Vacations and Summer Funding

Students supported by external funding sources, must in all cases comply with the vacation policies associated with their funding sources. Beyond this, for students already in research groups, the total vacation time that a student may take is at the discretion of, and may be negotiated with, the thesis adviser. Students and faculty may consult the DGS with questions about vacation policy.

As a guideline, however, the Department expects that Physics students will take an average of two weeks’ vacation per year, in addition to the stated University holidays and the Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day break. This amounts to a total of about 4 weeks vacation annually. In this context, students are reminded that the first year of graduate school is when you are expected to transition from a “school” schedule to a full-time, self-motivated research schedule. Thus, for example, the period between the fall and spring semesters and Spring Break are each considered to be an active time of scholarship and research, and there may be specific teaching duties for those with teaching fellowships during these times.

The Physics department expects that students will receive a stipend for vacation time up to an average of two weeks per year, in addition to stated University holidays and the Christmas-to-New Year’s break. However, especially in the case of international students, some of whom may wish to return home for less-frequent-but-longer visits, the department notes that a one-size-fits-all policy is not sensible and encourages faculty to be flexible in accommodating such requests as fairly as possible.

Ordinarily, the Physics department expects students to carry out research and receive a stipend full-time during the three summer months. Students who have not yet found a summer research position should start looking no later than the beginning of the second semester and they should consult with the DGS if they haven’t found a position by the last month of the spring semester. The Physics department recommends that first-year and second-year students, especially those starting research in a new research group, who wish to take vacation, schedule the vacation for the last two weeks of May, after the student’s academic commitments are finished and while the student is still supported on a University fellowship (which runs through May 31) and before the students’ research commitments and funding begin on June 1. Students, who nevertheless wish to take long summer vacations and obtain the permission of their research advisor to do so, will not receive a stipend during such vacations. The Blue Book states that “Continuing students who were registered during the preceding spring term and are engaged in degree-related activities at least half-time remain registered through August 31.” It follows that, if a student wishes to take a summer vacation that is longer than six weeks, the student becomes not registered as a Yale student in that period, and therefore must apply for a formal Leave of Absence.

According to Graduate School rule, in no case is it permissible for an advisor to insist that a student must take unpaid summer vacation.

Last but not least, student vacation should not conflict with academic or teaching obligations.