Welcome to Yale! My name is Zoe and I’m a Junior from New Orleans. Our virtual tour begins on Cross Campus, where many different dimensions of student life meet. This one quad contains three residential colleges, two expansive libraries, two concert halls, dozens of classrooms, a café, and a lawn that’s perfect for a pickup game of soccer or frisbee.
At Yale, we embrace the idea of “and” over “or.” As you explore campus, you’ll see how Yale combines seemingly disparate ideas and experiences, setting our students free to reach their goals without limits. Look out for a few Bulldogs along the way too!
Community & Diversity
For most Yalies, their residential college is the community to which they feel most connected, even though it is also the most diverse community they will likely ever join. The global diversity of the Yale student body becomes intimate and accessible within the residential colleges, where students build life-long friendships with peers who have very different academic interests, extracurricular pursuits, and career ambitions. Whether sharing a meal, hanging out in the courtyard, or playing intramural spike ball, members of each residential college form a collaborative and supportive community that is strengthened by its diversity.
Conceive & Create
Rockets, Racecars, and rapid prototypes come to life in Yale’s Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Design, a 24/7 makerspace that’s open to the entire Yale community. Whether you are a mechanical engineer, an entrepreneur, or just someone who loves to work with your hands, the CEID’s wood shop, design studio, machine shop, and wet lab have everything you’ll need to transform an idea into a reality.
Old & New
Yale is more than 300 years old, but it’s not old fashioned. Some of the university’s greatest treasures can be found here in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a one-of-a-kind building with walls made of thin slabs of Vermont marble. Among the library’s oldest volumes are bits of ancient Egyptian Papyrus; among its newest are sketches and notebooks from beloved children’s author Mo Willems.
Every year, thousands of students conduct original research with the library’s expansive collections, which include original papers from James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, Edith Wharton, Langston Hughes, Rachel Carson, and Zora Neale Hurston. The library also hosts dozens of concerts and poetry readings for the community.
Big & Small
Big ideas and life-changing connections begin in small spaces within Yale’s residential colleges – the heart of undergraduate student life. Hi there. My name is Jack and I’m a sophomore from the New Haven area.
Before arriving, each first-year student is randomly assigned to one of fourteen residential colleges, where they will belong for all four years as a member of a community that includes 400 to 500 students across class years. Each residential college has a dining hall, common room, library, gym, game room, and a late-night snack bar called the Buttery. To learn more and to explore more student living spaces, check out the residential college mini tour.
Art & Science
Yale students can choose from more than 80 majors without the restrictions of a core curriculum. More than 30 undergraduate majors span multiple academic departments, with interdisciplinary options that combine STEM, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. All students are encouraged to explore a wide range of academic disciplines before settling on a major, and about two thirds of every student’s coursework will fall outside their chosen major.
The state-of-the art research labs and teaching spaces on Science Hill are accessible to students in all majors. At the Peabody Museum of Natural History, professors in nearly 20 departments, ranging from anthropology to ecology and evolutionary biology, use of some the museum’s more than 14 million objects in their teaching.
Being & Belonging
Students come to Yale from all over the world, bringing with them a diverse array of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. Yale’s four Cultural Centers – the Afro American Cultural Center, Asian-American Cultural Center, Native American Cultural Center, and La Casa Cultural – are a vital part of the fabric of Yale student life.
The four centers foster a sense of cultural identity, encourage student leadership, facilitate critical reflection, and stimulate informed action and social justice advocacy. Each Center has dedicated full-time staff and its own campus building with meeting rooms, a kitchen, and spaces for performances, celebrations, and discussions.
Connect & Explore
Yale students from across the college and the graduate schools come together in the Schwarzman Center, a university-wide hub for student life and the arts. This newly renovated and expanded student center includes the meticulously restored Commons dining hall, a casual dining and entertainment corridor called the Underground, and the Dome: a state-of-the-art circular theatre for boundary-pushing performances. The center also includes a dance studio, meeting rooms, and the Good Life Center, which offers free student-focused wellness programming.
In the adjoining building is Woolsey Hall, a 2,600 seat concert auditorium that is home to Yale’s acclaimed symphony orchestras and the Newberry Memorial Organ with more than 12,000 pipes. Every Halloween at midnight, the undergraduate Yale Symphony Orchestra performs a live score to a student-directed adventure film in front of a sold-out audience of costumed students.
