L. Special Academic Arrangements

Combined Bachelor’s and MasterDegree Programs in the Professional Schools

Well-qualified students may be able to structure their undergraduate programs so as to become eligible for a master’s degree in Environmental Management or Environmental ScienceGlobal AffairsMusic, or Public Health after one additional year of graduate study at Yale. For more information see the respective program descriptions in Subjects of Instruction or on the respective websites.

Completion of Degree Requirements at the End of a Fall Term

Students who at the end of a fall term complete the requirements for graduation may be of three kinds: (1) those who complete such requirements in eight terms of regular enrollment; (2) those who have accumulated thirty-six course credits or more, all earned at Yale, in fewer than eight terms of regular enrollment; and (3) students admitted by transfer to Yale College and students whose admission to Yale College was deferred until a spring term. Note that acceleration credits may not yield a completion of degree requirements at the end of a fall term; see section R, Acceleration Policies. The following rules apply to students of these three kinds.

  1. Notification by the student Students must, by the last day of the add/drop period, in their final term of enrollment, complete a Petition to Complete Degree Requirements at the End of a Fall Term to notify the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing through their residential college dean's office that the fall term will be that student’s last term of enrollment. Notification must include written certification from the student’s director of undergraduate studies that the student will have completed all the requirements of the major program by the end of the fall term, and from the student’s residential college dean that the student will have fulfilled the distributional requirements by that time. Failure to observe the deadline will result in the students being charged a fine of $100.
  2. Award of degrees and diplomas Students who complete degree requirements at the end of a fall term are awarded their degrees and their diplomas at Commencement at the conclusion of the spring term of that academic year and are considered to be members of the class that graduates at that Commencement. General Honors and Distinction in the Major are also awarded at that time. If a student who completes degree requirements at the end of a fall term wishes to participate in the Commencement exercises held in the previous academic year, however, the student may do so with the permission of the residential college head and dean. Such might be the case, for example, for students who because of a leave of absence did not qualify for graduation with the class in Yale College with which they entered as a first-year. Such a student would not receive the degree or diploma until the May of the academic year in which degree requirements were completed.
  3. Health coverage A student whose last term of enrollment is a fall term is eligible, upon application and payment of a fee, for continued coverage by Yale Health during the subsequent spring term, just as if the student were on leave of absence for that term. Such coverage extends to August 31. See section J, Time Away and Return.

Courses in the Yale Graduate and Professional Schools

When a course is open to undergraduate as well as either graduate or professional school students, a Yale College student may enroll under either number, but courses in the graduate and professional schools are not available on the Yale College Credit/D/Fail option; see section B, Grades, “Credit/D/Fail Option.”

A student may request to elect a graduate or professional school course, other than those designated independent study, by entering the course on the Course Schedule Selection Form. Students who wish to elect a professional school course must also complete an additional form downloaded from the University Registrar’s Office website. This latter form must be completed by the student, signed by the course instructor, and attached to a copy of the syllabus, and must also be signed by the appropriate agent of the dean or the registrar of the school in which the course is offered.

Requests should be made as early as possible in the term in which enrollment is sought and not later than three weeks after the first day of Yale College classes of the term. In recognition of the need to have a student’s schedule of courses finalized promptly, forms that are submitted after this date or that are incomplete will normally not be approved. Exceptions require action of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, in response to a petition from the student, and will be subject to a fine of at least $50, with increases of $5 daily according to lateness.

Note that systems for the award of course credit in the professional schools differ and that not all courses in these schools yield a full course credit in Yale College. Once all materials for a request to elect a professional school course are received by the Office of the University Registrar, a review will be made and the student will be informed as to whether the course will earn Yale College course credit and, if so, how much. Courses that earn no Yale College credit will normally not be entered on the Yale College transcript.

Note also that Yale College students are not permitted to enroll in independent study courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or in any of the professional schools of the University, unless already accepted into the program for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master's degrees. Enrollment in graduate or professional school courses does not earn credit toward Yale College distributional requirements.

Options for Undergraduates Yale College Courses Graduate/Professional School Courses
Can I enroll under the Credit/D/Fail option? Yes, see Section B, Credit/D/Fail Option No
Can I take an independent study course? Yes, see Section C, Normal Program of Study No, unless already accepted into the simultaneous degree program; see Section L, Courses in the Yale Graduate and Professional Schools
Can I earn credit toward distributional requirements? Yes, see Section A, Distributional Requirements No, unless instructor has secured approval from Yale College in advance of the start of term; see Section A, Distributional Requirements, no. 8

A student may offer toward the 36-course-credit requirement for the bachelor’s degree as many as four course credits earned in professional schools of the University. Courses taken in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are not included in this four-credit restriction.

