Graduate Certificate of Concentration

Open to all graduate and professional students at Yale, the MacMillan Center sponsors graduate certificates of concentration through the Councils on African, European, and Middle East Studies.

Students may pursue the certificates in conjunction with graduate-degree programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools. Admission is contingent upon the candidate’s acceptance into a Yale graduate-degree program. To complete the certificate, candidates must demonstrate expertise in the focal area through their major graduate or professional field, as well as show command of the diverse interdisciplinary, geographic, and cultural-linguistic approaches associated with expertise in the area of concentration. Beyond the specific requirements, student pursuing the certificate are expected to be a member of the relevant Council’s intellectual community and a regular participant and its events, speakers series, etc.  Serious study, research and/or work experience in the region is highly valued. Award of the certificate, beyond fulfilling the relevant requirements, is contingent on the successful completion of the candidate’s Yale University degree program. Students who complete the additional requirements will receive the relevant certificate from The MacMillan Center.

While the general requirements for the graduate certificates of concentration are consistent across all councils of The MacMillan Center, the specific requirements of each council may vary according to the different expertise required for its focal area and are reflected in their application, monitoring and award forms. Guidelines, detailed rules, and application forms can be picked up at the relevant council or downloaded from the appropriate council web site. Applications may be submitted by students admitted to a graduate program at Yale or during their program of study but no later than the beginning of the penultimate term of study. Each council may set limits on the number of candidates for their program in any given year.

General Requirements

Six graduate-level courses in the area of concentration (in at least two different fields) not including language courses.

Language proficiency in at least one language relevant to the area of concentration beyond proficiency in English. For some Councils and for some individual circumstances, proficiency in two languages beyond English is required.

Interdisciplinary research paper focused on the area of concentration

Details on General Requirements


  • Students must complete a total of six (6) graduate level courses focused on the area of concentration from at least two different fields, normally including a Foundations Course (as designated by the Council). Of the six courses only two may be “directed readings” or “independent study.” Please note:
  • No more than four courses may count from any one discipline or school.
  • Courses from the home field of the student are eligible. Courses may count toward the students’ degree as well as toward the Certificate.
  • Literature courses at the graduate level may count toward the six course requirement but not elementary or intermediate language offerings.  At the discretion of the faculty advisor, an advanced language course at the graduate level may be counted if it is taught with substantial use of field materials such as literature, history or social science texts and journals relevant to the area.
  • Coursework must demonstrate broad comparative knowledge of the region rather than focus on specific country.
  • Coursework must demonstrate a grasp of the larger thematic concerns affecting the region, e.g., environment, migration or global financial movements.
  • Only those courses listed on the “Graduate Course Listings” provided by the Area Council may be used to fulfill course requirements. Courses not listed there may only be counted with prior approval of the Council advisor, not after the fact.
  • A minimum grade of HP must be obtained or the course will not be counted toward the Certificate.
  • Only coursework taken during the degree program at Yale may be counted toward the certificate.

Language Proficiency

In the major area language targeted for meeting the proficiency requirement, students must demonstrate the equivalent ability of two years of language study at Yale with a grade of HP or better. Language proficiency must encompass reading, writing, speaking and listening skills plus grammar. Students may demonstrate proficiency through completing coursework, by testing at Yale, or by other means as approved by the Council advisor. When a second major language of the region beyond English is required, the relevant Council will specify the target level.  The typical departmental graduate reading exam is not sufficient for certifying the four skill requirement of the Certificate.

Normally, when the candidate is a native speaker of one of the area’s major languages, he/she will be expected to develop language proficiency in a second major area language.

Interdisciplinary Research Paper

A qualifying research paper is required to demonstrate field-specific research ability focused on the area of concentration. After they have completed substantial coursework in the area of concentration, students must seek approval from the Council Faculty Advisor for the research project they propose as the qualifying paper. Normally, the student will submit their request no later than the fourth week of the term in which they plan to submit the qualifying paper.

The interdisciplinary research paper may be the result of original research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member in a graduate seminar or independent readings course or in field research related to their studies. An MA thesis may also be acceptable if it is interdisciplinary as well as focused on the area of concentration. The qualifying paper should examine questions concerning the area of concentration in a comparative and/or interdisciplinary context. It should also use relevant international and area-focused resource materials from a relevant region and/or resource materials in the language(s) of a relevant region or regions. Normally the paper should incorporate at least two of the following elements:

  • Address more than one country relevant to the area of concentration
  • Draw on more than one disciplinary field for questions or analytic approaches
  • Address a trans-regional or transnational theme relevant to the area of concentration

The paper will be ordinarily read by two faculty members agreed with the Council Advisor. The Readers will be evaluating the paper for the quality of research, knowledge of the relevant literature and the depth of analysis of the topic. The qualifying paper must be fully footnoted and have a complete bibliography. The Council advisor may call for a third reader as circumstances warrant.

Progress Reports and Filing for the Award of the Graduate Certificate of Concentration

Students must submit a progress report along with a copy of their unofficial transcript to the Council Faculty Advisor at the end of each term. Ideally, this will include a brief narrative on engagement in the relevant Council’s activities and planned or newly completed experience overseas in the relevant region.

A student that intends to file for the final award of the Certificate should contact the Council no later than the end of the term prior to award. No later than the fourth week of the term of the expected award, the candidate should demonstrate how he/she has or will have completed all the requirements in a timely fashion.

At the end of the term as grades are finalized, the Council will confirm that the candidate is cleared to receive the home degree and has fulfilled all the requirements of the Certificate. Students may elect to retrieve the Certificate award in person from the Council after commencement. Otherwise, the Council will send the Certificate award to the student by mail after commencement.

Pursuit of two certificates by a single student.  No course may overlap between the two certificates. Any such application must robustly fulfill all of the requirements for each of the two certificates. Each certificate must be approved independently by each respective Council’s Certificate Advisor. 

In addition to the approval of both Council advisors, any award of two certificates will require review and approval by the relevant Associate Director of the MacMillan Center.

For more information, please see the relevant Council administrator.