Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session MyCIPE

Fulfilling Requirements While Away

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The information below applies to students who seek to use outside credit to fulfillment of major and/or distributional requirements, and especially those students who:

  • have been approved to study abroad
  • enroll in outside course(s) while on a leave of absence
  • take outside course(s) within the U.S.

It is possible, but not guaranteed, to fulfill major and/or distributional requirements while away from Yale, whether in the U.S. or abroad. (For Yale Summer Session Programs Abroad, see How Credit Works.)

Major Requirements

The Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the relevant department determines whether courses outside of Yale may fulfill major requirements. The DUS generally asks for evidence of work completed before approving the use of courses toward the major. Talk with your DUS before enrolling in the course(s) to ensure that you understand the departmental approval process.

Some majors have requirements that include courses offered in a different Yale department. If you would like to use an outside course to fulfill such a requirement, then you will need to get approval from both Directors of Undergraduate Studies: the DUS of your major department and the DUS of the department in which the course is offered.

Note:Click the Earning Credit for Coursework Completed Outside Yale form to request credit from outside Yale toward your major requirements

Distributional Requirements

The course review process varies by requirement. Please refer to the specific requirement you would like to fulfill, below, so that you know the steps to take before you leave and once you have returned. 

Foreign Language (L1-L5)
Humanities & Arts (Hu)
Social Sciences (So)
Sciences (Sc)
Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
Writing (WR)

Foreign Language Requirement

Pin:Introductory language courses on approved study abroad programs are eligible for credit toward the 36-course-credit requirement and major requirements; such introductory courses are NOT applicable toward the foreign language requirement.

Before enrolling in the course:

If you plan to apply intermediate or advanced language coursework to your language requirement, or if you wish to place into the next level of a foreign language, you should meet with the relevant language department director or DUS before taking the course. Such courses may only be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement at the discretion of the relevant language department.

Email the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the relevant language for more information about this process and the documents (e.g., transcripts, syllabi, etc.) you may need to provide upon completing the course. Where there is no corresponding DUS for the language, email the Center for Language Study for assistance. Guidance is limited, and Yale does not preapprove credit; you must first complete the course and subsequently submit course materials for final review and approval (see below).

After the course has ended:

After completing the course, you may need to take a placement exam or other assessment. Keep the course syllabus and all other relevant course materials until the final review at Yale has been completed. 

Note:Click the Earning Credit for Coursework Completed Outside Yale form to request credit from outside Yale toward your distributional requirements.

Humanities & Arts (Hu) Requirement
Social Scien​​ces (So) Requirement

Before enrolling in the course:

You may seek limited guidance on whether a particular course might fulfill an Hu or So distributional credit requirement by sending Dean George Levesque (george.levesque@yale.edu) a course syllabus and/or course description. Note: Yale does not preapprove credit; you must first complete the course and submit a request to apply outside creidt toward your Yale distributional requirements for review.

After the course has ended:

Keep the course syllabus and all other relevant course materials until the final review at Yale has been completed.

Note:Once Yale confirms that your transcript has been received, click the Earning Credit for Coursework Completed Outside Yale form to request credit from outside Yale toward your distributional requirements.

Scien​ces (Sc) Requirement
Quantitative Reason​ing (QR) Requirement

Additional information about Sc and QR requirements is available here.

Before enrolling in the course:

Students should send Dean Sandy Chang (s.chang@yale.edu) a course syllabus and/or course description and ask whether the course might earn credit towards the Sc or QR distributional requirements. Guidance is limited, and Yale does not preapprove credit; you must first complete the course and submit course materials for review before Dean Chang can approve it for credit towards your distributional requirements (see below).

When writing Dean Chang, be sure to indicate the type of distributional credit being sought (Sc or QR) and include the name(s) of the course(s) for which you seek distributional credit.

After the course has ended:

Keep the course syllabus and all other relevant course materials until the final review at Yale has been completed.

Note:Once Yale confirms that your transcript has been received, click the Earning Credit for Coursework Completed Outside Yale form to request credit from outside Yale toward your distributional requirements.

Writing (WR) Requirement

Additional information about WR requirements is available here.

Before enrolling in the course:

The courses that are easiest to approve are those that have “writing” or “composition” in the course title. If you send the original course description to Dean Alfred Guy (alfred.guy@yale.edu), he can tell you if the course will count toward the WR requirement. If the course description does not mention writing skills, you may want to include the syllabus if you have it. In that message, be sure to include your full name, your residential college, and your class year. Note that Yale does not preapprove credit; you must first complete the course and submit course materials for review before Dean Guy can approve it for credit towards your distributional requirements.

Pin:Creative writing courses are ineligible for the WR requirement.

Writing courses must be taught in English to be eligible for the WR requirement.

After the course has ended:

Keep the course syllabus and all other relevant course materials until the final review at Yale has been completed. If the course description does not indicate a clear focus on writing skills, you may be asked for materials that show how writing was taught (e.g., whether you wrote multiple drafts; how you received feedback; if you workshopped drafts with other students, etc.). It does no good to describe these features in an email—they must be listed in the syllabus or other published materials from the course.

Note:Once Yale confirms that your transcript has been received, click the Earning Credit for Coursework Completed Outside Yale form to request credit from outside Yale toward your distributional requirements.