The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale

Luce Hall, 203.432.0694

Steven Wilkinson (Political Science)

For more than eighty-five years, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale and its precursors have served as the University’s focal point for teaching and research on cultures, languages, societies, institutions, and practices around the world. The MacMillan Center seeks to make understanding the world outside the borders of the United States an integral part of liberal education and professional training at the University. It brings together scholars from all relevant schools and departments to provide insightful interdisciplinary, comparative, and problem-oriented teaching and research on regional, international, and global issues.

The MacMillan Center administers nine degree programs. The six undergraduate majors include African Studies; East Asian Studies; Latin American Studies; Modern Middle East Studies; Russian and East European Studies; and South Asian Studies. The three graduate degree programs award master’s degrees in African Studies, East Asian Studies, and European and Russian Studies. There are joint-degree graduate programs with the schools of the Environment, Law, Management, and Public Health. Additionally, the programs offer four graduate certificates of concentration: in African Studies, European Studies, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Modern Middle East Studies.

The many councils, committees, and programs at the MacMillan Center support research and teaching across departments and professions, support doctoral training, advise students at all levels, and provide extracurricular learning opportunities, as well as funding resources for student and faculty research related to their regions and subject areas. Regional studies programs include African Studies; Arabic Program; Baltic Studies; Buddhist Studies; Canadian Studies; East Asian Studies; European Studies; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Hellenic Studies; Iranian Studies; Japan at the Crossroads Project; Latin American and Iberian Studies; Middle East Studies; Project on Religious Freedom and Society in Africa; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; South Asian Studies; and Southeast Asia Studies. Comparative and international programs include Agrarian Studies; Center for the Study of Globalization; Center for the Study of Representative Institutions; Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program; European Union Studies; Genocide Studies; Geographically based Economic Data Project (G-Econ); Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition; Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences (CHESS); Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE); InterAsia Initiative; Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy; Program on Peace and Development; Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses; and Translation Initiative.

The MacMillan Center’s regional councils regularly teach all levels of eight foreign languages (Modern Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Swahili, Vietnamese, Yorùbá, Zulu). Additionally, the MacMillan Center collaborates with the Center for Language Study (CLS) in supporting Directed Independent Language Study of more than sixty languages for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students. Regional councils and language faculty participate actively in the Cornell, Columbia, and Yale Shared Course Initiative led by CLS, using distance learning technology for less commonly taught languages.

The MacMillan Center provides opportunities for scholarly research and intellectual innovation; awards nearly 500 fellowships and grants each year to students and faculty; encourages faculty/student interchange; sponsors some 800 lectures, conferences, workshops, seminars, and films each year (most of which are free and open to the public); produces a range of working papers and other academic publications; and contributes to library collections comprising 1.4 million volumes in the languages of various areas. The MacMillan Center is home to the Fox International Fellowship, a graduate student exchange program between Yale University and twenty world-renowned academic partners. The MacMillan Center supports The MacMillan Report, an online show that features Yale faculty in international and area studies and their research in a one-on-one interview format. Shows can be viewed at

For details on degrees, programs, and faculty leadership, please consult

Graduate Certificates of Concentration in Area Studies

General Guidelines—Program Description

The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, through the regional councils on African Studies, European Studies, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Middle East Studies, sponsors graduate certificates of concentration that students may pursue in conjunction with graduate-degree programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools. The certificate is intended for students seeking to demonstrate substantial preparation in the study of one of four areas of concentration: Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Candidates for the certificate must demonstrate expertise in the area of concentration through their major graduate or professional field, as well as show command of the diverse interdisciplinary, geographic, and cultural-linguistic approaches associated with expertise in the area of concentration. Admission to the graduate certificate is contingent on the candidate’s acceptance into a Yale graduate-degree program. Award of the graduate certificate, beyond fulfilling the relevant requirements, is contingent on the successful completion of the candidate’s Yale University degree program.

Application Procedure

Specific requirements of each council are reflected in its application, monitoring, and award procedures. Application forms can be picked up at the relevant council or downloaded from its website. Prospective students should submit a completed application form to the relevant council.

Applications may be submitted by students admitted to a graduate program at Yale or during their program of study but no later than the beginning of the penultimate term of study. Each council may set limits on the number of candidates for its program in any given year. For further information, see the council administrator.

General Requirements

While the general requirements are consistent across all councils of the MacMillan Center, the specific requirements of each council may vary according to the different expertise required for its area of concentration. In addition to the specific requirements, students pursuing the certificate are expected to be actively engaged in the relevant council’s intellectual community and to be regular participants at its events, speaker series, and other activities. Serious study, research, and/or work experience overseas in the relevant region is highly valued.


