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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. 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 can help you to 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.


What kinds of texts should be included in my booklist?

Students need to devise a booklist that includes a minimum of 20 texts fulfilling four categories: Ancient, Medieval & Renaissance Classics; Modernity - The Humanities; Modernity - The Social & Natural Sciences; and Area of Concentration. 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.


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 for 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 change my booklist and rationale once they have been submitted to Gallatin and approved by the second 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 primary faculty adviser must approve changes to the booklist & rationale. Additionally, you will need to send your committee and the Office of Advising the revised documents. We expect your ideas to expand and change as you prepare for the colloquium. For that reason, we discourage students from making more substantial changes that would necessitate another review process and possibly delay graduation.


Can I invite my committee members?

Yes, you can select your committee members. Be mindful that your committee must fulfill certain characteristics. The committee must include your primary faculty adviser, a full-time member of the Gallatin faculty (this may be your primary faculty adviser), and 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. doodle.com) to streamline the scheduling process. Once you've found a two-hour period when everyone agrees to hold your colloquium, submit a colloquium registration form. Gallatin will confirm the date, time, and location of your colloquium. As well, Gallatin will send the committee your 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.  


What kinds of questions will the committee ask me?

During the colloquium, your committee will ask questions that are usually 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.


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.


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.

You can 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."

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


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.


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 Adviser.


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