Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to the program?

This is a national program open to students at any accredited college or university. The program is intended for undergraduates (freshmen, sophomores and juniors) who are currently enrolled in college or university. Seniors who are graduating in 2019 are not eligible to apply. You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA/DREAMers) to apply. International students are ineligible.

Members of underrepresented socio-cultural or geographic groups, including: first-generation college students, veterans, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or economically disadvantaged individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

Is there a grade point average (G.P.A.) requirement?

Applicants should have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.

I have not taken many science courses, but I am interested in the environment/conservation and am considering this as a career or for graduate school. Should I still apply?

Yes! We do hope that students have a basic understanding of ecological principles. This could come from classroom, volunteer, or personal learning experiences. We are looking for students who are motivated to dive into research and investigate issues in conservation. At DDCSP YSE, we explore connections between conservation and social justice, so any coursework that will allow you to positively contribute to such discussions is beneficial.

Do I need to have field (outdoor) experience to be accepted?

You do not need to have had extensive or direct time in the field; we hope to provide you with and prepare you for those experiences throughout the program. We do expect that applicants are comfortable being outdoors in varying weather conditions and are excited about exploring the outdoors.

Are scholars allowed to take classes over the summer?

No. DDCSP at YSE is an intensive eight-week program with mandatory activities in the evenings and on weekends. We expect scholars’ full time commitment to the program. Scholars do not get academic credit for DDCSP activities at Yale University nor at their home institutions

How long is the program?

DDCSP atYSE is a two year research and internship commitment. Each year, scholars participate remotely in the program during the spring. Scholars will live in New Haven during the summer and participate in program activities remotely through webinars or at conferences, as well as identifying a mentor at their home institution during the academic year.  During the academic year, scholars will participate in program activities via webinars, conferences, and/or events at their home institutions. Additionally, scholars will work with a mentor on their campus to support their academic and professional development during the school year.

What do I need to bring with me? I don’t have any camping or hiking gear.

Upon acceptance, you will receive a detailed packing list to ensure you will be comfortable and prepared. During orientation week, we will provide an opportunity for you to acquire items you might still need. There is no need for specialized camping equipment.

I understand that the program pays a stipend, but what are the costs that the students are directly responsible for?

DDCSP at YSE pays a stipend and discretionary funds of $4,400 each year. In addition, the program will cover the cost of accommodations in New Haven, A meal stipend, as well as round trip travel to and from New Haven. Scholars will be responsible for ground transportation to and from their home airport, luggage fees, as well as the cost of incidentals including toiletries, snacks, souvenirs, and other personal purchases.

Are there other DDCSP programs?

Yes! Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Programs are currently operating at University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Florida, and the University of Washington. Please visit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) website for more information on the suite of programs.

What are the important program dates?

2020 Tentative Application Dates

Application Opens November 8, 2019

Priority Date is January 10, 2020*

(*Complete applications will be reviewed and offers will be made beginning after the priority date.)

Application Closes February 1, 2020 11:59pm Pacific Time

Final notification of selection: February 19, 2020

2020 Program Dates

Year 1 Scholars: May 29 – July 26, 2020

Year 2 Scholars: June 5 – August 2, 2020

Alumni Administrative Assistants: May 29 – August 1, 2020

My semester ends after the start of the program can I still apply?

Accepted students are expected to attend all program dates. Program start dates are not flexible.

I would like to study abroad in the future, will this conflict with program dates?

Students who are accepted into the program are encouraged to discuss their study abroad plans with the DDCSP staff early on to coordinate travel with program start and end dates.

Who can I talk to for more information?

You may contact us at or by telephone at (734) 615-2602.

Do you know of any research opportunities for graduate students or recent grads?

If you are a graduate student interested in the environmental field please look into these other programs: the Environmental Fellows Program.

Can I get academic credit for participating in DDCSP at YSE?

No, program participants cannot get academic credit for DDCSP at YSE activities.

Can I take courses during the summer while participating in DDCSP at YSE?

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at YSE is a full-time engagement. Participants are strongly discouraged from taking courses during the program.

Can I have a job while I am DDCSP at YSE Scholar?

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at YSE is a full-time engagement. Participants are strongly discouraged from having other jobs during the program.