Distributional Requirements


Skills and Area Distributional Requirements

Distributional requirements by year

Distributional requirements chart

Yale College’s distributional requirements demand that, by the end of sophomore year (after four terms), each student must have enrolled in at least one course credit in each disciplinary area (Hu, Sc, and So) and at least one course credit in each skills category (QR, WR, and foreign language). There are a number of different ways to fulfill the foreign language requirement, some of which are shown in the chart.

Courses must be taken for a letter grade to fulfill distributional requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

The distributional requirements are designed to ensure that by graduation all students are acquainted with a variety of fields of inquiry and approaches to knowledge. The distributional requirements constitute a minimal education, not a complete one—a schematic representation of the least that an educated person should seek to know—and they are starting points, not goals. In Yale College, the distributional requirements are the only specific rules controlling the selection of courses outside a student’s major program.

Students benefit most from fulfilling the distributional requirements early in their college career and then building on their new knowledge and capabilities. Yale College recognizes this benefit by requiring partial fulfillment of the distributional requirements during the freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

Distributional Requirements for Sophomore Year

Students must have enrolled for at least one credit in each of the three disciplinary areas and each of the three skills categories by the end of the fourth term of enrollment in order to be eligible for promotion to junior standing.

Distributional Requirements for Junior Year

Students must have completed all of their skills requirements by the end of the sixth term of enrollment in order to be eligible for promotion to senior standing.

Distributional Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree

Students must fulfill disciplinary area requirements by taking no fewer than two course credits in the humanities and arts, two in the sciences, and two in the social sciences. Students must also fulfill skills requirements by taking at least two course credits in quantitative reasoning, two course credits in writing, and courses to further their foreign language proficiency. Depending on their level of accomplishment in foreign languages at matriculation, students may fulfill this last requirement with one, two, or three courses or by certain combinations of course work and approved study abroad.

Courses that fulfill the distributional requirements are designated in the course listings in Yale College Programs of Study by the abbreviations Hu, Sc, So, QR, WR, and, for the foreign language requirement, L1, L2, L3, L4, or L5.

Although some courses carry more than one distributional designation, a single course may be applied to only one distributional requirement. For example, if a course is designated both Hu and So in the YCPS, it may be applied toward either the humanities and arts requirement or the social science requirement, but not both. Similarly, a course designated QR and SC may be applied toward either the quantitative reasoning requirement or the science requirement, but not both.

Keep in mind that courses taken Credit/D/Fail may not be used to fulfill the distributional requirements. (See under Credit/D/Fail option for more information.)