Arts and Humanities

With four top-ranked graduate arts schools, two world class art museums, and countless performances and concerts on campus each year, Yale University has much to offer New Haven students to complement and enrich their arts and humanities education.

The Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art welcome thousands of students through class visits each year. During these visits, students build their critical thinking and observation skills through close examination of works of art. The Yale School of Music and the Music in Schools initiative offers year-round music programming for New Haven public school students in grades 3-12 that aims to nurture and develop creativity, musicianship, and musical leadership in students.

Arts and Humanities Programs

Academic Yale College Courses

Qualified New Haven public high school juniors and seniors, who have been selected by their schools, can enroll in Yale academic courses. Tuition is covered for participating students, who are responsible only for the cost of textbooks and other course materials. This program provides an opportunity for high school students to experience a collegiate academic setting and earn credits that may then be transferred to the college of their choice following high school graduation. 

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library inspires engagement with the past, in the present, for the future. One of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts, it is Yale University’s principal repository of literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. The exhibition hall is free and open to the public daily, with the Gutenberg Bible and Audubon’s Birds of America on permanent view along with special exhibitions. The Beinecke Library’s collections are used to create new scholarship by researchers from around the world in a wide range of fields, from literary and cultural studies to the history of science, music, theater, and art; the history of the book, of photography, graphic design, and architecture; as well as social, intellectual, and political history. 

Citizens Thinkers Writers

Citizens Thinkers Writers (CTW) is a two-week summer residential program for students from New Haven public schools who are interested in exploring fundamental human questions in a college setting. In seminars led by Yale professors and lecturers, students gain experience in close reading, analytic writing, and college-level discussion. During the program, students participate in a philosophical conversation that dates back to ancient Greece and Rome and link this conversation to their own experiences. After completing the summer program, students become CTW Fellows and continue to meet with the faculty, undergraduate residential teaching assistants, and a graduate coordinator throughout the academic year.

Collection of Musical Instruments

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments acquires, preserves, and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present, and showcases restored examples in demonstrations and live performances. It is a renowned research collection and a world-class museum that engages the public in the fascinating history of musical instruments through exhibits, publications, concerts, and outreach initiatives.

David Geffen School of Drama Dwight/Edgewood Project

The Dwight/Edgewood Project (D/EP) is a community-engagement program out of the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University (DGSD) and the Yale Repertory Theatre that serves middle school–aged students from Barnard Environmental Science & Technology School. Students in grades six and seven are paired with mentors (DGSD students from all disciplines) to write their own plays, culminating in fully produced plays performed by DGSD students and the New Haven community.

Demystifying the Middle East Workshop Series

In collaboration with the Council on Middle East Studies and Yale Pathways to Arts & Humanities, these interactive workshops occur twice each semester and are open to all students and families. Past workshops have explored youth movements in Iran through music, colonization in Algiers through film, and the politics of museum curation through the creation of hands-on museum “exhibits” using artifacts from the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. All workshops are free and open to the public, and pastries from Havenly, a non-profit organization that supports local refugees, are served.

Dining with the Dramat

The Yale Dramatic Association, also known as the Yale Dramat, is the oldest continuously producing undergraduate college theater company in the country. At Dining with the Dramat, Yale Pathways to Arts & Humanities students join members of the Dramat for an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse into theater production. Students engage in conversations with actors, technicians, and directors as they discuss their current musical productions. Students receive free tickets to each performance and participate in a post-performance actor talk-back.

East Rock Record Journalism Program

The East Rock Record (ERR), based at the East Rock Community & Cultural Studies Magnet School since 2013, is driven by the belief that students are powerful observers and reporters of happenings in their own community. The newspaper is supported by Yale’s Office of New Haven Affairs. Student journalists in grades 3-8 work with Yale student mentors to plan, report and write each issue. ERR reporters cover the most pressing and interesting issues of the day, bringing curiosity and fresh questions to stories from elections to social media culture and school life. 

