C. Course Credits and Course Loads

Credit Value of Courses

Most courses in Yale College are term courses that carry one course credit if completed with a passing grade. There are, however, some variations:

  1. Double-credit coursesA couple courses in Yale College, including intensive language or research courses, award two course credits for a single term’s work.
  2. Yearlong course sequencesThere are a couple yearlong course sequences in which two course credits are awarded upon the satisfactory completion of both terms of the sequence; other course sequences, including some research and laboratory courses, give one or four course credits for the successful completion of the full year’s work. A student who fails the first term of a yearlong course sequence may continue the sequence only with the instructor’s written permission, and will receive course credit only for the successful completion of the second term’s work. A student who satisfactorily completes the first term of a yearlong course sequence may receive course credit routinely for that term’s work, except where noted otherwise in the course listing.
    Note that completion of a modern foreign language course numbered 110 does not award credit unless and until the subsequent term, numbered 120, is also successfully completed. Except in intensive, double-credit courses in which the equivalent of one year of language study is covered in one term, credit may not be given in any circumstance for the first term only of an introductory modern foreign language; neither instructors nor departments have the authority to make an exception to this rule. With some exceptions, credit will be given for successful completion of the second term only of an introductory modern foreign language, or for the first term only or the second term only of an intermediate modern foreign language.
  3. Laboratory coursesSome laboratory courses carry no separate credit toward the degree; others carry a full course credit for a term’s work; and still others carry one-half course credit.
  4. Half-credit coursesAll courses that carry 0.5 or 1.5 course credits and that are not bound by the credit/year restriction count toward the 36-course-credit requirement for the bachelor’s degree.

Normal Program of Study

A student in Yale College normally takes four or five term courses, or their equivalent, for each of eight terms.

  1. Minimum course loadA student may not enroll in a program of study worth fewer than three course credits in one term. A student enrolled for three course credits may withdraw from one course credit between midterm and the first day of the reading period, receiving the neutral designation W (Withdrew) in that course. Similarly, a student enrolled for four or more course credits may withdraw from one or more courses as described above, but at no time may any student carry a schedule of courses that will earn fewer than two course credits in a term.
  2. Course loads requiring permissionA three-course-credit program of study or a six-course-credit program of study requires the permission of the residential college dean. It is assumed that any student who requests permission to carry more than five course credits does not intend to drop any of them. Permission for a program of six course credits will normally not be given to a student who is not in academic good standing.
  3. Seven course credits in a termA student must petition the Yale College Committee on Honors and Academic Standing for permission to take a program worth seven credits in a term. In the petition the student must explicitly state an intention to complete all the courses proposed.
  4. Independent studyOpportunities for independent study exist in many programs and departments under various designations: directed reading or research, individual reading or research, independent research or study, independent or special projects, individual instruction in music performance, independent, individual, or special tutorials, and the senior essay or project, among others. Note that course credit earned in such study may not be used toward fulfillment of the distributional requirements. Approval for any such particular course is given by the department or program; however, approval for an independent study course is also required from the Yale College Committee on Honors and Academic Standing if certain limits are exceeded. A student must petition the committee for permission to enroll in more than one such course credit in any one term before the senior year or in more than two such course credits in any one term during the senior year. Permission is also required for a student to enroll in more than three such course credits in the first six terms of enrollment; included in this total are any independent study courses completed in Yale Summer Session that are applied to the Yale College transcript. In the petition the student must give sound academic reasons for exceeding these limits and provide evidence that the additional work in independent study will not be done at the expense of the breadth and depth of study being pursued in regular Yale College courses.