Life at Yale

Life at Yale

Life at Yale Checklist
Academic and Administrative Life
Community Life
Health and Wellness
Family Life
Yale Slang Glossary

Life at Yale Checklist:
Eight things to do in your first semester

We’ve combined all our accumulated Yalie knowledge to bring you the eight most important chores to check-off during your first semester on campus.

  • Set up direct deposit for your stipend.
    Direct deposit is the easiest way to receive your bi-monthly stipend. Be sure to check out page 10 for information on setting up your direct deposit and page 29 for information on area banks.
  • Register for dental and/or eye coverage.
    Navigating the Yale Health Plan can be complicated at times; dental and eye coverage are not part of the Yale Health Plan, and must be registered for separately. Check out page 17 for more information.
  • Get your Yale Health Plan card.
    When it comes to health, it is best to be prepared. Make sure you get your Yale Health Plan insurance card as soon as you can. Learn how on page 16, as it is required for care outside of Yale Health.
  • Register for MyChart.
    My Chart is an online resource to help you stay connected to Yale Health. You can get in touch with your clinician, schedule appointments, and see test results. Go to page 16 to find more information about signing up.
  • Figure out your tax situation.
    Unsure about how your stipend is taxed? Turn to page 10 and learn how to pay your taxes. Keep in mind that many international students must pay taxes as well.
  • Register your car in Connecticut.
    If you brought your car with you, remember that Connecticut requires you to register it. Additionally, parking in certain areas requires a permit. For more information, go to page 54.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Yale Shuttle.
    The Yale Shuttle services are a free method of transport available to all Yale students and affiliates. Check out page 52 to find the best routes for you.
  • Store these numbers and download these apps.
    The easiest way to access most of these services is by calling. Here are a few of the most important ones:
    Yale Door-to-Door Nighttime Shuttle 203-432-6330
    Yale Walking Escort Service 203-432-9255
    Yale Police (non-emergency) 203-432-4400
    Yale Health Acute Care 203-432-0123
    Yale Student Health 203-432-0312


    Shows live shuttle route updates, GPS locations, and arrival estimates.
    Bulldog Mobile (LiveSafe)
    Allows you to summon help with one click, live chat with safety officials, and temporarily provide your location to friends and family until you safely reach your destination.
Back to top

Academic and Administrative Life

We get it: you have more than enough on your plate without having to figure out the ins-and-outs of a whole new institution. To ease your transition, we’ve summarized all the “admin” stuff you might need along the way on the next few pages.

Useful Administrative Offices

Center For Teaching and Learning (
The CTL, or the Center for Teaching and Learning, is the result of President Salovey’s goal to create a more unified Yale. Where we previously had around ten different centers dedicated to various aspects of teaching and learning – including tutoring, technology-enabled learning, teaching, or writing – we now have one center to house it all. Most relevant for graduate students, the Yale Teaching Center and the Graduate Writing Center are now housed under the umbrella of the CTL. The CTL is still a work in progress, so expect many exciting updates in the upcoming year.

Office of Career Strategies (
Should you decide to explore career options outside of academia, the Office of Career Strategies is a great place to start. OCS offers drop-in hours, or you can schedule an appointment with a career counselor on their website.

Teaching Fellow Program (at
Most graduate students will have contact with the Teaching Fellow program during their time at Yale. You can now search vacant TF positions and apply for them on the Graduate Student Teaching Opportunities website, a useful tool for those searching for a TF assignment during non-priority years.

Financials and Funding Opportunities

GSA Conference Travel Fellowship (at
Attending conferences is an expensive but necessary part of your graduate experience. The Conference Travel Fellowship is one way to offset that cost. Awards up to $1000 are given out to 2nd year and above students four times a year. Applications are due the first of November, February, May, and August.

Dean’s Fund for Student-Organized Symposia (at
If you are planning a symposium for your field here at Yale, the Dean’s Fund can provide a grant of up to $1000. Applications must be received six months in advance.

