K. Special Academic Programs

Year or Term Abroad

In recognition of the value of international study, Yale College encourages students to spend an academic year or a term studying on an approved program abroad. In order to participate in a Year or Term Abroad, students must have secured both approval from the Yale College Committee on the Year or Term Abroad and admission from an accredited study abroad program. 

A term abroad may be taken only during the second term of the sophomore year or either the first or second term of the junior year; students may combine any two of these three terms for a year abroad. By special exception due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, first-term seniors are eligible to study abroad during the following terms: fall 2022 and spring 2023 (note that first-term seniors were also able to study abroad during fall 2021 and spring 2022). Students must enroll in Yale courses for the final term of enrollment. Therefore, students may only enroll abroad as a second-term senior if attending the Yale in London program.* Students are not eligible to participate in a Year or Term Abroad when on disciplinary probation or during a leave of absence. Students are limited to a maximum of two terms abroad for Yale graduation credit transfer and financial aid transfer.

Students in any major may apply. Students must be in academic good standing at the start of an approved year or term abroad and be able to return to enrollment at Yale in academic good standing. See section D, Promotion and Good Standing, “Requirements for Academic Good Standing.” Students must have at least a B average at the time of their application. Applicants with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 are asked to submit an additional short essay that addresses their academic performance at Yale and outlines specific strategies for maintaining academic good standing abroad. The transcript should demonstrate progress toward raising the GPA in the terms before the intended year or term abroad. Applicants should ensure that they also meet the GPA requirement of their intended study abroad program(s). 

Students seeking to study abroad in a country where the primary language is French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish are generally expected to take all of their courses in the language of the host country and should have enrolled in the relevant intermediate-level foreign language course (typically a course numbered 140 with an L4 designation) or have demonstrated the equivalent proficiency by examination. Students seeking to study abroad in a country where the primary language is Chinese, Japanese, or Korean should have enrolled in, at minimum, the relevant beginning-level foreign language course (typically a course numbered 120 with an L2 designation) or have demonstrated the equivalent proficiency by examination. Students seeking to study abroad in any other country where the primary language is not English are generally expected to take at least one course studying the language of the host country. Applicants may petition Yale Study Abroad for an exception to the language eligibility requirements if the program’s theme and core courses align with their major.

The credit application for a Year or Term Abroad is available on the Yale Study Abroad website of the Center for International and Professional Experience. A complete application includes all of the following: the application for credit, including a statement concerning the proposed course of study; a recommendation form from the student’s director(s) of undergraduate studies; and a recommendation form from the student’s residential college dean. Students on Yale financial aid must also submit a Year or Term Abroad Budget for Financial Aid application to Student Financial Services. Approval from Yale Study Abroad is contingent upon the Yale Travel Policy and the student’s acceptance into a program or university abroad. Students must complete additional pre-departure requirements before arrival in the host country.

Application deadlines are listed in the Yale College Calendar with Pertinent Deadlines and on the Study Abroad website.

Applications for programs or universities abroad are available directly from the sponsoring institutions. Information about specific programs and contact information for past Yale participants are available on the Yale Study Abroad website. Note that application deadlines differ from program to program and usually also differ from the Yale Study Abroad deadline. Students are responsible for meeting the deadlines set by the programs they seek to attend, whether those deadlines fall before or after the Yale Study Abroad deadline.

At a minimum, programs must involve full-time work at the university level and must be undertaken during the host program's regular academic year. Students should note that programs in the Southern Hemisphere are subject to a different academic calendar, one which may include the months of June, July, and August. Students should choose from the list of designated programs available on the Yale Study Abroad website. Students applying to enroll in programs not on the designated list must meet with a study abroad adviser to discuss the program and submit a petition application by the stated deadline. Yale Study Abroad evaluates programs primarily on the quality and structure of their academic offerings as well as the host country's eligibility under the Yale Travel Policy. Study abroad advisers are available to assist students in selecting an appropriate program.

