Acceleration and Acceleration Credits

General Rules about Acceleration

The rules governing the use of acceleration credits, explained in the Academic Regulations section of the YCPS, are complex, and exceptions are not allowed. Students considering acceleration should make a point of reading the full text of the subsection “Acceleration Policies.” A summary of some of the important rules regarding acceleration follows. Students who are considering acceleration should talk to their residential college dean.

 
  • A student cannot use acceleration credit toward the 36-course-credit requirement for the bachelor’s degree unless enrolling in fewer than eight terms at Yale.
  • A student enrolling for eight terms cannot use acceleration credit to reduce the number of courses taken.
  • A student cannot count acceleration credits toward any of the distributional requirements at Yale, including the foreign language requirement.
  • A student receving a grade of B– or below in the first term of a yearlong course will not receive acceleration credit for that course, regardless of the second-term grade.
  • The final term of enrollment for a student acquiring a six- or seven-term degree at Yale must be a spring term.

Acceleration credits earned as a result of courses taken during freshman year, AP scores, or scores on IB examinations are automatically added to students’ academic records before the sophomore year. All other scores must be reported to the Registrar’s Office and will be entered on a request basis.

Students have considerable latitude in determining when to petition to accelerate, although the deadline each term is the last day of classes before reading period begins (refer to the calendar in the YCPS). Note that to accelerate by one term, a student must have been awarded at least four acceleration credits; to Note that to accelerate by two terms, a student must have been awarded at least nine acceleration credits. It is also possible for a student to accelerate by completing 36 Yale course credits in six or seven terms instead of eight.

Petitions to accelerate are available in hard copy only in the offices of the residential college deans.


From the First-Year Handbook (Class of 2022)

Acceleration Credits for Advanced Work at Yale

An acceleration credit (the equivalent of one course credit) may be used to complete the bachelor’s degree in fewer than eight terms. Acceleration credits may be earned by completing a designated advanced course during the first two terms of enrollment with a grade of B, B+, A–, or A. Acceleration credits are also awarded for high scores on certain AP tests.

Acceleration credit earned by completing advanced work during the first two terms of enrollment is in addition to the course credit earned. For example, a first-year student eligible to take PHYS 260 and PHYS 261 who completes both terms of that course with a grade of B, B+, A–, or A receives both course credit for PHYS 260 and PHYS 261 and two acceleration credits in physics. Courses that can yield such credit are listed in the middle column of the Table of Acceleration Credit, under the heading “Acceleration Credit Awarded for First-Year Courses.”

The award of acceleration credit based on advanced course work at Yale is possible only for courses completed during the first two terms of enrollment. For this reason, you should select your first-year courses carefully. Do not, however, let the desire to earn acceleration credit override all others factors in your course selection. It is clearly unwise to sacrifice a potentially interesting course just for the sake of earning acceleration credit. In practice, relatively few students choose to graduate in fewer than eight terms of enrollment. Usually only a small fraction of those eligible to accelerate by one or two terms do so.

In brief:

  • Acceleration credit may be earned only during a student’s first two terms of enrollment.
  • Acceleration credit will be awarded only for the first course taken in any subject (except economics and English).
  • To earn acceleration credit, a student must receive a grade of B, B+, A–, or A in the course. Other grades and marks of CR do not lead to acceleration credit.
  • Although Yale does not award course credit to students who took college courses while they were in high school, a student may earn acceleration credit by satisfactorily completing an advanced course in a number of subjects during the first two terms of enrollment.

Acceleration Policy

If you accelerate at Yale, you do not skip your first year; you take fewer courses in order to graduate sooner. Yale does not grant sophomore status to any entering first-year student.

There are two reasons for this acceleration policy. First, most courses are open to qualified first-year students, so there is no typical first-year program. First-year students take courses at varying levels depending on interest and preparation. Second—and more important—Yale’s acceleration policy allows you to spend at least one year at college before you decide whether or not you want to accelerate. This policy helps you make an informed decision about acceleration once you know Yale’s resources and have a clearer view of your capacities and your academic and personal goals. You may petition to accelerate by one term during your sophomore or junior year; you may petition to accelerate by two terms during your sophomore year or the first half of your junior year. In each case, you must meet the deadline given in the Academic Regulations section of the Yale College Programs of Study.