The deadlines and regulations of Yale College are binding on all students, including candidates for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in regard to courses in which they are enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools of the University. These include the deadlines and regulations pertaining to withdrawal from courses, late or postponed work, and work incomplete at the end of term. An exception in deadline may be made in a course offered in a professional school of the University in which the academic calendar differs from that of Yale College. A request for such an exception must be grounded in compelling academic reasons, and must be made in writing by the instructor of the course to the student’s residential college dean in advance of the deadline in question. Instructors of courses in the Graduate School and in the professional schools of the University are expected to use the Yale College grading system when they report grades for undergraduates who have completed their courses.

Curricular Combinations and Course Overlap allowances

Specific combinations of majors, two majors, multidisciplinary academic programs, skills-based and interdisciplinary certificates, and simultaneous degrees enable students to configure combinations that will best serve the purposes of a liberal arts education. By establishing limits comprised of three combinations of curricular options, students are better able to organize their interests into coherent sets of courses.

The following combinations of three are allowed without special permissions: one major and two certificates; one major, one multidisciplinary academic program, and one certificate; two majors and one certificate or one multidisciplinary academic program; a simultaneous Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree (B.A./M.A. or B.S./M.S.) and one certificate or multidisciplinary academic program or a second major. Students may, in special circumstances, petition the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing for permission to earn an additional combination. 

Additionally, no more than two course credits may overlap in the fulfillment of the requirements of a major, two majors, a multidisciplinary academic program, a certificate, or a simultaneous degree. Students may not apply the same course credit toward the requirements of more than two curricular programs. For example, the same course credit may not be used to fulfill the requirements of two certificates and a major.

Double Credit for a Single-Credit Course

Two course credits for a course in Yale College normally carrying one course credit may be awarded to a student under the following conditions:

  1. Deadline Permission must be requested by midterm, as published in the Yale College Calendar with Pertinent Deadlines.
  2. Petition and approvals The student’s petition must be approved by the instructor of the course, the director of undergraduate studies in the instructor’s department, and the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing. The petition should include a detailed syllabus and an explanation of how the student’s proposed work represents at least twice the normal expectations of the course.
  3. Distributional requirements When a petition for double credit is approved for a course that fulfills a distributional requirement, the additional credit may not be applied toward the distributional requirement, although it may be applied toward the 36-course-credit requirement for graduation.
  4. Multiple courses A student may make use of this arrangement rarely, and no more than once or twice.

Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

Students of distinguished ability in a limited number of departments may undertake graduate work that will qualify them for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the end of their senior year. The simultaneous degree can be conferred only in a single department or program and only in departments or programs that confer both degrees. For example, a student may not complete a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Political Science, nor may a student combine a bachelor’s degree in a multi-departmental major (e.g., Ethics, Politics, and Economics) with a master’s degree in one of its constituent departments. A student pursuing a simultaneous degree may, however, complete two separate undergraduate majors as long as one of the undergraduate majors is in the same department as the master’s degree. Currently, the following departments offer the simultaneous degree option: American StudiesBiomedical EngineeringChemistryClassicsComputer ScienceEast Asian StudiesEarth and Planetary SciencesEnglish Language and Literature; FrenchHistory; History of Art; ItalianLinguisticsMathematicsMolecular Biophysics and BiochemistryMolecular, Cellular, and Developmental BiologyMusic; Political Science; and Statistics and Data Science. For more information about this program, contact the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs, Joel Silverman.

