Visiting Scholars and Practitioners Policy

Information and Application Procedures for Visiting Scholars and Practitioners

Thank you for your interest in a research stay in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  To help applicants understand the application process to receive Visiting Scholar/Practitioner status in Department, we have summarized the following steps.


The Department is no longer accepting visiting scholar and practitioner applicants for the 2016-2017 academic year.



A. You submit documents and information required for initial consideration:


  1. A letter which indicates:
    • Your specific reasons for choosing the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Department of Urban & Regional Planning over other universities and departments in the United States.
    • The professor(s) in the Department who have indicated an interest in serving as the sponsor/host for your research or advanced study. You may find a list of faculty members whom you may contact, and their research specializations, via the "people" link on our website:
    • A summary of the research that you propose to conduct during the appointment as a visiting scholar.
    • Proposed dates of your stay.  The Department allows a maximum stay of twelve months.   There is no minimum length of stay, although scholars should be in residence an adequate time to accomplish their research.  Please note:  The academic year consists of two semesters. The first semester begins at the end of August and finishes in the middle of December. The second semester begins in the middle of January and finishes in the middle of May. In addition, there is a Summer Session which begins in the middle of June and finishes in the middle of August. The Visiting Scholar should plan to be in Madison before the beginning of any of these sessions. Most Scholars are in residence during the normal term of the academic year—end of August to middle of May—plus the Summer Session.  
  2. Current curriculum vitae of applicant. For visiting scholars, the Department presumes that a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree is necessary to adequately conduct research. An applicant without such a degree must justify the Department's waiver of this requirement.  For visiting practitioners, a Masters or significant amount of planning experience is necessary.
  3. Statement of Fluency in English.  Research and teaching is conducted in the English language at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Your letter should state the level of spoken and written English you possess.  


B.  Review of request by the Department.


For proposed stays for longer than 2 months, upon receipt of the above-described information, the Department considers the request for a visiting scholar appointment at the October  Department faculty meeting for stays proposed to begin the following January and at the March Department faculty meeting for stays to begin in September.  It is your responsibility to have your request to the Department in time for its consideration and any other approvals you might need.  If a majority of the faculty approves, the Chair will send you a written invitation to join the Department as a visiting scholar.


For proposed stays of less than 2 months, the sponsor/host professor will negotiate the details of the stay with the Department chair.


C.  After faculty approval, you submit additional documents.


The Department must submit the information requested in these forms to International Faculty and Staff Services. Before the Department can request that the University of Wisconsin–Madison issue you a DS-2019 immigration form, you must send us:


  1. Financial documentation indicating sufficient funds to cover your stay.  Documentation must be in English.  Documents must be original; photocopied or faxed copies are not acceptable.  In addition, specific U.S. dollar amounts are required on financial documentation; statements such as "funds to cover stay" are not acceptable.  The amount of financial support changes annually.  For the current amounts see web site of the International Faculty and Staff Services Office in the University’s Office of Human Resources,  Applicants who use private funds to cover their stay must send bank records in English, on letterhead, with original signatures, indicating account balances, which clearly demonstrate that funds are sufficient to cover the intended duration of stay.
  2. City and country of birth for applicant and accompanying family members.
  3. Date of birth of applicant and accompanying family members.
  4. Country of citizenship and legal permanent residence of applicant and accompanying family members.
  5. U.S. Social Security number (if you have been to the United States and obtained a Social Security number on a previous visit).


More complete information for international visitors is available from the web site of the International Faculty and Staff Services Office in the University’s Office of Human Resources,  Please read this website, which has links to important information about health insurance requirements with the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).


D.  The University sends you DS-2019 authorization.


The DS-2019 form allows the applicant to request a J-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate.  This DS-2019 form is sent to the applicant by the University of Wisconsin–Madison's Office of International Faculty and Scholar Services.


E.  While at the Department of Urban & Regional Planning...


In consultation with the faculty mentor, the Department invites visiting scholars to contribute to the intellectual life of the Department (e.g. make a course presentation, present a public lecture to students and faculty, interact with student organizations, and/or attend Department gatherings and seminars).


Please note: The Department of Urban & Regional Planning does not provide financial support to Visiting Scholars.  However, the department will provide the following:


  1. Office and desk space (when available). In some cases, visiting scholars will share an office with others on short-term appointments.  Each office has a telephone for local calls and access to the Internet.
  2. For stays of at least two weeks: staff identification card which will allow you to make use of campus libraries and most University facilities.
  3. Use of a computer in the Department computer lab allowing for word processing, e-mail, and access to the Internet when the lab is not in use for instructional purposes.
  4. Access to a photocopier for necessary duplication of research materials (within reasonable limits).
  5. Essential office supplies.
  6. Incoming faxes. (Outgoing faxes and mailing costs are the responsibility of the visiting scholar.)
  7. Access to courses taught in the Department and the University.  Visiting scholars must ask the faculty member teaching each course for permission to observe classes.


At the conclusion of the appointment, the visiting scholar will submit a summary report to the Department Chair detailing the results of the research and comments on his or her stay in the Department.