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Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR)


Students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at another university and who wish to pursue full time dissertation research at Yale may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration (DSR) as a Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR). VARs may not enroll in classes at Yale and are limited to a maximum of two years of study.

Prospective applicants to these programs should first contact the department to which they hope to apply for more information and specific eligibility requirements. You must have permission from the department with which you wish to affiliate before you can submit an application.

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Question section for Visiting Assistants in Research.

General Requirements/Information

  • All documents must be in English
  • Current enrollment in a graduate program (Master’s or Ph.D.) at another institution with a completed a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent).
  • An Advisor Invitation Verification Form.
  • A letter from your home institution confirming your academic standing.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • A personal statement of purpose.
  • All prior study institutions at the higher education level.
  • Transcripts for each listed prior study institution.
  • Assessment of English Language Proficiency*
  • Application fee.

VARs are not eligible for financial aid from the Yale Graduate School and must demonstrate sufficient financial support at the time of application. For the cost of tuition please click here.

Period of Attendance

The dates for the beginning and ending of your study at Yale are flexible and should be discussed with your Yale advisor prior to submitting your application.

  • Your application must be submitted no later than 60 days prior to your intended start date if you are an international applicant, and 30 days prior to your intended start date if you are a domestic applicant.
  • You may apply to enroll for up to one year. You may petition to extend your initial enrollment for up to one additional year after first year is complete. VAR appointments have a maximum cumulative time limit of 2 years.

Additional Information

  • The application process is online only – there is no paper application.
  • All materials in support of your application must be uploaded to the application prior to submission.
  • You must have permission of the program and an invitation from your advisor.
  • A complete online application contains the following:
    • The Division of Special Registration Visiting Assistants in Research (VAR) online application.
    • A personal statement of purpose of 500-1000 words describing your past work, your preparation for the proposed research, and your proposed research at Yale.
    • Proof of sufficient funding to cover your living expense and tuition costs while at Yale.
    • Proof of health insurance. Health insurance can be purchased through Yale Health.
    • An Advisor Invitation Verification Form from the Yale faculty member/advisor with whom you will be working.
    • Assessment of English Language Proficiency Form (for non English native language applicants)
  1. The Advisor Invitation Verification Form is completed in part from within your application. If your sponsor will provide financial assistance (for stipend, tuition, health coverage, etc.), this assistance must be entered in the online application.
  2. Once you have completed your part of the form, email it to your advisor to verify and complete. Your advisor will then return the form to you and you will upload it to your application.
  3. *The Assessment of English Language Proficiency Form is required of all applicants whose native language is not English and who did not attend, at the baccalaureate degree level, an institution where the primary language of instruction is English, or who have not taken and uploaded the results of either the TOEFL or IELTS tests .  The form is forwarded to your Advisor for signature and when returned to you, uploaded to your online application prior to submission of the application.
  • Official transcripts in a language other than English must be translated into English by a certified English translator.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • You may not enroll in coursework while at Yale.
  • The VAR program is a full-time program.
  • The results of a TOEFL/IELTS test, or the Assessment of English Language Proficiency Form is requirement of all applicants whose native language is not English and who have not graduated, at the baccalaureate degree level, from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction.  
  • The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will issue a visa to non-U.S. citizens who are accepted and can demonstrate sources of funding to cover the estimated monthly cost of living expenses as well as sufficient health insurance coverage. Consult this page for more information.
  • Yale will sponsor accepted international students for J-1 visa status. To be eligible for a J-1 student visa, a substantial portion of the student’s financial support must be from a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship provided by an external funding source.
  • All admission decisions are communicated in written form by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, not by individual departments or programs. Only letters sent directly from the Graduate School may be considered official notifications of admission.

To begin your application please click here.


Applications are received online each year, making the application process both easy and green.