Central to the mission of Yale College is ensuring a broad education rooted in the liberal arts. That education should provide both breadth and depth across a wide array of disciplines, and should be responsive to the shifting landscape of those disciplines and their interrelationships.

In order to encourage students to engage within and across departmental, divisional, and disciplinary boundaries, Yale College offers disciplines-based certificates and a broader range of skills-based certificates. Skills-based certificates currently include the Certificate of Advanced Language Study, the Certificate in Data Science, and the Certificate in Programming. Disciplines-based certificates currently include those awarded to participants in the Multidisciplinary Academic Programs (MAPs) such as Energy Studies and Human Rights Studies. A list of currently approved Certificates can be found in the Yale College Programs of Study.
Because they originate with faculty, certificates inherently follow existing intellectual communities, focusing on a specific area of intellectual inquiry, or contribute to the creation of new cross-sections at the university. Certificates give students the opportunity to pursue focused study complementary to or apart from their majors by providing curricular vehicles, in addition to the major, that will strengthen their liberal arts education. No certificate is a smaller version of a major. Certificates either provide opportunities to deepen a skill or to bring disparate elements into focus. Moreover, certificates offer the possibility of expanding the curriculum in ways that neither majors nor minors can.


Proposals originate with faculty, are approved by the Committee on Majors, and must be recommended to the Yale College Faculty. Successful proposals require:

  • A Certificate Advisory Committee of at least six faculty members who would be among those interacting with and advising students, and who would offer eligible courses. Certificates thus provide the opportunity for ongoing, interdisciplinary conversation amongst faculty from disparate areas of campus.
  • A designated Certificate Director (who may, as appropriate, be an existing DUS).
  • A mission statement or abstract, and a name. Certificates may not bear the name of an existing major.
  • A list of 12 eligible courses and when they are likely to be offered, as well as a list of recurring events or other one-time opportunities that would be recommended to students pursuing a Certificate.
  • Capstone projects, though appropriate in majors, are not optimal for certificates. Other possibilities, such as attendance at a curated series of talks, workshops, seminars, performances, or other events, or experiential learning such as research, field work, or internships, affiliated with or authorized by the Certificate Advisory Council, may count toward one certificate course credit, and are encouraged.
  • The Certificate Director and the Certificate Advisory Committee will be ultimately responsible for administering the Certificate.

Curricular Structure

Proposals for certificates will be subject to the following:

  • At least 5 and no more than 6 courses credits.
  • A maximum 2-course credit overlap with the student’s major.
  • A maximum of 4 course credits originating in one department or from other such disciplinary distinctions (areas of study) for disciplines-based certificates.
  • Graduate and professional school courses may count.
  • All courses must be Yale University courses. Exceptions will be granted to transfer students at the discretion of the Certificate Advisory Committee.
  • The declaration form for a certificate must be submitted no later than the due date for course schedules in the student’s final term of enrollment.
  • Transcripts will have notation indicating successful completion of a certificate.

Proposals for new Certificates should be submitted by faculty members to the Committee on Majors.