Programs of Study

Full-Time Degree Candidacy

Most students enrolled in the Graduate School are registered for full-time study as they pursue a Ph.D. or master’s degree program. These students devote their full effort to course work, preparing for qualifying examinations, gaining teaching experience, and the researching and writing the dissertation.

Part-Time Study

In rare circumstances, qualified individuals who are unable to devote their full time to graduate study may apply and be admitted as part-time students in either doctoral or terminal master’s programs. For more complete information, see Part-Time Study under Academic Regulations.

Nondegree Study

Qualified individuals who wish to study at the graduate level as nondegree candidates may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration (DSR). Admission to the DSR is for one term or one year only and carries with it no commitment by the Graduate School for further study. Students admitted for the academic year must demonstrate satisfactory academic performance in the first term in order to register for the second term. Students in the DSR may obtain transcripts indicating the appropriate credit for work completed. Students enrolled full-time in the DSR may pursue internship opportunities only after they complete their program. They may not concurrently participate in an internship while enrolled in the DSR. International students who are in the United States on a J-1 visa should consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) about their eligibility to extend their visa in order to participate in an internship opportunity after their program.

DSR students engaged solely in course work are identified as visiting students. Although normally admitted for full-time study, visiting students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be admitted for part-time study and are charged tuition on a per-course basis, whether for credit or audit. International visiting students must maintain a record of full-time enrollment (four courses for credit per term) for the duration of their program due to visa requirements. Please refer to Financing Graduate School for a schedule of tuition and fee charges. Students admitted to the DSR as vsiting students are not eligible for financial aid, including federal and most nonfederal student loans.

Advanced graduate students who are degree candidates (at the master’s or Ph.D. level) at another university and who have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member for a research project under that faculty member’s direct supervision may be admitted to the DSR as visiting assistants in research. Undergraduate students in combined or simultaneous B.S./M.S., B.A./M.A., or similar programs are not considered advanced graduate students. Visiting assistants in research are not eligible to take courses and are limited to a maximum of two years of study. Student research conducted at Yale must be part of the visiting student’s thesis or dissertation. The extent and location of the research completed at Yale must be cited in the completed thesis or dissertation. The Graduate School does not provide financial support to visiting assistants in research. Such students either hold standard graduate-student assistantship in research appointments that are funded by the faculty adviser or provide their own funding through external awards or personal resources. Please refer to Financing Graduate School for a schedule of tuition and fee charges.

Detailed information, requirements, and access to the online DSR application are available at DSR applicants must provide evidence of insurance coverage for the duration of their studies at Yale at the time of application.

Some departments at Yale have formal exchange agreements with universities in other countries that have been approved by the Graduate School. Graduate students who are admitted to Yale under such approved exchange agreements may be registered as Exchange Scholars. Exchange scholars are not normally charged tuition. They may enroll in up to four courses per term for a maximum of two terms (one year). International exchange scholars must maintain a record of full-time enrollment for the duration of their program due to visa requirements, either by enrolling in four courses for credit if engaging solely in coursework, by engaging in a full-time program of research, or by engaging in a combination of coursework and research.

In rare circumstances, students may apply for a second year of registration in the DSR; however, cumulative enrollment is limited to two years. Students enrolled in the DSR who are subsequently admitted to degree programs in the Graduate School may receive academic and tuition credit for no more than four courses completed while enrolled in the DSR, provided that the department recommends such credit and the appropriate associate dean approves.

Interdisciplinary Study

All graduate students are formally associated with one department or program, and in the case of students in combined-degree programs, with two. Students may, however, be encouraged to take one or more courses in related departments. Students are often advised by faculty members from more than one department during their dissertation research. Students in the Graduate School, with permission of the director of graduate studies and the relevant school, may take advantage of particular course or research opportunities in Yale College and in Yale’s professional schools.

Combined- and Joint-Degree Programs

Students interested in African American Studies, Early Modern Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies pursue a combined Ph.D. with departments in related fields. In addition to these academic programs, there are several formal interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in the Graduate School listed under the appropriate departmental entries of this bulletin. Ad hoc programs may also be approved. A student who is interested in an ad hoc program should prepare a written proposal for review and approval by the relevant departments and associate dean before the student has advanced to candidacy.

Students are encouraged to contact the appropriate directors of graduate studies about specific opportunities for interdisciplinary study throughout the Graduate School and University.

The Graduate School also participates in formal joint-degree programs with certain professional schools, including the J.D./M.A. and J.D./Ph.D. programs in cooperation with the Law School; the M.D./Ph.D. program in cooperation with the School of Medicine; and the Ph.D./M.B.A. program in cooperation with the School of Management. In addition, joint-degree programs with professional schools have been approved for master’s students in Chemical & Environmental Engineering, European and Russian Studies, and International and Development Economics. These programs are described in the individual departmental listings.

