• The deadline for applications for Fall Semester programs is March 1st.
  • The deadline for applications for Spring Semester programs is October 1st.

What DILS is

Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) gives you the opportunity to study a language not currently taught in a Yale classroom. DILS is open to all registered Yale students (undergraduate, graduate and professional).

How DILS works

DILS is an independent language study program. While study through DILS does not provide Yale course credit, the program supports you in your language study through the following components:

  • Language Partner – DILS students work with a Language Partner—a native speaker of the target language (not a formal instructor)—in two 1-hour sessions for 12 weeks. The sessions aim to develop linguistic and cultural competence through active conversation and practice of what you are studying on your own. Each language partnership includes one language partner and one to three students (students are grouped according to rough level, although as is the case in language classes, some variation in levels between students in a group is not uncommon).
  • Instructional Materials – Together with the language partner and student(s), DILS program staff will assist in identifying appropriate instructional materials. DILS students are responsible for the purchase of materials for independent study.
  • Consultation – Staff at the Center for Language Study are available to provide guidance and advice on learning strategies and techniques, and to refer you to resources that can support ongoing independent language study.

Contingent upon funding and provided that satisfactory progress is made, students may be supported for up to four semesters.

The DILS Experience

Participation in the DILS program requires time and dedication. As a DILS student, you must be self-motivated and willing to assume full responsibility for your learning. You will be expected to:

  • attend all of your scheduled sessions, two 1-hour sessions weekly for 12 weeks (and to notify your language partners if you are sick or are leaving town for one of Yale’s scheduled academic breaks); 
  • identify the language study materials you will be using, with the help of your language partner (like a college course, you would purchase your own study materials);
  • take responsibility for your own learning through independent study, goal setting, and session planning with your language partner; and
  • participate in an oral proficiency assessment at the end of your DILS study.

Participation in the program helps you:

  • shape your academic and career goals;
  • prepare for study abroad, internships and other field experiences; and
  • encourage rewarding intercultural and international relationships at Yale and around the world.

To see the list of languages that have been studied by DILS students in the past, go to Languages Studied.

How to Apply

DILS is open to all students of Yale University who are in good academic standing. Applications are accepted for any language level, from beginner to advanced. To learn more about the application process and eligibility criteria, read DILS Application Process.

More Information

For further information about the DILS program, please contact dils@yale.edu.