Preceptor Policy


A very limited number of preceptor positions (typically 2-3) are funded by the department each year. A preceptor appointment is normally for a full academic year, and is typically renewed for up to three years (assuming satisfactory teaching evaluations, availability of funding, and that no other problems arise).

A preceptor is normally a full-time candidate for a doctoral degree (PhD or DES) who has completed the residence requirements (6 RUs for PhD candidates and the equivalent for DES: 2 full academic years beyond MS), and who offers part-time instruction under the direction and supervision of a teaching faculty officer of higher rank (i.e., a tenured or tenure-track faculty member or a full-time lecturer). Preceptors and other student officer positions are described in the faculty handbook here.

Preceptorship responsibilities include teaching one 1000 or 3000-level course (3 or 4 units) each semester. Compensation is currently (as of July 2008) $1500/semester over the standard PhD GRA or teaching fellow stipend.

The qualifications for a Computer Science Department preceptor are: (1) MPhil (may be waived in rare cases and does not apply to DES - but the same prerequisites would hold: all doctoral degree requirements completed except the proposal, defense and deposit), (2) English fluency, (3) Demonstrated excellence in teaching at Columbia (e.g., via a sample lecture), (4) Faculty advocate (i.e., recommender), and (5) Application (1 page essay by the applicant about why he/she wishes to be a preceptor and why he/she is qualified).

Applications should be emailed to the Academic Committee Chair by a date early in the spring semester that shall be announced to the PhD students mailing list near the beginning of each spring term. Appointments shall take effect at the start of the fall semester.

Last updated August 30, 2010.