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Non-Degree Applicant (Visiting Assistant in Research) Questions

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The application is available online only.  We suggest starting by reviewing the Overview and General Requirements section before starting your application.

The application will guide you through completion and prompt you to upload required materials. You must upload certain required items, including a statement of purpose, transcripts, proof of enrollment. You may upload additional items, such as a resume.

You will be required to designate two recommenders who must each submit a letter of recommendation online. One recommendation must be your proposed Yale Advisor. One must be your current advisor at your home institution. Once you identify a recommender, he or she will receive an email providing instructions for submitting a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Both letters must be received before you will be able to submit your application. 

Upon submission of your application, you must also submit an application fee of $105, plus a $25 processing fee for international applicants.

Domestic applicants must submit an application no later than thirty (30) days prior to a proposed start date; international applicants must submit an application no later than ninety days (90) prior to a proposed start date. 

Please refer to the Fees section.

Advanced graduate students who are degree candidates at another university and who have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member at Yale for a research project under his or her direct supervision may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration as Visiting Assistants in Research (VARs).

Undergraduate students in combined or simultaneous B.S./M.S., B.A./M.A. or similar programs are not considered advanced graduate students. Student research to be conducted at Yale must relate to the visiting student’s thesis or dissertation. Students in Master’s programs that do not require a thesis are not eligible for admission as VARs.

VAR applicants must provide a transcript from their current institution showing continuing enrollment during the period of study at Yale, along with all other graduate school transcripts. All transcripts must be in English or translated into English and must be uploaded to the online application prior to submission.

Mailed sent to us via post or email cannot be accommodated and will be discarded.

You will be prompted to upload all materials required to support your application including a statement of purpose, documentation of health insurance, and documentation certifying both your enrollment as a graduate student and your necessary financial resources. You may also upload supplementary materials in support of your application.

As a VAR, you must be currently enrolled at a degree-granting institution at the graduate level. An official proof of enrollment letter on institutional letterhead stationary must come from the office of a University Registrar or from a similar institutional office charged with administering enrolled student records. You will be prompted to upload this required letter to your online application.

Initial enrollment may be for any length of time up to twelve months. After the initial enrollment period, students may apply to extend their enrollment for a cumulative total of up to two years. To apply for an extension, the student must submit a VAR Extension Application along with the applicable application fee. Once an extension has been approved by the program and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

The Yale Advisor Invitation Verification Form is part of the online application. The purpose of the form is to provide your prospective advisor with information regarding your proposed study at Yale and for the advisor to verify information you have entered on your application.

  • Within the Reference section of the online application, you will click “Add Recommender”. Select a form type of “Yale Advisor Form” and fill in your advisor's details. Your advisor will be emailed a link to the form to fill out on your behalf. This form must be submitted by your advisor before you will be able to submit your application. 
  • The link your advisor receives will include information about your proposed study, including your proposed period of attendance.
  • If required, your advisor may also be asked to attest to your English language ability. 

It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify and contact a Yale Graduate School faculty member who agrees to be your advisor during your proposed stay at Yale.

  • Students seeking a compatible adviser are encouraged to review the research descriptions posted by most faculty members on their departmental websites.
  • Faculty members are under no obligation to advise VAR applicants.
  • Students will not be admitted without a faculty adviser.

Once you identify a Yale faculty member who agrees to serve as your adviser, you may enter that information in your application.

  • If your Yale adviser offers to provide any funding during your stay, you should enter the designated amount as a Yale Source of funding. 

VAR students are required to show proof of sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses while at Yale. This may include:

  •     financial support from your home institution
  •     an external award agency
  •     personal and/or family funds

Applicants must provide documentation for each source of funds.

  •     For each fellowship, grant and stipend, students must provide an official award letter detailing the amount and duration of each award.
  •     For personal funds, students must provide an official bank statement.
  •     For family support, students must provide a signed and dated letter from the family member indicating the amount and duration of the promised support, along with a corresponding bank statement showing sufficient funds. 

For international students, the J-1 visa requires that you have substantial funding from sources other than personal or family funds. International students are required to have non-personal (non-family) external funding support of at least 50% of total costs (tuition plus monthly living expenses).

All documents uploaded showing support for resources or awards, including bank statements, must be in English.

Once you submit your application, you must immediately submit payment for your application fee.

Your application will then be reviewed by the Graduate School and the department or program to which you have applied.

You will be notified by email when a decision is ready for you to check within your online Graduate School Application Status Portal.

Once your application and application fee are submitted, review of your VAR application may take anywhere between two to four weeks.

