The M.B.A. Curriculum
The Yale School of Management (SOM) offers a two-year, full-time program leading to the degree of Master of Business Administration. A Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or equivalent undergraduate degree is requisite for admission to the M.B.A. program. The program requires two years of full-time study in residence and comprises both course work and non-course activities.
In the first year, students devote the majority of their time to the core courses and are also required to participate in the orientation curriculum, required pre-term work, and other degree requirements. In the summer following the first year, students continue their management training through internships or other appropriate activity, in fulfillment of the Summer Requirement. In the second year, elective courses complete requirements for the degree. See M.B.A. Degree Requirements in this chapter.
Yale SOM also offers a twenty-two-month M.B.A. program for working professionals; see the chapter M.B.A. for Executives Program for requirements and procedures specific to that program.
The Core Curriculum
Traditional functional management disciplines are integrated in an innovative core curriculum designed to reflect the contexts encountered by today’s leaders and to better prepare students to navigate the increasingly complex global economy. Courses in the first-year curriculum are taught in two segments: Orientation to Management and Organizational Perspectives.
Orientation to Management
The first segment of the core curriculum, Orientation to Management, introduces students to essential concepts and skills. Courses include Managing Groups and Teams, Global Virtual Teams, Basics of Accounting, Probability Modeling and Statistics, Basics of Economics, Modeling Managerial Decisions, Power and Politics, and Introduction to Negotiation. A student may be granted exemption from Probability Modeling and Statistics, Basics of Economics, and/or Basics of Accounting by taking an exam designed and evaluated by the instructor of the course. Each exam will be offered only once, before the start of the fall term, and must be taken on site at Yale SOM. Students must score the equivalent of Honors (H) or High Honors (HH) on the exam to qualify for exemption from the respective course.
The heart of the first-year curriculum is a series of multidisciplinary, team-taught courses called Organizational Perspectives that teach students to draw on a broad range of information, tools, and skills to develop creative solutions and make strategic decisions. These courses include Employee, Innovator, Operations Engine, Sourcing and Managing Funds, Competitor, Customer, Investor, The Global Macroeconomy, and State and Society.
Fundamental frameworks and concepts are often taught through multimedia “raw” cases and group assignments on topics drawn directly from real-world challenges facing business, government, and nonprofit organizations.
The final Organizational Perspectives course, The Executive, presents students with a series of complex, interdisciplinary case studies, many of them involving cross-national or global business challenges. These cases require students to draw on the subject matter learned in the other Organizational Perspectives courses.
Global Studies Requirement
M.B.A. students are required to complete the Global Studies Requirement (GSR) before they graduate. The requirement is met by completing, at any time before graduation, at least one of the following:
- An International Experience course
- A Global Network Week
- A Global Network Course
- A Global Social Entrepreneurship course
- A term-long International Exchange with a partner school
The International Experience (IE) is a faculty-led course that bears 4 units of academic credit and includes, in addition to in-class lectures and seminars, travel to a country or region of the world to meet with business, government, and nonprofit leaders. Enrollment in the IE is facilitated via the regular course auction used for electives.
Students who withdraw from enrollment in an IE course will be responsible for assuming any associated nonrecoverable costs incurred by SOM and will lose the associated GSA funding. All requests for modification to these cancellation charges must be approved by the assistant dean on a case-by-case basis. SOM will not reimburse students for any expenses incurred related to travel arrangements.
The International Exchange allows students to spend one term studying abroad as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.B.A. degree. Specifically, Yale SOM students are permitted to spend the fall or spring term of the second year studying at an approved academic institution. A list of exchange partners and details about the application process are available from Academic Affairs and Student Life or on the SOM portal. Students can petition on an ad hoc basis for an exchange with any Global Network partner.
While abroad, students will be evaluated on the exchange partner’s grading scale. Courses completed successfully will appear on the SOM transcript with an indication that the credits were completed abroad. Students will not be assigned grades based on the SOM grading scale. Students are required to speak with the SOM registrar regarding their specific course schedule and course load while abroad to ensure they meet all SOM requirements.
Students selected to participate in the exchange program are expected to attend the exchange program in its entirety and participate fully. Students who withdraw from the International Exchange program after they have accepted a place in it will lose the GSA funding associated with the exchange.
Exchange participants are expected to be ambassadors for SOM and to represent the School well. While abroad, students are expected to uphold the highest standards of professional behavior. Student conduct while abroad remains subject to the SOM Honor Code.
