Students come to Yale from a variety of high school backgrounds, and they inevitably arrive with different levels of preparation. Although all students can pursue any subject of study at Yale, they will have a more successful and rewarding experience if they begin at the appropriate level. To assist you with course selection, descriptions and prerequisites for the most common freshman courses are provided in the academic program information under Programs of Study in mid-May and in the online Yale College Programs of Study during the summer. Please read this information carefully.
Proper placement is particularly important for courses with quantitative reasoning components and for courses that require knowledge of specific scientific concepts, such as biology, chemistry, economics, mathematics, and physics. A very large percentage of Yale students take at least one course in one of these departments, so we ask all incoming students, regardless of their intended major or what courses they plan to take in freshman year, to complete the online Math and Science Survey. Some departments use this information—along with scores from standardized or Yale-administered placement tests—to advise you about which courses to take. This process is an inexact estimate, but for most students their initial placements are useful and accurate. If you have any questions, you will have an opportunity to review and discuss your placements with faculty advisers after you arrive on campus. Additional information about the Math and Science Survey, including the deadline for completion, will be available on this site in mid-May.
Departments that use information from the Math and Science Survey may also have program-specific placement examinations that students must take to enroll in or place out of introductory courses. See under Special Academic Programs and Preregistration for details.
In addition to the subjects listed above, some fields of study in the humanities, such as foreign languages, literature, and music, also have specific prerequisites. Typical placements for commonly taught foreign languages are illustrated in the Foreign Language Requirement chart and are described in further detail in each department's listing under Programs of Study (available on this site in mid-May). For additional details about placement examinations and procedures, see under Special Academic Programs and Preregistration.