Environmental Film Festival at Yale

Sponsored by the Yale School of the Environment, the Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY) is one of America’s premier student-run environmental film festivals. In addition to highlighting the brightest environmental storytelling of the past year, the festival brings celebrated directors and creatives to campus for workshops and discussions of how we can move forward constructively as environmental storytellers.

Hear Your Song

Hear Your Song is an undergraduate organization that gives hospitalized children—or children in long-term care—the chance to become songwriters and to hear their songs recorded. Hear Your Song works with children in nearby medical pediatric facilities to write original songs, which Yale College musicians arrange, record, and share with the patients and their families.


Hemispheres, a program of the Yale International Relations Association, brings over 60 students in grades 9–12 from New Haven public schools to Yale’s campus every week to explore topics in international affairs and develop their analytical, creative, and critical thinking skills. In addition to weekly sessions and mentorship, Hemispheres offers two field-trip opportunities for students, first to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where students meet with U.N. officials and learn about diplomacy from experienced professionals, and later to visit Washington, D.C., for a weekend of educational and cultural activities including visits to the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Supreme Court, and international embassies.

Heritage Theater Ensemble Drama Workshops

The Heritage Theater Ensemble, Yale’s premier Black undergraduate drama group, hosts fun theater workshops for Pathways to Arts & Humanities students. During these workshops, students engage in theater exercises, play interactive games, and hone their improvisational skills.

Humanities Now

Humanities Now is a partnership between the Yale Historical Review and Yale Pathways to Arts & Humanities that seeks to bring the history expertise of Yale faculty to NHPS students. Humanities Now holds semesterly events, bringing in Yale faculty to give a brief lecture on a historical topic, after which students work together in groups to analyze and discuss related primary sources.

Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) is a research collaborative dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of material culture. IPCH has offered tours of their conservation space and hands-on demonstrations at on-campus science events through Yale Pathways to Science. Each year, IPCH staff offer a Chemistry on Canvas summer workshop series to Pathways high school students.

J.M. Bolin Program

Named after the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School and the first in the United States to become a judge, the J.M. Bolin Program at Yale is an enrichment program designed to engage high school students of African descent. The program provides New Haven students with an opportunity to develop study skills and teamwork as they reflect on readings drawn from both African and African-American studies to reaffirm and preserve traditions of cultural and intellectual community. The program also promotes seminar-style discussions and networking skills, and exposes local students to the work of Yale professors and students to create connection with the New Haven community.

Make History Your Superpower

In this program students are able to meet Yale historians, learn how the past was shaped, and learn how this affects the world they live in. Over three Saturdays, they have a chance to explore a variety of history topics ranging from the potato, Brazilian dictators, Rome’s first African emperor, medicine and the slave trade, the uprising in Ukraine just seven years ago, and the American Revolution—all brought to the students by experts who can bring the past alive and teach them to use it to change their future.

Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project

The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project is a collaborative teaching program that sends law students into local public high schools to teach constitutional law. Participants in this student-run organization also have the opportunity to coach their students in a national moot-court competition, the first round of which is run by the Yale chapter in New Haven.


MorseOnline is a free, interactive music program that is conducted on-line for four weeks. The program is open to all New Haven Public Schools students finishing grades three through 12 who are in good standing in their music classes. MorseOnline provides instruction to singers, percussionists, and woodwind, brass, guitar, and string players. Students in the MorseOnline program will engage in wellness activities, take private lessons, participate in studio classes, learn to use recording and editing tools, compose their music, study different cultures and musical contexts, and understand the fundamentals of music theory.

MOSAIC: Minds on Society, Arts, Ideas, and Culture

MOSAIC: Minds on Society, Arts, Ideas and Culture, is a lecture series that offers local students the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions with Yale professors and interactive workshops with graduate students. These events challenge their ideas about identity, civic engagement, history, community, and culture. Past topics include “Ballots after Bullets: Democracy Design Lab” and “No Laughing Matter: Comics in the Middle East.” All MOSAIC events are free and open to the public.

