In addition to the description, the basic information for each course includes a combination of some or all of the elements explained below.
Each course in the YCPS is identified by the course number (e.g., ENGL 114), which is assigned by the department and represents the place in the department's scheme, whether by topic or by level, into which the course fits.
Each course is assigned its own separate number, whatever the term in which it is given. If the course moves from one term to another, it keeps the same number. Further, if a course is no longer offered and its number seems to fall open, the department should not use it for another course for a period of four years. The purpose of this delay is to avoid the duplication of the same course number on student transcripts.
Freshman seminars carry numbers from 001 to 099. Other courses in Yale College are numbered 100 to 499.
Term and Year Courses
The letters "a" and "b" denote fall-term and spring-term courses respectively; a course designated "a or b" (e.g., ECON 115a or b) is the same course given in both fall and spring terms. Some departments also offer two-term course sequences that function as yearlong courses (e.g., PHYS 180a and 181b). Unless marked otherwise in the YCPS, such sequences yield credit for the successful completion of either term independent of the other. If a department feels strongly that credit should not be granted for one term only of a yearlong course sequence, the phrase "Cr/year only" appears after the course description (e.g., MUSI 220a and 221b). Instructors may not make exceptions for individual students.
Introductory language courses are typically listed in the YCPS as two single-term courses, both of which must be completed for credit to be awarded. The yearlong specification for introductory Spanish, for example, is indicated at SPAN 110 by the phrase "Credit only on completion of SPAN 120." Such a stipulation may not be changed, by either the instructor or the department. It is Yale College policy that beginning courses in a modern foreign language must be taken for a full year for any credit to be given.
When a course is given on both an undergraduate and a graduate level, its graduate status is indicated by a superscript "G" added to its course number in the YCPS. The Course of Study Committee has been concerned that the nature of such courses be clarified. As a report to the committee on these courses concludes (available in PDF format in the Appendix section), "the traditional and salutary distinction between the two levels of work is beginning to be blurred." According to the committee's definition, an undergraduate/graduate course is one having a subject matter and requirements suitable for an undergraduate curriculum along with other requirements suitable for graduate students. Further, an undergraduate/graduate course typically enrolls a significant number of undergraduates; one with only one or two undergraduates should be conceived of as a graduate course to which undergraduates are admitted with special permission (see "Graduate Courses" below). Finally, courses must conform to the standard time patterns of Yale College. When a new undergraduate/graduate course is submitted on a Course Proposal Form, the Course of Study Committee requires that supplementary information be included showing how the work of the undergraduates will differ from that of the graduate students in the course. Because undergraduates are free to enroll in regular graduate courses even if such courses are not also listed in the undergraduate offerings, the Course Proposal Form also requires a justification for the joint listing of a course.
When a course is an undergraduate/graduate course as defined above, its joint designation informs students of its nature. Undergraduates enrolled in a B.A./M.A. or B.S./M.S. program usually expect to do the graduate work of the course so that it will count toward their advanced degree as a graduate course, and a graduate number for the course will appear on their transcript. For other undergraduates enrolled in an undergraduate/graduate course, however, the course's undergraduate number alone is listed on transcripts, even if they claim to have done graduate-level work in the course.
Graduate courses per se are always open with permission to undergraduate students. Properly qualified undergraduates may enroll in an unlimited number of courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with permission of the instructor and the director of graduate studies. Undergraduates in these courses are obviously expected to do graduate-level work, and the courses are listed by their graduate numbers on their transcripts. In the YCPS, graduate courses available to undergraduates may be referred to in a general statement at the end of the department's course listings, "Graduate Courses." Please note that there is a limit to the number of professional school courses that an undergraduate may take. See Special Academic Problems under The Committee on Honors and Academic Standing.
Sometimes courses are sponsored by two or more departments and carry the names of each department—i.e., are multiple-titled (for example, AFAM 162/AMST 162/HIST 187). The YCPS includes such titles in the course listings of each department, but the description appears only under the listings of the originating department, i.e., the department that submitted the Course Proposal Form for the course. Adding a multiple title to a course requires permission from the Chair of the multiple-titling department. Multiple titles may be requested through the CIMS system.
A course may be suitable for credit toward the major in a department other than the one sponsoring it without its being eligible for multiple-titling. Such courses from other departments may be included in a department's listings as "Related Courses." For example, CPSC 365 is included in the listings under Mathematics. It appears simply as a Computer Science course, not one double-titled Mathematics/Computer Science. When a course from another department is listed at the end of a program under a separate heading, that course may or may not count toward the major of the listing program (e.g., SPAN 223 listed as a related course in Film Studies). But if a course from another department is interspersed among the program's offerings, it counts toward the major of the listing program (e.g., ART 341 listed as a related course in Film Studies).
Setting the times at which courses meet is the department's responsibility, but meeting times must fall within the standard patterns established by Yale College. Time patterns have been regularized in order to utilize the limited number of classrooms to the greatest extent while balancing the pressure for rooms of varying sizes at various hours. Exceptions to the standard time patterns are rare and must be approved by the Course of Study Committee.
