The First Year…

Upon entrance into Yale University, each student is assigned to one of the fourteen residential colleges on campus. With this initial assignment, the first-year student encounters a team of three important advisors who will be helpful in answering questions and directing the student’s choice of classes.

First, each entering student is assigned a freshman counselor, who is a senior student living with the freshman class. The student counselor gives the freshmen a “student’s eye view” of the curriculum, courses and instructors. Valuable as this is, it should not substitute for the advice of a faculty advisor. This is particularly important for freshmen that are considering a major in science. The second advisor is also a member of the student’s residential college, is usually a faculty fellow of that student’s college, and is sometimes a member of the MCDB department. This faculty advisor is responsible for advising the student about fulfilling distributional requirements in the first year. The third person on the first-year advising team is, of course, the student’s residential college dean. The dean has ultimate authority over the student’s decisions for courses and programs of study. If the freshman advisor is not a member of a science department in Yale College, the student is strongly advised to consult with the director of undergraduate studies in the field of the student’s primary interest. There are also meetings for prospective science majors held in the fall before classes begin.

An important issue for prospective MCDB majors is to consider taking chemistry during the first year. This is because a number of courses, including some in MCDB, have prerequisites for 3 terms of chemistry followed by at least 1 term of biochemistry. An early start on this sequence can be important. If the student is going to take a second science course, it should be in the MCDB sequence. It is possible to postpone the laboratory for either biology or chemistry until the year after the course is taken, although this is not recommended. Math and physics can be taken in later years.