For all joint-degree programs except the M.D./Ph.D., students are required to submit formal applications to both the professional school and the Graduate School indicating their interest in enrolling in the joint program. Individuals interested in the M.D./Ph.D. program apply directly to the M.D./Ph.D. program. (See Requirements for Joint-Degree Programs, under Degree Requirements.)

Cooperative Degree Program

Yale-University of Puerto Rico M.D./PH.D. Cooperative Program  

The Yale-UPR M.D./Ph.D Cooperative Program allows students to obtain an M.D. from the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Science Campus (UPR-MSC) and a Ph.D. from the Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) in approximately eight years. This program is targeted to those students who are committed to a research career in biomedical, translational, or health sciences, and who meet the requirements for admission to both the Ph.D. program at Yale and the M.D. program at UPR.

Application and Admissions Process

Prospective students apply simultaneously to UPR-MSC and to Yale through each institution’s respective online application process. The admission process for UPR-MSC School of Medicine starts in December and ends by mid-March, by which time Yale usually provides its decision on admissions to the Ph.D. program. Students must be accepted by both programs to participate in the M.D./Ph.D. Cooperative Program. Admission to UPR-MSC or to Yale does not guarantee admission to the M.D./Ph.D. Cooperative Program.

Program Details

Years one to three: UPR-MSC
Students are required to complete the first three years of the Medicine Program at UPR-MSC. Students travel to Yale for eight weeks in the summer after their first year of medical school to complete one to two laboratory rotations.

Years four to seven: Yale
Years four through seven of the program are spent at Yale. The students complete lab rotations and advanced coursework, take the qualifying exam, and conduct dissertation research. They also complete one term of teaching and attend seminars, journal clubs, department retreats, and social/networking activities. The students’ progress on the dissertation research and advanced coursework are guided by the DGS of the Ph.D. Program, thesis adviser, and thesis committee.

The UPR-MSC Ph.D. candidates must meet all of the academic requirements of their doctoral programs, including one term of teaching and completion of required Ph.D. courses. Any exceptions to coursework requirements will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the director of graduate studies and associate dean of the Graduate School. Completion of the Ph.D. requirements is estimated at four years. Writing, defense, and submission of the thesis is subject to approval by the Ph.D. thesis committee.

Year eight: Return to UPR-MSC and Graduation
Upon successful completion of the dissertation research and required coursework, the Ph.D. will be awarded by Yale University. After receiving the Ph.D., students return to UPR-MSC for the remainder of their medical training and to receive their M.D. degree from UPR-MSC. The expectation is that the M.D. degree will not be awarded prior to the completion of the Ph.D. requirements.

Exchange Scholar Program

Graduate students in Yale Ph.D. programs may petition to enroll full- or part-time for a term or an academic year as exchange scholars at the University of California at Berkeley, Brown, the University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Stanford. The Exchange Scholar Program enables students to take advantage of educational opportunities not available at their home institutions. Applications are available at the website listed above. Please direct questions to Assistant Dean Sarah Insley ( Applications must be received at least eight weeks prior to the beginning of the term for which the student is applying.

International Graduate Student Exchange Agreements

The Graduate School has established and continues to develop formal exchanges with a number of institutions internationally in cases where there are reciprocal academic benefits for faculty and graduate students. Yale doctoral students may participate in the international exchanges listed below. Most of them last one term or a full academic year, and a small number of exchanges are available for summers only.

All international exchange agreements must be approved in advance by the Graduate School to ensure that they meet University policies and Graduate School guidelines. Departments interested in establishing an exchange program must prepare a statement that demonstrates that there is a clear academic and reciprocal need for the program, and that the program will conform to the established guidelines for exchange agreements. Students and faculty interested in pursuing these exchanges should contact Assistant Dean Sarah Insley (

International Exchange Programs

Universität Göttingen, Germany

Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of Helsinki, Finland

Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland; Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris [“Sciences Po”], France; Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy; Universität Bonn, Germany; Universität Mannheim, Germany

École Normale Supérieure-PSL, Paris, France; Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris [“Sciences Po”], France

Graduate School
Baden-Württemberg Exchange, Germany; Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany; Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel; Royal Holloway College, University of London, England; Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China; University College London, England

Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris [“Sciences Po”], France

Italian Studies
Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), Pisa, Italy

Political Science
Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, France [“Sciences Po”]; Nuffield College, University of Oxford, England

Public Health
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris [“Sciences Po”], France; University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Summer Study

Doctoral students are funded year-round and are expected to make progress toward the completion of their degrees during the summer months. (See Summer Registration under Registration Status and Leaves of Absence, under Academic Regulations.) See individual departmental policies in this bulletin regarding specific expectations for degree programs during the summer. Although the Graduate School does not offer academic courses in the summer, language for reading instruction is available through the Yale Summer Session, and graduate students may wish to take advantage of these programs while in New Haven. For further details on summer offerings at Yale, please consult the Yale Summer Session website at and the appropriate dean in the Graduate School.