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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I begin preparing for the Colloquium?

In a sense, you have already begun getting ready for the Colloquium - by taking Gallatin courses and through academic success in areas incorporated in your concentration. By the start of the junior year, you should collaborate with your primary faculty adviser to plan for the timing of your Rationale and Booklist development, submission for second reader review, and the Colloquium. You should also plan to attend one of the Colloquium Orientation workshops held periodically throughout the year. These workshops articulate the timeline and expectations for the colloquium process. All upperclass students are advised to attend a colloquium orientation workshop.

When should I complete my Colloquium?

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Colloquium in the penultimate semester before graduation. This timing will allow you to do a Senior Project in your final semester, if you choose. Completing the colloquium early in the senior year is beneficial for post-graduation planning - freeing up time for applications and the job search, as well as situating you to better explain your academic focus during interviews and networking events. Read through the information in the calendars and scheduling section.


Am I required to register for COLLQ-UG?

Students entering Gallatin in summer 2015 or later are required to register for the 2 credit COLLQ-UG. Look in your degree progress report through your Student Center in Albert to determine if it is listed as a requirement for you.


How should I collaborate with my adviser to prepare for the conversation?

Your primary faculty adviser expects to help focus your interests, provide feedback on rationale drafts, recommend texts for your Booklist, and discuss texts to help you prepare to orally communicate your ideas. Your adviser must approve the Booklist and Rationale before they are submitted for second reader review. Because your adviser is integral to your process, we encourage you to be in touch early and often as you develop your plans.


What kinds of texts should be included in my Booklist?

Students need to devise a Booklist that includes 20-25 texts fulfilling four categories: Ancient, Medieval & Renaissance Classics (7); Modernity - The Humanities (4); Modernity - The Social & Natural Sciences (4); and Area of Concentration (5). The texts should be of high quality - the kinds of texts you encounter in your courses, but they do not have to be part of a recognized canon of great books. Avoid pop fiction, how-to manuals, self-help books, and textbooks unless you plan to engage critically with these forms. Work closely with your primary faculty adviser regarding text decisions. For further guidance on preparing your booklist, plan to attend one of our Colloquium Preparation Workshops.


Are there guidelines for using non-written texts? 

There are a number of ways to approach incorporating maps, art, film, and music into your Booklist. You should collaborate with your adviser to determine the most appropriate and academically rigorous application of works to your Colloquium conversation. For further guidance on using non-written materials in your booklist, plan to attend one of our Colloquium Preparation Workshops.

Is it possible to view a sample Rationale and Booklist?

Yes, the Gallatin faculty has created a website consisting of several annotated samples of students' Rationales, Intellectual Autobiography and Plan for Concentration (IAPC) essays, and Booklists. Gallatin students and advisers can access this website by selecting this link: Sample Rationales and IAPCs. This page will open in a new window, and users must enter their NYU NetID and password before being able to access the site. Please discuss these samples with your adviser, as every concentration will have unique needs not accounted for in these examples. 

When should I submit my Rationale and Booklist for second reader review?  

Students are strongly encouraged to complete the colloquium in the penultimate semester before graduation. Adviser-approved Rationales must therefore be submitted to Gallatin for second reader review no later than the deadlines below. Seniors who fail to submit the adviser-approved Rationale to Gallatin by the deadline will have a registration hold placed on their accounts. The hold will remain in place until an adviser-approved rationale has been submitted to Gallatin.

Students planning to graduate in:The adviser-approved Rationale must be submitted to Gallatin no later than:
January October 1
May November 1
September April 1

Students who submit the Rationale before the deadlines listed above should know that adviser-approved Rationale and Booklist submissions will be sent out for second reader review on the first of each month during the fall and spring semesters. Students and their primary advisers can expect reviewer feedback in the second half of the month.

The academic calendar requires a few caveats to these general principles, as follows:
1. To accommodate winter break:

  • The last day of fall classes in December is the last day to register a January Colloquium.
  • Rationale and Booklist submissions after December 1 will be sent out for second review on February 1.

2. For students hoping to participate in the May graduation ceremonies:

What happens if I miss the Rationale submission deadline?