Dean’s Fund for Research Workshops, Seminars, and Colloquia (at
When planning a seminar series or research workshop, consider applying for a grant through the Dean’s Fund. As long as there will be more than four meetings a term, your series may be eligible for up to $500 a semester.

Student Grants and Fellowships (
Additional funding opportunities can be found on the Student Grants and Fellowships website. Besides the database of grants, the website also has guidance for writing your applications and links to other grant resources.

Tax information (at
Taxes are confusing in grad school, especially as funding sources vary widely between students. Most stipends are considered taxable as that income is used for non-academic purposes such as room and board. For further information, you can go to the Grad and Professional Student Guide on the Yale Tax Office Website or see Topic 421 (Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, and Other Grants) on the IRS website.


Activities with a Mentor

Common Grounds (at
If you want to meet with a faculty member for a chat, the GSA will sponsor your coffee at participating campus locations.

Meals for Mentoring (at
For a full meal with a faculty mentor, the GSAS will provide meal tickets for use at several campus dining locations.

As a Teaching Fellow, you and your course supervisor can meet over lunch to discuss teaching issues through the FEAST program. Once a month, enjoy a meal at HGS Dining Hall, the KBT cafe, Marigold’s cafe, or Kosher Kitchen at the Slifka Center.

Libraries and Studying

The Yale University Library system is comprised of 15 libraries and almost 15 million print and electronic volumes. Hours vary greatly between the libraries with Bass and the Medical Library being open the longest. Special collections often have more limited hours than the libraries themselves. Be sure to check the hours before heading in for research. (

Media Reserve Bass (at
Bass Library has a large collection of media equipment available to Yale students. From video cameras to laptops and cell phones, check here for any short-term project needs.

Study Room Reserve (
If you are looking for a quiet place to study or space for a small group to meet, Yale has a variety of rooms across campus for reservation.


The main IT website for Yale has great resources for all your computing needs. You can find how-tos on a variety of topics as well as a description of services they offer.

Software Library (
Yale Software Library has free downloads for many of the programs that you’ll need in graduate school. Get a free copy of Microsoft Office or download statistical software for your analyses.

VPN (at
To get access to Yale online resources while away from campus, download the VPN Cisco AnyConnect from the software library.

Yale Secure File Transfer (
If you need to send a file too large for email within Yale, use the Yale Secure File Transfer website to transfer it quickly and efficiently.

Box (
Through Box at Yale, each student has 50 GB of online storage space. Use it for collaborations or simply for your own data. Login is simple: just use your netID and password.

  • Tax Facts
    - Every spring, the GSA holds a session with a local accountant to help go through the tax filing process. Pay attention to the monthly GSA Newsletter for this year’s event.
  • Direct Deposit
    - To set up direct deposit, visit the Yale portal ( Select “My Pay and Info” and then “Pay.” Here, you can select “Payment Elections” to input bank information for direct deposit of your stipend.
  • International Student Tax information
    - The Office of International Students and Scholars website is the best resource for international students on tax information. With their online guides, filing your taxes will become more straightforward.
Back to top

Community Life

We have all come here to work hard in our fields, but that doesn’t mean we need to give up our hobbies and leisure time. Through student clubs and the McDougal Center for Graduate Student Life, there is ample opportunity to indulge in the activities we enjoy.

List of Graduate Student Groups/Organizations

Please note that new student groups are added every year. If you are interested in starting your own group, visit the website to find out more about the process.