Equalizing Meeting Times
The standard time patterns were created to help use limited classroom space efficiently, to encourage departments to coordinate their offerings with one another, and to give students the broadest possible choice of courses as they try to fill out their schedules each term. Unfortunately, among both faculty and students some teaching hours are more popular than others, with the result that more courses are offered on certain days and hours than others, and faculty and students continue to be frustrated by their classroom assignments and scheduling difficulties. Please make every effort to spread your department's course offerings across all of the standard times available to you, both early and late in the day, and as many on Mondays and Fridays as in the middle of the week.
Format of Courses
Lecture courses typically meet three hours a week, either in three 50-minute periods or in two 75-minute periods; blocks of two- or three-hour periods do not constitute an acceptable lecture pattern.
Seminars usually meet at least two continuous hours a week, though they may also meet in two 75-minute periods. All freshman seminars (numbered 001–099) must meet in two 75-minute periods. By definition, seminars are restricted in size, and are starred to allow the instructor control of the enrollment.
If a course that had originally been submitted to the Course of Study Committee as a lecture course shifts to a seminar format, it must be resubmitted on a Course Proposal Form. Conversely, a seminar course with an uncharacteristically large enrollment should be recast as a lecture course and resubmitted to the Course of Study Committee with a three-hour-a-week time pattern.
Information about studio and laboratory course formats, as well as time slots for discussion sections and film screenings, is available on the Yale College Standard Time Patterns page.
Sections of Multisection Courses and Discussion Sections
Some courses are divided into sections meeting at different times with different instructors (e.g., ENGL 125, 126). Information about the number of sections planned and their instructors and times of meeting should be entered in CIMS.
Lecture courses that have discussion sections should indicate this within the course's time pattern (e.g., MW 9:25-10:15, 1 HTBA). Arrangements for discussion sections should be e-mailed to the designated person in the department, as arranged with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Program. Because of the limited availability of classrooms, instructors should be advised to schedule discussion sections in the early mornings, late afternoons, and evenings. Since it is particularly difficult to find small rooms for discussion sections that meet on Friday mornings from 9:25 to 12:25, instructors should be discouraged from choosing those hours.
The distributional designations (L1–L5, QR, WR, HU, SC, and SO) are described in detail under The Distributional Requirements.
All courses offered in Yale College during the fall and spring terms are available for election under the Credit/D/Fail option. Program descriptions in chapter III of the YCPS (Subjects of Instruction) specify whether or not courses taken on the Credit/D/Fail basis count toward the requirements of particular majors. A student may not apply any course credit earned on the Credit/D/Fail basis toward satisfaction of the distributional requirements for the bachelor's degree.
Final Examination Number
The department uses CIMS to record whether a course has a standard final examination. CIMS automatically generates an exam group number for the course, either a zero (for courses that do not have a regular final examination) or a two-digit number calculated according to the Final Examination Schedule at the beginning of the YCPS. The exam group number is based on the meeting time of the course; if the course changes meeting times, the exam group number also changes. The date and time of the final examination, automatically calculated from the exam group number, appear in the course listings in OCI. The schedule of examination times is worked out each year to ensure that there will be no conflicts in students' final examinations. See section G, Reading Period and Final Examination Period, in the Academic Regulations, chapter II of the YCPS.
Although it is not binding, the determination of whether to hold a final examination gives students important information about what to expect.
Classes during Reading Period
Instructors' decisions about holding classes during reading period should be recorded in CIMS. See section G, Reading Period and Final Examination Period, in the Academic Regulations, chapter II of the YCPS, for more information.
Permission and Course Limitation
Limitation of enrollment in a course may be indicated in two different ways: a course may be starred in the YCPS, which means that the student must secure permission of the instructor, or a concluding sentence may be added to the course description indicating a blanket limitation, e.g., "Enrollment limited to 25." In neither case does the Registrar's Office enforce the limitation indicated in the YCPS. In a starred course, the instructor is expected to control the enrollment. In "enrollment limited" courses, the statement in the YCPS is intended as a condition that the instructor enforces in whatever way he or she chooses. All seminars, which by definition are courses with limited enrollment, must be starred.
Prerequisites can be informative or prescriptive or both. If instructors expect them to be prescriptive, they must enforce them themselves. The best way of doing so is to require permission for the course (i.e., to star the course) so that the instructor or course director can check students' qualifications as they apply for permission.
Brackets around a course not currently being offered indicate the expectation of its appearance in the curriculum during the following year. In order to ensure that this use of brackets retains its credibility for students attempting to plan ahead over a two-year period, it is important that brackets be used uniformly, with the same degree of reliability, and that courses return to the curriculum as announced. Therefore, courses should be bracketed only if you are quite certain (90 percent certain is the rule of thumb) that they will be given in the next year. If it is not possible to predict with relative confidence the reappearance of a course, it should not be bracketed. Bracketed courses are usually listed only in the originating department. Courses absent from the YCPS for up to seven years do not have to be submitted to the Course of Study Committee when they return if they have not materially changed in the interim.
Angle brackets around a course number appearing in the YCPS (in a program's description or as a prerequisite for another course) indicate that the course is not listed in the current bulletin but has been offered within the past three years.