In rare cases, a student may earn a Yale College degree in six or seven semesters of enrollment rather than eight. Students may petition to accelerate by one term during their sophomore or junior year; they may petition to accelerate by two terms during their sophomore year or the first half of their junior year. (Note that students may not petition for acceleration of any kind during their first year of enrollment; thus, Yale does not grant sophomore status to any entering first-year student.)

The rules governing acceleration are delineated in the Yale College Programs of Study. A summary follows. Any student considering acceleration should consult their residential college dean, who will ultimately be the recipient of the petition.

Two Ways to Accelerate

1. Early accumulation of 36 course credits, all earned at Yale.

  • Terms spent on a Year or Term Abroad count as if they were terms of enrollment in Yale College, but course credits earned therein may not be applied to acceleration because all such credits must be earned at Yale. (Note: A spring term at the Yale College program at the Paul Mellon Centre in London is, in fact, a term of enrollment in Yale College, and credits earned in that program may be applied to such acceleration.)
  • Attendance at Yale Summer Session or the summer program at the Paul Mellon Centre in London does not count as a term of enrollment, but course credits earned in these summer programs may be applied toward acceleration.

2. Early accumulation of 36 course credits by activation of acceleration credits.

  • An acceleration credit is an extra course credit awarded for advanced coursework during the first two terms of enrollment (in addition to the standard course credit earned) or for a high score on an eligible AP test.
  • Consult the Table of Acceleration Credit┬áto learn which advanced Yale courses and AP scores may yield acceleration credit.
  • Acceleration credits may only be activated if the student chooses to enroll in fewer than eight terms at Yale.
  • Up to two acceleration credits may be earned in a given subject.
  • Acceleration credit for advanced coursework:
    • can be earned only during the first two terms of enrollment
    • can be awarded only for the first course taken in any subject (except economics and English)
    • can be awarded only if the student receives a grade of B or above in the course (marks of CR are not eligible, and in a two-term sequence the student must earn a B or above in both terms)
    • cannot be awarded for college courses taken during high school
  • In order to be eligible for an acceleration, a student must meet certain credit totals starting in their third semester

Acceleration by one term

Timing Minimum Total Credits Minimum Yale Course Credits Activated Acceleration Credits
Start of third term 12 8 4
Start of fourth term 16 12 4
Start of fifth term 21 17 4
Start of sixth term 26 22 4

Acceleration by two terms

Timing Minimum Total Credits Minimum Yale Course Credits Activated Acceleration Credits
Start of third term 17 8 9
Start of fourth term 21 12 9
Start of fifth term 26 17 9

Consult the Yale College Programs of Study for additional details and information about application deadlines.