Academia Nuts (women’s a capella group)
Asian Graduate Student Network at Yale (AGN)
Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Yale
Atheist and Humanist Graduate and Professional Network
Black Graduate Network (BGN)
Career Networks for Science Students and Postdocs at Yale (CNSPY)
Christians on Campus
The Citations (a capella group)
Elm Street Breakers
Graduate Crew
Graduate Rugby Football Club
Graduate Society of Women Engineers
Graduate Student Curling Club at Yale
Graduate Student Tennis Club
Graduate Student Triathletes
Graduate Visual Artists Society
Indigenous Graduate Network
Italian Society of Yale Students and Affiliates
Jewish Graduates and Professionals (JGAP)
Korean Graduate Student Association at Yale
Many Mentors
Mexican Student Organization
Nepali Association of Yale Affiliates
Neuroscience Outreach Group
New Haven Road Runners
Outland LGTBQ G&P Student Association
Palimpsest: The Graduate Community Journal at Yale
Peruvian Association of Students and Scholars at Yale
Science Diplomats
South Asian Graduate and Professional Association
Swiss Students and Affiliates at Yale
Tango Club
Turkish Society of Yale Graduate Students and Scholars (TYGS)
University Church in Yale Graduate Student Deacons
Women in Science at Yale (WISAY)
World Calligraphy
Yale Affiliates Belly Dance Society
Yale Biomedical Careers Committee
Yale German Graduate Student Association
Yale Graduate Student Christian Fellowship
Yale Graduate Student Consulting Club
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Yale Students and Scholars for the Study of Transhumanism
Yale Swing and Blues
YANIS/ Yale Club of Russian Students

McDougal Center for Graduate Student Life

The McDougal Center provides programming to foster a vibrant graduate student community. In addition to hosting the annual Winter Ball, the McDougal Center hosts events in public service, family life, sports and recreation, health and wellness, for the international community, arts and culture, and various other social events. On the first Friday of every month, it hosts First Friday at Five. Come with your own mug and receive free food and libations! For more on all that the McDougal Center has to offer, check out the McDougal website, found at, and keep an eye out for their weekly email.

Health and Wellness


When you are sick, the last thing you want to do is waste your time figuring out exactly how the Yale Health System works. Familiarizing yourself now will save you trouble later!

Yale Student Health – (203) 432-0312
The Yale Student Health department is the best place to start if you are feeling unwell. Same-day appointments are often available, and most specialists on the Yale Health plan require a referral, which is most easily acquired by visiting Student Health.

Yale Acute Care – (203) 432-0123
If you fall ill suddenly and cannot make an appointment through Student Health, call Yale Acute Care. Acute Care is always available for walk-in appointments, though waits can often be long. If your illness is urgent, however, it is safest to call 911.

Mental Health and Counseling – (203) 432-0290
Mental health and counseling appointments are available for all graduate students. Though wait times for an appointment can often be long, a call to the Mental Health and Counseling department can transfer you to an on-call counselor if you need to talk immediately, and can also refer you to other services if your issue is urgent. The Chaplain’s Office is open to students who prefer a faith-based counseling option.

Pharmacy – (203) 432-0033
The Yale Health Pharmacy is the only pharmacy that will accept the Yale Health Plan. Prescriptions can either be dropped off in-person or called-in and picked up at a later date. You may also either wait for your prescription or come to pick it up at your convenience.

Yale Health Member ID Card
Your Yale Health member ID card won’t be sent to you automatically, so remember to go to to get yours. You will need this for out-of-area care.

MyChart is a great way to be in touch with your clinicians, get test results online, and schedule appointments, but you have to sign up first. To register, go to

Yale Health Coverage

Yale Health Basic Coverage entitles all students to most services provided by the Yale Health Center, including physical exams, gynecological exams, pap smears, flu shots, and laboratory services.

Unless you waive your coverage, you are automatically enrolled in Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage. This means that almost all specialty care, such as dermatology, neurology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, and hospital services are covered. Prescription medications are covered through the Yale Pharmacy in a three-tiered copay system, with copays ranging from $10-$45 for a 30-day supply. Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage also includes free preventative immunizations provided by the Yale Health Center, as well as free generic oral contraceptive via the Yale Health Pharmacy.

