Visiting Scholar Programs

The Center hosts a small number of visiting affiliates for appointments ranging from 3 to 12 months. Visiting affiliations with CMES are available on a restricted basis and subject to review by the CMES Director. Successful applicants are given affiliation, library privileges, access to campus facilities, and office space at CMES (depending on availability). They are encouraged to attend CMES events, and to meet with students and faculty to discuss their area of expertise.

For a list of current visitors at CMES, click here.

Program Information:

There are three types of visitors hosted by CMES:

  • Visiting Scholars, who generally possess a Ph.D. or equivalent conferred more than five years ago OR possess a Ph.D. or equivalent conferred less than five years ago but currently hold a professional tenure-track position, e.g., Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Researchers at the postdoctoral level with external funding (e.g. Fulbright, or from foreign institutions) are also eligible, and are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Visiting Student Researchers, who are students on leave from their current enrollment in a degree-granting program at an insitution of higher learning other than the University of California, who wishes to conduct Middle East-related research in residence at UC Berkeley. Generally, visiting student researchers must hold a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent.
  • Professionals in Residence, who are accomplished career professionals in any field (journalism, arts, business, government) whose work and expertise are related to the Middle East.

More information on each of the types of visiting affiliations, their rules and procedures, can be found on the Visiting Scholars & Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) website.


All visitors must:

  • Pursue a program of research which is of mutual interest to and endorsed by the CMES.
  • Have their own source of funding, such as a sabbatical salary or grant or fellowship (see details below).
  • Submit application materials at least 3 months before the beginning of the planned appointment.
  • No other position, including paid or unpaid positions in other UC Berkeley departments, can be held at the same time.

In addition, international visitors must:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English.
  • Provide evidence that they will cover their own health insurance (see details below).

Visitors at CMES are expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the Center by attending lectures and conferences and interacting regularly with faculty and students relevant to their area of expertise. Visitors are also encouraged to give a public lecture during their stay.

Visit Duration

  • Visiting affiliation is granted for periods of one semester to one year (exceptions for one- or two-month appointments may be granted).
  • Extensions beyond one year are considered on a case-by-case basis and are not automatic.
  • Extensions must be requested in writing at least three months prior to the end of the current appointment.


Visitors are responsible for paying all associated fees. There is no fee to apply for a visiting appointment at CMES, but the following fees are required for all visiting affiliations:

  • University Services Fee, which is administered by VSPA. All visiting scholars must pay this fee directly to VSPA within 3 days of the appointment start date, in order to be in compliance with VSPA affiliation requirements and to gain access to university services such as library access, ID card, and a Berkeley email account. The current University Services Fee is $750 for initial Visiting Scholar appointments, $1000 for initial Visiting Student Researcher appointments, $1500 for Visiting Scholar reappointments, and $2500 for Visiting Student Researcher reappointments. (This information is subject to change. Please refer to VSPA for the most up-to-date fee information.)
  • $1,000 per semester CMES Administrative Fee. This fee covers the administrative costs of your appointment as a visiting scholar at CMES. It also entitles you to certain privileges and services at CMES for the duration of your appointment (including shared office space depending on availability on your date of arrival). It is paid via wire transfer or check payable to “UC Regents” at CMES.

International visitors are also required to pay immigration and visa fees, most notably:

  • $650 DS-2019 fee. This fee applies to international visiting scholars only and is not required for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This fee is for the Berkeley International Office (BIO), which produces the DS-2019 form required to obtain the J-1 visa. It is paid via wire transfer or check payable to “UC Regents” at CMES. For more information for international visitors, please see the International Office.

For questions regarding fee payments, please contact CMES Administrative Associate Neil Gali,

Financial Support and Health Insurance

  • CMES does not provide financial support for visiting scholars.
  • The University of California requires international scholars to provide proof of financial support (at least $1,600.00 per month of the proposed stay). Additional funds are required if the scholar plans to bring family members ($500.00 per month for spouse, and $200.00 per month, per child). Funding may come from the scholar’s home institution, fellowships or grants, Fulbright awards, or personal funds.
  • All international Visiting Scholars on the UC Berkeley campus are required to have health insurance for themselves and all accompanying dependents. Details can be found at the VSPA website.

Living in Berkeley

  • Visitors are responsible for securing their own housing accommodations.
  • Visitors may visit the International Office or VSPA for more information on housing, healthcare, transportation, family resources, and other orientation matters. 

Application Process

CMES accepts applications from prospective visitors on a rolling basis. Applications are generally submitted six months to one year in advance of the intended start date, but at minimum must be submitted three months in advance. To apply, please submit, as a single document, the following:

  • A cover letter addressed to the CMES Chair indicating interest, the specific dates of the proposed appointment, relevant CMES faculty collaborators (if any), and the anticipated funding.
  • A one-page abstract briefly describing research proposed.
  • A curriculum vitae with degrees, work experience and publications.

Applications should be sent to with the subject line “Visiting Scholar Application.” If accepted, applicants will be notified of preliminary acceptance by e-mail. Acceptance is not final until approved by the VSPA office. Once approved, paperwork and processing by the University can take between one and four months, depending on residence and visa status.