Graduate Life at Yale

March 18, 2013

A.M., 1L

I’m writing to share with you my experience not only as a YLS student, but as a Yale graduate student in the broader sense. At Yale, we have a very strong graduate school community, with studies ranging from Comparative Literature to Economics to Public Health. As law students, we are part of this graduate school network, which offers many opportunities to meet other graduate students, explore a new interest, or delve deeper into a passion you may have explored before law school.

I could write pages and pages about the joint degree programs available at YLS, but instead, I wanted to write about the opportunities you will have as a YLS student to explore the wider graduate school community outside of the joint degree programs.

First, you can enroll in courses outside of the law school, in either the undergraduate or the other graduate schools. There are also many courses and workshops offered on a no-credit basis. For example, my friend in the School of Design, who I met in the School of Management’s wine tasting course, recently invited me to attend a weekend basket weaving workshop and to sit in on a sculpture class. It’s easy to find a wide variety of these types of courses and workshops, ranging from semester-long Argentine tango courses to a softball league.

There are also opportunities to interact with professors outside of the law school. Many law school students serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for undergraduate professors. Over this past year, I’ve seen openings in subjects including economics, philosophy, history, political science, and mathematics. Not only do TAs from YLS get to earn a bit of extra money, but they can also share their knowledge of the subjects they studied before law school, interact with the amazing faculty members throughout Yale, and gain exposure to new ideas that might bring clarity and perspective to the legal issues debated in law school courses.

Whether through academic opportunities, clubs and organizations, or just going to social mixers between the law school and other Yale graduate schools, seeking out opportunities that interest you outside of the law school can help you gain a new perspective on the law. While there are more than enough exciting academic events, social activities, and courses to fill anyone’s week at YLS, if you find yourself craving some medieval literature, hoping to practice your French, or wanting to learn more about photography, know that the Yale graduate school community is vibrant and welcoming and offers opportunities to explore all of your interests, both legal and non-legal.