Certain academic disciplines (e.g., economics, English, foreign languages, mathematics, music, and the natural sciences) require that students carefully consider at which course level they are prepared to engage with the subject. Placement in these subjects is determined by test scores, by consultation with departmental representatives, and by a student’s judgment of the adequacy of his or her preparation.
Certain departments offer their own placement tests designed to ascertain the course level best suited to each student’s preparation. Other departments may use standardized tests completed in high school or the Math and Science Survey incoming first-year students complete over the summer for purposes of placement.
Most students eligible to enroll in advanced courses have received high scores on Advanced Placement (AP) tests or on comparable tests, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) higher-level examinations, or the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-level examinations.
However, students without such scores may still enter Yale prepared to enroll directly in advanced courses. These students include, for example, native and heritage speakers of foreign languages, students who have studied independently, or those who have taken college courses while enrolled in high school.
Students unsure about their preparation or the level at which they should begin study in a subject may consult with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) of the relevant program.
After determining the level of courses that their Yale placement or high school test scores suggest, students may still review placement decisions and, if necessary, modify them in consultation with the appropriate academic departments at Yale. Before the course selection period, students have an opportunity to consult with DUSes from most of Yale's majors and programs at the Academic Fair. During the course selection period, students have time to attend some classes on a trial basis(informally referred to as “shopping period”). Students may change the level of a course if, after submitting their course schedule, they remain uncertain about placement accuracy. Students may consult the instructor and residential college dean about the steps to take in such a case.
See Yale College Programs of Study, Academic Regulations, section Q, Acceleration for a description of the use of Advanced Placement test scores in course placement and in the award of acceleration credits. For more information, be sure to consult the departmental program descriptions in the Yale College Programs of Study and Placement, Preregistration, and Applications for Special Programs.