Special Programs

Yale students may choose to take advantage of several special academic programs that supplement and enrich their other coursework in the liberal arts.

Directed Studies

Directed Studies is a selective freshman interdisciplinary program in Western civilization. One hundred twenty-five freshmen are admitted to the program each fall.

The Literature, Philosophy, and History and Politics tracks of Directed Studies together comprise one coherent program of study, and students must enroll in all three tracks simultaneously. Successful completion of the fall-term Directed Studies courses is a prerequisite to enrolling in the spring-term courses.

Additional information is available on the Directed Studies Website.

First-Year Seminar Program

The Freshman Seminar program offers first-year students the opportunity to enroll in small classes with some of Yale’s most eminent faculty members. Roughly fifty first-year seminars across a wide range of subjects are offered every year, in both fall and spring terms. Some seminars provide an introduction to a particular field of study; others take an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of topics. Whatever the subject and method of instruction, all seminars are designed with first-year students in mind and provide a context for developing relationships with faculty members and peers.

A description of the program and application procedures can be viewed on the First-Year Seminar Website.

STARS (Science, Technology, and Research Scholars)

STARS provides undergraduates an opportunity to combine course-based study, research, mentorship, networking, and career planning in the fields of science and technology. The program is designed to support women, minority, economically underprivileged, and other historically underrepresented students in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. More than 100 students each year participate in the academic year and summer STARS programs. More information can be found on the STARS Website

Residential College Seminars

The Residential College Seminar program, instituted in 1968, is devoted to the development of innovative courses that fall outside traditional departmental structures. The instructors for the seminar program are drawn from the University community and from the region, including individuals outside academic life such as writers, artists, participants in government and the public sector, and experts from the arts and the media. The college seminar program encourages innovative courses, and student committees in the residential colleges play a significant role in selecting seminars, but all courses in the program must satisfy standard requirements for academic credit in Yale College and must be approved by the relevant faculty committees that oversee the curriculum.

Each residential college sponsors at least one seminar each term. Additional seminars are occasionally sponsored directly by the program and are equally open to students from all residential colleges. Descriptions of the seminars are found on the Residential College Seminar Website.

First-Year Scholars at Yale

FSY is a five-week summer program designed to introduce college life to approximately 60 incoming first-year students. The program, open by invitation, allows students to enroll in an intensive writing course and earn one credit that they may count toward the 36 they need in order to earn their bachelor’s degrees. Yale Summer Session, which administers the program, helps students shorten the time to engage with college life by housing them in the residential colleges and introducing them to Yale’s many resources, among them faculty office hours, tutoring and mentoring, and workshops on listening, note-taking, and academic citation. Students work closely with a college dean, Yale student counselors, and other mentors to discover how to get the most out of their first semesters at Yale. The program covers the cost of tuition, room, board, and round-trip transportation. Additional information can be found on the First-Year Scholars Website

Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

Yale hosts both Naval and Air Force ROTC units, which offer qualified Yale College students an opportunity to pursue their regular Yale degrees while also preparing for leadership positions in the United States Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps. Regardless of financial need, participating students may receive significant help in meeting the costs of a Yale education. Further information about the Air Force ROTC program can be found on the Yale AFROTC Web site and under Aerospace Studies in Subjects of Instruction. Further information about the Naval ROTC program (including the Marine Corps program) can be found on the Yale NROTC Web site and under Naval Science in Subjects of Instruction. Students not matriculated at Yale who are participating in a Yale ROTC program as part of a cross-town arrangement are subject to Yale College’s Undergraduate Regulations.

Yale Journalism Initiative

The Yale Journalism Initiative brings a distinguished writer to campus to teach an advanced journalism seminar, ENGL 467. Students who complete the seminar may apply to become Yale Journalism Scholars, a distinction that provides access to summer support for internships, career counseling with a journalism specialist in the Writing Center, and invitations to meet professional journalists at events both on and off campus. For more information on the initiative or on becoming a Journalism Scholar, see the Journalism Initiative Website.

