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Visiting Scholars

West Virginia State University encourages scholars from all over the world to pursue academic research projects (1-2 semesters) as a visiting scholar to the WVSU campus. Visiting scholars may receive an appointment and title of Research Associate in a particular field. Prerequisites are a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, and in some cases Ph.D. candidates currently engaged in dissertation research.

For more than 100 years, students, staff, and faculty from around the world have found their way to West Virginia State University, recognized as the most culturally and racially diverse institution of higher education in West Virginia. West Virginia State University, located in Institute, a suburb of Charleston, the State capital, is the largest institution of higher education in the Kanawha Valley, and serves as a major resource center for this metropolitan area. The University provides a large spectrum of undergraduate degree programs, both baccalaureate and associate.

Founded in 1891 as a Land-Grant institution, West Virginia State University attained national prominence as an institution for higher education for blacks and continues to serve as a center of black culture in the state of West Virginia. Voluntary desegregation in 1954 created a distinctive "living laboratory of human relations," attracting a racially and culturally diverse student body, faculty, and staff. The University cherishes its unique history and its reputation for safeguarding academic freedom, for being innovative in its scholarly programs, for removing barriers to education, and providing leadership for women, minorities, and the handicapped. As the university has grown and evolved, to an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students, it has retained a degree of diversity unique among other West Virginia colleges & universities.

Passport & Visa

A J-1 visa is issued to scholars according to a request submitted by their sponsoring agencies or institutions for special program work. The J-1 visa is managed under the auspices of the United States Department of State.

To qualify for a J -1 visa, you must be "sponsored," in other words funded by one or several of the following: your home University, WVSU, a government, an agency, a foundation, an employer, or an international organization authorized to conduct an exchange visitor program. Research scholars may use personal funds but still must be sponsored by an academic department of WVSU. If you qualify for a J-1 visa, your spouse and dependents will be given a J-2 visa. Spouses in J-2 status may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for permission to work after their arrival in the U.S. Do not plan on income from spouse employment, however, since employment authorization is not guaranteed and jobs are sometimes difficult to acquire..

Health Insurance

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required to have health insurance. It is ill-advised to be in the United States without adequate health insurance. Although in many countries the government bears the expense of health care for its citizens, and sometimes even for visitors, individuals and families in the United States are responsible for these costs themselves. Since a single day of hospitalization and medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, many hospitals and doctors refuse to treat uninsured patients except in life threatening emergencies. Insurance gives you access to better and more timely health care, and provides the only protection against the enormous costs of health care in this country.


Visiting Scholars will be responsible for their own source of funds.

On Campus Housing

West Virginia State University will provide, at a reasonable price, a studio apartment with private kitchen and bathroom facilities on campus suitable for a single person. Although Visiting Scholars will be responsible for their meals, they will have access to the University cafeteria at the subsidized faculty/staff price.


Library & Research Facilities

In addition to having a computer and office, visiting scholars will have full access to the WVSU Drain-Jordan library. There are more than 200,000 books and 900 current periodical subscriptions available in the Drain-Jordan Library. More than 9,000 bound periodical volumes and 200,000 items are available in microfilm and fiche. An Instructional Materials Production Center and Archives Department are located in the building.

The Drain-Jordan Library has been a selective depository for United States public documents since 1907. Special archive collections include US Government Documents, Regional and Local History, African-American History in Appalachia (noted African-Americans, John W. Davis and John Frederick Matheus), and the forthcoming Republic of Benin, West Africa special collection (Summer 2002).


A bus line links the WVSU campus with the downtown and greater Charleston area and major shopping centers.

Charleston is linked by major interstate highways and has bus and train service for travel within state and nationally. Contact Greyhound Bus (1-800-231-2222) and Amtrak (1-800-872-7245).

Yeager Airport, located 5 minutes from downtown Charleston, offers direct flights to over a dozen cities and connections to all parts of the world.

ESL Program

The WVSU ESL program will be available as of the summer 2015. .

Activities at WVSU

In addition to his/her own research, Visiting Scholars may also be invited from time to time to take part in academic activity at the WVSU campus, and to lead or participate in lectures in the greater community. The Faculty Lecture Series, held weekly on the WVSU campus offers a general forum for discussion. Lecture topics cover a wide range of interest for presentation and discussion. Visiting Scholars may also be asked periodically to visit classes according to the needs of WVSU professors.

Community Groups

The Friendship Force International, founded in 1977 by a WVSU alumnus, is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. The organization sponsors homestays for groups of members to and from many countries around the world. Members of the Charleston Friendship Force chapter could be contacted for information about the area. Local number: 1-304-344-4069, Atlanta number: 1-800-554-6715.

Partners of the Americas is another international organization with a particular interest in links between the United States and South America. The West Virginia chapter has a sister State in Espirito Santo, Brazil. See www.partners.net. Local numbers: 1-304-346-1172 or 1-304-357-4745.

The International Club of Charleston is a local organization whose members could also be contacted for information. Local numbers: 1-304-344-4069 and 1-304-346-2123.

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