For additional information, see Global Studies Financial Support in the chapter Tuition and Fees.
Between the first and second years of the program, students are required to further their management education, normally by obtaining firsthand management experience through employment or internship. This requirement may also be fulfilled by completing relevant course work at Yale or another approved institution of higher learning, pursuing entrepreneurial activities according to an approved plan, or completing another approved alternate activity.
Elective courses, chosen from the offerings described in the chapter Courses for 2019–2020, or from the approved offerings in other Yale schools and departments, complete the course requirement for the M.B.A. degree.
M.B.A. Degree Requirements
Degree requirements are designed and administered to ensure the integrity of the M.B.A. degree program. Any exception to the requirements must be approved by the faculty. The requirements fall into the following areas: Enrollment Requirement, Number of Course Units, Timing Requirement, Distribution of Courses, and the Quality Standard. See Academic Policies in this chapter for information on the Yale School of Management grading system and definitions of the grades referenced below.
To qualify for the M.B.A. degree, a student must at all times meet the conditions to continue as a degree candidate and must meet all requirements as follows:
The M.B.A. must be completed in four consecutive terms of full-time study, unless a student receives advance permission from the assistant dean to take a leave of absence. A student enrolled in a joint-degree program is required to maintain continuous, full-time enrollment throughout the program and to complete degree requirements within the normal period specified for the program in the appropriate joint-degree agreement, unless granted a leave of absence. Students enrolled in the Silver Scholars program are expected to complete the M.B.A. program in three consecutive years, with a one-year full-time internship after the first year of the core M.B.A. program, unless an extended internship is approved by the assistant dean.
Number of Course Units
A student must:
- Achieve credit, i.e., a grade of Pass or higher, in 72 units of course work (52 units for joint-degree students), of which 34.5 are normally earned in first-year core courses.
- Enroll in and receive a grade in a minimum of 16 units of course work each term. Taking a course overload in any term does not excuse a student from the 16 unit minimum in any other term.
To be permitted to enroll for the second year of the M.B.A. program, a student must have received grades in all first-year core courses.
Distribution of Courses
To graduate, a student must:
- Achieve credit in each of the following core courses:
- Managing Groups and Teams (1 unit)
- Basics of Accounting (2 units)
- Basics of Economics (2.5 units)
- Probability Modeling and Statistics (2 units)
- Modeling Managerial Decisions (2 units)
- Power and Politics (2 units)
- Competitor (2 units)
- Customer (2 units)
- Investor (2 units)
- Sourcing and Managing Funds (2 units)
- Global Virtual Teams (2 units)
- Introduction to Negotiation (1 unit)
- The Global Macroeconomy (2 units)
- Employee (2 units)
- Operations Engine (2 units)
- State and Society (2 units)
- Innovator (2 units)
- The Executive (2 units)
- Complete the leadership elective requirement (courses that comprise the leadership elective options are listed on the SOM portal).
- Complete the Global Studies Requirement (as described above in M.B.A. Curriculum).
- Achieve credit in at least 37.5 units of elective courses as necessary to meet the 72-unit course requirement.
See Academic Standards in the chapter Rights and Responsibilities of Students.
Remediation of Failing Grades in Core Courses
A student who fails a core course must remediate the failing grade either by retaking the course or through alternate activity as specified by the instructor and the assistant dean. In no case will a grade higher than Pass be recorded when a failed core course is remediated.
A student is required to remediate failing grades in all core courses to graduate from the program.
Students are expected to attend classes regularly, be on time, and be prepared to contribute to class discussion. If religious observance, illness, or a personal emergency will prevent a student from attending a class, the instructor and the assistant dean should be notified in advance whenever possible. If the circumstances make advance notice impossible, the student should notify the instructor and assistant dean as soon as possible after the missed class. Such notification must be given within a week of the absence. The student must make arrangements with a classmate to get notes and copies of class handouts.
If a student will be out of class for an extended period due to a personal or family emergency or because of illness or a medical issue, the student must first contact the assistant dean.
If any circumstance will cause a student to miss more than two weeks of classes within a single term, the student will be directed to take a leave of absence for the term. Students facing a situation that may result in missing more than two weeks of classes should contact the assistant dean. See the chapter General Information for more information on Leaves of Absence.
