The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

The Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is one of fifteen schools composing Yale University and the only one that awards the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts, and Master of Science. The work of the Graduate School is carried on in the divisions of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Fifty-eight departments and programs offer courses of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Eighteen departments and programs offer terminal master’s degrees.

Yale began to offer graduate education in 1847, and in 1861 it conferred the first Ph.D. degrees in North America. In 1876 Yale became the first American university to award the Ph.D. to an African American. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was formally established in 1892, when the first dean was appointed. It was in that same year that women were first admitted as candidates for the doctorate.

The Graduate School community has grown vigorously since the early twentieth century; today it comprises more than 3,500 graduate students and a faculty of over 1,100 who are among the world’s most distinguished teachers and scholars. Admission to the Graduate School is highly competitive; currently each entering class is made up of about 700 students.

The Graduate School’s purpose is to educate students in research, scholarship, and teaching in the arts and sciences. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduate students engage in advanced study of a discipline and then proceed to generate new knowledge and ideas through research. They learn to disseminate this knowledge in scholarly publications and teaching. Yale’s graduate students have built careers in colleges and universities, research laboratories, government, the nonprofit sector, and private industry. Their education equips them for leadership roles in each of these callings.

Yale’s standing as a great international research university is based on the strength and reputation of its graduate programs. The pursuit of advanced learning and new knowledge takes place in the departments and programs of the Graduate School. Thus, it is the Graduate School that makes Yale a university. Furthermore, graduate students as scholars and teachers in training engage with undergraduates and the faculty. A shared sense of common purpose makes Yale a community of scholars and a center of vibrant, intellectual exchange.