Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Student Life

Family Life

The Graduate School and Yale University offer various privileges and resources to students with family members. The Graduate School welcomes the participation of spouses, partners and children at many of its activities and events, and the McDougal Graduate Center in the Hall of Graduate Studies invites spouses and partners to use its common spaces and facilities.

Spouses and partners of graduate students may subscribe to the Student Life e-Notes and Family Life e-Notes to receive announcements about the many events posted in the Student Life calendar.


Health Care Coverage and Health Awards

Graduate students may enroll spouses, civil union partners and legally dependent children under the age of 26 in the University’s high-quality, convenient Yale Health services. Yale Health Basic Coverage is provided at no cost to students enrolled at least half-time in M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. programs. Basic coverage includes primary care, mental health and counseling, and 24/7 acute care. Yale Health provides excellent pre-natal, maternal health and pediatric services, offering health education classes and workshops, including breastfeeding and newborn parenting education.

Eligible Ph.D. students also receive a health award that covers the full cost of single-student Yale Health Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage, half the cost of the spouse/civil union partner two-person premium fee, and the full cost for family coverage that includes dependent children up to age 26. Yale Health Prescription Plus coverage is not included. Please contact the Graduate School’s Office of Financial Aid for questions about health awards. Students who wish to enroll family members in Yale Health should review the student premium rates and complete the required enrollment form by September 15 each year. Questions regarding coverage should be directed to Yale Health Member Services.

Students may also enroll themselves and their spouses/partners and children in optional student dental and vision plans by submitting the online enrollment forms and fees annually by September 15.

Graduate Housing

Yale offers on-campus graduate apartments, many of which are suitable for students with spouses, partners and children. Graduate dormitories are only for students without partners or children residing with them. Graduate apartment complexes offer common areas, play spaces, and activities to build community. Graduate housing is limited in supply and not guaranteed, so students should apply early in April for their best chance at an assignment. In addition, Yale University Properties connects students with Yale-owned but privately managed apartments and rental homes in New Haven near campus. Finally, Yale maintains a searchable database of available off-campus housing, including apartments, houses, sublets, and roommates.

Yale Dining

Yale Dining welcomes graduate and professional students and their spouses, partners, children and other guests to dine together at 20 dining halls and cafes on campus. Students may pay with meal plans, University charge, points, cash or, at some locations, credit card. The Graduate School’s HGS Dining Hall serves lunch and dinner on weekdays with all-you-care-to-eat service. Children 3 to 10 years old are charged half-price, and children under 3 eat for free. High chairs, booster seats, sippy cups and crayons are available for family dining at HGS, which hosts monthly theme dinners.


Spouses and Partners

Yale University recognizes marriages (opposite- and same-sex) as well as civil unions or legal partnerships created by states, regardless of name (“spouse”).

Affiliate ID Card – Married Spouse/Civil Union Partner

Legally married spouses or civil union partners of Yale graduate and professional students are eligible for a Yale Student Affiliate ID Card, which confers certain privileges at the Yale athletic facilities and the University Library, free admission to the Peabody Museum, student discounts at the Yale Repertory Theatre. For admission to ticketed Yale Athletics events, students may purchase discount student guest tickets for spouses/partners. Admission to the Yale Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art is always free to the public.

Students in the Graduate School should bring a valid ID and proof of marriage or civil union (copy of license) to the Office of the Registrar at 246 Church Street. Both persons must appear together. Pending approval of the documentation, the Registrar will issue a card permitting the spouse or civil union partner to obtain an affiliate ID from the University’s ID Center.

Unmarried Domestic Partners

Yale offers specific resources to non-married partners of graduate and professional students, but does not issue them Yale IDs. Partners are welcome to utilize the free Yale shuttle system, as a Yale ID is not required to ride the shuttle. Graduate and professional students may purchase a membership for their unmarried partners at Payne Whitney Gymnasium and the Yale Golf Course at the same rates as employees and affiliates by providing a Yale ID card and some form of documentation indicating shared residence. For information on borrowing and other library services available to domestic partners, please see the Privileges Office in the Sterling Memorial Library.

Auditing Courses

Spouses and partners of full-time students may without charge audit courses informally in Yale College and the Graduate School. To audit courses in Yale College, review the details from Undergraduate Admissions. To audit courses offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, obtain permission from the instructor and the relevant academic department. Please note that spouses or partners wishing to receive a transcript for any courses audited would need to complete an application for non-degree study and, if admitted, pay tuition per course.