  1. Eligibility Applicants cannot be considered for admission unless by the end of their fifth term of enrollment they have achieved at least two-thirds A or A– grades in all of their course credits, as well as in all of the course credits directly relating to their major. Some participating departments have additional eligibility requirements, and students should consult the relevant director of undergraduate studies for this information. Because the Eli Whitney Students program is for enrollment for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) only, students in that program are ineligible for the simultaneous award of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
    Prior to admission to the program, students enrolling in a course that carries both an undergraduate and a graduate number should do so under the graduate number if they wish to apply that course toward the graduate school requirements. 
  2. Application Students must apply to their department for admission to the program through their director of undergraduate studies and must complete the online application no later than the last day of classes in their fifth term of enrollment in Yale College. The proposal should provide evidence of eligibility, reasons for pursuing the simultaneous degree, and plans for completing the program requirements. If the department acts favorably on the student's application, it is forwarded with the formal approval of the director of undergraduate studies and of the director of graduate studies to the Director of Academic and Educational Affairs in the Yale College Dean's Office, where a joint committee of Yale College and the Graduate School acts upon the department’s nomination and notifies the student of acceptance into the program.
  3. Program requirements Specific requirements for the award of degrees will be determined by each department. Normally a student is expected to complete the requirements of the undergraduate major in addition to eight or more course credits in the Graduate School. For all students in the program, graduate work must not be entirely concentrated in the final two terms, and students in the program must take at least six term courses outside the major during their last four terms at Yale, and must take at least two of those six courses during their last two terms.
    Students may not enroll in Yale College for more than eight terms in order to qualify for the simultaneous award of both degrees. It is possible to earn both degrees in fewer than eight terms, but not by the use of acceleration credits. Upon acceptance into the program, a student who has accelerated by the use of acceleration credits will automatically be decelerated, and may not, so long as the student remains in the simultaneous degree program, subsequently employ the credits to accelerate. While some participating departments may allow up to two overlapping term courses to apply to the requirements of both the major and the master’s degree, and while students are not prohibited from additionally completing a second major, students may not apply two overlapping term courses toward the completion of both the simultaneous degree and toward completion of the two majors; only one such overlap is permitted. 
  4. Requirements for the master’s degree To qualify for the master’s degree, students must complete eight term course credits in the Graduate School with grades of A or A- in at least two term courses (or in one year course) and with a B average in the remaining ones. Students in those departments with a language requirement for the Ph.D. degree will be required to demonstrate proficiency in one of the specified languages.
  5. Approval of course schedules Following notification that they have been accepted into the Program for the Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, students should have their course schedules approved each term both by the director of undergraduate studies and by the director of graduate studies.
  6. Independent Study Students who have been admitted into the program may enroll in independent study courses in the graduate or professional school if the director of graduate studies verifies that such courses are applicable to the degree requirements for the master's degree.

Special Term Courses

With the approval of the Yale College Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, a student may arrange with a member of the faculty to take a Special Term Course, or individual tutorial, for credit toward the bachelor’s degree, provided that certain requirements are met. First, the material of the proposed course must be appropriate to the qualifications of the student and it must be otherwise unavailable in the Yale University curriculum. If the subject can be pursued through independent study in an existing tutorial course in a department (e.g., AMST 471 or CGSC 473), the student must apply for enrollment in that course through the director of undergraduate studies. Second, the instructor of the proposed special course must hold a teaching appointment in the University. Third, the student must describe in detail the nature of the proposed course work and submit a syllabus.

Requests for Special Term Courses should be made to the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, 25 SSS, on forms available from the residential college deans. The application form must be completed by the student and then approved and signed by the proposed instructor and the director of undergraduate studies of the instructor’s department. A request for a Special Term Course should be made during the term immediately preceding the term during which the course is actually to be taken. An application will not be accepted by the committee after the second week of the term for which a course is proposed. It is expected that Special Term Courses will be taken for a letter grade. A student may not apply credit earned in a Special Term Course toward satisfaction of any of the distributional requirements.

Two Majors

A student must petition the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing for permission to complete the requirements of two major programs. The Petition to Complete the Requirements of Two Majors is available on the University Registrar's Forms & Petitions site. A student contemplating the completion of two majors should bear in mind that doing so will almost invariably limit the opportunities for a wider distribution of studies over different subjects.

Each major must be completed independently of the other, with no more than two term courses overlapping. Prerequisites in either major are not considered to be overlapping courses. Other than such prerequisites, all courses taken in a major—including those taken in excess of the minimum requirements of the major—are counted in the consideration of overlapping courses unless such courses are in excess of the minimum requirements for both majors. Overlapping courses may not include the senior essay or senior project, unless the essay or project is unusually substantial and represents at least the equivalent of the minimum essay or project requirement of the one major in addition to the minimum essay or project requirement of the other major. If a single senior essay or project is approved for the two majors, no additional overlap in course credits is permitted.

It is not possible to offer as two majors a combined major with one of its component majors. For example, a major in Economics and Mathematics cannot be joined with a second major in either Economics or Mathematics. Similarly, a student completing a major that permits the inclusion of a concentration of courses from another major or program cannot also major in that second major or program. For example, a major in Sociology with Psychology cannot have a second major in Psychology. A Special Divisional Major may not be offered as one of two majors.

A petition for two majors should show clearly how the requirements for each of the two programs will be met, and petitioners should consult the appropriate directors of undergraduate studies. The completion of two majors does not result in the award of two degrees; a student who completes a major that leads to the award of the B.A. degree and another major that leads to the award of the B.S. degree may choose the degree to be conferred. A petition to complete the requirements of two majors should be made only after the student’s plans are definite, but no later than the due date for course schedules in the student’s final term of enrollment. Petitions submitted after this deadline will be accepted only by exceptional action of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing and will be fined $50.

A student may not petition for permission to complete the requirements of more than two major programs.