Music in Schools Initiative

The Music in Schools Initiative, New Haven (MISI), is an active partnership between the Yale School of Music and New Haven Public Schools. During the academic year, MISI places graduate-student teaching artists from the Yale School of Music in more than two dozen public schools throughout New Haven. Teaching artists are trained to complement the work of full-time New Haven public school music teachers. They teach sectionals, ensembles, private lessons, and other activities depending on the needs of the school to which they are assigned. In addition, MISI coordinates after-school ensembles for New Haven students throughout the school year.

Music in Schools Initiative All-City @ Home

Conducted entirely online, All-City @ Home is a tuition-free music program emphasizing mentorship, community, and creativity. The program is open to New Haven public school students entering grades 4 - 12. All-City @ Home provides instruction to singers, percussionists, guitarists, and woodwind, brass, and string players. Students participating in All-City @ Home will have private lessons, participate in small group classes by instrument, learn to use recording and editing technology, compose their own music, study various cultures and musical contexts, and establish foundations in music theory

Music in Schools Initiative All-City Ensembles

All-City Ensembles provide tuition-free rehearsal and performance opportunities for students beyond the activities they have in their schools. The All-City band, choir, and string ensembles are led by a collaborative team of teaching artists from the Yale School of Music and music educators from New Haven public schools. In addition to large ensemble rehearsals, students work with teaching artists in small-group workshops to develop technique and musicianship.

Music in Schools Initiative Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Showcase

The Yale/New Haven Young Artists Solo Showcase takes place annually in the spring. A collaboration between the Yale School of Music and the New Haven Public Schools, the showcase offers students the opportunity to perform solo pieces and/or in chamber ensembles. The Solo Showcase is free and open to the public and takes place in Morse Recital Hall at the Yale School of Music.

Music in Schools Morse Summer Music Academy

The Morse Summer Music Academy is a free music program for intermediate and advanced music students in the band, choir, and/or orchestra programs in New Haven public schools. Over the course of four weeks, students are taught and mentored by a team of music educators from the New Haven public schools and teaching artists from the Yale School of Music. This month-long program offers opportunities for growth in musicianship, technique, and personal achievement. New Haven public school students entering grades 4–12 are eligible to apply and audition.

Music in Schools Symposium

The Symposium on Music in Schools is held once every two years at the Yale School of Music as part of the Music in Schools Initiative. This invitational “working symposium” brings together national leaders for three days of intense discussion on pressing issues surrounding music education in public schools. The symposium also honors outstanding music educators and teaching artists with the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award.

NACLO at Yale

The North American Computational Linguistics Open Competition (NACLO) is a contest in which high school students solve linguistics puzzles drawn from a variety of languages. Students do not need prior knowledge of linguistics or fluency in multiple languages in order to participate. The Yale Linguistics Department offers four training sessions, led by Yale undergraduate students under the supervision of a faculty member. These training sessions take place once a month between October and January. The Open Round of NACLO is on the fourth Thursday of January. students with the highest scores are then invited to participate in the Invitational Round, which takes place the first Thursday of March.

New Haven Urban Debate League

The New Haven Urban Debate League (UDL) promotes debate and public-speaking skills in New Haven public schools. Coaches work weekly with teams in 18 New Haven public middle and high schools, focusing on a different topic each month. Students learn the rules of parliamentary debate and compete in regular district-wide tournaments held on Yale’s campus. Students also have the opportunity to travel outside of New Haven for tournaments.

Pathways to Arts & Humanities

Since its inception in 2017, Yale Pathways to Arts & Humanities has welcomed hundreds of New Haven public high school students to Yale’s campus for dozens of arts and humanities programs and events. Pathways to Arts & Humanities explores how humans use literature, art, music, theater, history, and language to understand our connection to the world and to one another. Programs encourage creativity, help solve real-world problems, and allow students to become civically engaged both locally and globally.