Education Studies Undergraduate Scholars Program

The Education Studies Undergraduate Scholars program establishes an interdisciplinary cohort of scholars who are interested in education practice, policy, and/or research. Each Scholar completes electives within the Education Studies curriculum, a summer or academic-year field experience, and a senior capstone project. Education Studies Scholars also explore educational topics through symposia led by Yale faculty and advising relationships with mentors. Students may apply to the Education Studies Undergraduate Scholars program in their sophomore year. The prerequisite for applying is EDST 110, Foundations in Education Studies. For more information, see the Education Studies Program Website.

Energy Studies Undergraduate Scholars Program

Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI) sponsors the Energy Studies Undergraduate Scholars program. The program promotes a multidisciplinary approach to the linked challenges of energy and climate, and provides students with training in the science and technology of energy, the environmental and social impacts of energy production and use, and the economics, planning, and regulation of energy systems and markets. Energy Studies Scholars acquire the broad knowledge and skills needed for advanced studies and for leadership in energy-related fields. Further information is available on the Energy Studies Program Website.

Special Academic Program in Human Rights

The Special Academic Program in Human Rights seeks to equip students with an academic foundation from which to engage meaningfully with human rights scholarship and practice. The program is based on an understanding that human rights constitutes a rich and interdisciplinary field of study, drawing on bodies of work in history, literature, economics, political science, philosophy, anthropology, law, and area studies. The program provides students with relevant analytical, conceptual, and practical skills; connects students to affiliated faculty and peers; supports student research projects and internship opportunities; and offers career guidance in the field. For more information see the Human Rights Program Website.

Global Health Studies Program

The Global Health Studies program is designed for students interested in understanding and addressing pressing global health challenges. Although courses in global health are open to all undergraduates, students desiring greater depth in the field are encouraged to apply to become a Global Health Fellow (GHF). Fellows are typically selected in the fall of their sophomore year although, in exceptional cases, juniors may also be accepted. GHFs complete an interdisciplinary course of study that includes required and elective courses and fieldwork (e.g., internships with NGOs, or field-based research either with faculty or independently with faculty guidance). In the summer after junior year, GHFs conduct their own independent global health fieldwork, for which they receive support in the form of course work, designated funding, and mentorship from an assigned global health faculty adviser. During their senior year, GHFs are expected to incorporate their fieldwork and classroom experiences into their senior requirement and to develop a publication-worthy written product. Additional information can be found on the Global Health Studies Website.

Center for Teaching and Learning

The Yale Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) provides an array of teaching, tutoring, writing, and technology-enabled learning programs distributed across the University. The Center supports effective course design and promotes evidence-based teaching methods for University instructors, including faculty and teaching assistants. The Center also supports student learning and provides opportunities for students to develop as teachers, mentors, and leaders. Both the Center for Language Study and the Yale College Writing Center are included as units within the CTL. More information is available on the Center for Teaching and Learning Website.

Center for Language Study

The Center for Language Study (CLS), a unit of the Center for Teaching and Learning, provides resources for students of foreign languages and for language courses. The CLS also provides support for nonnative speakers of English through its English Language Program. For undergraduates enrolled in a foreign language course, the CLS offers peer tutoring in the target language. For students in Yale College the CLS offers specialized language programs such as Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) for the study of languages not taught at Yale, and the Fields program for discipline-specific and advanced language study. All language learners at Yale have access to CLS facilities, including its study rooms and multimedia labs. For more information see the Center for Language Study Web site.

Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor's and Master's Degrees

Yale College students with appropriate qualifications may enroll in courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Such enrollment requires permission of the course’s instructor and of the director of graduate studies of the department in which the course is offered.

A limited number of students of demonstrated ability may undertake graduate work that will qualify them for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the end of their senior year. Details of the requirements are listed under Special Arrangements in the Academic Regulations.

Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programs in the Professional Schools

Well-qualified students may be able to structure their undergraduate programs so as to become eligible for a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Public Health, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, or School of Music after one additional year of graduate study at Yale. For more information see the respective program descriptions in the Yale College Programs of Study.