Visiting Students in Research in Yale Laboratories

  1. Undergraduate students 18 years of age or older1 who are currently enrolled in an accredited degree-granting institution other than Yale may apply to enter a Yale laboratory2 as part of an educational research experience under the mentorship of a Yale faculty member. Applications for such Visiting Students in Research (VSRs) must be reviewed and forwarded by the Chair of the FAS Department, or the Dean (or designee) in professional schools, to the cognizant provost (or designee) for approval3.
  2. All proposed activities conducted by VSRs in University laboratories must adhere to any requirements or restrictions imposed by the Yale University Office of Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”), the department or school (e.g. HIPAA training for School of Medicine activities), the cognizant provost, and where appropriate other bodies such as the IRB and IACUC.  In addition, all required training must be completed by the participant prior to engaging in lab activities. The activities must be conducted under an appropriate supervisory plan developed by the faculty member and included in the application.
  3. Yale faculty members sponsoring a VSR shall be responsible for the following:
    1. Electronically submitting the application;
    2. Arranging the participant’s Yale appointment through the department business office. Individuals approved for participation will be appointed using the non-employee Associate designation, with the specific position of “Visiting Student in Research”;
    3. Ensuring that the participant receives a Yale NetID;
    4. Coaching the participant through the online Training Management System (TMS) process;
    5. Arranging for all training stipulated by TMS (and other bodies as appropriate) to be completed before the laboratory activity begins4; and,
    6. Ensuring that the participant is appropriately supervised at all times [by themselves or a qualified scientific supervisor].
  4. The purpose of the student’s participation in laboratory activities at Yale is to provide an opportunity for research experience under the mentorship of a member of the Yale faculty. The laboratory experience at Yale is provided for the benefit of the student participant. Accordingly, at no time will there be an employment relationship between the participant and Yale.  A VSR may receive a stipend directly from his/her home institution, or receive other fellowship support. Support through Yale administered funds is permissible only when it is provided as a stipend to support an educational experience (e.g. under provisions of an NSF REU Supplement).
  5. This policy does not apply to students currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at another institution. Graduate students desiring to perform research at Yale should apply through the Visiting Assistant in Research program administered through the Graduate School.
  6. Under normal circumstances, initial appointments under this policy will be made for up to one academic semester/summer, or up to six months. With prior approval and proper justification, appointments can be made up to a maximum of a full academic year plus one summer (12 months total). Under no circumstances may the activity extend longer than 12 months.
  7. Participants approved through this policy are not enrolled as Yale students, may not attend formal classes, and do not receive course credit from Yale for their activities.
  8. Applicants from international undergraduate institutions for this program must meet all of the requirements to enter the country under the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Prospective participants should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars for application information for the J-1 visa.

1All students under 18 years of age wishing to  enter a Yale laboratory for an educational experience must apply to participate through the Yale Minors in University Laboratories process.

2For the purposes of this policy, “laboratory” refers to any part of a building used or intended to be used for scientific or technical activities which may be hazardous; this includes teaching laboratories as well as research laboratories. This policy also covers off-campus Yale properties/facilities (e.g., Yale Farm, Yale-Myers Forest), on-and off-campus clinical facilities, and fieldwork locations where the approved educational activity is conducted under the supervision of a Yale faculty member; in these cases the “laboratory” refers to the location where the clinical activity or fieldwork is being performed.

3Participants in formal, University administered programs (e.g. BioSTEP, SURF, STARS, etc.) should apply under the  auspices of those programs, and are not subject to the requirements of this  policy.

4Note that non-laboratory (e.g. orientation/lecture)  portions of an educational program may begin prior to the completion of EHS, IRB,  HIPAA, IACUC or other stipulated training, but only after the approval is  granted by the cognizant provost or her/his designee.

Application and approval procedure

  1. The faculty sponsor submits the completed application form to his or her FAS department chair or professional school dean (or designee), as applicable.
  2. The department chair, dean or designee reviews the application, adds comments if necessary, then electronically forwards the application with a recommendation to the cognizant provost (or his/her designee) for that department/school for review and approval.
  3. Approval by the cognizant provost or designee is sent to the faculty sponsor(s) and contact person (if applicable) via email, subject to the following:
    1. Completion of all required training indicated by the Training Management System (TMS)
    2. Understanding that all applicable aspects of this policy will be followed by the mentor and the participant
  4. If the nature/scope of the participant’s activities change, the faculty sponsor must direct the participant to comply with any additional stipulated training.

Note: EHS reserves the right to inspect the laboratory in which the participant is engaged in laboratory activities at any time while such activities are in progress, and all labs determined by EHS as conducting higher-risk activities will be inspected prior to the commencement of the participant’s activities. EHS has the authority to suspend the participant’s laboratory activities if EHS finds any uncorrected safety deficiencies or other violations of stipulations made by EHS, the sponsor’s department, or the cognizant provost. The IACUC, IRBs, and HIPAA offices likewise have the authority to oversee research in their areas of responsibility and to suspend activities when such action is appropriate.


Last updated: March 1, 2011