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Non-Degree Applicant (Visiting Assistant in Research) Questions

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Application for admission to the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Division of Special Registration for Non-Degree Programs is an online process.  We suggest starting by reviewing the Overview and General Requirements section and when you are ready to begin you can proceed to create an online account from within that section and select Application Type of Visiting Assisting in Research (VAR).

The application will guide you through completion and prompt you to upload required materials. You must upload certain required items, including a Personal Statement of Purpose, Transcripts, Proof of Enrollment and an Advisor Invitation Verification Form. You may upload additional items, such as a Writing Sample and Resume.

You will be required to designate two Recommenders who must each submit a letter of recommendation online. Once you identify a Recommender, he or she will receive an email providing instructions and access information.

You may work on your application periodically and submit it when you are ready. Submission of the application can be effected only after all of the required materials have been uploaded. At the time of submission, you will be prompted to submit an application fee.

After submission, you may print out a PDF copy of your application for your records. Domestic applicants must submit an application no later than thirty (30) days prior to a proposed start date; international applicants must submit an application no later than sixty days (60) prior to a proposed start date.


 

Please refer to the Fees section.

Advanced graduate students who are degree candidates at another university and who have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member at Yale for a research project under his or her direct supervision may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration as Visiting Assistants in Research (VARs).

Undergraduate students in combined or simultaneous B.S./M.S., B.A./M.A. or similar programs are not considered advanced graduate students. Student research to be conducted at Yale must relate to the visiting student’s thesis or dissertation. Students in Master’s programs that do not require a thesis are not eligible for admission as VARs.

VAR applicants must provide undergraduate transcripts showing completion of the bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent, along with current graduate school transcripts. All transcripts must be in English or translated into English and must be uploaded to the online application prior to submission.

Mailed sent to us via post or email cannot be accommodated and will be discarded.

You will be prompted to upload all materials required to support your application, such as a Personal Statement of Purpose, an Advisor Invitation Verification Form (filled in by you and verified by a Yale faculty member agreeing to serve as your advisor) and documentation certifying both your enrollment as a graduate student and your necessary financial resources. You may also upload supplementary materials in support of your application.

As a VAR, you must be currently enrolled at a degree-granting institution at the graduate level. An official proof of enrollment letter on institutional letterhead stationary must come from the office of a University Registrar or from a similar institutional office charged with administering enrolled student records. You will be prompted to upload this required letter to your online application.

Initial enrollment may be for any length of time up to one calendar year. After the initial enrollment period, students may request to extend their enrollment for a cumulative total of up to two calendar years. Extension requests should be made directly to a student’s Yale advisor. The advisor will recommend any proposed extensions to the Graduate School. Once an extension has been approved by an advisor and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

The Advisor Invitation Verification Form is part of the online application. The purpose of the form is to provide your prospective advisor with information regarding your proposed study at Yale and for the advisor to verify that information.

  • Once you have completed the Yale Faculty Advisor/Sponsor and Living Expenses/Tuition Costs and Income Sources portions of the application, the information you have provided therein will be transferred automatically to the Advisor Invitation Verification Form.
  • You may view the information on the form and, if necessary, correct any entries by returning to the relevant sections of the application.
  • When the Advisor Invitation Verification Form is complete, save it to your computer and then email it as an attachment to your intended advisor.
  • Once your advisor has verified the form and returned it to you, you must upload the verified form to your application prior to submission.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify and contact a Yale Graduate School faculty member who agrees to be your advisor during your proposed stay at Yale.

  • Students seeking a compatible advisor are encouraged to review the research descriptions posted by most faculty members on their departmental websites.
  • Faculty members are under no obligation to advise VAR applicants however
  • Students will not be admitted without a faculty advisor.

Once you identify a Yale faculty member who agrees to serve as your advisor, you may enter that information in your application.

  • If your Yale advisor offers to provide any funding during your stay, you should enter the designated amount as a Yale Source of funding. From the downloadable forms section of the application,
  • Access Advisor Invitation Verification Form to check the information you have entered.
  • When the Advisor Invitation Verification Form is complete, save it to your computer and then email it as an attachment to your intended advisor. Once your advisor has verified the form and returned to you, you must upload the verified form to your application prior to submission.

VAR students are required to show proof of sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses while at Yale. This may include

  •     financial support from your home institution
  •     an external award agency
  •     personal and/or family funds

Applicants must provide documentary evidence for each source of funds.

  •     For each fellowship, grant and stipend, students must provide an official award letter detailing the amount and duration of each award.
  •     For personal funds, students must provide an official bank statement.
  •     For family support, students must provide both a notarized letter from the family member indicating the amount and duration of the promised support, along with that family member’s official bank statement.

For international students, the J-1 visa requires that you have substantial funding from sources other than personal or family funds. International students are required to have non-personal (non-family) funding equal to the lower of 100% of tuition costs, or 30% of total costs (tuition plus monthly living expenses).

All documents uploaded showing support for resources or awards, including bank statements, must be in English.

Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed by the department or program to which you have applied as well as by the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School.

If you are admitted as a VAR, you will be notified by email to which a PDF copy of your Offer Letter and an Admissions Reply Form will be attached. The original of your Offer Letter will also be sent to you via first class mail.