Students who fail to submit the adviser-approved Rationale to Gallatin by the deadline will have a registration hold placed on their accounts.

If my Rationale is submitted late and I have a registration hold on my account, how do I have the hold removed, and how long does it take for the hold to be lifted?

The registration hold will remain in place until an adviser-approved Rationale has been received by Gallatin. Once the Rationale and the adviser approval is received the block will be lifted within 2 business days.

How do I submit my Rationale and Booklist?

Once your primary faculty adviser has approved your final drafts, please use the online Rationale and Booklist submission form. Upon submission, your adviser will automatically be asked to confirm his/her approval.

Can I invite my committee members?

Yes, students are expected to select committee members. Be mindful that your committee must fulfill certain characteristics. The three person committee must include your primary faculty adviser, and a full-time member of the Gallatin faculty (this may be your primary faculty adviser). Everyone should have a faculty affiliation with NYU.

How do I schedule the Colloquium?

Scheduling the Colloquium is a multi-step process. You'll want to ensure that you have a committee meeting the composition requirements (above) available during the general time of year that you would like to hold the Colloquium. For example, you can ask faculty if they are available during a given month (ex. November) or able to participate during a certain window (ex. first two weeks of the spring semester).

Once everyone has agreed to a general time frame, then work with the group to find a two-hour window open in everyone's schedule. Some students use online schedulers (ex. to streamline the scheduling process. Once you have found a two-hour period when everyone agrees to hold your Colloquium, submit a Colloquium registration form. Please register at least two weeks in advance of your desired date. Gallatin will confirm the date, time, and location of your Colloquium. As well, Gallatin will send the students and the committee a copy of the approved Rationale and Booklist.

Please note that in order to accommodate winter break, the last day of fall classes in December is the last day to register a January Colloquium.

Can I change the date and time of my Colloquium or a panel member after I have submitted the Colloquium registration form to Gallatin?

Yes, but you must notify the Office of Advising of the change at least two weeks prior to the date of the Colloquium by resubmitting the Colloquium registration form.

Where will my Colloquium be held? Do I need to find a room?

Depending on availability, colloquia are usually held in the Colloquium rooms (427 or 713) or your primary faculty adviser’s office. You will be notified as to the location of your Colloquium in the Colloquium confirmation email sent to you, your adviser, and the rest of the committee by the Office of Advising. You are not responsible for finding a location.

What kinds of questions will the committee ask me?

During the Colloquium, your committee will ask questions that are broad and thematic, and you may be asked to clarify your point by providing specific examples from the texts. Generally, questions come from the content of your Rationale. The committee is interested to understand your ideas and how they relate to those found in texts on your list. Work closely with your adviser to prepare for the conversation. We also suggest attending one of our Colloquium Preparation Workshops to gather strategies for approaching the Colloquium conversation.

Will the title of my Colloquium be printed on my diploma or my transcript?

If you entered a Colloquium title on your Colloquium registration form, then your title will appear on your transcript. After your Colloquium is completed, we cannot add a title or change one previously submitted. Your diploma states that you earned a Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Major.

How should I explain the Colloquium to a potential committee member?

Each year Gallatin enjoys including faculty from across the university in the Colloquium requirement. If you are inviting a member of the faculty who has not participated in a Colloquium previously, be prepared to tell them about the Colloquium and your specific focus.

Any faculty members new to Gallatin's Colloquium process will receive a message from the Senior Class Advisers outlining the process.

If your potential committee member has additional questions, you may put him/her in touch with the Senior Class Advisers by emailing

What happens if I fail the Colloquium?

If your Colloquium needs to be repeated, you will have one more opportunity to pass the requirement. Your committee will make specific recommendations to help you prepare for the reprise. The Senior Class Adviser will provide you with information about next steps should this situation arise. The best way to avoid this situation is to prepare months in advance, taking the time to develop your ideas and be familiar with your selected texts.

I still have questions regarding the Colloquium, what should I do?

After reading the Colloquium-related sections of the Gallatin website, speak with your primary faculty adviser. You can also be in touch with the Senior Class Advisers.