Award of Acceleration Credit Based on Advanced Placement Test Scores

An acceleration credit, the equivalent of one course credit, may be used to complete the bachelor’s degree in fewer than eight terms. Acceleration credits may be awarded on the basis of AP test scores. The Table of Acceleration Credit gives the specific criteria for the award of acceleration credit based on AP scores.

Students may receive acceleration credits by earning scores comparable to AP test scores on such tests as the International Baccalaureate (IB) higher-level examinations or the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-level examinations. In subjects for which an AP score of 5 earns acceleration credit, a score of 7 on IB higher-level exams, or A on A-levels, is required.

  • For an AP test score to earn acceleration credit, you must have taken the test while you were in secondary school.
  • You will forfeit acceleration credit in a subject if, in any term at Yale, you take a course that is the equivalent of the work for which you received that credit. In general, taking a course numbered lower than the lowest-numbered course awarding acceleration credit will result in the forfeit of acceleration credit in that subject. If, for example, your high score on the AP Calculus BC test gives you two acceleration credits on entrance, you will forfeit both credits by taking MATH 112; you will lose one by taking MATH 115. Courses that result in the forfeit of acceleration credit are listed in the third column of the Table of Acceleration Credit.
  • In some subjects, such as economics, a high score on the AP test does not in itself give you acceleration credits. But the AP test score may qualify you to enroll in intermediate-level courses, by which you may earn acceleration credits during the first two terms of enrollment. The Table of Acceleration Credit gives the acceleration criteria for each department.
  • You may earn acceleration credit in a subject either because you received a high score on AP tests or because you did advanced work at Yale, but not both ways. If, for example, you have two acceleration credits in physics on the basis of your AP scores, you do not earn any more by taking PHYS 260PHYS 261.

Eligibility for Acceleration

Students have considerable latitude in determining when to petition to accelerate, although the deadline each term is the last day of classes before reading period begins (refer to the calendar in the Yale College Programs of Study). The eligibility requirements for petitioning during various terms are given in the following tables.

Acceleration by One Term
Acceleration by One Term Minimum Total Credits Minimum Yale Course Credits Activated Acceleration Credits
In the third term 12 8 4
In the fourth term 16 12 4
In the fifth term 21 17 4
In the sixth term 26 22 4
Acceleration by Two Terms
Acceleration by Two Terms Minimum Total Credits Minimum Yale Course Credits Activated Acceleration Credits
In the third term 17 8 9
In the fourth term 21 12 9
In the fifth term 26 17 9

Summary of Some Important Acceleration Rules

The rules governing the use of acceleration credits, explained in the Academic Regulations section of the Yale College Programs of Study, are complex, and exceptions are not allowed. If you are considering acceleration, you should make a point of reading the full text of the subsection Acceleration Policies. A summary of some of the important rules regarding acceleration follows.

  • You may not use acceleration credit toward the 36-course-credit requirement for the bachelor’s degree, unless you enroll in fewer than eight terms at Yale.
  • You may not use acceleration credit to reduce the number of courses you take, if you enroll for eight terms.
  • You may not count acceleration credits toward any of the distributional requirements at Yale, including the foreign language requirement.
  • In a yearlong course sequence (e.g., PHYS 260 and PHYS 261), if your first-term grade is a B– or below, you will not receive acceleration credit for the sequence, regardless of your second-term grade.
  • To acquire a six- or seven-term degree at Yale, your final term of enrollment must be a spring term.

Acceleration credits earned as a result of courses you took during your first year, AP scores, or scores on IB examinations are automatically added to your academic record before your sophomore year. All other scores must be reported to the University Registrar’s Office and will be entered on an as-requested basis.