Pathways to Arts & Humanities Manuscripts and Archives Day

Pathways to Arts & Humanities students are invited to visit Yale Manuscripts and Archives in Sterling Memorial Library for an afternoon of archival research and digital curating. Students learn about the work of archivists and explore scrapbooks and letters from late 19th-century Yale students and New Haven residents. After the workshop, students curate their own digital “exhibits.”

Pathways to Arts & Humanities The Art & Science of Library Preservation and Conservation

At this event, Pathways students get an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the brand-new Yale Center for Preservation and Conservation including the: Gates Conservation Lab, Exhibition Preparation Rooms, and the Photo Documentation Studio. Students also participate in a hands-on demonstration of the Traveling Scriptorium to learn about medieval pigments and book binding.

Splash at Yale

Splash at Yale is a biannual event that brings local middle and high school students to Yale University for one day of unlimited learning. Students take classes in a variety of subjects taught by Yale undergraduate and graduate students. Students get to learn about things that they normally would not have access to, empowering them to find what they love to learn, discover new career opportunities, and become tomorrow’s leaders. Splash at Yale also hosts Sprout, a similar program that gives students the opportunity to delve deeper into one topic in a series of three workshops.

Teeth Spoken Word Poetry Workshops

The mission of Yale’s TEETH Poets is to produce meaningful and illuminating pieces and promote the appreciation of spoken word in the New Haven community. At monthly outreach events, Pathways to Arts & Humanities students meet Yale’s TEETH Poets f to watch spoken word poetry in action, participate in small group workshops with TEETH performers, and try their hand at writing poetry.

The View from Here

The View from Here is a free, semester-long photography-based program for young adults in Greater New Haven. Hosted by the Yale Center for British Art and the Lens Media Lab, this program seeks to deepen young people’s engagement with visual art by exposing them to the history, materials, and practice of photography. Students learn the essential principles of taking and composing their own photographs using a smartphone or personal digital device. Working with curators, museum staff, Yale faculty, and photographers, students gain access to unique workshops, experiences, and mentorships. The program culminates in an exhibition of students’ work. A $500 stipend is awarded at the completion of the course.

Ulysses S. Grant Program

The Ulysses S. Grant Program is a six-week academic summer program for motivated middle school students from New Haven Public Schools held on the Yale University campus. Since 1953, U.S. Grant has drawn upon the enthusiasm of Yale undergraduates to deepen students’ current interests and explore completely new ones, while developing their critical thinking and collaborative skills.

WILL POWER! Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre

WILL POWER! is Yale Repertory Theatre’s annual educational initiative offered in conjunction with one or more of its productions. It features specially priced tickets and early matinees for middle and high school student groups. The program often includes free professional development for educators, study guides for students, and post-performance discussions with members of the company. Since the program’s inception in 2003, more than 26,000 students and educators from across Connecticut have participated.

Windham Campbell Literary Festival

Now in its tenth year, the Windham Campbell Literary Festival brings the Windham Campbell prize recipients in the fields of drama, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to Yale’s campus for a week of celebratory events. Highlight events from past festivals have included a panel discussion and writing workshops for students at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, film screenings, and a group reading by all the prizewinners. All festival events are free and open to the public.

World Culture and Language After School Studies (World CLASS)

The World Culture and Language After School Studies Program (World CLASS) offers language instruction, along with cultural exposure, in several less-commonly taught languages, including Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, and Urdu. Weekly classes are taught by Yale faculty and graduate students, as well as local teachers. The program is open to all high school students in the area and culminates in a student showcase of their language skills they have developed over the course of the year.