Using cell phones, browsing the Internet, or reading e-mail during class distracts the instructor and classmates and interrupts the learning experience. Cell phones and other electronic devices are to be turned off during class. Laptops and tablets are not to be used in the classroom unless explicitly permitted by the instructor.
Students are expected to take all exams at the scheduled time. Exams may be rescheduled with advance permission of the assistant dean only in exceptional circumstances such as a religious observance, incapacitating illness, or serious family emergency. Travel arrangements, mild illness, recruiting activity, case competitions, conferences, and the like are not acceptable reasons to change an exam time.
If there is a need to change the date or time of an exam, the student is to contact the assistant dean before the scheduled exam begins. In case of illness, the student will be required to provide written confirmation from a healthcare professional on the staff of Yale Health. An alternate exam date will be determined by the assistant dean in consultation with the instructor.
Incomplete Course Work
Students are expected to complete all assignments by the deadlines established by the instructor. Marks of Incomplete are rarely approved, and only in cases where incapacitating illness or serious family emergency prevents the student from completing class work on time. A student who anticipates a problem should contact the assistant dean before the last day of class. If the assistant dean approves an Incomplete, the mark must be converted to a grade no later than sixty days after the date on which grades for the term are due. If no grade has been received by that date, a grade of Fail will be recorded unless an extension is granted by the assistant dean.
There are five grades at Yale SOM: High Honors, Honors, Proficient, Pass, and Fail. The grade distribution that instructors use, and the policy with respect to the reporting of grades on official transcripts, are described below.
HH: High Honors. Up to top 10 percent of class. Reported on transcript.
H: Honors. Next 25 percent. Reported on transcript.
PR: Proficient. Next 55 percent. Not reported on transcript.
P: Pass. Lowest 10 percent in core courses; guideline of 5 percent in electives. Not reported on transcript.
F: Fail. An absolute standard; no minimum requirement. To the extent it is used, the F grade counts toward the 10 percent Pass category. Not reported on transcript.*
Once grades are officially recorded, they may not be changed except in cases in which a mathematical error has been made in computing the grade or a clerical error has been made in recording it. Students seeking correction to a grading error must contact the instructor within two weeks (ten working days) from the receipt of the grade.
If a student takes a course in another school at Yale, the SOM registrar will ask the instructor to submit the grade according to the SOM grade scale.
*F grades in core courses require remediation. The failed core course is not reflected on the official transcript until remediated. Elective courses with F grades are not reflected on the official transcript. Students must replace failed electives with other electives to meet total credit requirements for graduation.
Second-year M.B.A. students register for fall-term Yale SOM elective courses during the summer, and for spring-term SOM elective courses late in the fall term. Students are permitted to rearrange their elective course selections during an Add/Drop period at the beginning of each term. Students will have one week at the start of the term to add and drop courses. After the Add/Drop period, students may not change their course schedule except by completing a Late Add/Drop Form, which requires the approval of the registrar; dropping a course after the Add/Drop period also requires permission of the instructor. In addition, a late fee of $25 per transaction will be charged to the student making approved schedule changes after the deadline. No course may be dropped after half the class sessions for a course have been held.
Students may not be enrolled in courses that overlap in time with one another. At the end of the Add/Drop period, all students with course conflicts will be removed from one of the overlapping courses by the SOM registrar.
If a student is enrolled in a course at the end of the Add/Drop period, but does not complete the work of the course and does not receive the appropriate permission either to drop the course or to receive an Incomplete (see Incomplete Course Work, above), a grade of Fail will be recorded. No student may receive credit for a course that the student has previously audited.
Students wishing to enroll in more than 24 units of courses per term must obtain approval from the assistant dean.
Independent Reading and Research
This course provides an opportunity for students and faculty to work together on projects of mutual interest outside the structure of normal courses. Each independent project must have a sponsor who is a member of the Yale full-time faculty. Students must submit a Petition for Independent Study that includes the project proposal and the faculty sponsor’s signature. The proposal must indicate the means by which the student’s performance is to be evaluated (e.g., weekly assignments, final paper, etc.), as well as the scope of the project. A project will be assigned a course number of MGT 690 and can be worth up to 4 units. No more than 4 units of Independent Reading and Research may be undertaken in a term without the permission of the assistant dean. The assistant dean must also approve the project before the course is entered on the student’s record. Forms are due within the first two weeks of the term in which the project will take place. Late add or drop fees will apply for changes made after this date. Petition forms are available on the SOM portal and from the registrar.
