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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.


When should I complete my colloquium?

Students are strongly encourage 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.


How can 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 bit 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.


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. 


When should I submit my rationale and booklist for second reader review?  

Rationale and booklist submissions will be sent out for second reader review on the first of each month. Students and their primary advisers can expect reviewer feedback in the second half of the month. Note that we do not have review cycles in January during winter recess, and June, July, and August during summer recess.

Students are expected to complete the colloquium during the penultimate semester. With this in mind, May graduation candidates should submit the adviser-approved rationale and booklist no later than the October 1 review cycle.

Note the following caveats regarding rationale and booklist review cycles:

1. To accommodate winter break, rationale and booklist submissions received after December 1 will be reviewed during the February 1 review cycle.

2. For students hoping to participate in the May graduation ceremonies, the rationale and booklist submission must be received before March 1, and the petition to march deadline of April 15 will be the last day to register a spring colloquium.

3. September graduates should submit the rationale and booklist no later than May 1 so that their rationale and booklist submissions are reviewed in the May review cycle before faculty leave for the summer.


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, you can select your 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 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 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.


Will the title of 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 reprisal. 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.