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Academic excellence and intellectual community

Elm's summer seminars offer an intense week of stimulating discussion inside and outside the classroom.  Each seminar is taught by a pair of faculty experts who have collaborated in every aspect of the seminar's design. The size of the seminars is limited to 16 participants to ensure a lively conversation in which everyone can take part.

Reading materials for the seminars are sent to participants 5-6 weeks before the start of the seminar to ensure that everyone has the chance to read them thoroughly before the seminar begins. This means that everyone can arrive well-prepared for the seminar discussion while also taking part in the various extra-curricular activities offered throughout the week.

We take pride in the high academic standards of our seminars, but we are equally committed to fostering a sense of community; students who attend our seminars often stay in touch long after the seminar itself is over.

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The Yale experience

Our seminars offer an opportunity to experience life at one of the world's leading universities. The seminar meetings take place in Yale classrooms and accommodation for all participants is provided in one of the university's beautiful residential colleges.

Each seminar begins with an opening banquet and during the week students and faculty eat together in one of Yale's dining halls, so the conversation can continue over shared meals.

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Extra-curricular activities

Throughout the week there are organized trips and opportunities to take advantage of the best that Yale and New Haven have to offer, including: 

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium

Peabody Museum of Natural History

Yale Center for British Art

Yale University Art Gallery


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How to apply

To apply to our summer seminars, fill out the application form for the seminar and submit a sample of your academic work to

Work, Leisure, & the Good Life (June 8 to June 14)
Applications due March 10

Registration fee: Accepted applicants will be asked to confirm their place by paying a registration fee of $250, which covers tuition, lodging, food, and all reading materials for the seminar. 




My experience at the Elm Institute's seminar deepened my understanding of fundamental ethical questions. The faculty members shared original insights and gave us a forum to discuss and develop our own ideas on the topics. Even more special were the evening and between-class activities—I got to know so many interesting and impressive people. I can't recommend Elm seminars highly enough!

— Luke Waggoner, Villanova University '16

“Attending Elm’s seminar was the highlight of my summer. The participants and professors were all invested in the questions raised by the reading with the result that a certain camaraderie built up over the course of the week. Seminar discussions frequently carried over into lively dinner debates, and I forged lasting friendships with people I never would have met otherwise.” 

— Jacquelyn Lee, University of Dallas '18

With the Elm Institute, I had the opportunity to read excellent texts and learn with prestigious faculty and a diverse group of undergraduates, graduate students, and young professionals from all over the world. I studied in a community of scholars dedicated to good conversation, truly interdisciplinary learning, and academic integrity. I am incredibly grateful for my time at Elm!

— Emmalee Moffitt, Templeton Honors College at Eastern University '16