Once your application has been reviewed and a decision made to offer you admission, you will fill out a Reply Form within your Graduate School Application Status Portal.

You may accept (or decline) your offer by marking the appropriate box.

Admitted VAR students may purchase health insurance coverage through the Yale Health Plan by contacting Yale Health Plan Member Services by email or at 203-432-0246.

Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School regarding Yale Health Plan coverage.

No. Visiting Assistants in Research are responsible for their own housing arrangements and living expenses. Information about housing options can be found at Yale Graduate Housing

Please do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean's Office of the Graduate School regarding housing or accommodations as they will not be able to assist you.

International Visiting Students should first bring their passport and immigration documents to check in with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Their second stop should be to inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived.

Domestic students should first inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived.

All students should then go to the Registrar's Office for instructions about receiving your ID Card. They will have already received their Student Identification Number and NetID along with instructions about activating their NetID.

No. Visiting Assistants in Research are not eligible to take classes. 

Non-degree students who wish to take classes must apply as Visiting Students, not Visiting Assistants in Research.

Once you have been offered admission and have accepted your offer, the Office of Graduate Admissions will document you as a new student to the Office of the University Registrar. 

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will then contact you by email within 3-6 business days and request that you fill out a mandatory questionnaire.

OISS will then complete a DS-2019 immigration document and mail it to you via courier. 

This document will include your SEVIS ID number, which is required to pay the SEVIS fee and book a visa appointment. As there are several stages to the visa application process, including the mailing and delivery of forms, you can facilitate the process by responding promptly to queries from OISS, and ensuring that you have provided appropriate documentation to support your statement of financial support. All questions regarding the visa process should be directed to OISS via email.

Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Graduate School regarding immigration concerns or procedures.

Payment methods will vary from department to department; please contact the Registrar in the department to which you have applied to find out how your funding will be disbursed.

The VAR program has a rolling admission process and you may begin your study at any point during the year, but your start date should be on the first day of the month (or the next business day, if the first falls on a weekend or holiday). 

In some cases, admitted VAR students find it necessary to change the dates of their stay at Yale. A student should first confirm with their Yale Advisor that their new dates are acceptable. The student should be ready to provide documentation of this approval and contact the Graduate School.

Yes. Spouses or same-sex partners of Yale graduate students are eligible to hold a Student Affiliate ID Card which confers certain privileges with regard to campus shuttle services, athletic and library facilities, museum admissions, film society screenings and Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale athletic events. Students and their spouses should bring valid IDs and proof of marriage (copy of license) or domestic partnership (e.g., joint lease, civil union, joint banking statement) to the Office of the Registrar at 246 Church Street to request a spousal/partner affiliate ID. Pending approval of the documentation you provide, the Registrar will issue a card permitting the spouse or same-sex partner to obtain an affiliate ID from the University’s ID Center.

No. The Graduate School does not provide financial support to Visiting Assistants in Research.

Most students provide their own funding through external awards or personal resources.

For international students, any funding coming from outside of Yale, including personal funds, should be documented in the application for visa purposes.

Once you have accepted an offer of admission, you will receive an email with your Student Identification Number and NetID (allowing you to establish a Yale email account) within two weeks. You will also receive two additional emails, one with instructions for activating your NetID and a second containing an activation PIN#.

When you arrive, bring either your passport or current U.S. Driver's License to the Registrar's Office at 246 Church Street. There you will receive an authorization to obtain an ID card. After you receive this authorization, you will be given instructions for proceeding to the ID Center. 

Your tuition bill will be sent to your email address, after you arrive at Yale. The bill is payable upon receipt, and will include instructions on methods of payment.

If you have not received a bill, please contact the Registrar's Office at

If you would like to request direct billing, please contact Student Accounts.

If you are trying to contact one of the support offices and are having trouble getting a response to your questions, please contact the Registrar in the department to which you have applied. The department Registrar will be able to help you identify the appropriate person to contact.

If you need a J-1 visa for your period of study, you will need documentation of English language proficiency to qualify. This may include demonstrating that: 

1. Your native language is English.

2. The primary language at the institution where you received your bachelor's degree, or equivalent, was English. (You must have attended for three years or longer).

3. You can present TOEFL or IELTS results. 

If you do not meet any of these criteria, your proposed Yale Advisor may be asked to fill out an assessment of English language proficiency. They will see questions related to your English language proficiency when they fill out a letter of recommendation on your behalf. There is no separate form or letter needed. 

To apply for an extension, the student must submit a VAR Extension Application along with the applicable application fee. Once an extension has been approved by the program and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

If you were unable to find the answer to your question please call or email your program/department directly - you may find program contact information here.