Sponsored by Yale’s fourteen residential colleges, Residential College Seminars are unique and innovative courses that fall outside traditional departmental structures. While some seminars are taught by Yale faculty, others are led by individuals who reside outside academic life, including writers, artists, journalists, and politicians. Topics may be suggested by potential instructors as well as students, fellows, and heads of residential colleges.

A defining feature of the Residential College Seminar Program is that undergraduates play a central role in the seminar selection process. Each residential college has a student committee responsible for evaluating seminar proposals and interviewing candidates.

By the numbers

  • There are at least 30 seminars each academic year (14 per term).
  • Seminars meet weekly for 2 hours in the afternoon or evening for 13 weeks.
  • Each seminar has 18 students (15 for creative writing seminars). If the number of applications exceed the enrollment maximum, 6 students are admitted from the sponsoring college and 12 from all other colleges combined.

For Students

If you are interested in serving on your college’s seminar committee, consult the head of your college.

Students may enroll in one college seminar per term and may apply to no more than two. Students may enroll in no more than four college seminars total during their Yale career. Auditing is not permitted. Graduate students are not eligible to apply.

For Prospective Instructors

For prospective instructors interested in teaching a seminar, learn more about teaching a residential college seminar.