Study Abroad Policies and Credit Transfer

To apply for a Global Learning or CALS Exchange program, students must:

  • be a registered, full-time student;
  • be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or above. Keep in mind that many programs have their own GPA requirements;
  • have attended a CALS Study Abroad 101 Session. These meetings cover CALS policies and factors to consider when selecting a program, the study abroad application and approval process, and other important information;
  • choose a Cornell-approved program. Search here for all on- and off-campus global opportunities. Be sure to filter your search by “Agriculture and Life Sciences” to see all CALS-approved programs! 
  • Receive approval to study abroad from your faculty advisor

While abroad, students are:

  • required to study the language of the host country in non-English-speaking countries;
  • expected to enroll for a full course load (equivalent to 15 credits at Cornell)
  • subject to CALS good academic standing requirements.
  • Not allowed to enroll in Cornell classes

Students will receive credit for courses:

  • that are letter-graded
  • for which an equivalent to letter grade of C or above is received
  • that are recorded on the official transcript from abroad (e.g. certificates are not eligible for credit)

Credit will not be awarded for:

  • courses taken as “pass/fail”
  • duplicate courses for which you have already received credit at Cornell
  • physical education (PE)
  • courses completed outside the home country in the fall or spring semester while on a leave of absence courses taken online or by distance learning

Transcript recording procedures

  • Credits obtained via a Global Learning program count towards the sixty (60) maximum transfer credits permitted; credits are limited to 15 credits per semester, 30 per academic year.
  • Credits obtained via a CALS Exchange program do not count towards the sixty (60 maximum transfer credits permitted; there is a possibility of earning more than 15 credits per semester. Students should consult with the CALS Exchange advisor for specific details.
  • The name of the program or university will be noted on the Cornell University official transcript.
  • Course titles and grades will appear on your official Cornell transcript.
  • For most programs, grades will not figure into your cumulative GPA (exceptions include Cornell in Rome).
  • Credits may transfer as CALS credit if the course is similar to coursework taught in CALS.
  • If a grade of C- or lower was earned, or a course was taken pass/fail, the Cornell transcript will note zero (0) credit and a grade of “U” for unsatisfactory.

Transfer students studying abroad

Transfer students are able to participate in the same study abroad opportunities as all CALS students.  For students with 45 or less transfer credits, studying abroad for a semester can fit into a Cornell degree quite seamlessly.  However, students with more than 45 transfer credits should discuss their individual situation with the CALS Study Abroad and Exchange Advisor. The CALS Exchange Program is a great option since credits earned abroad don’t count toward the transfer credit limit.

Seniors studying abroad

It is possible for CALS students to study abroad during their final semester as long as they can meet all graduation requirements. Students must complete a “Study Abroad in your final semester” petition (via DUST).  The following important issues should be kept in mind:

  • It can take around two months for study abroad transcripts to arrive at Cornell University and additional time for credits to be posted and applied towards your degree program, which may delay your actual date of graduation.
  • For students hoping to apply to graduate schools for the semester immediately following a study abroad program and Cornell graduation, students should ensure graduate schools understand that his/her final diploma and transcript from Cornell may not be available immediately.

Official Copies of Your Study Abroad Transcript

Contact your study abroad provider or host university for an official copy of your study abroad transcript. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Cornell University or CALS cannot release or issue one.

We recommend that students request multiple official transcripts for future use from their study abroad program or host university soon after completing their semester abroad.

Participate in a summer or winter program

Students who plan to study abroad during the summer or winter should complete a CALS Summer or Winter Study Abroad Participation and Course Approval form prior to leaving campus if they would like to obtain transfer credit upon return. Transfer credit policies apply to study abroad summer and winter credit and should be reviewed prior to application.