plan to have dependents traveling with them during their tenure as a Katz Visiting Scholar, passport information should be provided for each dependent.
    • Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the proposed departure date following the conclusion of the program.

Visa Requirements

An accepted visiting scholar will be required to apply for and obtain a United States Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar) visa. Katz has the necessary forms online, but the visiting scholar does not need not complete these forms until they have been notified of their acceptance into the Katz Visiting Scholar Program. Upon their acceptance, they should complete the J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar) On-Line Department Request Form (DRF) Supplemental information and the J-1 Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Requirement Acknowledgment and Pledge Form. There is a $275 visa processing fee which is implemented by the Office of International Services The admission letter will indicate the due date for this fee. This fee will be charged as part of the Visiting Scholars Fee.

Under U.S. immigration regulations, the scholars are required to maintain health insurance for the duration of their residence in the United States. The University of Pittsburgh has information for international visitors about obtaining health insurance, but does not provide health insurance and will not procure health insurance on behalf of any visitor.

Notes on University Infrastructure

Applicants should be aware of the following:

  • Due to space restrictions, the Katz School does not and cannot provide Visiting Scholars with office space or reserved library carrels.
  • We encourage Visiting Scholars to audit classes at Katz. However, permission of the respective instructor is required before doing so. Audited classes do not grant academic credit.
  • Visiting Scholars are strongly encouraged to bring your own laptop, as the number of public computers in the University of Pittsburgh libraries is limited. Scholars are given full access to the University’s wireless network while in residence.