Breadth & Depth
Over their four years of study, every Yale student completes the requirements of a major and fulfills six broad distributional requirements in arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences, writing, quantitative reasoning, and language. With no core curriculum, Yalies choose each of their own courses, and no two students graduate with the same coursework. Students pursuing an ABET-accredited mechanical engineering degree can take courses in art history and political science. Students opting for the creative writing concentration in the English major can take courses in astronomy and environmental studies.
Every first-year student is matched with a personal librarian to help them navigate the more than 15 million volumes in the university’s library collections. Sterling Memorial Library contains 16 floors of stacks, more than a dozen specialized reading rooms, one of America’s largest music libraries, and the innovative Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, where students receive individualized academic mentoring, tutoring, and writing support.
Beginnings & Endings
Old Campus is where students in 10 of Yale’s 14 residential colleges spend their first year. It also hosts the university’s commencement ceremonies, the bulldog bash party at the start of fall semester, the annual spring fling concert, and many other campus events and traditions.
As the name implies, this is where you will find some of Yale's oldest buildings, including Connecticut Hall, which was built in 1750. The 2-acre quad includes dormitories, classrooms, religious spaces, and Dwight Hall — Yale's student-run public service and social action organization.
Generations of Yalies, from Nathan Hale and William Howard Taft to Angela Bassett and Anderson Cooper have called Old Campus home.
Research University & Liberal Arts College
Yalies are simultaneously enrolled in one of the world’s greatest and most ambitious research universities and a flexible and supportive liberal arts college that champions undergraduate teaching. The university’s special emphasis on research, collaboration, and instruction are easy to see and feel in the Humanities Quadrangle, a newly-renovated gothic building that houses 15 departments and programs in the humanities. Known around campus simply as “HQ,” the space includes more than 300 faculty offices; dozens of classrooms, meetings rooms, and student lounges; a lecture hall; and a state-of-the-art film screening studio.
HQ houses the Whitney Humanities Center, co-founded by late Yale scholar Harold Bloom and the Directed Studies program – an intense year-long program for first-year students that introduces the seminal texts of Western and Near Eastern cultures.
Culture & Craft
The Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art are among the world's most complete university art collections. The galleries serve as an academic resource center for hundreds of courses each year. The collections include works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Titus Kaphar, and Helen Frankenthaler, as well as thousands of pieces of African, Asian, and Indo-Pacific Art.
Undergraduate gallery guides give free interactive highlights tours that feature a handful of student-selected objects. No two tours are the same, and each encourages visitors to examine objects closely and to engage in conversation with the group. Both galleries are always free and open to the public.
Big City & College Town
Located in the heart of the busy northeast corridor, Yale’s home city of New Haven is both an exciting diverse urban environment and an accessible walking city. Within a one-mile radius of campus, you'll find two Tony-Award winning regional theaters, six museums, three major concert venues, and more than 100 restaurants including three of America’s oldest and most acclaimed pizzerias. In their free time, students enjoy hiking to the top of nearby East Rock Park, grabbing a bite at the Long Wharf food trucks parked by the water, and running or biking on the 56-mile Farmington Canal Trail that passes directly through campus.
New Haven is consistently ranked as a top city for biotech research, and the blog 538 recently identified New Haven as the American metro area that best resembles the demographic composition of the entire United States. Students and locals alike refer to New Haven as the “greatest small city in America.”
Applying & Affording
At the office of undergraduate admissions, a team of dedicated officers review each application one at a time. No application is subjected to a formula or rubric. Decisions are made by a committee of officers, faculty, and college leaders, who select the applicants they believe have the greatest potential to contribute to the Yale learning environment while also maximizing its vast resources. Although Yale’s admissions process is highly selective, it is also designed to be accessible to promising students of every background, interest, outlook, and talent.
Yale’s extraordinary need-based financial aid program ensures that cost is never a barrier for admitted students. All aid is awarded on the basis of a family’s financial need, and many lower and middle-income families like mine, qualify for awards that cover the full cost of tuition, housing, and the meal plan without any loans. Yale is proud to extend its need-based financial aid policy and its need-blind admissions policy to all applicants, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. These policies ensure that Yale is affordable, for everyone.