Yale College courses fall into four categories, each with its own kind of time pattern: lecture courses (including lecture courses with discussion sections or with considerable classroom discussion), seminar courses, studio courses, and laboratories. Lecture courses meet for 150 minutes a week, either in three 50-minute sessions or in two 75-minute sessions. Seminars, which have limited enrollment in order to facilitate student participation, meet either in one 110-minute session, in one 120-minute session, or in two 75-minute sessions. Studio courses meet in 110-minute sessions two or three times per week, in one 230-minute session per week, or in one 230-minute session and one 110-minute session; the studio format is limited to courses in Architecture, Art, Music, and Theater Studies. Laboratories normally meet in one session per week for three or four hours in the afternoon.
Yale College courses may meet only during certain times, as detailed in Standard Time Patterns. The standard time patterns are intended both to allow the Registrar's Office to schedule classrooms as efficiently as possible and to ensure that students have as broad a choice of courses as possible. The choice students must make between one course and another is difficult enough; to oblige a student to weigh one course against two or even three others is unfair. If, for example, a seminar were permitted to meet Wednesday mornings from 10 until noon, the students in that seminar would be forced to give up their choice of courses in three popular hours, i.e., 9:25, 10:30, and 11:35. Exceptions to the standard time patterns must be approved by the Yale College Course of Study Committee. The committee rarely grants exceptions, and then only when a course's organization makes the exception necessary, as, for example, when extra instruction time is needed beyond the normal hours provided for in the standard time patterns. Professional commitments, travel arrangements, or professional school schedules are not compelling arguments for exceptions to the standard time patterns.