Updates to PhD Student Support

A Message from Dean Cooley

December 18, 2023

Dear PhD Students,

As Provost Strobel recently announced, the university and Local 33–UNITE HERE have agreed to a contract for a graduate worker union that has now been ratified. This contract will be in effect through July 31, 2028. I am grateful to both the university’s and Local 33–UNITE HERE’s bargaining teams for their efforts that brought this process to a swift conclusion.

During any degree program, the classification of a student as a union member will shift depending on their assigned role as either a Teaching Fellow or Research Assistant. For consistency, the university has decided to extend negotiated increases in compensation and benefits to all PhD students regardless of whether they are union members at any given time. Below is a summary of upcoming changes. Complete information about the contract will be posted in the near future.

Stipend Increases

We will raise stipends for all students enrolled full-time in PhD programs beginning in January 2024 for the spring term. The new base stipend rates will be:

  • Humanities/Social Sciences/Physical Sciences/Engineering: $48,330 stipend (19.2% increase)
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences: $49,800 stipend (18.6% increase)

Future increases to PhD student stipends will go into effect in September of each year and will be in alignment with those outlined in the union contract.

Health Coverage

Effective Spring 2024, all students enrolled full-time in PhD programs may participate in the Yale Health basic student health services and Yale Health hospitalization/specialty care coverage. The university will provide a Health Award to cover one hundred percent of the coverage rates for such plans for the student, their legal spouse, and their eligible child(ren). All PhD students with children will remain eligible for the Family Support Subsidy, as well.

Effective October 2024, dental insurance subsidies of 80% for single coverage through Delta Dental will be available to all PhD students enrolled full-time. An additional subsidy of 40% for spousal and family dental coverage will be available to PhD students enrolled in years three and beyond.

Medical Leaves of Absence

Beginning in the Spring 2024 term, PhD students who take a medical leave of absence will retain their GSAS Health Award to cover the cost of the remainder of the coverage period in which the leave begins when they sign up for Yale Health student affiliate coverage. In addition, if they extend their medical leave, PhD students can now retain their coverage for one additional semester.

I am glad to be able to make these enhancements to support you as students and workers throughout your academic programs. 


Lynn Cooley
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Vice Provost for Postdoctoral Affairs
C.N.H. Long Professor of Genetics
Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology