Skip to main content


Coming to Graduate School at Yale is thrilling, but it can be a little daunting, too, especially if you are from a traditionally underrepresented background. If you’re feeling uneasy, intimidated, overwhelmed, STOP! You were admitted because you belong here. We can help you adjust to the challenges of your new environment. Transitions will give you the tools and community support you need.

Transitions is an optional year-long program for first-year graduate students, sponsored by the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity, to provide incoming students with the skills, connections, and community that will let you flourish at Yale.

Transitions will help you:

  • Understand the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ academic policies and procedures;
  • Gain effective, personalized strategies for navigating your department’s culture;
  • Develop academic and social skills for effectively navigating academia outside of your department;
  • Identify your academic and professional goals, and help you develop skills to accomplish those goals;
  • Identify university resources available to assist with attainment of academic and professional goals;
  • Experience a richly diverse community;
  • Connect with mentors and learn strategies for developing useful advising and mentoring relationships;
  • Explore career opportunities both inside and outside academia;
  • Get plugged into a community through involvement with an interdisciplinary cohort.

What Does Transitions Involve?

If you join the Transitions program, you will: 

  • Participate in Diversity Orientation Day (DOD), a one-day event at the beginning of Graduate School orientation week. 
  • Attend and actively participate in the eight Transitions Workshops held throughout the year. (Participants attend two workshops relevant to each category.)
    • Mentoring/Advising
    • Academic Development
    • Diversity and Personal Development
    • Professional Development
  • Participate in at least two Peer-to-Peer Advising sessions per semester with OGSDD Fellows.
  • Enjoy social events and networking opportunities.

Diversity Orientation Day

Diversity Orientation Day (DOD) is open to all participants in the Transitions program and is the official launch of the Transitions program each year.

Transitions Workshops - The Four Domains

  • Mentoring/Advising - The fall workshops offered through OGSDD focus on peer mentoring; the spring workshop, on faculty mentoring. Additional workshops are provided by the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. Participation in the OGSDD Mentoring Program requires completion of at least one mentoring workshop.
  • Academic DevelopmentWorkshops will be offered through the Graduate Writing Lab, the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, and Yale Libraries throughout the year. 
  • Diversity and Personal Development - OGSDD will coordinate seminars on social justice, training in implicit bias, workshops on networking/socializing in an academic setting, and more.
  • Professional Development - Sessions will focus on writing competitive fellowship applications (facilitated by OGSDD Fellows), and time management. Select workshops offered through the Office of Career Strategy may also qualify. 

Peer-to-Peer Advising

Peer-to-peer advising provides a place for graduate students to discuss any questions or concerns that they have with advanced graduate students. OGSDD Fellows will facilitate this peer-to-peer advising during scheduled office hours and by special request. OGSDD Fellows use standardized reporting prompts to track the progress of Transitions participants in order to identify students who are struggling and make appropriate referrals.


OGSDD hosts a Diversity Reception, a workshop on Conversations and Cocktails: Unmasking Faculty Trajectories, and a Dining Etiquette and Table Manners workshop.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of participation in Transitions?

Participation in Transitions is free.

Who should participate in Transitions?

First-year graduate students are welcome to attend this voluntary program. Invitations are sent to students in the spring and summer prior to matriculation. 

What is the time commitment required for successful completion of Transitions?

Successful completion requires participation in Diversity Orientation Day; a minimum of two half-hour Peer-to-Peer Advising sessions with OGSDD Fellows (one hour total per semester); and attendance at eight workshops over the academic year. You are welcome to attend additional workshops, of course.

Are Transitions social events mandatory?

While social events that are part of the Transitions program are voluntary and do not count towards program completion, we highly recommend that you attend as many as fit with your schedule. These events give you a chance to get to know other first-year students and OGSDD Fellows in an informal setting. And they’re fun!

Where and when do the Transitions workshops take place?

Visit the Office of Career Strategies and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning for more information about their workshops. Workshops through the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity will be advertised. All workshops require RSVP since space is limited.

Whom do I contact with questions about Transitions?

Feel free to reach out to Sr. Associate Dean Michelle Nearon. Email: Telephone: 203-436-1301.