Frontiers of Science

Science Fellows

The Columbia Science Fellows Program

With the creation of Frontiers of Science, a new postdoctoral position was established for young scientists interested in developing their skills in both research and science education. These "Science Fellows" are instrumental in developing new course material. However, Science Fellow positions are not purely teaching appointments. Because one goal of Frontiers of Science is to expose students to the way scientists work and think, Science Fellows actively pursue their own research projects within their department. Yes, being a Science Fellow can certainly make for a busy life, but if you love to teach and don't want to give up research, this may be the perfect position for you!

Currently, there are twelve Science Fellows representing six science Departments at Columbia (Astronomy, Chemistry, DEES**, Biology, E3B*, and Physics). New positions may be available each year. If you are interested in becoming a Science Fellow, please follow the job announcement link below for more information and instructions on how to apply.

The 2018 Science Fellow Job Announcement

For more than 80 years, Columbia College has sustained an extensive Core Curriculum, required of all students, which serves as an intensive introduction to the great ideas of Western literature, art, music, and philosophy. In the University’s 250th year, we launched a complementary course in science to be taken by all first-year students.

The course is designed to both introduce students to exciting ideas at the frontiers of science and to inculcate in them scientific habits of mind.

Consistent with the Core tradition, the course features small seminar sections in which topics from throughout the physical and life sciences are discussed. The Science Fellows participate with the faculty in designing and leading these sections.

In addition to individual seminars, Frontiers includes a weekly lecture. Four scientists in different disciplines each deliver a series of three lectures outlining the background, context, and current state of an area of research. Lecturers work with fellows to develop readings and other activities that supplement the lectures and provide material for the seminars.

Applicants will be affiliated with one of the Columbia science departments, which include Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Physics, Psychology, and Statistics. Positions are available, subject to funding, for the Academic Year 2018/2019.

Fellows attend both the weekly lectures for the course and the pedagogical seminar that follows. During the two thirteen-week semesters, each fellow leads two 110 min. seminars for roughly 20 students each week. Seminars discuss the lecture and reading assignments. Fellows may spend their remaining time pursuing research either with an established Columbia group or independently.

The program will appoint a few post-doctoral fellows in the natural sciences for the academic year 2018-2019. We invite applications from qualified candidates who have received or will expect to receive the Ph.D. by 30 June 2018. Columbia Science Fellows hold the rank of Lecturer in Discipline in an appropriate science department.The fellowship is renewable for a second and third year based on satisfactory performance

Applications should include the following:

1) CV and Cover letter,
2) Statement of Research - by this we mean 2-3 page summary of research accomplishments to date and statement of future plans,
3) 1-2 page statement of teaching philosophy and experience, and
4) three letters of recommendation.

To apply, please visit our online site:

Applications will be evaluated by faculty specialists and an interdisciplinary committee; research should be presented appropriately.

For more information on the program please contact
Application will start being reviewed is February 1, 2018.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Past Science Fellow Experience - An Article by Robin McGary Herrnstein