Frequently Asked Questions

The full tuition for YSPA in 2019 is $5550. This covers all housing and dining costs, computer and telescope access, equipment, field trip expenses, etc.. It does not cover travel to or from New Haven or incendental expenses. Students who accept admissions offers in April will need to send in a deposit for $1000 in order to secure a spot in the program, and the balance of tuition is due in June. 

Yes; there is limited, need-based financial aid available which students who are admitted may apply for. The typical financial aid award is a 50% tuition remission, and up to 64% of the tuition may be covered by financial aid. Students in previous years have also had success in raising funds for the tuition balance via crowd-funding sources such as or 

There are no specific academic pre-requisites. You will learn everything you need to know to do the research project at YSPA, including all of the physics, observational astronomy, and programming skills needed. 

However, successful applicants will probably have taken (and aced) high school math through pre-Calculus or beyond as well as some physics and programming. Students who are accepted to participate at YSPA will engage in directed self-study in python programming and observational astronomy basics for two weeks before the residential program so that you are ready to hit the ground running when you arrive on campus.

There are other age-related and grade-related requirements for participating in YSPA which are described on the “How to Apply” page. 

YSPA does accept international applicants who are proficient in English. 

E-mail offers for admission and for the wait-list will go out in early April.

There are more specific dates and deadlines for this year’s program on the “How to Apply” page. 

No, we do not offer college credit of any kind.

The astrophysics research project at YSPA is a means to an end; we want to give students an interesting and challenging project that can still be completed within the 4 weeks of the program. By completing this project, students will learn techniques of scientific research, computer programming and modeling, scientific writing, and other skills that are important in a broad array of science and tech disciplines. So you don’t have to be an astronomy geek to get a lot out of YSPA, and we don’t expect most of our students to become astronomers. But since you’ll be working at an observatory on an astronomy project, you should at least have a passing interest in astrophysics, even if you are more interested in studying biology, physics, geology, or chemistry when you go to college.

The class and work schedule at YSPA is intense and demanding… you can expect to be in class for 2-4 hours per day, engaged with the faculty for 4-8 hours each day, and working on problem sets, programming exercises, or research for 2-6 hours per day. It is not recommended that you expect to work on other academic or research work while you are at YSPA. 

At least one day per week will be dedicated to a separate one-day or half-day project or to a field trip off campus. Also, every Sunday is unscheduled time when you can catch up on sleep, relax, or work on research or other projects as needed. We will also have other regularly scheduled recreational activities for you such as dances, sports, music, and movie nights.

The Yale Summer Session (YSS) is a program that offers a selection of the same Yale courses offered during the academic year over a 5-week or 10-week summer session. YSS courses can be taken for college credit. YSPA, on the other hand, is a very selective, more focused research and enrichment program that does not offer college credit. The classes at YSPA are focused on the skills needed for the central research project, and YSPA overall is more structured than YSS. The social environment and community of YSPA are also very different compared to Yale Summer Session, and YSPA students have much more direct interaction with the faculty, compared to students attending Yale Summer Session. 

The YSPA admissions committee asks that the math recommendation come from a mathematics teacher and the science recommendation come from a teacher in physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, or biology.

If you are able to obtain a scanned copy of your transcript to attach to your application, this is preferred and we do not need a hard copy sent to us. If your school will not provide you with a copy of your official transcript, you may request that they send a hard copy to YSPA via the address given in the application form. 

YSPA is a program for rising high school seniors, thus, in order to attend you must apply when you are a high school junior, the year before you would be applying to college. You may not attend YSPA if you will have graduated from high school in the summer of 2019. 

No. We expect students who are admitted to the program to participate for the full duration of the program. The program is cumulative, and you would get behind even if you miss just the first day. If you inform us that you plan to arrive late, your admission offer may be withdrawn. Likewise, students are very much discouraged from leaving early, and if they do, they may forfeit their full tuition. 

This also applies to the two-week, directed self-study program… students are expected to participate in online discussions during those two weeks and to submit online assignments. Failure to participate in this program may lead to exclusion from the residential program without a tuition refund. 

No, but the program rules we have are important, and we take them seriously. We have an Honor Code that informs the behavior of all YSPA students and staff. Iit can be summed up as “Don’t cheat; be honest; be responsible for yourself; take care of others”.  We also have some specific rules regarding campus boundaries, curfew, use of equipment, participation, etc.. The details of program rules and expectations are described in the yearly “Participants’ Handbook” which is sent to accepted students a few months before the program. Students agree to abide by these rules when they register for YSPA. 

The YSPA Program Manager is responsible for making sure everyone has a safe, healthy, and happy YSPA, which includes enforcing the Honor Code and program rules. Typical disciplinary measures for rule infractions include early curfew, restrictions of priviledges, and conference calls with parents to discuss the infractions. However, behavior by participants that demonstrates consistent disregard for program rules may lead to expulsion of that student from the program. 

No, living and dining in the dorm with other YSPA students and the staff is an integral part of the program, and we do not admit day students. 

If you are looking for a summer program that you can attend as a day student, you might consider the Pathways to Science Summer Scholars program, which does admit day students from the New Haven area. 

YSPA  does not permit accepted participants to defer admission.  If you are eligible, please apply again next year.

YSPA attendees should apply for a tourist visa, good for 30 days. You do not need a student visa to attend YSPA.  

If you are already in the US for study and have an F1-visa / I-20 that is valid for the dates of the program, you do not need to get an additional visa.

There is no connection between admission to YSPA and undergraduate admissions at Yale. That said, many YSPA alumni have been admitted to and matriculated at Yale. A summer on campus is a great opportunity to see if Yale is a good fit for you, and glowing letters of recommendation from YSPA faculty can’t hurt your chances for admission to Yale or any other college!

What is the tuition cost, and who shall I list as the payee on my USA bank or personal check?
Or, who shall I send the wire payment to?

You tuition deposit of $1,000.00 and final balance of $4,550.00 USD should be sent to:

YSPA Coordinator
c/o Yale University Department of Astronomy
P.O. Box 208101
New Haven, CT 06520-8101 USA

Or send via FedEx/UPS

YSPA Coordinator
c/o Yale University Department of Astronomy
52 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

Please list Yale University as the payee on your USA bank or personal check.

We do not accept credit card payments at this time. Please contact us for wire payment information if you are paying from an international account.

Thank you for your intererest in YSPA. Please check back in December to apply for the YSPA 2020 program.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.