The Compass

Please download the 2023-24 edition of The Compass: a Guide to Graduate School at Yale as a PDF below:

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Dear new member of our community,


     A very warm welcome to Yale University! We are excited to see you become a part of our community of scholars. The next few weeks and months mark a thrilling period of transition and fresh starts as you settle into life here in New Haven. I urge you to fully utilize the plethora of resources at your disposal during this time – from your peers within your program or department, to fellow first-year students, and the array of centers, offices, and organizations located on campus. As you'll soon discover, the Yale community is a dynamic blend of professors, administrators, postdocs, students, and staff, all dedicated to fostering an environment where knowledge and learning thrive.




Wondering how to go about the university? We have a Guide to Graduate School at Yale.

The representatives of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) maintain a guide to graduate school at Yale called ``The Compass'' ( We made this document to aid you not only in this transition to graduate school life, but also in your ongoing journey as a person living in New Haven. It provides invaluable insights ranging from shuttle routes to local hangouts, and from tax-related resources to addressing financial inquiries, along with guidance on where to turn should you encounter any challenges.

     As you embark on your Yale and New Haven adventure, take a moment to acquaint yourself with your surroundings - meet fellow graduate students from different departments and schools, explore Yale's museums, and take a walk around campus to appreciate the architecture. Keep this website within easy reach, and remember, the GSA is here to assist you, whether you have queries, concerns, or simply wish to familiarize yourself with your department's representative(s) within our organization.



     What is the Graduate Student Assembly?

     The GSA is a democratically elected body representing graduate students in all departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). We listen to graduate students and advocate at the departmental, graduate school (GSAS), and university-wide levels on various issues including health care, housing, transportation, academic and career resources, and questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

If you would like to get involved, every Spring, new GSA departmental representatives are elected. If your department is currently underrepresented, early in the fall semester you will receive an email asking if you would like to nominate yourself and run for departmental representative. Additionally, all graduate students are welcome at the GSA General Assembly Meetings, which happen once every two weeks. Members of the Yale Administration are often invited to speak on topics of interest to graduate students, and dinner is provided. The meeting schedule can be found on the GSA website, If you are interested in attending a meeting, contact or your departmental representative.



     Yale Grad Students (i.e., workers) are now unionized. What does this mean?

     Last academic year, graduate workers voted to unionize in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election by a 91% margin. Local 33 is the union of graduate workers at Yale. The next step is for the elected bargaining committee to negotiate our first union contract. Local 33 and Yale’s bargaining committees have a good working relationship and are proceeding steadily, and meeting weekly to discuss different aspects of the contract to build into the tentative agreement. This process will continue until a complete contract agreeable to both parties is finalized. The union welcomes feedback, opinions, and support from its members during this time, so do not hesitate to reach out or get involved! Union membership follows the NLRB voting unit definition, which, in short, means that members include teachers and most researchers of the graduate school (GSAS); and teachers of the professional schools. If you want to know what this means for you, contact a union organizer or




     Starting graduate school in a new and strange environment can be daunting, and we hope that this document can provide you with some helpful information. If you ever have any questions about anything, do not hesitate to reach out to the members of your department or anyone in the GSA! We would all be more than happy to help you. 



     Warm regards and welcome again to Yale, 


     Christopher Lindsay,

     On Behalf of the Yale Graduate Student Assembly