Yale has extended the test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants in the 2023-24 admissions cycle. Review Yale’s current policy on standardized testing.


Transfer Eligibility & Academic Guidelines


The Transfer Admissions Committee determines eligibility during the application evaluation process. A holistic review of an applicant’s postsecondary experience is required to determine if credits will transfer to Yale.

The following policies should guide a candidate’s choice about whether to apply for transfer admission: 

  • Eligible transfer students must have at least one year’s worth of transferable postsecondary credit before entering Yale College. One year is the equivalent of eight Yale course credits.
  • Transfer applicants are offered admission to begin with either sophomore or junior standing.
  • Yale does not offer admission to students with more than two years (eighteen Yale credits) worth of transferable undergraduate coursework. All Yale College students must complete at least two years of coursework (eighteen Yale credits) at Yale. 
  • Any college credits earned prior to high school graduation will not be evaluated as transferable credit. Students who are dual-enrolled in both a high school and a college program should apply for first-year admission.
  • Applicants who will have fewer than 8 transferable credits upon entering Yale should apply for first-year admission.
  • Yale College does not accept transfer applicants who already hold a bachelor’s degree.
  • Applicants with an interruption in their education of at least five years may consider applying through the the Eli Whitney Students Program.

Guidelines for Transferring Credit

To earn a bachelor’s degree, all Yale undergraduates complete a total of thirty-six credits. Most courses in Yale College are semester courses that carry one credit. Incoming transfer students may be eligible to transfer up to eighteen course credits earned at another institution and must complete a minimum of eighteen course credits at Yale. The Yale College Dean’s Office evaluates transcripts for all admitted transfer students to determine course transferability; courses that are similar to those available to Yale undergraduates are most likely to transfer. Admitted transfer students will receive an estimate of their transferable credits and the number of terms expected to complete a bachelor’s degree before replying to Yale’s offer of admission. Matriculating students receive a final transfer credit report after Yale receives an official final college transcript from the student’s previous institution.

Additional guidelines:

  • Non-Yale coursework must be completed at a fully accredited post-secondary institution.
  • Students must achieve a letter grade of A or B in at least three-quarters of non-Yale courses, with no grade lower than C in the remainder of the courses. Pass/Fail courses do not typically transfer to Yale.
  • Credit is not granted for Advanced Placement (AP) results; International Baccalaureate (IB) results; College Level Placement Exams (CLEP); or college credits earned while a student was enrolled in high school.
  • Online courses may be eligible for Yale credit under limited conditions. The courses must include regular, synchronous interaction with the instructor, as well as regular feedback. Online courses taken through Yale automatically transfer onto the Yale transcript. Online courses may not be applied towards a distributional requirement.

Distributional Requirements and Declaring a Major

Yale’s system of distributional requirements ensures diverse intellectual pursuits for all Yale College students while encouraging flexibility and freedom to expand on individual interests, explore new curiosities, and take academic risks. All students fulfill disciplinary area requirements by taking a minimum of two course credits in the humanities and arts, two course credits in the sciences, and two course credits in the social sciences. Students 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. Credits transferred from other colleges may be used to fulfill distributional requirements, with the approval of the appropriate Yale administrators.

Yale students generally declare a major by the end of sophomore year. While most majors are open to transfer students, some departments have specific rules or prerequisites that may prevent some transfer students from pursuing the major. Incoming transfer students who are granted second-semester sophomore or junior standing and are interested in a Yale major that requires a sophomore-year application are encouraged to communicate with the director of undergraduate studies in that major after being offered admission. Given the sequential nature of the several engineering curricula, prospective transfer students looking to major in engineering should complete a full sequence of college-level single-variable calculus (or higher) and a full sequence of college-level introductory physics.

Review the Yale College Programs of Study for detailed descriptions of the courses, majors, and academic regulations.

Transfer Program and the Eli Whitney Students Program

If you are eligible to apply to both the Transfer Admissions Program and the Eli Whitney Students Program, the chart below details a few key differences. Candidates may apply to either the Transfer Program or the Eli Whitney Students Program. They may not apply to both simultaneously.

Transfer Program

Eli Whitney Students Program

Education Interruption

None or minimal interruption

Typical interruption of five or more years

Required Testing

SAT or ACT (optional for fall 2023 applicants)


Credit Transfer

1-2 years transferable college credit

No transferable credit floor or ceiling


Full-time only

Full-time or part-time


On-campus housing available for single students

Limited number of graduate housing units available; most live off-campus

Financial Aid Eligibility

Need-based financial aid

Need-based financial aid

Financial Aid Coverage

Meet 100% of financial need; awards based on full cost of attendance

Meet 100% of financial need; awards based on full cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.