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Yale has long thrived on diversity. Yale was not only the first university in North America to award PhD degrees (in 1861), but it was also the first university in North America to award a PhD to an African American, Edward Alexander Bouchet, in the field of Physics in 1876. It is equally noteworthy that with the formal establishment of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1892 (from the Department of Philosophy and the Arts established in 1847), women were also admitted as candidates for the doctorate. In 1894 Elizabeth Deering Hanscom was among the first seven women to earn the PhD at Yale.

Diversity and inclusion are essential to the strength of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Our community of students, faculty and staff is strengthened by the inclusion and participation of individuals from all races, genders, abilities, backgrounds, identities, ways of thinking and ideologies. Today, students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences hail from all walks of life and reflect the true diversity of our society.

In this spirit, The Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity (OGSDD) was established with the premise that expanding the diversity within the student body enhances the intellectual experience and understanding of the entire scholarly community. OGSDD operates collaboratively with departments and programs to proactively recruit and support the needs of diverse students as they pursue graduate study at Yale.


Recruitment initiatives include: (1) coordinating campus visits across the U.S. and Puerto Rico; (2) participating in graduate school fairs and conferences attended by large numbers of diverse students interested in Master’s and Ph.D. programs; (3) developing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions; (4) being involved in national consortia efforts and other special interest groups such as the Leadership Alliance, Graduate Horizons, and the National Name Exchange, that allow for collaboration with other institutions interested in increasing the numbers of diverse students who pursue graduate education; (5) organizing Yale campus visits for prospective students; (6) offering graduate school admissions processes and department/program specific virtual information sessions; and (7) coordinating summer undergraduate and post-baccalaureate research experiences.

Retention and Professional Development

Once students have been successfully recruited and admitted to Yale they require varying levels of support to ensure that their experiences are both positive and academically enriching as they work toward successful completion of a Master’s or PhD degree. Resources provided through the OGSDD include the “Transitions Program” for first year graduate students, general advising, mentoring, and opportunities to participate in small group social justice discussion seminars and other professional development workshops.