“I came to Yale for the students. They’re not just smart, but well-balanced in a way that makes it special to teach and do research here. I try to teach each student as somebody who is going to do something very meaningful and influential in life.”
Physically and philosophically, Yale College for undergraduates is at the heart of Yale University. An extraordinary commitment to undergraduate education sets Yale apart from other great research universities in the world. Over seventy departments and programs offer approximately 2,000 undergraduate courses each year – many of them taught by Yale’s most distinguished historians, literary critics and writers, scientists and engineers, artists and composers, and social scientists. Indeed, every tenured professor on Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences teaches undergraduate courses.
Most undergraduate classes are small. About three quarters of courses enroll fewer than twenty students and only about forty will have more than 100 students. Students can expect their professors to be open and accessible. To get a sense of just how integrated undergraduate teaching and the frontiers of new knowledge are at Yale, you only need to compare the overlap in faculty names between those making research breakthroughs and those listed in the Yale College course catalog. These connections make a significant difference in the opportunities and the depth to which students can pursue their own ideas for original research, business start-ups, global study, and creative productions.
The academic freedom Yale provides can be both exhilarating and daunting. Yale undergraduates have their own networks of advisers who are ready and willing to help them navigate their academic opportunities. The core of that network is a student’s Residential College Dean, Residential College Head, College Adviser, and First-Year Counselor. As one Residential College Dean says, “Yale students are quite literally the best and the brightest. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to have a little bit of influence on how their incredible assets are applied. What I want them to know is that somebody has got their back.”
Advising at Yale happens in many different places, including: