- Planning Your Move
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- Introduction to Yale Academics
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- General Academic Information
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- List of Abbreviations
- Yale College Calendar
To ensure that study is neither too narrowly focused nor too diffuse, Yale College stands behind the principle of distribution of studies as strongly as it supports the principle of concentration. It requires that study be characterized, particularly in the earlier years, by a reasonable diversity of subject matter and approach, and in the later years by concentration in one of the major programs or departments. In addition, the College requires that all students take courses in certain foundational skills—writing, quantitative reasoning, and foreign language. These skills hold the key to many things students will want to know and do in later study and later life. People who fail to develop them at an early stage are limiting their futures without knowing what opportunities they are eliminating. In each of the three skills, students are required to travel some further distance from where they were in high school for the reason that these competences mature and deepen. The best high school writer is still not the writer he or she could be; students who do not use their mathematics or foreign language skills in college commonly lose abilities they once had, and can graduate knowing less than when they arrived.
The distributional requirements, described below, are intended to assure that by graduation all students have gained a broad acquaintance with a variety of fields of inquiry and approaches to knowledge. The distributional requirements are the only specific rules limiting the selection of courses outside a student’s major program. The distributional requirements constitute a minimal education, not a complete one. They are a schematic representation of the least that an educated person should seek to know. They are to be embraced as starting points, not goals.