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Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start getting ready for the colloquium?

In one sense, you've already begun getting ready - by taking Gallatin courses, by reading about the process, etc. But certainly by start of the junior year, you should work with your adviser to have a plan in place for when you are going to take the key courses (interdisciplinary seminars, independent studies, etc.) to prepare for the colloquium.

When should I have my colloquium?

You should schedule the colloquium in the penultimate semester before graduation. This will allow you to do a Senior Project in your final semester, if you choose. Do not delay the colloquium until the summer after your intended graduation, as it is difficult to organize a committee during the summer. Read through the information in the calendars and scheduling section.

What can my adviser do to help me prepare for the exam?

Your adviser can recommend texts for your book list, discuss some of the texts with you to help prepare, and provide assistance in designing the topic and writing the rationale for the colloquium. Your adviser must approve the book list and the rationale before you submit the documents to Gallatin for the second review.

What kinds of texts should I put on my book list?

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.

Can I change my booklist and rationale once they have been submitted to Gallatin and approved by the faculty reviewer?

If you find it necessary to change one or two texts on your list, you may do so as long as your revised list still fulfills the minimum number of texts in each required category. Your adviser must approve changes to the book list & rationale. Additionally, you will need to send your committee and the Office of Advising the revised documents. We discourage students from making more substantial changes that would necessitate another review process and possibly delay graduation.

Can I choose which faculty will be on my committee?

Yes, but your committee must fulfill certain characteristics: it must include your primary faculty adviser; a Gallatin full-time faculty member; and committee members should teach at NYU and be appropriate to the colloquium conversation.

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, and you must confirm a new date/time with all committee members prior to contacting Gallatin.

What kinds of questions will the committee ask me?

The questions are usually broad and thematic, and you may be asked to clarify your point by providing specific examples from the texts. The committee is interested to understand your ideas and how they relate to those found in texts on your list.

What happens if I fail the colloquium?

You will have one more opportunity to pass the exam, and your committee will make specific recommendations to help you prepare for the second colloquium. The Senior Class Adviser will provide you with information about next steps should this situation arise.

Will the title of colloquium be printed on my diploma, as well as my transcript?

If you entered a title on your colloquium registration form, then your colloquium title will appear on your transcript. The title does not appear on your diploma, which states that you have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Study.

Where will my colloquium be held?

Depending on room availability, colloquia are usually held in the colloquium room 427 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. This confirmation is sent by the Office of Advising.

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

Feel free to send a potential committee member the following description of the event and the expectations for his/her participation: "The Gallatin colloquium provides an opportunity to explore ways of integrating a student's academic, professional, and intellectual odyssey through conversation with the adviser and two other members of the NYU community. The discussion will be supported with the ideas and themes from texts that have been significant to the student's undergraduate education. The colloquium should be viewed as a student-driven conversation, not a defense, allowing space to reflect on the student's time at Gallatin.

Committee members should read the student's rationale and booklist, which come attached to the colloquium registration confirmation sent by the Office of Advising in advance of the colloquium, and come prepared with a few questions or points of conversation. Committee members are not required to have read all of the texts on the booklist. Two hours should be set aside for this event."

You may also ask the Senior Class Adviser to reach out to the faculty member.

I still have questions regarding the colloquium, what do I do?

After reading the colloquium-related sections of the Gallatin website, feel free to contact the Office of Advising administrative assistant with questions regarding the overall colloquium process (colloquium.gallatin@nyu.edu). If you have questions about your specific situation, contact the Senior Class Adviser and/or your primary faculty adviser.

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