First-Year Placement and Acceleration Credit

The policies of Yale College and the various departments concerning placement for subjects in which Advanced Placement or similar tests are given are described on the Yale College Dean's Office website and in the Yale College Programs of Study. The YCPS also lists criteria upon which acceleration credits are awarded in each department, whether earned upon entrance, on the basis of high scores on College Board Advanced Placement tests, or after the successful completion of specified courses during the first year. 

The regular review of a department’s placement policies and its policies on acceleration credit is an important task, because questions of where a first-year student should begin the study of a subject, what college-level work may have been anticipated in high school, and how previous work may be worth credit toward an accelerated bachelor’s degree are of great educational and institutional consequence. The DUS of a department that offers acceleration credit (either for performance on Advanced Placement tests or for successful completion with a grade of B or above of specified courses during the first year) will be asked to review yearly the department’s policies on the award of such credit. Proposed revisions to the award of acceleration credit require the approval of the Teaching, Learning, and Advising Committee. A list of departments that currently offer acceleration credit may be found in the Yale College Programs of Study.

To assist in the placement of first-year students in large departments, the DUS may enlist the aid of one or two colleagues as placement officers; in smaller departments, the DUS usually serves as the placement officer. In language and literature departments, the language program director often serves as the placement officer.

If placement officers wish to examine the records of incoming first-year students, either to place them or to schedule the appropriate introductory courses, the placement officers must be available to do so in August, before the first-year students arrive. If the department offers a placement test in the summer, fall, or spring, the DUS must arrange for it well in advance to allow for central coordination of all placement exam information, dates, and times. Placement examination information is listed on the Yale College Dean’s Office website, under Placement Exams and Information.

The Dean’s Office takes the initiative in coordinating placement exam information from among the departments that have offered such examinations in the past, and will contact the DUS or the placement officer in the early spring (summer exams), mid-fall (November/December exams), and winter (April/May exams) for updates or new information. Details concerning placement examinations should be submitted to Risa Sodi, assistant dean of Yale College.

The DUS and the placement officers should be readily accessible in August and early September, particularly after the close of the July placement exams and during the days of first-year student registration, to answer inquiries from students, college advisers, and the residential college deans about the department’s policies and particular courses. Some DUSes schedule expanded office hours for the purposes of placement and other first-year advising during this time.

Questions about general policies connected with placement and acceleration should be addressed to