  1. Course credit from a Year or Term AbroadStudents on a year abroad who complete a full program of study for the equivalent of two terms of enrollment at Yale may earn up to nine course credits. Students on a term abroad who complete a full program of study for the equivalent of one term of enrollment at Yale may earn up to four and a half course credits (with the exception of Cambridge or Oxford, for which students earn five credits for attending during Yale's spring term). What Yale Study Abroad considers a full program of study varies from program to program due to differences in academic credit systems. Students should consult with study abroad adviser to ensure that they are enrolled in a full program abroad.
  2. Other course credit from outside Yale Approved Year or Term Abroad enrollment is the only arrangement by which students may apply more than two outside credits toward the thirty-six course credits required for the bachelor’s degree.* Students receiving credit for a year abroad may not apply any other credits from outside Yale toward the 36-course-credit requirement. Students receiving credit for a term abroad may apply up to two other course credits from outside Yale toward the 36-course-credit requirement. Because the maximum number of outside credits allowed is nine, students who have previously transferred one or two outside credits are normally eligible only for one term abroad. Students who wish to take a year abroad, but who are ineligible by virtue of having already transferred one or two outside credits may, with the exception noted below†, request that the University Registrar remove such credit from the transcript by petitioning the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing through their dean’s office. If that petition is approved, the Registrar will remove the relevant outside course credit, but the course title will remain on the transcript. Accordingly, this course work may also continue to be applied toward major and distributional requirements.  
  3. Evidence of course work The approved study abroad program or university must submit to Yale Study Abroad such evidence of the student's achievement as transcripts or other official academic records.
  4. Grades No credit will be awarded for a course in which the grade earned was lower than a C- or its equivalent in other grading scales. Nor will credit be awarded for a course taken on a Pass/Fail option, if the student had the choice of taking the course for a letter grade.
  5. Distributional requirements and major requirements In addition to applying credits earned on a year or term abroad toward the 36-course-credit requirement, students may, with appropriate permissions, apply these course credits toward fulfillment of distributional requirements and some of the requirements of their major programs. Instructions on applying such credit toward the distributional requirements are available on the Fulfilling Requirements While Away page; petitions for credit toward major requirements should be directed to the relevant director of undergraduate studies. Students interested in fulfilling requirements through study abroad course work should be prepared to provide on their return to Yale copies of all course work and syllabi.
  6. Academic regulations Because a year or term abroad counts as the equivalent of two or one terms of enrollment in Yale College, the academic regulations of Yale College pertain to enrollment abroad. Students must earn a sufficient number of credits abroad to remain in academic good standing. Failure to do so will result in academic warning or dismissal for academic reasons. See section I, Academic Penalties and Restrictions. Withdrawal from an approved program abroad has the same consequences as withdrawal from Yale College.
  7. Canceling a Year or Term Abroad Students who have received permission to study abroad but later decide not to do so must notify Yale Study Abroad and their residential college dean in writing of their change of plans, and then either enroll as usual in Yale College or apply for a leave of absence before the deadline. See section J, Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Reinstatement. In some cases, such students will have to withdraw from Yale College if the deadline for requesting a leave has passed, or if they have already taken two terms of leave, or if the deadline for enrolling in courses in Yale College has passed. Under no circumstances can a Year or Term Abroad be converted retroactively to a leave of absence. Similarly, a leave of absence cannot be converted retroactively to a Year or Term Abroad.
  8. Enrollment in Yale College after a Year or Term Abroad After returning from a year or term abroad, students must enroll in Yale College for at least two terms. Students who have accelerated should speak with their residential college dean about the possible need to decelerate. See section R, Acceleration Policies.
  9. Financial aid Students who have been approved to study abroad and who receive financial aid from Yale are eligible for aid while abroad. Information about financial aid support can be found on the Student Financial Services website.

Limit on Residential College Seminars

The number of Residential College Seminars is limited and the demand for them is great. A student may therefore take no more than four residential college seminars, and no more than one in a single term. Permission to exceed these limits must be secured in advance from the Yale College Committee on Honors and Academic Standing; such permission will be given only if the student can demonstrate that the integrity or coherence of the student’s academic objectives would suffer without it.

Courses in Yale Summer Session

There is no limit on the number of on-campus or online courses in Yale Summer Session that a Yale College student may offer toward the requirements for the bachelor's degree. Yale Summer Session courses selected as Credit/D/Fail will count toward the four-course-credit limit on Credit/D/Fail courses for the bachelor’s degree.

Attendance at Yale Summer Session does not constitute a term of enrollment in Yale College. Thus a student accelerating by one term by use of acceleration credits may not offer attendance at Yale Summer Session as one of the required seven terms of enrollment in Yale College.

A student accelerating by the early accumulation of thirty-six course credits all earned at Yale may count credits earned for a grade in Yale Summer Session toward such acceleration. Work completed under the Credit/D/Fail option cannot yield acceleration credit. See section R, Acceleration Policies, “Acceleration by the Early Accumulation of Thirty-Six Course Credits All Earned at Yale.”

Courses outside a student’s major, successfully completed in Yale Summer Session may, with the permission of the student’s director of undergraduate studies, be counted toward the requirements of the student’s major program. Summer Session courses within the student’s major automatically count toward the major. Courses taken for a grade may also be counted toward fulfilling distributional requirements. Courses taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis may not be counted toward fulfilling distributional requirements for the junior year nor toward satisfaction of the distributional requirements for the bachelor’s degree. There are no auditing privileges in Yale Summer Session.

All courses completed in Yale Summer Session will be entered on the Yale College record and those taken for a grade will be included in the calculation of the student’s eligibility for General Honors and Distinction in the Major. Marks of CR are included in the calculations for some prizes, for Distinction in the Major, and for election to Phi Beta Kappa as non-A grades, but marks of CR are not included in the calculation for General Honors. For further information about Summer Session courses and transcripts, refer to the Yale Summer Session website.

During Summer 2020 and Summer 2021, credits earned in online courses did not count against the previous limit of four online course credits that could be applied to the Yale College degree. In addition, the previous limit of two online courses per summer were suspended.  

