Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Admissions

Visiting Assistant in Research – FAQ

How to Apply

Who is eligible to apply for Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR) status?

Advanced graduate students who are degree candidates at another university and who have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member at Yale for a research project under his or her direct supervision may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration as Visiting Assistants in Research (VARs).

Undergraduate students in combined or simultaneous B.S./M.S., B.A./M.A. or similar programs are not considered advanced graduate students. Student research to be conducted at Yale must relate to the visiting student’s thesis or dissertation. Students in Master’s programs that do not require a thesis are not eligible for admission as VARs.

How long may I be registered as a VAR student?

Initial enrollment may be for any length of time up to one calendar year. After the initial enrollment period, students may request to extend their enrollment for a cumulative total of up to two calendar years. Extension requests should be made directly to a student’s Yale advisor. The advisor will recommend any proposed extensions to the Graduate School. Once an extension has been approved by an advisor and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

What is the application process?

Application for admission to the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Division of Special Registration for Non-Degree Programs is an online process: Starting at the How to Apply section, you first need to create an account and select Application Type:Non-Degree Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR).

The application will guide you through completion and prompt you to upload required materials. You must upload certain required items, including a Personal Statement of Purpose, transcripts, Proof of Enrollment and an Advisor Invitation Verification Form. You may upload additional items, such as a Writing Sample and Resume.

You will be required to designate two Recommenders who must each submit a letter of recommendation online. Once you identify a Recommender, he or she will receive an email providing instructions and access information.

You may work on your application periodically and submit it when you are ready. Submission of the application can be effected only after all of the required materials have been uploaded. At the time of submission, you will be prompted to submit an application fee.

After submission, you may print out a PDF copy of your application for your records. Domestic applicants must submit an application no later than thirty (30) days prior to a proposed start date; international applicants must submit an application no later than sixty days (60) prior to a proposed start date.

What is the Advisor Invitation Verification Form and how does
my advisor receive it?

The Advisor Invitation Verification Form is part of the online application. The purpose of the form is to provide your prospective advisor with information regarding your proposed study at Yale and for the advisor to verify that information. Once you have completed the Yale Faculty Advisor/Sponsor and Living Expenses/Tuition Costs and Income Sources portions of the application, the information you have provided therein will be transferred automatically to the Advisor Invitation Verification Form.

You may view the information on the form and, if necessary, correct any entries by returning to the relevant sections of the application.

When the Advisor Invitation Verification Form is complete, save it to your computer and then email it as an attachment to your intended advisor. Once your advisor has verified the form and returned it to you, you must upload the verified form to your application prior to submission.

How do I find a research advisor?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify and contact a Yale Graduate School faculty member who agrees to be your advisor during your proposed stay at Yale. Students seeking a compatible advisor are encouraged to review the research descriptions posted by most faculty members on their departmental websites. Faculty members are under no obligation to advise VAR applicants however, and students will not be admitted without a faculty advisor.

Once you identify a Yale faculty member who agrees to serve as your advisor, you may enter that information in your application. (If your Yale advisor offers to provide any funding during your stay, you should enter the designated amount as a Yale Source of funding.) From the downloadable forms section of the application, you may select the Advisor Invitation Verification Form to check the information you have entered.

When the Advisor Invitation Verification Form is complete, save it to your computer and then email it as an attachment to your intended advisor. Once your advisor has verified the form and returned to you, you must upload the verified form to your application prior to submission.

What transcripts do I need? Must they be in English?

VAR applicants must provide undergraduate transcripts showing completion of the bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent, along with current graduate school transcripts. All transcripts must be in English or translated into English and must be uploaded to the online application prior to submission. Mailed transcripts will be discarded.

What other supporting materials are required for my application?

You will be prompted to upload all materials required to support your application, such as a Personal Statement of Purpose, an Advisor Invitation Verification Form (filled in by you and verified by a Yale faculty member agreeing to serve as your advisor) and documentation certifying both your enrollment as a graduate student and your necessary financial resources. You may also upload supplementary materials in support of your application.

