Random Incredibly Useful Facts That Can Make a Big Difference

  1. Academic Teaching Requirement: As noted above, the Religious Studies Department has an academic requirement of three semesters (not courses) of teaching at Yale (not somewhere else). The phrase “academic requirement” means you can’t graduate without it. External fellowships that relieve you of teaching DO NOT relieve you of this requirement.  If you think you will have trouble meeting this requirement (due to travel, study abroad, etc.) you MUST talk to the DGS. 
     
  2. Deferring or rearranging your funding.  Within certain limits, the various forms of university funding (UF, TF, UDF) can be interchanged. You can’t take the UDF until you have advanced to candidacy, of course, but once you have advanced to candidacy, you might take your UDF in the spring of year 4 and defer your fourth TF to year 5.  If you finish coursework early you might use a TF in spring of your 2nd year and defer the fourth UF to year 3 or later.  If you get external funding for a year, you might take it in year 5 and defer your UDF until year 6, enabling you to focus on the dissertation without teaching, which may be beneficial if you will not be residing in New Haven.  However, keep in mind that no University funding may be deferred past the 6th year of study. Thus, if you get two years of funding, you cannot defer your UDF or 6th year TF or any other funding to a 7th year because no university funding may be deferred beyond the 6th year of study. 
     
  3. Extended Registration: The University provides a package of funding for 5-6 years.  It is hoped that students will receive the Ph.D. in 5 years, but a 6th year of Teaching Fellowship support is guaranteed for students who have not completed the dissertation and are making good progress.  Students who do not complete the dissertation within the allotted 6 years, may apply for an exceptional 7th (and even 8th) year of extended registration if the DGS confirms that they are on track to complete the dissertation in the extended period.  Student in extended registration will receive health care and library access but have exhausted their funding and do not receive a university stipend. Students in extended registration will need to identify some other means of support. On occasion, teaching may be available but students on extended registration are not guaranteed a teaching slot. Moreover, students in their teaching years are prioritized for TF positions.  No more than 4 semesters of Extended Registration is allowed.  To apply for 7th year Extended Registration use this form. To apply for 8th year Extended Registration use this form.
     
  4. Dissertation Completion Status: This status is intended for students who are completing dissertations under the supervision of a member of the Graduate School Faculty but who are not full-time students because they are employed more than 10 hours a week. Because students on DCS are not full-time, they receive no university funding or health care. You do have library access. You may request DCS for up to four terms, but be aware that you may not be reinstated as a full-time student. To apply for Dissertation Completion Status, use this form. NOTE: the Yale Health Plan is an HMO licensed by the state to serve Yale faculty, full-time students, and staff only.  If you are not a full-time student (e.g., you are on DCS and engage in outside employment more than 10 hours a week) you cannot be covered by YHP. 
     
  5. Registration in Absentia: The rules here are a little complex and vary depending on whether you are ABD or not.  Students who are ABD and wish to pursue dissertation research out of the area may register in absentia, receive their UDF and health coverage, and work on the dissertation.  Generally, students who are not ABD cannot receive Yale funding if they register in absentia.  Some pre-ABD students take non-cumulative registration in order to study a language abroad, but such study is funded by an external fellowship.  The MacMillan Center offers fellowships for language study. Check with the DGS to make sure you understand all of the rules surrounding registration in absentia.
     
  6. Funding for Travel: You can apply for travel funding from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) here.  You can apply for travel funding from the Department of Religious Studies here.  Department funds are very limited so be reasonable in your request.  We hope to distribute these limited funds as broadly and fairly as possible.
     
  7. Be aware of your clock and the rules about leaves of absence. If you are registered, then your clock of 12 funded semesters is ticking.  Even if you waive your stipend for some reason, Yale is still paying your tuition costs and health care, and therefore the clock is ticking. So if you anticipate an unproductive semester for any reason, consider taking a leave so that you do not burn through your university funding without making progress or meeting normative time benchmarks. The clock DOES stop if you take a parental leave or medical (including mental health) leave. In those circumstances, Yale does not pay tuition for you (although Yale does continue to pay for your health coverage). It’s important to understand these and many other details if you are considering a leave. For more information, see the GSAS program and policies (http://catalog.yale.edu/gsas/policies-regulations/#leavesofabsence) and talk to the DGS.
     
  8. Understand your funding package: Your six-year package includes 4 semesters of University Fellowship (UF; stipend with no teaching allowed), 4 semesters of Teaching Fellowship (TF; stipend with expectation of teaching), 1 year University Dissertation Fellowship (UDF; stipend with no teaching allowed) and a 6th year Teaching Fellowship (6TF) if needed.

NOTE:   The introduction of full funding was an innovation designed to provide students with the basic financial security needed in order to engage in study FULL-TIME and make rapid progress towards the degree.  While receiving university funding you should be focused on getting on completing the requirements for your degree.  For this reason, there is a limit on the number of outside hours you can spend on paid work when receiving a stipend.  If faculty ask you to do paid work (even if academic and related to your research) while on a University Fellowship or a UDF, you should discuss it with the DGS.  Some students have been negatively affected by such arrangements.

Keep in mind that you cannot receive university funding of any kind unless you are a full-time student in good standing.  Yale’s defines a full-time student as a student who is not engaged in outside employment for more than 10 hours per week.

  1. Varying your funding arrangement: It is possible to vary your university funding within certain limits.  For example, the standard pattern is:

Year

Fall

Spring

1

UF

UF

2

UF

UF

3

TF

TF

4

TF

TF

5

UDF

UDF

6

6TF

6TF

However, if you complete all or most of your coursework early and an irresistible TF opportunity comes up in your second year you might switch a semester of UF and TF like this pending Dean’s approval:

 

Year

Fall

Spring

1

UF

UF

2

UF

TF

3

TF

UF

4

TF

TF

5

UDF

UDF

6

6TF

6TF

Or perhaps you have advanced to candidacy and have an opportunity to work in an archive overseas in the spring of year four.  You can switch a semester of TF with a semester of UDF:

 

Year

Fall

Spring

1

UF

UF

2

UF

UF

3

TF

TF

4

TF

UDF

5

TF

UDF

6

6TF

6TF

NOTE:  As a general rule:  if you are thinking of changing the order in which you take the various stipends, or if you are considering paid work of any kind internal or external to Yale, talk to the DGS.  Outside earnings are nice, but they may violate both the spirit and the letter of your Yale funding package and impede your progress to degree.