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Graduate Student Organizations

As a graduate student at Yale, you have many opportunities to get involved in the community, make and build relationships, learn leadership and professional skills, serve others, and have fun. Over 60 graduate student organizations are currently registered through McDougal Graduate Student Life (GSL). 
 
Are you looking for people who share one of your interests? Want to start a new group or publicize your organization’s upcoming event? We can help you.

Find Events & Student Organizations

All registered graduate student organizations are listed in Yale Connect. Login with your NetID and search for events and groups by interest, name, or keyword. 
In addition to all the GSAS student organizations, you’ll find more than 800 other Yale community groups, some of which invite graduate student participation.
 

How to Register a Graduate Student Organization 

You need to register your group every year with the office of Graduate Student Life at the McDougal Center (or other Yale unit if appropriate). Once approved or renewed, your group will then be eligible for the following resources and services:

Renew an Existing Graduate Student Organization

Registered organizations must renew their registration annually, usually in July-August. To renew, please have one representative of the group follow these steps:
  1. Log into Yale Connect with your NetID.
  2. Go to your organization’s home portal - you should see an orange “Attention Needed” banner across your home page, prompting you to click to start the renewal form.
  3. Completed forms will be reviewed by McDougal GSL staff to approve renewal for the year, or to register a group provisionally, if needed.

Register a New Graduate Student Organization

To request to register a new graduate student organization, please first consult eligibility and membership guidelines below. New group registration may only be available at certain times of the year, so contact McDougal Center staff (mcdougal.center@yale.edu) to inquire.
  1. Log into Yale Connect with your NetID.
  2. Select “Organizations” from the home screen. 
  3. Click “Register New Organization” in green. 
  4. Choose “GSAS-Graduate School” to register with McDougal GSL.

Eligibility Criteria for Registering an Organization

Graduate student cross-departmental organizations are eligible to register with McDougal GSL if a majority or plurality of their members are affiliated with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Groups must demonstrate the ability to exist long-term, beyond the enrollment of a single student or a small group of students.
 
Eligible groups may focus on:
  • cultural, international, or nationality issues
  • multiculturism and diversity, including diverse ethnicities, women’s groups, and LGBTQi issues
  • arts and special interests, including performance, hobbies, sports, and more
  • career and professional development, especially across the disciplines
  • community service, volunteer or outreach efforts (such groups may also wish to pursue affiliation with Dwight Hall)
  • religious and spiritual life (such groups may also affiliate with the Chaplain’s Office)
  • spouses and partners of graduate students
  • official student governance groups, such as the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) or the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS). These groups maintain formal charters with the University that define their mission and activities
You are NOT eligible to register with McDougal Graduate Student Life if:
  • a majority of members are not affiliated with GSAS
  • you are planning a one-time event
  • you are affiliated with a specific political party, single-issue item, or agenda
  • your group is primarily supported and administered by a source that is not affiliated with Yale

Department-Based Groups

If your group is specific to one GSAS academic department or research project, you may register under GSAS, but the group will not be eligible for funding or support from McDougal GSL. However, registering and using Yale Connect can enable DGSs and programs to share papers, plan talks or conferences, share news and communicate with students in their program.

Religious and Spiritual Groups

  • Religious, spiritual, or ethical study groups should request to affiliate with the Office of the University Chaplain and follow the guidelines for participating members of Yale Religious Ministries or campus groups. Graduate student-focused organizations or fellowships may also request to register with McDougal GSL, if eligible.

Guidelines for Organizations Seeking Registration 

Please review Graduate Student Organization Leaders’ Toolkit & Resources for the resources and guidelines you need to run your group effectively, responsibly, and legally. Please also review Yale’s Guidance Regarding Free Expression and Peaceable Assembly for Students and Guidelines for Students on Political Campaign Activity.
 

Membership Guidelines

  • Groups should be open to all graduate and professional students, postdoctoral fellows, and spouses/partners/affiliates who meet the membership criteria. 
  • A majority of the members should be GSAS students. If membership is spread among numerous schools and no single cohort is in the majority, GSAS students must constitute a plurality (35-50%) of the membership. If the group is open to undergraduates, they may not comprise a majority or the membership or hold a majority of the leadership positions.

Starting a New Graduate Student Organization 

In your initial application, you must provide evidence of prospective membership, such as a sign-up sheet or group email distribution list, GSAS nationality statistics (from OISS), or a list of field-related departments/schools.
 
We encourage members of very small new organizations to join with similar groups in an association or to broaden their criteria for membership to encourage wider participation.
  • Provisional registration: Organizations whose membership is very small (i.e., fewer than 15 GSAS students) may register provisionally for one year as they seek to increase membership. 
  • Small groups: Organizations that have a defined but relatively small size, such as a 16-member chorus or a ten-person bible study fellowship, may register if their membership is varied and sustainable over time.

Requesting Funding from GSAS

Only graduate organizations formally registered with McDougal Graduate Student Life may request funds from the Graduate School. 
 
If your organization is registered and approved by McDougal GSL and you want to request funding, please use the guidelines and forms found here:

Other Sources of Funding

McDougal GSL is one source of funding for student groups, but there are several other sources of funding for your organization, including: