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Courses Taken Outside of Yale

Transferring Economics Credits to Yale

If you intend to take a term abroad or take summer courses outside of Yale and wish to transfer economics credits to Yale, you must discuss the relevant course syllabus with the Economics DUS before the end of the semester prior to taking the course. You are responsible for finding materials about the course.

The DUS may reject the course right away, saving you considerable time. The DUS may also be able to help you look for a better alternative, and guide you through some of the options at the place you want to visit. The DUS can’t guarantee you’ll get credit for a course before you take the course because it is impossible to determine whether a course is equivalent to Yale economics course until the course materials are reviewed. Nevertheless the DUS can help you avoid courses that are unlikely to get Yale credit.

Summary of the Main Points

  1. Consult the DUS about your plans before the end of the semester prior to taking any courses outside Yale. Provide the DUS with as much supporting material about the course as possible.
  2. Check the course meets Yale College Rules.
  3. Do not take “core” classes outside Yale.
  4. Courses outside Yale cannot be counted towards the math requirement or the senior requirement.
  5. You can count at most one summer course taken outside of Yale towards the major.
  6. Courses that are geared towards business/management and courses that have substantially overlapping content with an Econ course at Yale are unlikely to be approved.

If you are entering Yale as a transfer student, contact the economics undergraduate registrar for the proper forms to apply for transfer credit towards the economics major.  The criteria are the same as discussed above.

There are strict guidelines for transferring course credits to Yale. These divide into general Yale College rules for transfer credit; and specific guidelines relevant for Economics courses.

Yale College Rules on Transfer Credit

For the complete Yale College rules please see “Credit from other Universities” section in the Yale College Program of Study’s “Academic Regulations.”

Here are some highlights of those rules:

  1. There are limits on the number of outside credits that you can transfer. The usual limit is two but there are exceptions, for example, separate rules apply for the junior semester abroad program and for transfer students.
  2. Study undertaken in the US must be at a four-year accredited institution that grants a bachelor’s degree in the arts and sciences.
  3. A grade of A or B is expected. Credit cannot be given for a grade of D, or for any form of Pass/Fail option if the student had the option of taking the course for a grade.
  4. The contact hours in the class must equal or exceed those in the equivalent Yale class.

There are other detailed rules. All students intending to transfer credit should read them carefully.

Rules and Guidelines that are specific to Economics

Core Courses

It is a strict rule of the Economics department that core courses (intermediate microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics and econometrics) must be taken at Yale.

Econ&Math majors should also avoid taking Mathematical Economics courses outside of Yale.

Senior seminars

The senior requirement (two ECON courses numbered 400-491) cannot be fulfilled with courses taken outside of Yale.

Summer Courses

At most one summer course taken outside of Yale can be approved toward the Economics major at Yale.

Note: there is no limit on summer courses taken in the Yale Summer Session.

Courses taken at LSE

The London School of Economics is a popular choice for study abroad among Yale students, so it is useful to keep in mind the following: the DUS will approve only LSE courses in the Economics (EC) and Finance (FM) programs (except core courses). Courses in other LSE programs, such as accounting or management, will not be approved.

"Pre-business" Courses

You should be very wary of pre-business courses. Yale does not have a pre-business degree. The only business courses that will be given Yale economics credit are analytical courses suitable for an economics degree as part of a liberal-arts education. That said, there are courses (for example, serious finance courses taught as part of economics programs) that are appropriate for such a degree. In general, business-sounding courses will have to be judged by the DUS on a course-by-course basis. It is therefore essential that you discuss any such course with the DUS before the end of the semester prior to the course if you intend to get Yale credit for the course. Useful indications of the nature of a course are: the problem sets and exams assigned in the class; the text book that is used; and pre-requisites. Try to collect information on these beforehand.

Courses of which you should be especially wary include, first, those with words like business, marketing, accounting or management in the title. Some of these courses might be eligible for Yale credit but many will not. Second, avoid courses taught as part of business degrees rather than economics degrees. Again, there are exceptions, but many such courses will not be appropriate for Yale credit. Notice that most pre-business courses, even if they did count for general Yale credit, would only get credit toward the Economics major as “related credit” courses. And each major can only get at most one related course credit.

What the courses should require

Courses in topics or sub-fields of economics should require (at least) introductory economics as a pre-requisite. As always, there may be exceptions to the rule but they are rare.

Courses should require individual homework such as problem sets or papers. Avoid courses that use “multiple-choice” assignments.

Once I Have Taken the Course, What’s Next?

Do not delay on your return to Yale. Get the course submitted for approval during the first half of the first semester back at Yale. Delays tend to make it much harder to collect the materials needed to transfer the course.

After you complete the course (with a grade of B or better), send the transcript to your Dean’s office. Send a copy of this transcript and a copy of the course syllabus to the DUS and Economics Undergraduate Registrar. The DUS will evaluate the course for Economics major credit usually within a week. Note: Transfer credit is not included in the calculation of distinction.