Community Service and Volunteering

Spouses and partners of graduate students are encouraged to volunteer their time and talents in New Haven as tutors, in shelters and soup kitchens, and at local non-profits and service agencies. Grad Student Life at McDougal Center sponsors public service outings, information and days of service, with information available through its calendar and Public Service e-Notes. The United Way of Greater New Haven volunteer opportunities database is an excellent resource for getting involved in the community.


Yale welcomes job applications from spouses and partners of graduate and professional students. Yale Human Resources hosts an information session each fall for spouses seeking information about on campus employment. Please refer to online resources for employment in greater New Haven area. Spouses/partners living within the city of New Haven can apply for help from New Haven Works, a jobs pipeline program for city residents that gives special access to participating local employers.

GPSCY Membership

All graduate and professional students at Yale are eligible to be members of the Graduate Professional Student Center @ Yale (GPSCY), a social club and pub. They and their spouses/partners may become members by paying annual dues, which removes the cover charges for entrance on most nights. GPSCY requires members and guests to show government-issued photo ID indicating their age as being 21 or over.


ISPY is a group formed and run by spouses and partners of Yale students, postdocs, visiting scholars and staff. It welcomes international and domestic members. ISPY has an active email list, organizes regular activities and hosts an annual orientation for spouses and partners each September. ISPY is supported by the Office for International Students & Scholars and Graduate Student Life.

LGBT Couples

Yale University, the New Haven area and the State of Connecticut offer many resources, services and activities for lesbian and gay couples. As stated above, Yale offers married or civil union partners of graduate students a Yale affiliate ID, Yale Health coverage, equal access to graduate housing, and more. The University’s Office of LGBTQ Resources provides campus information, resources, advocacy and services.


Students with Children

Parental Support and Relief

Registered students are eligible to modify their academic responsibilities because of the birth or adoption of a child. The Graduate School’s Parental Support and Relief policy provides doctoral students with an incremental term of registered status, during which they continue to receive a full stipend and the health award. Parental Relief may be used by students for up to two birth events. A leave of absence, as outlined in the Graduate School Bulletin, for parental responsibilities is also available to registered students.

Child Care

Yale’s WorkLife programs offer a wide range of information and resources concerning family life, including adoption, breastfeeding, childbirth, childcare, marriage and divorce, eldercare, pet care and more.

WorkLife maintains an online Child Care Directory for Greater New Haven, and students may contact that office for childcare resources, consultation and referrals. Yale and the New Haven area offer a wide range of child care options, including several Yale-affiliated centers, local centers, public pre-schools, independent nursery schools, licensed family care providers, and in-home care. While high-quality child care, especially for infants, can be quite expensive, some facilities offer sliding fee scales or scholarships based upon family income. Pre-school programs for children 3 to 5 years old in certain communities may offer highly subsidized “school readiness” slots.

Yale has contracted with Caregivers On Call, an established provider of back-up child care since 1991, to provide eligible members of the Yale community with up to 40 hours of services per household per year at University-subsidized rates. These services are intended to assist parents in arranging care for their children when their usual caregivers are not available, as when there are weather-related center or school closings or due to caregiver illness. Because of its nationwide network, this service can be used in greater New Haven and, in many cases, when a Yale parent travels to a conference with a child elsewhere in the country.

The Yale Babysitting Service helps address the need for additional child care options within the Yale University community. This service establishes a link between Yale faculty, staff and students to access babysitting services provided by Yale students. This service can only be used by current Yale faculty, staff and students.


Yale has compiled information on Greater New Haven area schools, including public, independent and religious. The New Haven Public School System has neighborhood and themed magnet public schools which are free of charge and offer free breakfast and lunch to all students. Having completed a comprehensive school construction program over the past ten years, New Haven is undertaking extensive school reforms and has established a College Promise program for its high school graduates. The school system’s website contains information regarding school choice and lottery programs and school ratings and evaluations. Yale University is a strong partner of the New Haven Public School system. SchoolHaven, a website developed by a Yale graduate student, allows parents to share information about local schools.

Health and Counseling

All graduate school students are automatically enrolled in Yale Health Basic, which includes primary care and mental health and counseling services. Students may enroll their spouses and children in Yale Health to obtain counseling related to personal, relationship, parenting and other family issues.

WELL/A Mother’s Place offers childbirth education classes, pregnancy and nursing supplies and resources, including a free breastfeeding mothers’ support group. Yale Health members receive a 10% discount on WELL childbirth education classes.