Transfer Program

Yale College welcomes a small number of transfer students each year.  Transfer students begin either the sophomore or junior year and must enroll at Yale for a minimum of two years (four terms) to qualify for a bachelor’s degree. Students may transfer from fully accredited two- or four-year institutions.

As competitive as the admissions process is for freshmen, the transfer process is even more so.  Yale receives more than 1,000 transfer applications each year, with spaces for only 20 to 30 students. While GPA is not the only factor that the admissions committee considers, the average college GPA of admitted transfer applicants is 3.8. The SAT or the ACT with Writing is required of all transfer applicants (there are some exceptions to this policy). Given the competitive nature of the transfer admissions process, candidates should have compelling reasons for attending Yale and should think carefully about whether Yale is the right fit for them.

The Admissions Committee meets once a year in the spring to consider all transfer applicants for the coming academic year. The transfer application deadline is March 1. Applicants will be notified of their admissions decisions by mid-May.

Use the links to the right to begin an application for transfer admission. Or, to read more about the Transfer Program, click on an item in the list below.

Who is Eligible to Transfer?

To be eligible to transfer, you must have a high school diploma or GED by June of the current academic year, and at least one year and no more than two years of transferable post-secondary-school college credit.*

  • If you are currently jointly enrolled in high school and college, you are not eligible for the transfer program, but should apply through the freshman admissions process.
  • If by the end of the current academic year you will have completed less than one year of full-time college study*, you should apply through the freshman admissions process.  If you are admitted as a freshman, work done after secondary school graduation but before matriculation at Yale may be accepted (up to a maximum of two course credits) with the approval of the appropriate director of undergraduate studies at Yale.
  • If you have received a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) or if by the end of the current academic year you will have completed more than two full years toward the degree, you are not eligible to transfer to Yale, nor may you apply through the freshman admissions process. (You may not voluntarily relinquish credits in order to qualify for consideration.)
  • If you are a non-traditional student and have taken a break from your education for five or more years, you may wish to consider Yale College’s Eli Whitney Students Program instead of the Transfer Program.

*For Yale’s purposes, a full year of college credit would be at least 8 transferable course credits (most courses in Yale College are term courses that carry one course credit).  Two full years mean a maximum of 18 transferable course credits. Please read the section below on Transferring Credit for more information. 

What Makes a Good Transfer Applicant?

Yale seeks to admit a small number of extraordinary transfer candidates each year. However, no simple profile of grades, scores, and interests can assure a transfer applicant admission to Yale. The two to three percent transfer admissions rate reflects space limitations at Yale and means that we must deny admission to most qualified applicants. Diversity within the student body is important, and the committee works very hard to select a class of able and contributing individuals from as broad a range of backgrounds as possible.

It is difficult to state in general terms what qualities will improve a transfer applicant’s chances of success, because those chances are unfortunately quite low, and we judge each application individually and holistically.

A transfer candidate’s academic strength is our first consideration. An applicant for transfer admission should have an outstanding academic record. The average GPA of admitted transfer students is usually 3.8 and above in a demanding selection of courses. 

Transfer candidates should also have particularly compelling and well-defined academic reasons for wishing to attend Yale.

Wanting to leave one’s current school is not a sufficient argument for admission to Yale. Transfer candidates should explain in their application essays how studying at Yale would give them an educational opportunity particular to their interests that could be experienced nowhere else.

The Admissions Committee also gives serious consideration to a transfer applicant’s motivation, curiosity, energy, leadership ability, and distinctive talents. The personal essays and evaluations from college faculty members, deans, and secondary school counselors provide a great deal of insight into these qualities. We hope to find students who have made significant contributions to their college and local community.

