Eli Whitney Students Program - Details

The Eli Whitney Students Program (EWSP) is a small undergraduate program designed specifically for adult students. The program offers a more flexible route to pursue a traditional Yale undergraduate education full or part time. Eli Whitney students receive the same Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees as other Yale undergraduates, attend in-person classes, have access to the same classes and majors, and participate in the full range of campus extracurricular activities. Eli Whitney students come from all walks of life. They are military veterans, entrepreneurs, community and social activists and artists. Others have devoted themselves to raising families. Yale’s generous need-based financial aid makes the EWSP affordable for everyone. 


Students are eligible to apply to the Eli Whitney Students Program if they do not currently hold a bachelor’s degree and have been out of high school for five or more years by the time of their intended enrollment at Yale.

About Yale College

All Eli Whitney students enroll in Yale College, the single undergraduate liberal arts college that sits at the heart of Yale University. Yale College enrolls approximately 6,500 undergraduates and is surrounded by Yale’s 14 graduate and professional schools. Eli Whitney students have access to Yale College’s nearly 2,000 undergraduate courses and 80 majors. Nearly 75% of courses enroll fewer than twenty students and the student to faculty ratio is 6:1. Yale is home to the second largest university library system in the United States and more than 1,200 laboratories.  Yale students graduate prepared for positions of leadership in every imaginable field.

Academic Program

The Eli Whitney Students Program offers a flexible path to fulfill the standard requirements of a Yale College bachelor’s degree. All students complete 36 course credits; most semester courses at Yale carry one credit. Eli Whitney students may earn these credits through full- or part-time enrollment, and may take up to seven years to complete a degree. Eli Whitney students complete the same distributional requirements, as all undergraduates, which include courses in humanities and arts, sciences, social sciences, quantitative reasoning, writing, and foreign language. Courses that fulfill these requirements will amount to about one-third of a student’s undergraduate coursework. Another third of the total coursework – typically between eleven and fourteen courses – will be within a student’s declared major.

Review the Yale College Programs of Study for detailed descriptions of courses, majors, academic regulations, and more details about the Eli Whitney Students Program.

Transfer of Credit

Eli Whitney applicants receive an estimate of their transferable credits at the time of admission, and Yale does not conduct transfer credit reviews before an applicant is admitted. Yale students must complete 36 course credits to receive their bachelor’s degree, and most Yale College semester courses count as 1 course credit. Incoming Eli Whitney students may transfer up to the equivalent of 18 Yale course credits earned at one or more colleges and must complete a minimum of 18 course credits at Yale. 

Completed college courses that are similar to those offered at Yale in subjects taught in Yale College are usually transferable. Many courses in English, math (statistics, calculus I and above), psychology, biology, computer science, physics, history, economics, political science, chemistry, non-English languages, and philosophy are usually transferable for Yale course credit. Courses in subjects not offered at Yale—such as communications, criminal justice, business, nursing, and military fields—are not transferable. 

Online courses from other institutions may be eligible for Yale credit. Transferable online courses must include regular, synchronous interaction with the instructor, as well as regular feedback. Pending review by the director of the transfer program, up to two asynchronous online course credits may be approved for credit as part of the transfer process.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for Eli Whitney students is charged per course credit. Most semester courses are worth one credit. Tuition for the upcoming academic year and the estimated total cost of attendance is listed on the website of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid

Yale offers generous need-based financial aid to eligible EWSP students. As a Yellow Ribbon participant, Yale is especially affordable for U.S. military veterans. 

Housing and Meals

On-campus undergraduate housing is not available to Eli Whitney students, and most choose to rent apartments in New Haven. Incoming Eli Whitney students may apply for a limited number of graduate housing units. The cost of housing and meals is factored into the need-based financial aid awards for Eli Whitney students with demonstrated financial need. 

Although Eli Whitney students do not live in the 14 undergraduate residential colleges, each is assigned to a college and receives access to its facilities, resources, and activities. 

Three Yale Admissions Pathways

Some candidates may be eligible to apply to Yale College through more than one of the admissions pathways listed below, but applicants may not apply to more than one program in an academic year. Feel free to email patricia.wei@yale.edu to discuss which admissions pathway is the best route for you.

You are eligible to apply as a first-year student if: you have attended college for less than an academic year (e.g. only for one semester or two quarters).

  • Students entering as first-years must take classes full time.
  • On-campus housing is available for all four years, though students older than 21 may opt to live off-campus.

You are eligible to apply as a transfer student if: you have completed the equivalent of an academic year at another college.

  • Transfer students are required to pursue their bachelor’s degree on a full-time basis.
  • On-campus undergraduate housing for transfer students is available, though students older than 21 may opt to live off-campus.

You are eligible to apply to the Eli Whitney Students Program (EWSP) if: you will have been out of high school for at least five years by the time of your intended Yale enrollment.

  • The Eli Whitney Students Program provides adults with the flexibility to take classes full-time or part-time while being immersed in the Yale community. EWSP students have up to seven years to graduate.
  • Undergraduate on-campus housing is not available to Eli Whitney students, but they may apply for graduate housing. Most Eli Whitney students live within walking distance of Yale.
  • Eli Whitney students take the same classes, graduate with the same degrees, have the same research and study abroad opportunities as other Yale undergraduates, but it is a program designed specifically for adult students. Many of the EWSP advisors have experience guiding students who may have followed less traditional paths.

EWSP Virtual Session, Recorded December 2023

Virtual Session on the Eli Whitney Students Program