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Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR)

If you are an advanced graduate student who is a degree candidate (at the master’s or Ph.D. level) at another university and if you have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member for a research project under that faculty member’s direct supervision, you may apply as a Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR). Research conducted at Yale through the VAR program must be part of the your thesis or dissertation.
Prospective Visiting Assistant in Research applicants should identify a Yale faculty adviser in the appropriate department who is willing to work with them. VARs are not eligible for financial aid from the Graduate School and must demonstrate that they have independent financial support at the time of application. GRE scores are not required. 

Enrollment & Tuition

  • Tuition is charged for any portion of a month during which you are enrolled, at a rate of $425 per month.
  • Your period of study at Yale is flexible and should be discussed with your Yale adviser prior to submitting your application. Your start date should always begin on the first day of the month. If the first falls on a weekend or holiday, your enrollment will begin on the next business day. 
  • Your proposed Yale adviser must hold a faculty appointment in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the program with which you plan to affiliate. You must have permission from both the program and your proposed adviser before applying. 
  • 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 you have completed your first year. Appointments to the Division of Special Registration, which includes VARs, have a maximum cumulative time limit of two years.
  • VARs may not enroll in classes at Yale.
  • VARs are considered to be enrolled full time.

Application Deadlines

  • International Applicants must submit applications at least 90 days in advance of your intended start date.
  • US Citizens/Permanent Residents submit applications at least 30 days in advance of your intended start date.

Application Requirements

The application asks you to provide the following, in English:
  • Proof of current and continuing enrollment in a graduate program (Master’s or Ph.D.) at another institution, provided by your university’s registrar. This 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 home-institution academic adviser. 
  • A recommendation from your proposed Yale adviser.
  • A transcript of your grades from your current graduate program.
  • 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.
All required materials in support of your application must be uploaded to the application prior to submission. Letters of recommendation and the application fee must be received before you will be able to submit your application.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting Assistants in Research for more information. 

Additional Requirements for International Students

If you are a non-U.S. citizen, the Yale Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will provide documentation to assist you to obtain a visa if you are accepted and can demonstrate that you have sufficient funding to cover the estimated monthly cost of living expenses as well as adequate health insurance coverage. Yale will sponsor accepted international students for J-1 visa status. 
  • External Funding Requirement. To be eligible for a J-1 student visa, at least 50% of your financial support toward tuition and living expenses must be from an external (non-personal, non-family) scholarship, fellowship, stipend, or assistantship. Formal documentation of this funding must be provided at the time of application. Your documentation should include your name, the name of your funding source, the amount of funding provided, and the duration the funding will be available, which must include the period of VAR enrollment. 
  • English Language Proficiency. The results of a TOEFL/IELTS test are required of 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 may attest to your English language ability when they complete the letter of recommendation form for your application. 
  • Consult the Office of International Students and Scholars page for more information.


All admission decisions are communicated in writing by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, not by  departments or programs. Only letters sent directly from the Graduate School may be considered official notifications of admission.