I'm taking time off during my sophomore year. Am I still eligible to apply to the Human Rights Program? When should I apply?

Students taking time off during their sophomore year are still eligible to apply to the Program. If you are a rising sophomore planning to take only the Fall Semester off and then to return for the Spring Semester, you should apply while you are on leave. However, if you are a rising sophomore planning to take off both semesters off or only the Spring Semester off, you should not apply this fall; instead, submit your application the following fall. For example, if you are taking the Spring 2024 Semester off, you should apply in the Fall 2024 Semester rather than in 2023. 

Any offers of admission to the Human Rights Program will be conditional on starting the Program in the spring. If, after you apply to the Program, you decide to take the Spring Semester off, please notify us so we can remove you from consideration. If you are admitted to the Program but later choose not to enroll for the spring, we cannot hold your spot in the Program. We will, of course, welcome your application when you return for your sophomore year in the fall of 2024.

Can I do more than one Multidisciplinary Academic Program?

You can apply for admission to more than one Multidisciplinary Academic Program (MAP), but if you are accepted into multiple MAPs, you will probably have to select one in which to participate. Because of limited space in the Programs, the Programs’ demands, and potentially competing requirements, students will generally not be able to complete more than one Multidisciplinary Academic Program.

Can I apply in the fall of junior year?

Beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, the Program began considering applications from juniors. However, juniors may be accepted only if spots in the Program become available, which happens very infrequently. Only juniors who have already taken the Gateway Course will be considered.

How many courses can overlap with courses that count toward my major?

According to the guidelines for Multidisciplinary Academic Programs at Yale College, a maximum of two courses that meet the Program’s elective requirement can count as credit toward your major.

May I take the gateway course freshman year?

The Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights is designed for Human Rights Scholars to take its elements together on a common, shared track. We therefore highly encourage students to wait, if possible, until their sophomore spring to take the Gateway Course, after their admission to the Human Rights Program. Nevertheless, the Gateway Course is open to all Yale College students, and interested students may take the Gateway Course during their freshman year, prior to their prospective admission to the Program. Should students subsequently be admitted to the Program during their sophomore or junior year, their previous enrollment in the Gateway Course will satisfy the Program’s requirement. Please note, though, that taking the Gateway Course prior to application to the Program is not a prerequisite for admission and will not increase a student’s likelihood of admission.

What if I’m going abroad?

You are still eligible to apply for the Program if you are planning to study abroad. If you are going abroad in the spring of your sophomore year, you will be required to take the Gateway Course in the spring of your junior year and will meet with your advisor to discuss any other necessary modifications. If you are going abroad during your junior year, you must plan so that you are able to complete the elective requirement during the semesters you are on campus.

Is the Capstone Project separate from a senior thesis?

Yes, the guidelines for Multidisciplinary Academic Programs require that your Capstone Project be separate from your senior thesis. While your senior thesis is a paper, the Capstone Project allows a much wider range of work: continuation or evaluation of work you did in a summer internship; a report on a particular human rights issue; a more artistic or journalistic project; more traditional academic work; or something else that you agree upon with the Capstone Seminar instructor.

Is this a pre-law program?

Although the Program is housed in the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, it is not a pre-law program. It is a multidisciplinary program that engages with a wide variety of approaches to human rights. The Program provides students interested in law a taste of the study of human rights law, but it is not designed to provide students with a general foundation in law. Rather, it aims to be accessible to and useful for all students interested in human rights. Students from all departments are encouraged to apply.

Is there a specific focus on international human rights?

The conceptual focus of the Program is international human rights. Human rights issues, however, arise in all national contexts and include domestic civil rights challenges in the United States as well as a wide range of challenges in particular countries around the world and regional and transnational issues. The Program does seek to approach such challenges – whatever their scope – through the lens of international human rights principles, law, methodology, and advocacy.

How many students will be accepted?

The Program accepts roughly 15 students each year.