What is the application fee?

The application fee is $100 for domestic applicants and $125 for international applicants. At the time of submission, you will be prompted to submit the application fee. Credit card (Visa or MasterCard) is the only method of payment. Debit cards, credit card debit authorizations and wire transfers (such as SWIFT or Fed wire) will not be accepted.

Who should attest to my enrollment at my institution?

As a VAR, you must be currently enrolled at a degree-granting institution at the graduate level. An official proof of enrollment letter on institutional letterhead stationary must come from the office of a University Registrar or from a similar institutional office charged with administering enrolled student records. You will be prompted to upload this required letter to your online application.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed by the department or program to which you have applied as well as by the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School.

If you are admitted as a VAR, you will be notified by email to which a PDF copy of your Offer Letter and an Admissions Reply Form will be attached. The original of your Offer Letter will also be sent to you via first class mail.

When can I start? What should I do if my arrival or departure dates change?

The VAR program has a rolling admission process and students may begin their study at any point during the year. Your faculty advisor must agree to your proposed length of stay and you must have adequate funding to cover the designated period. Domestic applicants must submit an application no later than thirty (30) days prior to a proposed start date; international applicants must submit an application no later than sixty days (60) prior to a proposed start date.

In some cases, admitted VAR students find it necessary to change the dates of their stay at Yale. All date changes must first be approved by a student’s faculty advisor who will inform the Graduate School of the recommended change. If a change is approved, the student will receive a new letter of admission from the Graduate School.

I am an international student. When will I obtain my visa? I need to make an appointment with the embassy or consulate and purchase my plane tickets.

Once you have been offered admission and have accepted that offer, the Office of Graduate Admissions will document you as a new student to the Office of the University Registrar. The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will then contact you by email within 3-6 business days and request that you fill out a mandatory questionnaire. OISS will then complete a DS-2019 immigration document and mail it to you via courier. This document will include your SEVIS ID number, which you will require to pay the SEVIS fee and book a visa appointment. As there are several stages to the visa application process, including the mailing and delivery of forms, you can facilitate the process by responding promptly to queries from OISS, and ensuring that you have provided appropriate documentation to support your statement of financial support. All questions regarding the visa process should be directed to OISS via email. Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Graduate School regarding immigration concerns or procedures.

How do I respond to an Offer of Admission?

Once your application has been reviewed and a decision made to offer you admission as a VAR, you will receive email notification to which an Offer Letter and an Admissions Reply Form will be attached. You may accept (or decline) that offer by marking the appropriate box, signing and dating the form and returning it by facsimile to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Alternatively, you may scan your signed Admissions Reply Form and send it via email.

How long does it take to review my application and render a decision?

The review of a VAR application may take up to two weeks. If you have not received notification of a decision after two weeks, please contact the Admissions Office by email (adding your topic after the "Reply Required" prompt. If you receive an autoresponse please ignore it. We will respond to your query as quickly as possible.

May I take classes?

No. Non-degree students who wish to take classes must apply as Special Students, not VARs. The Special Student program charges tuition to non-degree students on a per course basis.

When I Arrive

What should I do when I arrive in New Haven?

International VAR Students should first bring their passport and immigration documents to check in with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), 421 Temple Street. Their second stop should be to inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived.

Domestic students should first inform their Yale department and advisor that they have arrived. Once they have notified their departments, all students should go to the Registrar’s Office at 246 Church Street for instructions about receiving your ID Card. You will have already received your Student Identification Number and NetID along with instructions about activating your NetID.

Will the University provide housing during my visit?

No. VAR students are responsible for their housing arrangements and living expenses. Information about housing options can be found at Yale Graduate Housing. Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School regarding housing or accommodations.

How do I purchase health insurance coverage from the Yale Health Plan?

