• The deadline for applications for Fall Semester programs is March 1st at 1:00pm.
  • The deadline for applications for Spring Semester programs is October 1st at 1:00pm.

What DILS is

Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) gives you the opportunity to study a language that is not already taught in a Yale classroom. In addition to doing your own independent study with selected instructional materials, you will also have two weekly sessions with a native-speaking (or fluent) language partner. DILS is only open to Yale undergraduate, graduate and professional school students who are currently-enrolled, not on leave of absence, and not studying abroad during the semester of your DILS study.

How DILS works

DILS is an independent language study program. It does not provide course credit, nor does it show up on your transcript.  The program supports your learning through the following components:

  • Independent Study: You are expected to engage in daily self-study, introducing yourself to new material using a text or other learning resources.
  • Language Partner: You meet weekly with a Language Partner—typically a native (or fluent) 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 up 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: With the help of the language partner and DILS program staff, you will identify appropriate instructional materials (text, online, etc.) to be used daily for self-study between sessions.
  • 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.

Dependent upon evidence of progress, attendance at sessions, and funding/demand, accepted students may be funded for a second semester, and sometimes more. Accepted students must  reapply at the start of each semester in order to be considered for acceptance for the next semester.

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 and DILS staff (you are responsible for purchasing any self-study materials you choose); and
  • take responsibility for your own learning through independent study, goal setting, and session planning with your language partner.

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 only open to currently-enrolled Yale undergraduate, graduate and professional school students in good academic standing, and not studying abroad during the semester of DILS study. Applications are accepted for any language level, from beginner to advanced, provided the language is not already offered as a credit-bearing course at Yale (including Yale’s Shared Courses Initiative). To learn more about the application process and eligibility criteria, review the DILS Application Process.

More Information

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