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Information on Filing Petitions

What is the Petitions process and why might I need to complete a petition?

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is committed to helping each student reach his or her full academic potential. Students are encouraged to give thoughtful consideration to their academic and personal goals leading them to take responsibility for their academic choices and decisions.

Students with extraordinary or extenuating circumstances that prevent meeting college standards (enrollment requirements, CALS distribution requirements, etc.) may be eligible to submit a petition to the Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions. College and University policies guide petition decisions. View the CALS graduation requirements and policies.

Please note: dissatisfaction with earned grades is NOT considered extenuating.

If a situation is causing distress you should meet with an advisor in CALS Student Services. Please schedule online: https://onlinesched.cals.cornell.edu.  You may also call 607-255-2257 or stop by 140 Roberts Hall to make an appointment.

BE/EnvE Students: Since BE/EnvE students receive a joint degree from CALS/CoE, they petition some issues through CALS and others through CoE. Hence these students should meet with their advisor or the BEE Student Services Office in 207 Riley-Robb Hall as a first step in any petition process.

Students may file a petition for the following circumstances:

  • Initiate or return from a leave of absence (pdf)
  • Change number of credits in a variable credit course
  • Add course after 2 week deadline
  • Withdraw from course after the drop deadline (meeting with Student Services advisor required. Please schedule online: https://onlinesched.cals.cornell.edu. You may also call 607-255-2257 or stop by 140 Roberts Hall to make an appointment.)
  • Retain full time status enrolled in 10 or 11 credits
  • Extension of deadline to complete grade of incomplete
  • Return to CALS after 5 year absence with permission of major/department

Petition requests are NOT permitted for:

  • Changes in grade option in current or past semester after 8 week deadline
    Exception: change to letter grade to meet major requirements
  • Retroactive course withdrawal request for previous semester(s)

How do I proceed with the Petitions process?

Most petitions are available online through the resources in Chatter. Petitions to complete a leave during a current semester or to request a withdrawal of a course after the deadline has passed will require a meeting with a Student Services advisor to determine if the student may petition. Meetings can be scheduled online (https://onlinesched.cals.cornell.edu) or by calling the office (607-255-2257).

Before submitting a petition to the committee, students are strongly encouraged to meet with his or her academic advisor to discuss individual circumstances and overall academic progress. Students who believe their extenuating circumstances require a petition may complete and submit a request.

Students with extenuating circumstances will be given a petition to submit to the committee. A student must present a compelling explanation of how extenuating circumstances have affected his or her academic performance by submitting a statement that details the request and the relevant extenuating circumstance with appropriate verification (e.g., doctor’s verification).

Students who submit a request to the committee for a withdrawal of a course, should continue attending that course, as petitions may be denied. If a petition is approved to withdraw from the course after the deadline a grade of "W" will be entered on the student’s official record.