Admitted VAR students may purchase health insurance coverage through the Yale Health Plan by contacting Yale Health Plan Member Services by email or at 203-432-0246. Do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean’s Office of the Graduate School regarding Yale Health Plan coverage.

When will I receive my ID?

Upon arrival bring a valid passport or U.S. Driver’s License to the Registrar’s Office at 246 Church Street. There you will receive authorization to obtain an ID card. After you receive this authorization, you may go to the ID Center, located in the same building.

When will I have an email account? How do I go about obtaining one?

Once you have accepted an offer of admission, you will receive an email with your Student Identification Number and NetID (allowing you to establish a Yale email account). You will also receive two additional emails, one with instructions for activating your NetID and a second containing an activation PIN#.

Funding

The application asks me to provide “proof of funding.” What is this?

Students are required to show proof of sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses while at Yale. This may include financial support from your home institution, an external award agency, or personal and/or family funds. Applicants must provide documentary evidence for each source of funds. For each fellowship, grant and stipend, students must provide an official award letter detailing the amount and duration of each award. For personal funds, students must provide an official bank statement. For family support, students must provide both a notarized letter from the family member indicating the amount and duration of the promised support, along with that family member’s official bank statement. For international students, the J-1 visa requires that you have substantial funding from sources other than personal or family funds. International students are required to have non-personal (non-family) funding equal to the lower of 100% of tuition costs, or 30% of total costs (tuition plus $2,340 per month in living expenses).

Does Yale provide financial aid to VAR students?

No. Most VAR students provide their own funding through external awards or personal resources. If funding is provided by a Yale faculty advisor, that level of support, including stipend, tuition or other payments, must be specified in the Yale Sources of Income portion of your application and verified through the Advisor Invitation Verification Form.

I have not received my bill, or I want Student Financial Services to directly bill my funding agency.

Billing issues should be directed to Student Financial Services by email or at 203-432-2700.

When and how do I pay Yale’s tuition? Should I pay before my departure
or after I arrive?

Your tuition bill will be sent to your yale.edu email address, after you arrive at Yale. The bill is payable upon receipt, and will include instructions on methods of payment.

My research advisor at Yale is providing some financial support. When and how will I be paid?

Payment methods will vary from department to department; please contact the Registrar in the department to which you have applied to find out how your funding will be disbursed.

Other

I am traveling with my spouse. Will my spouse be able to obtain a Yale ID?

Yes. Spouses or same-sex partners of Yale graduate students are eligible to hold a Student Affiliate ID Card which confers certain privileges with regard to campus shuttle services, athletic and library facilities, museum admissions, film society screenings and Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale athletic events. Students and their spouses should bring valid IDs and proof of marriage (copy of license) or domestic partnership (e.g., joint lease, civil union, joint banking statement) to the Office of the Registrar at 246 Church Street to request a spousal/partner affiliate ID. Pending approval of the documentation you provide, the Registrar will issue a card permitting the spouse or same-sex partner to obtain an affiliate ID from the University’s ID Center.

The office to which you referred me has not responded. What should I do?

If you are having trouble getting a response from a support office, please contact the Registrar in the department or program to which you have applied. The departmental Registrar will be able to help you identify the appropriate person to contact.

My question was not answered. What should I do?

If you were unable to obtain the answer to your question and you still need to contact the Office of Graduate Admissions, please email (Department/Program affiliation in the Humanities, or in the Sciences or in the Social Sciences) and enter your topic in the subject line following the ‘Reply Required — ’ prompt. Applicants should provide their full names and date of birth, or their applicant ID, if available. Never send your application PIN number, credit card number or Social Security number in any communications.

You will receive an auto response to your email; we will answer your individual question as soon as possible.

If you wish to contact us via telephone, our number is 203-432-2771, but please be aware that our office is extremely busy during the fall and winter seasons. Our ability to answer your call will therefore be limited during that period.