Table of Acceleration Credit

The table below shows how you gain and lose acceleration credit. In the left column are the criteria for granting acceleration credit based on AP scores. In the middle column are the courses whose successful completion—in the first year with a grade of B, B+, A–, or A—yields acceleration credit. In the right column are the courses resulting in the forfeit of acceleration credit.

Two is the maximum number of acceleration credits that can be earned in any subject.

In general, acceleration credit in a subject is forfeited by completing any course (other than a laboratory) with a lower number than the lowest-numbered course earning acceleration credit in the subject. Courses in this table were offered in 2017–2018 or are expected to be offered in 2018–2019. Except where noted, one acceleration credit is forfeited for each course credit earned in courses listed in the third column.

The University reserves the right to modify this table to reflect current course offerings.

Table of Acceleration Credit
  Acceleration Credit Awarded for AP Scores Acceleration Credit Awarded for First-Year Courses Courses Resulting in the Forfeit of Acceleration Credit
Art None. None. None.
Biology None. None. None.
Chemistry None. 1 credit for CHEM 167; 2 credits for CHEM 174CHEM 175CHEM 220CHEM 221CHEM 230CHEM 252CHEM 332, or CHEM 333. If 2 acceleration credits awarded: 2 lost by CHEM 161CHEM 163, or CHEM 165, or any course numbered CHEM 109 or lower; 1 lost by CHEM 167. If 1 acceleration credit awarded: 1 lost by CHEM 161CHEM 163, or CHEM 165.
Computer Science None. 1 credit for CPSC 201 or CPSC 223; 2 credits for CPSC 323. If 1 acceleration credit awarded: 1 lost by CPSC 112. If 2 awarded: 2 lost by CPSC 112, 1 lost by CPSC 201 or CPSC 223
Economics None. 1 credit in microeconomics for ECON 121 or ECON 125; 1 credit in macroeconomics for ECON 122or ECON 126. Microeconomics credit lost by ECON 108ECON 110, or ECON 115; macroeconomics credit lost by ECON 111 or ECON 116.
English 1 credit for 5 on either AP English Lang and Comp or AP English Lit and Comp tests. 1 credit for ENGL 120 or ENGL 121; 1 credit for 1 term, 2 credits for 2 terms of ENGL 125ENGL 126ENGL 127ENGL 128ENGL 129ENGL 130, or DRST 001DRST 002. ENGL 114ENGL 115.
Foreign Languages Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish only: 2 credits for 5 on AP test. No additional credit for multiple tests in a single language. All other languages: None. All languages listed in first column: 2 credits for a scheduled L5 course. All languages listed in first column: 2 acceleration credits lost for L1, L2, L3, L1-L2 or L3-L4 course; 1 lost for L4 course.
History None. None. None.
History of Art 1 credit for 5 on AP test in Art History. None. HSAR 112HSAR 115.
Mathematics 1 credit for 5 on AP Calculus AB test; 1 credit for 4 on Calculus BC test; 2 credits for 5 on BC test. 1 credit for MATH 115MATH 116, or MATH 118; 2 credits for 120 or higher-numbered courses (except MATH 190MATH 290, and multiple-titled courses). If 2 acceleration credits awarded: 2 lost by any course numbered MATH 112 or lower; 1 lost by MATH 115MATH 116, or MATH 118. If 1 awarded: 1 lost by any course numbered 112 or lower.
Music 1 credit for 5 on AP Music Theory test. 2 credits for MUSI 210MUSI 211or course numbered 301-311. MUSI 110, MUSI 112.
Physics 1 credit for 5 on either AP Physics C test, with 5 on AP Calculus AB test or 4 or 5 on Calculus BC test. 2 credits for 5 on both parts of Physics C test with requisite score on Calculus AB or BC test. No credit for AP Physics 1 or 2 tests. 2 credits for PHYS 260PHYS 261or for course numbered PHYS 400 or higher. If 1 acceleration credit awarded, 1 lost, and if 2 acceleration credits awarded, 2 lost, by any course numbered PHYS 201 or lower.
Political Science None. None. None.
Psychology None. None. None.
Statistics & Data Science None. None. None.