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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.

Before starting your application, please note the following:

  • All documents must be in English.
  • You must have permission of the program and permission from your proposed Yale advisor. 
  • You may apply to enroll for up to one year. You may apply to extend your initial enrollment for up to one additional year after the first year is complete. VAR appointments have a maximum cumulative time limit of two years.
  • VARs are not eligible for financial aid from the Yale Graduate School and must demonstrate sufficient financial support at the time of application.

Deadlines/Period of Attendance

  • Your period of study at Yale is flexible and should be discussed with your Yale advisor prior to submitting your application. Your start date should always begin on the first of the month. If the first falls on a weekend or holiday, your enrollment will begin the next business day. 
  • International Applicants: your application must be submitted no later than 90 days prior to your intended start date.
  • US Citizens/Permanent Residents: your application must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to your intended start date.
  • Tuition is charged for any portion of a month, at a rate of $425 per month.

Application Requirements:

To submit an application, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Proof of current and continuing enrollment in a graduate program (Master’s or Ph.D.) at another institution provided by your university registrar, which may take the form of a letter from your home institution confirming your academic standing.
  • A Statement of Purpose of 250-500 words describing your past work and your proposed research at Yale.
  • A letter of support from your current academic advisor.
  • A recommendation form from your proposed Yale Adviser.
  • A transcript of your grades from your current graduate program (Master’s or Ph.D.)
  • Proof of health insurance or intention to obtain health insurance.
  • Application fee of $105.00, plus a $25.00 document processing fee for international applicants.
  • International applicants must also provide: Proof of sufficient funding to cover your living expenses and tuition costs while at Yale and proof of English Language proficiency.

All documentation must be in English.

Financial Aid

VARs are not eligible for financial aid from the Yale Graduate School and must demonstrate sufficient financial support at the time of application.

Additional Information

  • The application process is online only – there is no paper application.
  • All required materials in support of your application must be uploaded to the application prior to submission. Letters of recommendation must be received from your advisers before you will be able to submit your application.
  • Official transcripts or documents 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.
  • Your proposed Yale Adviser must hold a faculty appointment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the program you elect to affiliate with. 
  • The VAR program is a full-time program.
  • The results of a TOEFL/IELTS test is required 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. Alternatively, your Yale Adviser will be asked to attest to your English language ability when they complete the letter of recommendation form for your application. 
  • The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will issue documentation to assist with obtaining 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 the Office of International Students and Scholars page for more information.
  • Yale will sponsor accepted international students for J-1 visa status. To be eligible for a J-1 student visa, 50% of the student’s financial support toward tuition and living expenses must be from an external (non-personal, non-family) scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.
  • All admission decisions are communicated in writing 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.


Click this link to begin your online Visiting Assistant in Research application.