Appointed Visitors: Status, Privileges, & Obligations

Visiting Scholars, Postdoctoral Fellows, and others

Appointed Visitors

There are basically two broad categories of appointed visitors (as distinct from short-term visitors with no formal affiliation with UCLA): (1) Those appointed by the Graduate Division, upon the recommendation of a campus unit (a center, department, program, or school); and (2) Those solely appointed by a campus unit (a center, department, program, or schools).

(1) Appointed by the Graduate Division: Campus units may recommend to the Graduate Division that it formally appoint visitors in one of two categories: (1) Visiting Scholar, or (2) Postdoctoral Fellow. Appointments by the Graduate Division are subject to certain requirements, but give the visitor much more in the way of benefits and pivileges than an appointment through a campus unit.

(2) Appointed by a campus unit only: Campus units are free to give visitors appointments with titles, obligations, requirements, and privileges (such as the units can provide) as they deem appropriate. The unit can, on its own, assist international visitors with getting an appropriate visa and getting a BruinCard. However, other privileges may be limited. Contact the Library for information about visitor borrowing privileges. If your visitor qualifies for an appointment through the Graduate Division, then  such an appointment is usually preferable (see below)

Visiting Scholars

Definition: Visiting Scholars are senior scholars or distinguished visitors, typically peers of UCLA faculty, who come to the University to conduct independent or collaborative research for a limited period of time.

Qualifications: in order to qualify for appointment as a UCLA Visiting Scholar, the nominee must:

  • have been awarded a doctoral degree or its foreign equivalent;
  • be appointed for a limited period of time, normally not exceeding one calendar year; and
  • be self-supported, or have adequate support from sources outside the University

Appointment Process: Appointment as a UCLA Visiting Scholar is accomplished with the submission of the following documents:

  • Visiting Scholar Appointment Form: completed by sponsor to provide detailed information about appointment conditions.
  • Curriculum Vitae: attach most current copy of nominee's CV.
  • Statement of Objective: the nominee is expected to describe in 250 words or less the research and training objectives of the proposed appointment.

Appointment instructions and forms:

Campus Privileges: Appointees are eligible for the following courtesies:

  • BruinCard -- A welcome letter from the Dean of the Graduate Division is sent to each fellow along with a copy of the approved appointment form. Fellows are instructed to obtain a UCLA BruinCard for access to University privileges and facilities. The BruinCard is obtained by taking photo identification and the welcome letter to 123 Kerckhoff Hall. The BruinCard also can be used as a debit card all over campus.
  • Bruin Online services
  • Contact the Library for information about visitor borrowing privileges
  • Access to student & faculty housing
  • Faculty Center membership (requires payment of dues)
  • Wooden/Recreation Center membership (requires payment of dues)
  • University Childcare
  • Reduced-cost course enrollment with UNEX.
  • Graduate Division: Issuance of Certificates of Visiting Scholar Appointments.

Further information of privileges:

International Scholars: Special considerations need to be taken into account when appointing a foreign national as a UCLA Visiting Scholar. Contact the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) for information about visa rules and regulations, social security numbers, and health insurance options for international visiting scholars.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Definition & Status:  A postdoctoral fellow is one who:

  • has been awarded a doctoral degree or the foreign equivalent where at least three years of undergraduate study are prerequisite to admission to the graduate program
  • has been awarded a fellowship, traineeship, or equivalent support (including academic appointments such as postgraduate researcher [PGR]) for studies at the postdoctoral level
  • is pursuing a program of research and training under the direction of a faculty member with the approval of the department or research unit and by the dean of the Graduate Division.

Postdoctoral fellow standing, which does not lead to any degree, is normally for a period of one to three years and, in accord with University of California policy, is limited to a period not to exceed five years.

Postdoctoral fellows must have medical insurance. See:

Appointment Process: Appointment of a postdoctoral fellow is accomplished through submission of the Postdoctoral Scholar Appointment Form to Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Services, 1228 Murphy Hall, 144401. This is a separate step from payment of a Fellow.

Appointment instructions and forms:


  • Bruin Card
  • Contact the Library for information about visitor borrowing privileges
  • Audit courses (at no charge, no credit, must have instructor’s permission)
  • Can be given a Certificate of Postdoctoral Study by the Graduate Division

Go to:


If you wish to invite a longterm visitor who does not fit either of the two categories (Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows) of the Graduate Division -- for example, junior scholars, graduate students, et al. -- you may do so. For such appointments, the Graduate Division recommends the title Research Associate (APM 355). Such appointments do not require official appointment review or approval. The appointee can be issued a BruinCard by departmental request.

Senior, distinguished visitors who do not have a Ph.D. may still qualify for Graduate Division appointment as a Visiting Scholar. For such visitors, append to the application form a letter from your director, addressed to Dean John Richardson, at the Graduate Division, asking for an exemption and explaining why the visitor deserves to be appointed a Visiting Scholar.

Helpful Hints

  • It takes the Graduate Division about one week to process a Visiting Scholar or Postdoc nomination.
  • Term of appointment: The Grad Division does not have a minimum term of appointment for Visiting Scholars and Postdocs. It has appointed Visiting Scholars for periods as short as one month.
  • Visa status: Although the Grad Division appointment forms provide checkoff boxes for J-1 and F-1 visas only, H visas are also accepable. Other visas may also be acceptable.



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