Students benefit most from fulfilling the distributional requirements early in their college careers and then building on their new knowledge and capabilities. For this reason, Yale College requires partial fulfillment of the distributional requirements during the freshman, sophomore, and junior years. A chart in the Academics section of the Yale College Web site illustrates the "milestone" requirements detailed below.
Students must have enrolled for at least one course credit in two skills categories (writing, quantitative reasoning, foreign language) by the end of the second term of enrollment in order to be eligible for promotion to sophomore standing. They may elect no more than four course credits in a single department, and no more than six course credits in a single disciplinary area (humanities and arts, sciences, social sciences), except that a student taking a laboratory course may elect as many as seven course credits in the sciences.
Note that credit from outside Yale may not be applied toward the distributional requirements for the freshman year; accordingly, students who are permitted by the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing to repair a deficiency in these requirements over the summer following freshman year must do so by means of enrollment in Yale Summer Session.
Students must have enrolled for at least one course credit in each of the three disciplinary areas and for at least one course credit in each of the three skills categories by the end of the fourth term of enrollment in order to be eligible for promotion to junior standing.
Students must have completed all of their skills requirements by the end of the sixth term of enrollment in order to be eligible for promotion to senior standing.