ILAS Professional Fellows Program

The ILAS Professional Fellows Program provides Latin America focused mid-career professionals with a one-of-a-kind research and learning community at one of the world’s most prestigious universities and within a dynamic city. The Program is designed for professionals from the fields of government, media, non-profit and business. For researchers with a current academic affiliation (e.g., faculty, postdocs, and graduate students) please see above for information about the ILAS Visiting Scholars Program.

While at ILAS, Professional Fellows play an active role in ILAS-sponsored policy forums, brown bag seminars, and other special events. They are encouraged to participate in the rich programming offered throughout the University as well as pursue other professional interests across the campus.

Fellows also have the opportunity to develop their respective research areas and interests with scholars and faculty throughout Columbia, such as the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia Business School, Columbia Law, and the Graduate School of Journalism.

Columbia’s distinguished academic and research institutions creates a perfect learning environment for fellows to reflect on their careers, exchange perspectives, and acquire new skills and contacts. This experience is further enriched by the diverse organizations and events in New York City, which provide unique opportunities for research, networking, and professional advancement.

Program Benefits

All ILAS Professional Fellows have the following benefits.

  • Opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of Columbia’s distinguished experts in the participant’s field of interest
  • Access to Columbia University Libraries and other facilities
  • Option to audit courses throughout the University with the permission of course instructor
  • Opportunity to publicize the results of their research
Program Fee

The program fee for an ILAS Professional Fellows is $10,000 per semester. For applicants affiliated with a nonprofit institution, we offer a discounted rate of $5,000 per semester. Note that professional fellows are responsible for their own travel and living expenses. In addition to program fees, you will need at least $2,800 per month to cover living expenses. If your family intends to accompany you, an additional $1,000 per month for your spouse and $500 per month per child will be necessary.

How to Apply

“Professional fellow” is a courtesy designation that does not signify a formal association with the University. Participants named to these titles may not claim a University affiliation for the purpose of applying for grants and contracts and should not represent themselves in their publications and correspondence as having a University affiliation. Professional fellows receive a Columbia University identification card, but they are not given office space and are not entitled to secretarial assistance.

Visa and Financial Support

Professional fellows are responsible for arranging for their own financial support and benefits. In addition, the Institute of Latin American Studies is unable to assist fellows in obtaining housing in the Columbia-New York area. In order to come to the United States as a professional fellow, foreign applicants will need a J-1 visa. Columbia is able to provide professional fellows with a DS2019 form, a document that is to be presented to US Consulate authorities when submitting an application for a J-1 visa. If the fellow is accepted, Columbia will ask that the participant pay $500 to cover the cost of issuing a DS2019 form. In addition, Columbia requires specific documentation showing that fellows are able to support themselves financially while in the US; for example, a letter stating that they will have the necessary funds (US$2,800 or more per month) to sustain their living expenses while in the U.S. If professional fellows have a grant from their sponsoring companies or organizations, a letter from either of these institutions will suffice. If professional fellows are to come to Columbia on their personal funds, a letter from their bank is necessary. All documentation must be submitted in English after the participant’s application has been accepted by the ILAS review committee.


Professional fellow candidates are required to:

  1. Complete the application form
  2. Submit a 1- to 3-page proposal explaining in detail their reason of interest in becoming a professional fellow at Columbia and the line of research they hope to follow while at Columbia. Proposals should state how the proposed research benefits from Columbia's unique resources, such as libraries, faculty, and initiatives
  3. Request that a Columbia faculty member write a paragraph endorsing their application
  4. Provide two letters of reference
  5. Provide a CV
  6. Materials must be submitted in English

The Institute of Latin American Studies Executive Committee accepts and reviews proposals on a rolling basis through a highly selective and competitive process, but applications should be submitted at least three months prior to the desired start date. Note that Columbia semesters go from September to December and January to May. For more information, contact Romina Quezada ([email protected]). 

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