Application FAQs

Questions in this category relate to the application process and topics associated with the process.

Q: What is the prompt for the Statement of Academic Purpose for PhD/Master’s applicants?

A statement of academic purpose is required of all applicants. The statement of purpose prompt for the 2023-2024 application is as follows:

  • All applicants (except those applying to Biological and Biomedical Sciences or Political Science): Please upload a statement of 500-1000 words explaining why you are applying to Yale for graduate study. Describe your research interests and preparation for your intended field(s) of study, including prior research and other relevant experiences. Explain how the faculty, research, and resources at Yale would contribute to your future goals.
  • Applicants to Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) only: Your statement of purpose will aid the admissions committee in evaluating your application. Succinctly respond in 500-1000 words. Please discuss your motivation for conducting research, provide a detailed summary of your research experience and how it prepares you for doctoral study, and include how you have taken initiative on a research project, academic endeavor, or employment responsibility. Finally, please describe your career aspirations.
  • Applicants to Political Science only: In a succinct statement of no more than 1000 words, please (1) discuss your motivation for conducting research; (2) provide a detailed summary of your research experience and training and how it prepares you for doctoral study in your proposed program (the standalone PhD in Political Science); (3) the topic(s) you plan to study in graduate school and how you would approach those questions; and (4) why Yale is a good fit given your interests.

Q: Writing Sample — is one required for my program of study?

There are two ways to determine if a writing sample is required for the program to which you are applying:

  • The first is through the program’s website. 
  • The second is from within the online application. Once you have selected your program of study, if a writing sample is required, you will not be able to submit your application until one has been uploaded to your application. 

Q: I need to revise my statement of purpose, resume, or supplemental materials but have already submitted my application. What should I do?

You may upload a revised statement of purpose, resume, or supplemental materials via your Status Portal. 

Q: What's the difference between a combined degree and a joint degree?

Some departments and programs offer a joint degree between the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and one of Yale’s professional schools. If you apply for a joint degree you must submit an application to both the professional school and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

A combined degree is between two departments or programs, both within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

  • Applicants submit one application to the Graduate School and indicate that they wish to be considered for both programs. 
  • Certain programs (African American Studies; Film and Media Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) are mandatory combined degrees and applicants must indicate on their application with which department/program at the Graduate School they wish to be combined. 
  • Other departments/programs at the Graduate School can be combined but do not have to be. Additionally, some departments and programs may not be combined. 
  • Refer to the Programs of Study listing for complete information.

Q: Can I apply to more than one program at the Graduate School?

No. An application may be made to only one department or program at the Graduate School per term.

There are, however, a number of programs that permit you to apply as a combined degree applicant using a single application:

  • An application to African American Studies; Film and Media Studies; or Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requires you to apply as a combined degree applicant.
  • To determine combined degree program options please refer to our list of Programs of Study.
    • Select your program and look for combined PhD programs affiliated with that program. 

Q: How do I check on the status of my application to see if my letters of recommendation and/or standardized test scores have been received by your office?

Before You Submit Your Application: You will see the status of these materials within the “Test Scores” or “Recommendations” tab of your application. You do not need to delay submitting your application because of pending letters of recommendation or pending official test scores. It is acceptable for letters of recommendation and official test scores to arrive after you submit your application and up to a few days after the application deadline.

After You Submit Your Application: Upon submitting your application and after paying your application fee, you will use your Application Status Portal to check for the receipt of official test scores or letters of recommendation.

Q: Can I submit supplemental materials before I submit my application?

All materials in support of your application must be uploaded to your application prior to submission. 

If you have materials such as books, manuscripts, CDs, or sheet music that you consider essential in support of your application, you should extract a sample and upload that sample to your online application. Do not mail any materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions or to your designated program, as any such materials will be discarded. 

Q: The field of study, subfield, track, or concentration for my proposed program is not available in the online application. What should I do?

Some programs and departments at the Graduate School offer specific fields of study; however, not all of them require you to choose one when you submit your application.

If you are applying to a program that does not require subfields, you may wish to indicate your interest in a specific field of study in your statement of purpose.

Q: Where should I send the supplemental materials that could not be uploaded to my application?

All materials for your application must be uploaded to your application. Do not mail anything to us, as it will not be included in your application for review by faculty. 

Q: Fall term grades are now available. How can I report them to you?

Fall term grades, or a copy of your updated transcript, may be uploaded via your Application Status Portal after you submit your application. 

Do not mail any materials to us. 

Q: I am reapplying. What do I need to do?

You should submit a new application, including all required materials, new letters of recommendation, and payment of the application fee. If you previously sent official test scores to the Graduate School, you do not need to send them again. 

Please note that applicants who have been previously denied admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences three times may not apply again.

Q: Can I withdraw my application?

Yes. You may withdraw your application prior to receiving an admissions decision; however, please note that application fees are non-refundable. To withdraw your application, please email us at

Q: Can GRE/TOEFL scores arrive after the deadline?

Yes, but you should make every effort to have your standardized test scores released to us as soon as possible.

Please bear in mind that faculty can begin reviewing applications following the deadline of your program.
While they may have self-reported scores (that you entered in your application), no formal decision can be made until official scores are received.

Official score records received after the deadline will still be provided to the program.

Q: I submitted my application to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, but I intended to submit it to a different Yale school. What should I do?

Please notify us of the mistake by emailing us at and we will withdraw your application to the Graduate School. You will need to submit a new application to the Yale school to which you wish to apply. Unfortunately, we are unable to transfer any application materials, such as writing samples, letters of recommendation, test scores, etc. If an application was submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences when intended for another school of the university and you have already submitted an application to that school, we can refund your Graduate School application fee (as long as an admissions decision has not been released yet by the Graduate School). 

Q: I am unable to access or load the application website. What can I do?

If you have tried a different browser already, you might then try using VPN, a different network, a different computer, or a smart phone to access the website. In some isolated cases, local networks appear to be blocking access to the application website, but using a different network or phone should resolve the issue.

Q: I am having difficulty uploading supplemental materials. What should I do?

Documents uploaded to your application may not exceed 16MB max. Reduce the size of your document and try uploading it again. 

Q: I need technical support with the application.

If you are experiencing a technical issue with the application, we suggest trying a different browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

If you continue to experience issues, please email Graduate Admissions

Q: I have created a duplicate application/account. How can I delete it?

A duplicate application occurs when you have previously created an application account and then mistakenly create another using modified credentials.

Duplicate applications are not permitted and we will systematically consolidate duplicate accounts.