Office of Global Strategies

Global Register

Tips for Hosting Visiting Scholars


Becoming a Visiting Scholar

Becoming a visiting scholar is a two-part process, involving OIPS and the hosting or sponsoring unit or department. The two tracks available are Short-term and Long-term (entered into university’s banner system, receives a G# and Mason ID).

Step 1: OIPS Responsibilities

Responsibilities begin with the Office of International Programs & Services (OIPS), which handles the initial requirement and approval process. OIPS also provides many services to visiting scholars, including orientations and help with visa requirements and applications.

Interested scholars must work with their sponsoring unit to submit a request, which OIPS will approve or deny. Visit the OIPS website for more information.

Step 2: Unit/Department Responsibilities

Upon the visiting scholar’s arrival, the hosting unit or department is responsible for providing a positive experience in addition to obtaining access to campus resources. A list of typical department or unit responsibilities is listed below.

  • Creating an Electronic Approval (EA) – After submitting a contract, a designate from the hosting unit or department must create an EA. This designee may be an Office Manager or HR Liaison. He or she must attend an EPAF training class to access the EA process in Banner. The designate will establish a record for the visiting scholar as an affiliate under ERAFFL in Banner and enter an E-class (usually (NP) = Affiliate No Pay).
  • Generating a G# (For Long-term Scholars) – Once an EA is completed, a G# will be generated. This process must be approved; a list of approvers can be found on the HR website.
  • Submitting an Offer Letter/Contract – Non-paid affiliates’ hosting unit must complete and submit a contract (in order to gain access to university services, such as library resources. Please add a G#.
  • Obtaining a Mason ID (For Long-term Scholars) – The visiting scholar must get a Mason ID in SUB 1, presenting his or her G# and a photo ID (e.g. passport). An ID will be printed with the designation AFFILIATE. The ID provides important access to Mason Shuttles.
  • Applying for Access to Library Services (For Short-term Scholars) – Short-term scholars will not receive a Mason ID and must apply for access to library services. The sponsoring unit’s Dean or Chair must submit a letter of request to the University Librarian to include the following:
    – Scholar’s name and local contact information (address, phone, email)
    – Sponsoring unit/department and name of Dean/Chair submitting request
    – Scholar’s non-Mason affiliation(s)
    -Brief summary of scholar’s probable research needs, such as subject area(s) and possible material requirements
    -Start and end dates for requested services
    -Statement that the sponsoring unit/department understands and accepts financial responsibility for borrowed materials from the university libraries


  • Library Services – Visiting scholars with Affiliate status and a Mason ID are allowed access to library services. They may check out up to 10 books for three weeks and with one renewal. Short-term scholars will not receive a Mason ID, and the sponsoring unit or department must write a letter of request for access to library services.
  •  Recreational Facilities – A visiting scholar with Affiliate Status and a Mason ID may gain access to recreational facilities. The Field House can be accessed free of charge, including the indoor track. The Aquatics Center and Recreation Athletic Center can be accessed for a nominal usage fee ($8/visit, $25/month, or $250/year).
  • Work & Study Space – Hosting units or departments can help visiting scholars to locate work and study space. Scholars may also utilize the Johnson Center faculty lounge.
  •  Student Health Services (SHS) – Visiting scholars are treated as Faculty/Staff, who SHS will see for urgent or acute problems. A $40 fee will be charged for an evaluation. Payment is expected at the time of service, and a walk-out statement will be provided. Blood pressure checks can be done by appointment at no charge. Faculty/Staff are eligible to use and are charged for Allergy Clinic and Travel Clinic services. Visits to the Immunization Clinic will incur a nominal fee in addition to the charges for any vaccinations received.


Hosting Tips

To help sponsoring units and departments provide an encouraging environment and supportive community for visiting scholars, the Global Office provides the following tips:

  • Housing Options – Finding available and affordable housing in the Fairfax area can be challenging. Sponsoring units and departments may provide visiting scholars with information such as Craig’s List advertisements, sublet opportunities, and on-campus (i.e. Masonvale) options. The Off-Campus housing website may be used by visitors once they create a login. OIPS has more information on available housing options.
  •  English Proficiency – Sponsoring units and departments should look into available options for visiting scholars needing assistance with English proficiency. Opportunities include supplemental classes or tutoring.
  •  Tip #3 – Connect regional working groups and faculty who have similar interests and can become potential research partners. A great place to start looking is Mason’s Global Register.
  •  Tip #4 – Office space and wifi guest access should be arranged by the hosting department prior to the visitor’s arrival. The department chair is often knowledgeable about available desks or cubicles.

Useful Resources

Mason Study Abroad provides a wide range of international study, research, services, and leadership opportunities.

Center for Global Studies (CGS) promotes multidisciplinary research on globalization and international affairs.