The review of a VAR application may take anywhere between two to four weeks.  The acutal review time varies by program. 

If you have not received notification of a decision after four weeks, please contact the Admissions Office by email (adding your topic after the “Reply Required -” prompt).

If you receive an auto response please ignore it. We will respond to your query as quickly as possible.

Once your application has been reviewed and a decision made to offer you admission as a VAR, you will receive email notification to which an Offer Letter and an Admissions Reply Form will be attached.

You may accept (or decline) that offer by marking the appropriate box, signing and dating the form and returning it by facsimile to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Alternatively, you may scan your signed Admissions Reply Form and send it via email.

Admitted VAR students may purchase health insurance coverage through the Yale Health Plan by contacting Yale Health Plan Member Services by email or at 203-432-0246.

Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School regarding Yale Health Plan coverage.

Unfortunately no.

Visiting Assistants in Research are responsible for their housing arrangements and living expenses. Information about housing options can be found at Yale Graduate Housing.

Please do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School regarding housing or accommodations as they will not be able to assist you.

International VAR Students should first bring their passport and immigration documents to check in with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), 421 Temple Street. Their second stop should be to inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived.

Domestic students should first inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived. Once they have notified their departments, all students should go to the Registrar’s Office at 246 Church Street for instructions about receiving your ID Card. You will have already received your Student Identification Number and NetID along with instructions about activating your NetID.

Unfortunately, no.

Non-degree students who wish to take classes must apply as Special Students, not VARs.

The Special Student program charges tuition to non-degree students on a per course basis.

Once you have been offered admission and have accepted that offer, the Office of Graduate Admissions will document you as a new student to the Office of the University Registrar. 

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will then contact you by email within 3-6 business days and request that you fill out a mandatory questionnaire.

OISS will then complete a DS-2019 immigration document and mail it to you via courier. 

This document will include your SEVIS ID number, which you will require to pay the SEVIS fee and book a visa appointment. As there are several stages to the visa application process, including the mailing and delivery of forms, you can facilitate the process by responding promptly to queries from OISS, and ensuring that you have provided appropriate documentation to support your statement of financial support. All questions regarding the visa process should be directed to OISS via email.

Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Graduate School regarding immigration concerns or procedures.

Payment methods will vary from department to department; please contact the Registrar in the department to which you have applied to find out how your funding will be disbursed.

The VAR program has a rolling admission process and students may begin their study at any point during the year. Your faculty advisor must agree to your proposed length of stay and you must have adequate funding to cover the designated period. Domestic applicants must submit an application no later than thirty (30) days prior to a proposed start date; international applicants must submit an application no later than sixty days (60) prior to a proposed start date.

In some cases, admitted VAR students find it necessary to change the dates of their stay at Yale. All date changes must first be approved by a student’s faculty advisor who will inform the Graduate School of the recommended change. If a change is approved, the student will receive a new letter of admission from the Graduate School.

Yes. Spouses or same-sex partners of Yale graduate students are eligible to hold a Student Affiliate ID Card which confers certain privileges with regard to campus shuttle services, athletic and library facilities, museum admissions, film society screenings and Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale athletic events. Students and their spouses should bring valid IDs and proof of marriage (copy of license) or domestic partnership (e.g., joint lease, civil union, joint banking statement) to the Office of the Registrar at 246 Church Street to request a spousal/partner affiliate ID. Pending approval of the documentation you provide, the Registrar will issue a card permitting the spouse or same-sex partner to obtain an affiliate ID from the University’s ID Center.

No. The Graduate School does not provide financial support to Visiting Assistants in Research.

Most students provide their own funding through external awards or personal resources.

For international students, any funding coming from outside of Yale, including personal funds, should be documented in the application for visa purposes.

Once you have accepted an offer of admission, you will receive an email with your Student Identification Number and NetID (allowing you to establish a Yale email account). You will also receive two additional emails, one with instructions for activating your NetID and a second containing an activation PIN#.

When you arrive, bring either your passport or current U.S. Driver’s License to the Registrar’s Office at 246 Church Street.

  • There you will receive an authorization to obtain an ID card.
  • After you receive this authorization, you may go to the ID Center, located in the same building.

Your tuition bill will be sent to your yale.edu email address, after you arrive at Yale. The bill is payable upon receipt, and will include instructions on methods of payment.

If you are trying to contact one of the support offices and are having trouble getting a response to your questions, please contact the Registrar in the department to which you have applied. The department Registrar will be able to help you identify the appropriate person to contact.

You must download and fill out the “Assessment of English Language Proficiency Form” under “Downloadable Forms” in the online application if:

1. Your native language is not English.
2. You answered “No” to the question, “Did you graduate, at the baccalaureate degree level, from an institution where English was primary language of instruction?”
3. You have not taken the TOEFL/IELTS (or you have not uploaded result of either of those tests)

You must have your faculty advisor complete the form, return it to you signed, and upload it to your online application in the Other Information Section under Assessment of English Language proficiency section.

If you took and have the results of a TOEFL/IELTS test, please upload a copy of your TOEFL/IELTS Score Report in the Supplemental Materials section of your application. If you have your TOEFL/IELTS results then you do not need to take action on the Assessment of English Language Proficiency Form.

If you were unable to find the answer to your question please call or email your program/department directly - you may find program contact information here.