WYBCx Yale Radio Internship

The WYBCx Yale Radio Internship uses radio waves to give New Haven high school students a voice. In six sessions, students learn about radio techniques an take over the controls for the “Teen Takeover” hour. Over the course of the program, students learn how to run their own news segments, talk shows, music hours, and radio dramas. As a final project, students have the opportunity to combine elements from what they have learned to form their own personalized shows.

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom in a landmark building designed by Louis Kahn. The YCBA has a rich array of exhibitions and educational programs, as well as fellowships and academic resources, including a reference library and study room for examining works on paper in the collection. The museum is open to the public and admission and all programming is free. The Yale Center for British Art encourages families and children of all ages to explore the collections.

Yale Center for British Art Exploring Artism program

Exploring Artism is the center’s free monthly program for families with children ages 5–12 who are on the autism spectrum. Participants look at artwork in the museum’s galleries and participate in a hand’s-on activity in a museum classroom. A quiet room is available throughout the session with blankets and sensory toys. All family members are welcome.

Yale Center for British Art Family Programs

The Yale Center for British Art offers children’s programs and community family festivals that explore the collections and special exhibitions. Through gallery experiences, games, and activities, children and families learn how to look at and talk about a work of art. Self-guided group and family materials are available at the front desk.

Yale Center for British Art Guided Tours for K-12 School Groups

School and community groups can explore the center’s collections, architecture, and special exhibitions on an interactive docent-led tour. These free tours encourage close looking, critical thinking, and creative evaluation. Upon request, tours can be customized to connect content from the collections to a class curriculum. Classroom and homeschool teachers are also welcome to bring their students and lead self-guided visits. The center’s educational programming is designed to support visual literacy instruction and complement curriculum goals and standards. Bringing art into the learning process builds students’ inquiry, observation, description, and critical-looking skills.

Yale Center for British Art Summer Teacher Institute

The Summer Teacher Institute offers practicing teachers an enriched understanding of how visual art can support their students’ reading, writing, and thinking. Workshops, discussions, and lectures by university faculty and museum educators demonstrate how “visual text” can be used to enhance literacy instruction. Institute sessions include hands-on experience with works of art and exploring ways to make the museum an extension of the classroom. Participants are given the tools they need to lead dynamic museum visits and to incorporate visual arts into classroom instruction.

Yale Center for British Art Visual Literacy Consortium

The YCBA Visual Literacy Consortium brings together a group of educators for a bimonthly consortium to promote the important dialogue about visual literacy and its role in school curricula. The purpose of the group is to share experiences, research, and resources and to work toward an expanded notion of literacy that includes making meaning from visual as well as written texts.

Yale Children's Theater

The Yale Children’s Theater is a Yale undergraduate organization that brings together a group of Yale students devoted to teaching, entertaining, and engaging kids with the dramatic arts. The Yale Children’s Theater produces four student-written shows each year, offers drama workshops and writing workshops for local students, and performs throughout the New Haven community. Programming reaches hundreds of students per year. The writing workshops are free of charge for New Haven students and are held on weekends at Dwight Hall during the academic year.

Yale Daily News Summer Journalism Program

Run by members of the Yale Daily News, the Summer Journalism Program is a one-week intensive course in journalism for high school students. Students participate in workshops on the fundamentals of reporting and writing, attend lectures by guest speakers from major national publications, and create a full summer edition of the Yale Daily News by the end of the week. The program is open to all Connecticut high school students and is free for New Haven Public School students.

Yale Model Congress

Yale Model Congress provides high school students with an opportunity to learn about and experience the American legislative system first hand. As part of the program, students learn parliamentary procedure, write legislation, develop research strategies, and practice public-speaking skills. During the annual Yale Model Congress conference, students assume the responsibilities of elected representatives and tackle the issues facing our nation, such as security, the environment, and healthcare.

Yale Online

Yale Online brings access to professors, programs and courses to a range of people around the world, including career changers, lifelong learners, educators, and high school and college students. From online courses to on-campus experiences, there are a range of learning opportunities available for degree and non-degree seekers. The courses are free and open to the public.

