Advising and Academic Resources


What students ultimately take away from their four years at Yale largely depends on the careful planning they apply to their programs of study. It would be premature—and unrealistic—for beginning students to map out a fixed schedule of courses for the subsequent four years, yet it is advisable that they think ahead and make plans for the terms to come. There will be time and opportunity for students to revise such plans as their academic ideas develop. 

Yale College does not prescribe a set program of study, in the belief that students who select their own courses are inevitably more engaged with them. As students shape their educational goals, it is important that they seek informed advice. For incoming students who have not yet developed relationships with academic advisers on campus, Yale College furnishes a constellation of advising linked to the residential colleges. As students progress in their studies, usually by sophomore year, they select as their adviser a member of the faculty in an intended or potential major to guide their course selection.

In addition to these advisers, students often seek advice about academic matters, internship and research opportunities, student life, study abroad, and post-graduation options from other offices on campus. Staff at the University Libraries, the Yale College Dean’s Office, and the cultural centers are ready to support students in a variety of endeavors, as is the staff at the Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE), whose divisions of—Study Abroad, Fellowship Programs, the Office of Career Strategy (including the Health Professions Advisory Program), and Yale Summer Session—provide focused advising.

Residential Colleges

There are fourteen residential colleges: Berkeley, Branford, Davenport, Timothy Dwight, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Grace Hopper, Morse, Pauli Murray, Pierson, Saybrook, Silliman, Ezra Stiles, and Trumbull. Leading each one is a resident head of college, and in each college a resident dean advises students on both academic and nonacademic matters. Associated with the head and the dean as fellows of the college are about fifty additional members of the University drawn from different departments and schools, many of whom serve as advisers to first-year students and sophomores in the college. In addition, a group of seniors in each residential college, known as first-year counselors, serve as peer advisers to first-year students. Additional information about advising resources in the residential colleges can be found on each college website and the Advising Resources website.

Academic Departments

In each academic department and for every undergraduate major, a director of undergraduate studies (DUS) oversees the curriculum, placement matters, and advising resources for the major. In small majors, the DUS also typically serves as the primary adviser for all students in the major; in large majors, other members of the faculty often assist the DUS in providing advice to students. Much information about course placement and prerequisites, as well as requirements for each major, can be found in Chapter III. Additional information about advising resources and faculty in a department or program can be found on the relevant department website.

Academic Resources

Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning

The Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning (the Poorvu Center) provides an array of teaching, tutoring, writing, and technology-enabled learning programs distributed across the University. The center supports student learning and provides opportunities for students to develop as teachers, mentors, and leaders. Additionally, the center houses the Academic Strategies program, which provides information, workshops, and individual mentoring to Yale College students on the skills central to active, empowered learning. More information is available on the Poorvu Center website.

Writing tutors and writing partners

The Poorvu Center provides several ways for students to get help with writing. The most important of these is the presence of a writing tutor in each residential college. Tutors meet with students on a one-to-one basis to discuss rough drafts of work in progress, research techniques, revision strategies, or other matters relevant to effective writing. Tutors can help with any writing project: senior essays, course papers, graduate school and fellowship applications, or anything intended for publication. The Writing Partners, another resource, are undergraduate and graduate students who offer drop-in help to students at any stage of writing. Finally, the Poorvu Center website offers information on using sources effectively and avoiding plagiarism.

Stem tutoring & programs

Tutoring programs for science (Sc) and quantitative reasoning (QR) courses are offered through the Poorvu Center. The Poorvu Center provides quantitative reasoning and science tutoring for every relevant field in Yale College. Many courses provide their own Course-Based Peer Tutors (CBPTs) who can help students as they work on problem sets or study for exams, and who also can review returned assignments. Information about CBPTs is available on individual course syllabi and the Canvas website. If a particular course does not have a CBPT or if a student requires more help, the Residential College Math/Science tutors offer drop-in hours during which any science or quantitative reasoning topic may be addressed. Finally, students who need more individual attention can apply for small-group tutoring. More information on all of these programs can be found on the Poorvu Center website.

Center for Language Study

The Center for Language Study (CLS), provides resources for students engaged in language study at Yale. The CLS also provides support for nonnative speakers of English through its English Language Program. Through the Shared Course Initiative, in collaboration with Columbia and Cornell, the CLS makes available an array of less commonly taught languages in its specialized videoconferencing rooms; these courses are credit-bearing and may count toward the language requirement. For undergraduates enrolled in a language course, the CLS offers peer tutoring in the target language. For students in Yale College and in the graduate and professional schools, the CLS offers specialized language programs, such as Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) for the study of languages not taught at Yale, and the Fields program for discipline-specific language study at advanced levels. For professional school students, the CLS offers courses in language for special purposes, such as Spanish or Chinese for medical professionals.. All language learners at Yale have access to CLS facilities, including its study rooms, distance facilities, and flexible learning spaces. For more information, including hours, a list of resources, and information about Yale’s language requirement and placement testing, see the Center website.

Student Accessibility Services 

To ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to make the most of their Yale education, the Student Accessibility Services Office (SAS) facilitates individual accommodations for students with disabilities and works to remove physical and attitudinal barriers to their full participation in the University community. The SAS  also provides information to any member of the Yale community. Services include, but are not limited to, classroom and academic accommodations, visual materials in alternative formats, and loans of special equipment. The required first step for a student with a disability is to contact the SAS office to initiate the process of obtaining disability-related accommodations. Registration with the SAS is confidential.

Generally, a student requiring academic accommodations needs to let the SAS know at the start of each term. Students should complete this step as soon as their schedule is known. At any time during a term, students with a newly diagnosed disability or recently sustained injury requiring accommodations should contact the SAS. More information can be found on the SAS website, including instructions for requesting or renewing accommodations. The SAS can also be reached by phone at 432-2324.