Kai Nip

With course registration underway, many undergraduate students are signing up to take graduate level classes. 

Yale offers various graduate courses across multiple graduate and professional schools that undergraduates can take. Students who want to enroll in these courses usually have to contact instructors, write permission requests and add the course to their registration worksheets once they are admitted. While some courses are competitive for undergraduates, others have been more accessible for students across all years. 

“We had a form called the blue form that you used to have to fill out to make a special request for [graduate courses],” Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis told the News. “We got rid of the blue form because it sort of was unnecessary … We’re trying to take better advantage of the fact that we have these great professional [and graduate] schools and students have a real interest in learning about professional life.”

Lewis explained that without the blue form, the students can access graduate level courses more easily by simply requesting permission from instructors. However, he said that some classes at professional schools like the Law School or the School of Management are not open to undergraduates. 

He explained that one of his strategic goals as the dean of Yale College is to collaborate with the deans of the professional schools to make sure that undergraduate students can access courses relevant to their majors at the professional schools. He explained that the college has a close relationship with the School of Art and the School of Management in working to make sure that undergraduate students can join their classes. 

“But there is a small scheduling challenge,” Lewis explained. “For some of the [graduate and professional schools] like Divinity and a few of the others, they don’t operate on our calendar. Like Medicine starts earlier. Law goes later, I believe. Music starts just a little bit later than we do. So it’s a little bit complicated to take a course in one of those schools.”

David McElfresh ’25, a molecular biophysics & biochemistry major, is planning on taking graduate-level courses because the classes align with his interests and teach research skills he is interested in. Taking these classes would help him complete a combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science degree in MB&B, for which he is currently applying.

McElfresh has previously taken a graduate level course called Methods and Logic in Interdisciplinary Research and is currently taking Biological Physics. His experiences in graduate-level courses often include analyzing and discussing scientific research papers. 

“[Graduate level courses] seem more application-based rather than theoretical,” McElfresh said.

In his undergraduate biochemistry class, for instance, he is learning about the theories and mechanisms of metabolism. But in his graduate-level courses, he reviews these mechanisms in academic papers and works to understand the applications of these methods in the context of experiments. 

McElfresh recommended contacting the professors teaching graduate-level courses of interest to get a better sense of whether the course is a good fit for the student based on their knowledge and past experience.

“The workload [for graduate-level courses] is bigger but you also get to dive more deeply into the material and really analyze it,” Christina Logvynyuk ’25, who has taken graduate seminars across different schools, told the News. 

Logvynyuk, an economics and Eastern European studies double major, said that she is taking a course on Russian information warfare through the Jackson School and another on the global history of Eastern Europe through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences this semester. 

She explained that the process to get into these courses differs depending on the school and the course. Getting into the seminar at the GSAS was more straightforward, she explained, while the course she takes through the Jackson School required more work to get departmental approval.

“One of the biggest reasons that I am hoping to continue to take more graduate courses in the future as an undergrad is the commitment to the actual material of the class rather than assignments,” Logvynyuk told the News. “If an undergraduate student has a real interest in a subject area, if they can find a graduate class where they can dive more deeply into the material, I highly recommend it.”

Undergraduate students taking graduate level courses will have these classes recorded on their transcripts with their graduate course numbers.

Esma Okutan is the graduate schools reporter for the News. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, she is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards studying economics.
Agomoni Saha covers Nonprofits and Social Services as an associate beat reporter. She is a first-year in Saybrook College majoring in chemistry.