Yale Pathways to Arts & Humanities Summer Scholars Program

Pathways Summer Scholars is a free two-week summer arts and humanities-focused program for local high school students. Each summer, Yale faculty, graduate students, and staff come together to create a program designed to share Yale’s rich resources with New Haven students. Pathways Scholars take a variety of workshops where they examine the vast resources of the Beinecke, discover art and sculpture at the Yale University Art Gallery, explore the world of comics, learn professional photographic techniques, practice graphic design, study ancient languages, and more.

Yale Summer Debate Program

Offered by the Urban Debate League, the weeklong Yale Summer Debate Program is open to all New Haven high school students, regardless of debate experience. During the program, students develop their skills in public speaking, constructing arguments, and delivering rebuttals. The program is premised on the philosophy that students can use debate as a tool to critically engage with the world around them, helping them to become better debaters and students and more active members of society.

Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery has more than 4,000 works of art on view from cultures all over the world. The more than 200,000 objects in its permanent collection range from American decorative arts and American paintings and sculpture to African art and art of the ancient Americas. In addition to its permanent collection, the Gallery also has many educational programs and special exhibitions. The museum is free and open to the public.

Yale University Art Gallery Family Programs

The weekend family programs at the Yale University Art Gallery are designed to help start conversations about art with children of all ages. Currently, all family programs are online.  Each month, the Gallery releases a new set of videos in English and Spanish. Tales of distant times and faraway lands inspire children of all ages to view art in new ways. Gallery teaching staff tell folktales, myths, and exciting stories from all over the world that highlight unique features of selected objects in the gallery’s collection. 

Yale University Art Gallery Guided Tours for K-12 School Groups

School groups can explore the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection, buildings, and exhibitions on free interactive guided class visits. Visits for school groups are led by the museum’s Wurtele Gallery Teachers, Yale graduate students trained as museum educators. Class visits stress critical thinking, observation skills, and creative evaluation through close examination, interactive activities, and discussion of works of art and are tied to Common Core Standards. During the pandemic, pre-K–12 students visited with their classes and as part of after-school programs. School groups can schedule virtual single visits or work with the Education Department to develop virtual multi-visit partnerships.

Yale University Art Gallery Museum Club

As part of the partnership between the Yale University Art Gallery and Betsy Ross Arts Magnet Middle School, visual arts students from Betsy Ross visit the gallery with their parents monthly for a tailored after-school program.

Yale University Art Gallery Sidewalk Studio

Sidewalk Studio is a summer outdoor program set up in front of the gallery that fosters impromptu art making on a drop-in basis. Led by gallery staff and Yale University undergraduate and graduate students, each session focuses on a single medium and connects to related works in the collection.

Yale University Art Gallery Teacher Leadership Program

The Teacher Leadership Program is a free one-hour workshop for educators of all levels and disciplines that meets at 4:00 pm on the first Thursday of the month throughout the academic year. The sessions are held on Zoom and are led by Jessica Sack, the Jan and Frederick Mayer Curator of Public Education; Wurtele Gallery Teachers; and Education Department staff. In this program, educators explore innovative ways to connect their curricula and interest in art with the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection. The sessions also address online and in-person teaching techniques.

Yale University Art Gallery Teen Program

Begun in 2014, the Teen Program at the gallery is open to all local high school students. Students meet weekly for sessions focused on making art and exploring the gallery’s collections. This past year, the teen program met online. They hope to resume sessions at the once in-person gallery programming is permitted. 

Yale University Library Digital Humanities Lab

The Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab) at the Yale University Library supports cutting-edge research and teaching in the humanities. During the school year, Pathways students are invited to the DHLab for hands-on workshops that explore the leading questions and tools driving digital humanities research forward, from Tableau Public—free software for creating interactive data visualizations—to StoryMaps—a platform for publishing maps alongside text, images, and audio.