Yale requires all half-time or greater students to have hospitalization and specialty care coverage (all students are automatically covered by Yale Health Basic). If you do not want to subscribe to Yale’s Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage, you may purchase other coverage on your own, or have coverage by being a dependent on someone else’s plan. If you use outside coverage, you will not be able to fill prescriptions at the Yale Pharmacy. Remember: Eye and Dental care are separate and not a part of Yale Health Coverage. This means that if you need eye or dental coverage, you will have to sign up separately. To find out more information, check out For a thorough explanation of the coverage options, see


It’s often hard to find enough time to take care of yourself on top of all of your work and research. Luckily, Yale’s facilities have you covered, making it easy to fit in that workout. (

Payne Whitney Gym
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-11pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am-8pm
In addition to the multitude of open resources that the Payne Whitney offers, there are also options available for semester-long fitness classes. Such classes include indoor cycling, Zumba, and squash – among many others! Be sure to check out the Payne Whitney website to learn about this semester’s available classes.

Israel Fitness Center
Housed on the fourth floor of the Payne Whitney Gym, the Israel Fitness Center is the best destination for a quick workout. Equipped with aerobic machines (ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes) and a full weight room, the Israel Fitness Center is available to all students.

Kiphuth Exhibition Pool
The Kiphuth Exhibition Pool is a great option for those who love to swim. Located on the fourth floor of the Payne Whitney Gym, the pool is open to the Yale community when not in use by the Yale swimming team.

Brady Squash Center
The Brady Squash Center is a state-of-the-art complex of squash courts, housed between the third and fourth floors of the Payne Whitney Gym. Courts can be reserved in advance, or you can try your luck at finding a free court.

Yale Outdoor Education Center
The Yale Outdoor Education Center (OEC) is available to anyone with a valid Yale ID. At the OEC, you can rent cabins for camping, rent canoes and row boats, or just take a cool dip on a hot summer day. Open June through Labor Day, the OEC is located about 50 minutes away in East Lyme, CT (291 Upper Pattagansett Rd., E. Lyme, 06333).

Back to top

Family Life

Graduate school isn’t easy for anyone. Being a graduate student with a family presents a new set of challenges. Luckily for bulldogs with partners or pups, Yale has many resources to balance family life and student responsibilities. For more details, be sure to check out the Life at Yale section of the GSAS website.

Health Care
As long as you are enrolled half-time or more at Yale, you may purchase coverage for your spouse or civil union partner through Yale at half-cost. If you have children, your entire family plan cost will be covered.

Parental Leave
Both mothers and fathers enrolled in a Yale academic program are entitled to eight weeks of paid parental leave. You should direct any questions to the academic dean related to your program.

Yale Student Affiliate ID Card
Legally married spouses and civil union partners of Yale students may get Yale Student Affiliate ID Cards, which grant discounts at the Yale Rep, free admission to the Peabody Museum, library privileges, and access (for a fee) to Yale athletic facilities and fitness classes. To get a Yale Student Affiliate ID Card, you and your spouse or partner must appear together, with the student’s Yale ID, government ID, and a copy of your marriage license or civil union, at the University Registrar. Domestic partners are not entitled to an Affiliate ID card.

McDougal Center
The McDougal Center offers a variety of programming for those with families. Family Life Fellows organize events each month for families, and publish an email listing kid-friendly activities. In addition, those with children should check out the Facebook group "Yale Bulldogs with Pups," which offers updates into family-friendly outings.

Spousal Classes/Employment
Spouses and civil union partners of Yale students are entitled to audit or sit-in on courses in both Yale College and the Graduate School for no fee. Additionally, Yale Human Resources offers a variety of options for Yale spouses and partners. In addition to STARS (Yale University’s Online Hiring and Recruitment System), McDougal Graduate Student Life and Yale HR co-host informational sessions on finding employment for spouses and partners of new graduate students.

Yale Babysitting Service
The Yale babysitting service provides additional childcare resources for Yale faculty, staff, and students with children. Be sure to visit their website,, for more information.

Back to top

Yale Slang Glossary

Like all communities, Yale has come up with its own shorthand. Before you find yourself lost in a conversation about sharing a Mory’s Cup after The Game, check out this list of popular Yale slang.