Yale SOM students who take courses offered by another school at Yale University must comply with any enrollment procedures, restrictions, deadlines, and/or fees imposed by the school offering the course. In addition, the student must file the appropriate forms in the School of Management, as described below.
Students wishing to enroll in a course in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences or in one of the other professional schools at Yale must receive permission from the course instructor. Enrollment in a Law School course also requires authorization from the registrar of the Law School. Once the appropriate permissions have been obtained, the student should add the course online using the SOM Late Add/Drop Form.
Students may receive credit toward the M.B.A. degree for Yale College courses only if such credit has been authorized in advance by the assistant dean. Petition forms for requesting credit for undergraduate courses are available on the SOM portal or from Academic Affairs and Student Life. The course will not be posted on the student’s record until credit has been authorized.
In some schools, students may be offered the individual option of taking a course on a Pass/Fail or Credit/D/Fail basis. SOM students are not permitted to elect such an option.
Students are not permitted to enroll in courses outside Yale University. Furthermore, with the exception of approved courses taken as part of the International Exchange, no credit will be given by the School for any course taken outside Yale University during the period of the student’s enrollment in the M.B.A. program.
The credit to be awarded for courses offered by Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, or by one of the other professional schools at Yale will be determined by the registrar, in consultation with the assistant dean. Courses offered by Yale College and the Graduate School typically carry 4 units of credit at SOM. Enrollment in an undergraduate course for M.B.A. credit typically requires additional work for the course.
Students may, with the permission of the instructor, audit Yale SOM elective courses or courses in another school in Yale University. The normal expectation for auditors is attending all class meetings; instructors may set additional conditions. Audited classes will appear on the transcript only if the instructor certifies that the conditions for auditing have been met. Auditing of SOM core courses is not permitted. No student may take for credit a course that the student has previously audited.
Any person who is not a degree candidate at Yale University and who wishes to audit an M.B.A. course must obtain written permission from the SOM faculty member teaching the course and the assistant dean. SOM does not issue transcripts for courses audited under this arrangement. The charge for non-Yale students to audit a course is one-ninth of the SOM tuition for the year.
At the end of each course, students are asked to evaluate the course and instructor. The course evaluation results are given to the instructor, relevant department chairs, assistant dean for academic affairs and student life, deputy dean, and dean of the School, and the aggregate results are available for review on the SOM portal after the grades have been submitted.
Yale SOM offers joint-degree study with certain master’s programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and with a number of the other professional schools at Yale. At present, these are Architecture, Divinity, Drama, Forestry & Environmental Studies, Law, Medicine, and Public Health. These agreements make it possible for a student to complete two degrees in at least a year less than would be required if the two programs were taken sequentially. SOM also offers opportunities for joint-degree study with doctoral programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Information about these programs, including enrollment and degree requirements, is available on the SOM portal.
Admission decisions for joint-degree programs are made independently by the two schools. Students may apply for concurrent admission to both schools. Alternatively, students may apply for admission to the other school during the first year at SOM. Students already enrolled in one of the other schools with which SOM has joint-degree program agreements may apply to SOM in their first or second year of study, as specified in the appropriate agreement.
The normal pattern for joint-degree candidates in programs totaling three years of study is to spend the entire first year almost exclusively in one school and the entire second year almost exclusively in the other, combining courses from both schools and completing requirements for both degrees during the third year. Candidates in joint-degree programs totaling four years of study (Architecture, Drama, and the four-year Law degree) normally spend two full years almost exclusively in those schools, one full year in SOM, and one year in combined study. Candidates for the three-year joint degree program with Yale Law School will complete two years at the Law School and one year at SOM. Candidates for joint degrees in Medicine normally spend three years exclusively in the School of Medicine, one year almost exclusively in SOM, and one year in combined study.
Students in joint-degree programs are not permitted to enroll in SOM core courses before matriculating at SOM. They must maintain full-time enrollment in both schools at all times. They must satisfy degree requirements in both schools and must receive both degrees simultaneously. In all joint-degree programs, students must enroll in at least two terms of course work at Yale after completing the M.B.A. core. In all joint-degree programs other than the three-year J.D./M.B.A. degree program, joint-degree students are required to spend three terms of residency at SOM and pay three terms of tuition to SOM.