Yale in London Summer Program

Courses in the summer program at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London carry full Yale course credit, but enrollment in the Yale in London summer program does not constitute a term of enrollment in Yale College. (Attendance at the Yale College program at the Paul Mellon Centre in London during a spring term does count as a regular term of enrollment.) Thus a student accelerating by one term by use of acceleration credits may not offer attendance at the summer program at the Paul Mellon Centre in London as one of the required seven terms of enrollment in Yale College.

A student accelerating by the early accumulation of thirty-six course credits all earned at Yale may count credits earned in the summer program at the Paul Mellon Centre in London toward such acceleration. See section R, Acceleration Policies, “Acceleration by the Early Accumulation of Thirty-Six Course Credits All Earned at Yale.”

Fields & Directed Independent Language Study

Through the Center for Language Study, students may apply to two special language programs: (1) Directed Independent Language Study (DILS), to study a language not taught in a department at Yale; and (2) the Fields program, for discipline-specific language study at advanced levels. For both programs, the selection process is competitive; students submit an application to the committee, which considers the strength of the applicant’s academic or professional reasons for their proposed course of study. Students are expected to be self-motivated and to spend significant time on their DILS or Fields study. During the program, students meet with an educated native speaker—a language partner—for two hours per week of conversation, while also studying the language on their own. In consultation with their language partner and the program manager, students devise their own plan of study and locate study materials, including conventional textbooks and web-based language materials. Students are tested at the end of their program using a nationally recognized oral proficiency examination. In Fields, students are also tested at entrance to confirm advanced proficiency. Both programs are open to undergraduates, graduate students, and professional school students. Language study through DILS and Fields is not eligible for course credit, does not satisfy the Yale College language requirement, does not appear on transcripts, and cannot be applied toward the Advanced Language Certificate. Interested students should apply at cls.yale.edu/dils and cls.yale.edu/fields.

Auditing

Auditors are not permitted in courses taught in Yale College except for persons in one of the categories described below.

Category 1. Students enrolled full time in Yale College or in one of the graduate or professional schools of the University. In this case, students should contact the instructor directly for permission; with approval of the instructor, no form or additional permission is needed.

Category 2. Current members of the Yale faculty and emeritus faculty. In this case, the permission of the instructor is the only requirement; no form or additional permission is needed.

Category 3. Spouses of full-time Yale faculty members, or of emeritus faculty, or of students enrolled full time in the University. In these cases, the permission of both the instructor and the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs is required.  

Category 4. Employees of the University and their spouses, in accordance with applicable personnel policies. In these cases, the permission of the instructor, the employee’s supervisor, and the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs is required. 

Category 5. Spouses of postdoctoral associates and fellows. In these cases, permission of both the instructor and the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs is required.

Category 6. Yale University alumni and their spouses. In these cases, permission of both the instructor and the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs is required, and an auditing fee will be charged.

Those in Categories 1 and 2 should contact the instructor of the course directly; only those in Categories 3, 4, 5, and 6 must complete an auditing form. The form for Categories 3, 4, and 5 (affiliate auditing) is available at the Yale Affiliate Auditing Program website; the form for Category 6 (alumni) is available at the Yale Alumni Auditing Program website. 

No other persons are permitted to audit courses in Yale College, except for alumni eligible for the Alumni Auditing program. The Alumni Auditing program is administered separately from the general auditing program, and different rules may apply.

Yale NetIDs cannot be assigned to auditors. Alumni auditors pay a fee, which allows access to classroom sessions and to the Canvas class website, but only to course materials that are published to Canvas and available without Yale NetID access. Accordingly, many course resources (e.g., streaming video, library databases, "Zoo" computer labs, etc.) are not available to auditors. Before paying their auditing fee, and in order to make an informed decision about auditing a course, alumni auditors are encouraged to ask instructors whether such NetID-based resources will be used. More information is available at the Yale Alumni Auditing Program website.

All auditors are responsible for any additional course-based fees; those fees are paid directly to the sponsoring school, and not to the Yale College Auditing Program Office. Course fees can be found in the course description via Yale Course Search.

Persons auditing courses with limited laboratory or computer facilities must secure the explicit permission of the instructor to do so, and should understand that regularly enrolled students must at all times have priority in using such facilities. Computer or language laboratory facilities should be employed by auditors only during times when they are not in heavy demand, and in certain courses charges for computer use may be necessary. General access to the campus computing network may not be available to auditors.

It is the usual expectation that an auditor does not take tests or examinations or write papers for a course for evaluation by the instructor. Occasionally, however, an auditor may wish to do such work and may request the instructor to evaluate it. If the instructor wishes to cooperate with the auditor in this way, the instructor does so on a voluntary basis and not as an obligation.

The University Registrar’s Office does not keep a record of courses audited. It is not possible, therefore, for a student’s transcript to show that a course has been audited, or for a transcript to be issued that records the auditing of a course.

The Yale College Auditing Program Office oversees only the auditing of undergraduate courses. To audit courses in Yale Graduate or Professional schools, contact those school registrars directly. 

Persons interested in auditing an undergraduate course should review the Yale Alumni Auditing Program website or the Yale Affiliate Auditing Program website.