Apizza – [a-peetz]
The original, New Haven-style pizza. Expect an extra thin crust topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce optional. The best apizza available in New Haven is fiercely debated, with Pepe's and Sally's as well-loved frontrunners.

CTF – Conference Travel Fund
Offered by the GSA four times a year, the CTF is a resource available for graduate students traveling to a conference for the purpose of presenting original work. Awards vary, with the maximum amount being $1000. Don’t forget to apply!

DGS – Director of Graduate Studies
The DGS is a vital part of every department, overseeing graduate student curriculum and serving as a resource for any department-related concerns you may have. Your DGS will approve your course schedules, coordinate your teaching assignments, and help make sure your route from matriculation to graduation is as smooth as possible.

This shuttle will pick you up wherever you are and take you wherever you want to go within the confines of the shuttle boundaries. It runs from 6pm to 6am (see To-Door).

The Game
The annual Harvard-Yale Football game. The Game takes place every fall on the weekend before Thanksgiving, during the November Recess. Harvard and Yale take turns hosting, and Yalies will travel by the busload to Cambridge to watch (and tailgate) The Game. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sports fan--most people’s hatred of Harvard overrides their apathy for football.

G&P – Graduate and Professional Schools
G&P is shorthand for the Graduate School (see GSAS) and the Yale Professional Schools, such as Medical, Law, and Management. The schools are separate, but students from both share many things in common, not the least of which is Gryphon’s Pub (see GPSCY).

GPSCY – [jip-see]
The Graduate and Professional Student Club at Yale. When students say GPSCY, however, they almost always mean Gryphon’s Pub at GPSCY, a graduate and professional student bar. You can pay a small up-front fee to gain a year’s pass to GPSCY, or you can elect to pay a cover each time you go. GPSCY is a great place to meet fellow graduate students over cheap drinks and fun events.

GPSS – Graduate and Professional Student Senate
GPSS represents students from all of the graduate and professional schools at Yale – 13 in all. GPSS works on broad issues that affect the entire graduate and professional student community at Yale, in particular focusing on ways to bring students across all schools together both to work and to socialize. They also provide funding for student groups and activities that are G&P-inclusive.

GSA – Graduate Student Assembly
The GSA is elected by the graduate student body, and every department in GSAS has at least one representative. The GSA identifies the needs and concerns of graduate students, and then works with the administration to address them. The GSA is also the writer, editor, and publisher of The Compass (the guide you are currently reading)! To learn about how to get involved, go to page 67.

GSAS – [alt, gee’-sass]
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. If you are reading this, you are most likely a student enrolled in GSAS. Not to be confused with G&P, which is GSAS plus the Professional Schools (see G&P).

ITS – Information Technology Services
ITS is the office to contact if you are having computer or technology issues. In addition to offering extensive services on its website, ITS also offers Walk-in Computer Support Centers around campus.

Mory’s Cup
A very large drink available at Mory’s, located on York Street. Groups of students go to Mory’s and order a cup – served in a large, silver trophy cup – to split among them. Cups are ordered based on color, and are almost always alcoholic.

OCS – Office of Career Strategy
For those who are curious about non-academic career options available to someone with an advanced degree from Yale, OCS is a terrific resource. OCS offers both walk-in sessions and meetings by appointment, and is a balanced alternative to your departmental resources that often tend to focus more on the academic job market.

PI – Principal Investigator
Students in the sciences almost always have a PI, or a professor in whose lab they work or to whom they report. The PI is generally that person’s primary advisor.

SIS – Student Information Systems
SIS is your portal to anything you need to know about your Yale experience. From accessing any e-bills, to registering for classes, to updating your emergency contact information, anything you need to do can be done through SIS.

Tag sale
A sale at which people will sell old possessions. Also known as a yard sale or garage sale, the GSA has come to realize that ‘tag sale’ may be a Connecticut-specific name for the common phenomenon of selling your old junk.

This shuttle will take you from a given start point (think the law school or the med school) to wherever you want to go within the confines of the shuttle route (see Door-to-Door).

Back to top