Students in all joint-degree programs except the three-year J.D./M.B.A. degree are required to complete 52 units at SOM to satisfy the M.B.A. degree requirements. At least 35.5 units of grades of Proficient or higher grades must be listed on the SOM transcript; 17 or more units of Pass or Fail grades will be grounds for academic dismissal. Joint-degree students completing their core year of study in the M.B.A. program are subject to the same quality standards as all other students (see the Academic Standards section of this bulletin). Students in the three-year J.D./M.B.A. degree should contact the SOM registrar for specific degree requirements.
The School of Management and the schools in which M.B.A. students are enrolled for joint degrees regularly share information about the status of the enrolled students. Shared information may include course registrations and grades, disciplinary actions, or any other information that is normally part of a student’s record. In addition, the academic officers of the two programs may share other information that they believe relevant to understanding a student’s overall performance.
The School of Management and the schools in which M.B.A. students are enrolled for joint degrees separately apply their rules governing a student’s academic performance. In applying these standards, either school may consider the student’s performance in all of the student’s course work. A student whose performance does not meet the requirements and standards of a program may be advised or required to withdraw, or may be dismissed from that program. Such a withdrawal or dismissal does not automatically require dismissal or withdrawal from the other program.
The School of Management and the schools in which M.B.A. students are enrolled for joint degrees jointly apply their rules governing a student’s conduct. A charge of academic dishonesty in a course shall normally be handled by the school offering that course. If the course is jointly offered by the two schools, the charge will normally be handled by the school granting credit for that course.
A charge of general misconduct not related to a particular course or to an event in one of the schools will normally be handled by the school in which the student is currently registered. Jurisdiction over any case may be transferred if the disciplinary officials or committees of both schools agree. The final determination of fact, and any penalty, shall be communicated to the appropriate officials of both schools. A penalty of suspension, expulsion, or loss of course credit will apply to both degree programs.
Silver Scholars Program
The Silver Scholars Program admits select college seniors to a three-year M.B.A. program at Yale SOM. These students participate in a one- or two-year full-time internship after completing the first year of the core M.B.A. program.* Silver Scholars are expected to focus full attention on their employment responsibilities during the internship, though they retain their access to all SOM resources during that year. They then return to campus to complete their M.B.A. course work. On rare occasions, the assistant dean may grant special permission for a student to extend the internship by one additional year. Students wishing to extend the internship must petition for a leave of absence (see Leaves of Absence in the chapter General Information). The request must be submitted no later than the first day of classes in the term they are scheduled to return. Students who fail to register for the term following the end of the one-year internship and who do not have permission to take a leave of absence will be considered to have withdrawn from the M.B.A. program.
*International students may be eligible for F-1 curricular practical training (CPT) for the second year of the program/first year of internship. If pursuing a second year of full-time internship, international students are not eligible for CPT and are not eligible for F-1 student status.
To apply to the Yale School of Management, applicants must have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or the international equivalent and must have taken either the GMAT or the GRE. Applicants must also complete the online application form (including essay) and video questions, provide transcripts from every college or university attended, submit two professional recommendations, complete the behavioral assessment, and pay a tiered application fee that ranges from $125 to $250 [U.S.].
- Round 1: Tuesday, September 10, 2019
- Round 2: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
- Round 3: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Each application is reviewed by two members of the Yale SOM Admissions Committee. Most applications are then brought to the entire committee and decided as a group.
During the admissions process, Yale SOM takes a holistic approach in reviewing applications; no one aspect of an application alone is determinative. The School is committed to assembling a student body that is diverse along many dimensions and demonstrates a commitment to the School’s mission to educate leaders for business and society. In addition, the Admissions Committee is looking for applicants with a strong academic background, leadership potential, and professional experience who will add to the Yale SOM community, as well as the greater Yale University community.
An interview is required to be admitted to the Yale School of Management. Interviews are by invitation of the Admissions Committee. If an interview is offered, the candidate will be notified by e-mail. Applicants may be invited at any point in an application round.
Admissions decisions are released by the following dates:
- Round 1: Wednesday, December 4, 2019
- Round 2: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
- Round 3: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
On- and Off-Campus Events
Many prospective students feel that visiting campus is the best way to get a real sense of academic and student life at Yale SOM. Our campus visit program runs throughout the year. If a candidate is unable to visit campus, admissions officers also participate in many events across the globe, in addition to online events.