African American Studies Visiting Scholar Program


How to become a Visiting Scholar in African American Studies & African Diaspora Studies

The Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley is able to accommodate a limited number of visiting scholars each year to engage in significant independent research projects.

Eligibility Criteria

Graduate students are eligible to apply as “Visiting Student Researchers” when they meet the following specifications:

US-based and international scholars are eligible to apply as “Visiting Researcher Scholars” when they meet the following specifications:

The Application Process

All visiting scholars and visiting student researchers must receive an invitation from an African American Studies faculty member.

Prospective visiting scholars and visiting student researchers who do not have an active collaboration in place with an AfAm faculty member can look for a faculty member whose research interests match their own. Faculty profiles can be found here.

Once a scholar has identified a potential faculty sponsor, they should provide the faculty member with the following information via email:

  • current CV
  • brief description of intended research (length should be 200 words or less)
  • beginning and end date for their visit

If the scholar receives an invitation from the faculty member, the scholar should then contact Gillian Edgelow at for details on the administrative processes.


There are several fees involved in the process of obtaining Visiting Scholar status at UC Berkeley.

  • For international scholars: $690 for the DS2019 Processing Fee for the J-1 visa (there will also be a US government SEVIS fee for the visa itself)
  • For all scholars: $500 Department fee
  • For all scholars: University Services Fee – details here

Please note that the DS2019 Processing Fee and University Services Fee are mandatory and cannot be waived.

Information Regarding Visas

J-1 Visas

Foreign visiting scholars will need to obtain a J-1 Visa to pursue their research in the African American Studies Department. J-1 Visas are obtained by the issuance of a DS-2019 (which is the “certificate of eligibility”). There are several steps to securing a J-1 Visa and each step takes time. Plan for the visa application process to take 3-4 months, depending upon your home country.

Please note: Documentation of an “objective measurement” of English language proficiency is required for all J-1 Exchange Visitors. Either a recognized English language test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, etc) or signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.

Additional Information


Visiting scholars have access to the University’s libraries and are given normal borrowing privileges. Visiting scholars do not have access to secretarial services, office space, office supplies, and generally do not have the use of telephones, fax or express mail services. Visiting scholars are often able to consult with faculty members interested in their field of study, and to participate in the intellectual life of the department by attending presentations and colloquia.

Health Insurance

International visiting scholars must have adequate health insurance during the entirety of their appointment at UC Berkeley. Details can be found here: 


All questions about the African American Studies Visiting Scholar Program should be sent to:

Gillian Edgelow
Visiting Scholar Coordinator