Transferring Credit

You may be eligible to transfer some or all of your prior college credits, up to a maximum of eighteen course credits.  Please note that most courses in Yale College are term courses that carry one course credit.  If you are offered admission to Yale College, the Yale College Dean’s Office will evaluate your transcript, and if the college courses you successfully completed at your prior institution are similar to those available to Yale undergraduates, those course credits will likely be transferable. You must have taken the coursework at a fully accredited post-secondary institution, such as a public or private college/ university that grants bachelor’s degrees or a community college that grants associate’s degrees.  Credit is not granted for online courses; Advanced Placement (AP) results; International Baccalaureate (IB) results; College Level Placement Exams (CLEP); or college credits earned while you were in high school.

At time of admission, you will receive an information packet that will include the number of terms Yale expects you to enroll to complete your bachelor’s degree and an estimate of the course credits Yale will allow you to transfer. The estimate will encompass only those courses that you have taken up to the fall term of the year of application to Yale. The Yale College Dean’s Office will provide a final transfer credit report if you choose to accept Yale’s offer of admission and after Yale receives your official final college transcript. You must achieve a grade of A or B in at least three-quarters of your non-Yale courses, and no lower than a C grade in the remainder.

Academic Requirements

To earn a bachelor’s degree from Yale College, all students must successfully complete a total of thirty-six course credits (most Yale College courses carry one course credit). You may transfer as many as eighteen course credits that you earned at another college or university.  At least eighteen of the course credits you apply towards a Yale bachelor’s degree must come from Yale courses.

The Academic Regulations of Yale College and the rules explained in the Undergraduate Regulations website govern all students, including transfer students.

Distributional Requirements

Yale’s curriculum challenges students to achieve both intellectual depth and breadth. Your major will let you delve deeply into a particular field of study. The Distributional Requirements will broaden your knowledge base and sharpen your analytic skills.

Credits transferred from other colleges may be used to fulfill distributional requirements, with the approval of the appropriate Yale administrators.  Students must fulfill disciplinary area requirements by taking no fewer than two course credits in the humanities and arts, two course credits in the sciences, and two course credits 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.

Academic Programs

Yale students generally declare their majors in their sophomore year or at the beginning of their junior years.  Students commonly tailor their major to their specific interests, and there are several interdisciplinary majors, which allow students to combine their interests into one major.

While most majors are open to transfer students, some departments have specific rules or prerequisites that prevent some transfer students from pursuing the major.  Incoming juniors, for example, are not normally eligible to apply to the Ethics, Politics and Economics major because the application to this major takes place in the fall term of a student’s sophomore year.  In addition, programs specifically for freshmen (e.g. Directed Studies, Perspectives on Science and freshman seminars), are not available to transfer students.  If you are interested in a particular academic department, you should acquaint yourself with the requirements of the major.


Once you matriculate, your primary academic adviser will be your Residential College Dean.  Other sources of academic advice include directors of undergraduate studies for your major or prospective major; advising services in the Writing Center, Science and Quantitative Reasoning Center, the Center for Language Study, and the Center for International and Professional Experience.

Yale College Programs of Study

The Yale College Programs of Study contains a detailed description of the courses offered in Yale College as well as the Academic Regulations of Yale College. The YCPS also contains a chapter on the Transfer program, which should be read by all interested candidates.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Yale College admits transfer students on the basis of academic and personal promise and without regard to their ability to pay.  This policy helps to ensure that Yale will always be accessible to talented students from the widest possible range of backgrounds.  Transfer students who are considering Yale can be confident that Yale’s generous financial aid program will enable them to attend and will ensure that the cost of education is within their means.  Financial aid is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents as well as to international students. Financial aid is awarded solely on the basis of financial need, and Yale meets 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need.  See the Yale Financial Aid Web site for more information about financial aid at Yale.

Tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year is $49,480, and fees for room and board are $15,170.

For more information, we encourage you to review the Transfer Student FAQs and the Related Links to the right

Contact Information

Please send inquiries regarding the Transfer Program to:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Transfer Program
P. O. Box 208234
New Haven, CT 06520-8234

Telephone: 203.432.9334
Fax: 203.436.9775