Students must complete a total of six courses focused on the area from at least two different fields, including a Foundations Course if designated by the council. Of the remaining five courses, only two may be “directed readings” or “independent study.” Please note:

  • No more than four courses may count from any one discipline or school.
  • Courses from the home field of the student are eligible. Courses may count toward the student’s degree as well as toward the certificate.
  • Literature courses at the graduate level may count toward the six-course requirement, but elementary or intermediate language courses may not. At the discretion of the faculty adviser, an advanced language course at the graduate level may be counted if it is taught with substantial use of field materials such as literature, history, or social science texts and journals relevant to the area.
  • Coursework must demonstrate broad comparative knowledge of the region rather than focus on a specific country.
  • Coursework must demonstrate a grasp of the larger thematic concerns affecting the region, such as environment, migration, or global financial movements.
  • Only those courses listed on the Graduate Course Listings provided by the area council may be used to fulfill course requirements. For courses not listed there, please consult the certificate adviser. Non-listed courses may only be counted with prior approval of the council adviser, not after the fact.
  • A minimum grade of HP must be obtained or the course will not be counted toward the certificate.
  • Only coursework taken during the degree program at Yale may be counted toward the certificate.

Language Proficiency

Language proficiency in at least one language relevant to the area of concentration beyond proficiency in English is required. (For some councils and for some individual circumstances, proficiency in two languages beyond English is required.) In the major-area language targeted for meeting the proficiency requirement, students must demonstrate the equivalent ability of two years of language study at Yale with a grade of B+ or better. Language proficiency must encompass reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills plus grammar. Students may demonstrate proficiency by completing coursework, by testing at Yale, or by other means as approved by the council adviser. When a second major language of the region beyond English is required, the relevant council will specify the target level. The typical departmental graduate reading exam is not sufficient for certifying the four-skill language requirement of the certificate.

Normally, a candidate who is a native speaker of one of the area’s major languages will be expected to develop language proficiency in a second major-area language.

Interdisciplinary Research Paper

A qualifying research paper is required to demonstrate field-specific research ability focused on the area of concentration. After they have completed substantial coursework in the area of concentration, students must seek approval from the council faculty adviser for the research project they propose as the qualifying paper. Normally, students will submit their request no later than the fourth week of the term in which they plan to submit the qualifying paper.

The interdisciplinary research paper may be the result of original research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member in a graduate seminar or independent readings course or in field research related to the student’s studies. An M.A. thesis, Ph.D. prospectus, or dissertation may also be acceptable if it is interdisciplinary as well as focused on the area of concentration. The qualifying paper should examine questions concerning the area of concentration in a comparative and/or interdisciplinary context. It should also use relevant international and area-focused resource materials from a relevant region and/or resource materials in the language(s) of a relevant region or regions. Normally the paper should incorporate at least two of the following elements:

  • Address more than one country relevant to the area of concentration
  • Draw on more than one disciplinary field for questions or analytic approaches
  • Address a transregional or transnational theme relevant to the area of concentration

The paper will be read by two faculty members selected in agreement with the council adviser. The readers will be evaluating the paper for the quality of research, knowledge of the relevant literature, and depth of analysis of the topic. The qualifying paper must be fully footnoted and have a complete bibliography. The council adviser may call for a third reader as circumstances warrant.

Progress Reports and Filing for the Award of the Certificate

Students should submit a progress report along with a copy of their unofficial transcript to the council faculty adviser at the end of each term. Ideally, this will include a brief narrative describing the student’s engagement in the relevant council’s intellectual community and participation in its events, speaker series, and the like, as well as any planned or newly completed experience overseas.

A student who intends to file for the final award of the certificate should contact the council no later than the end of the term prior to award. No later than the fourth week of the term of the expected award, candidates should demonstrate how they have or will have completed all the requirements on time.

At the end of the term as grades are finalized, the council will confirm that the candidate is cleared to receive the home degree and has fulfilled all the requirements of the certificate. The final award will require review and clearance by the deputy director of the MacMillan Center.

Pursuit of Two Certificates

No courses may overlap between the two certificates. Any application for two certificates by a single student must robustly fulfill all of the requirements for each of the two certificates. Each certificate must be approved independently by each respective council’s certificate adviser.

In addition to the approval of both council advisers, any award of two certificates will require review and approval by the deputy director of the MacMillan Center.