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CALS Student Schedule Requirements

A legal CALS Schedule

A student must be enrolled in the following to maintain a legal CALS Schedule and to maintain good academic standing:

  • A minimum of 12 academic credits per semester is required to be a full-time student in good academic standing. NOTE: Students must enroll in an average of 15 credits per semester to be on track to graduate in 8 semesters.
  • Students must enroll in at least one CALS course each semester until 55 CALS credits have been successfully completed.
  • Review or supplemental courses (1000 to 1099 level courses and Physical Education (PE) courses) do not count toward the 12 credit minimum required for full-time status.
  • Freshman may not enroll in more than 18 credits, not included PE or review/supplemental courses and are limited to one S-U optional course per semester.

Pre-enrollment defined

Students pre-enroll during the fall or spring semester for the next semester. Dates are announced in advance and are posted on Student Center and at https://registrar.cornell.edu//calendar. Students are expected to meet with their faculty advisor before pre-enrolling to affirm that the courses they plan to take will ensure satisfactory progress toward a degree. Advisors approach pre-enrollment and add/drop differently. Students should be sure they know their advisor’s preferences. New students and transfer students pre-enrolling over the summer should follow the guidelines sent by their college about choosing classes. They will have an opportunity to meet with their advisors when they arrive on campus.

Course Add/Drop

Students may adjust their schedules during add/drop periods at the beginning of each semester. Courses may be added, dropped, or changed through Student Center.  Professional schools, the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, and First-Year Writing Seminars may have different course enrollment and add/drop policies. Address questions about permission-only courses and adding or dropping a specific course to the registrar in the college offering the course.

Auditing Courses

Graduate students and students taking classes through the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions may choose to audit classes. The classes and grades will appear on the students’ official transcript. Undergraduate students may not audit classes.

How do I add a course that requires permission?

If you need to add a course that is listed as "by permission only"

  • Contact the department/professor to let them know you are interested in the course.
  • Show up to the first day of class with a paper add/drop form from the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall.
  • Obtain the required approvals and signatures.
  • Return it to the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall, for processing.
  • It is possible that once a department is contacted they will provide you with an electronic permission number to enroll through student center.

Remember that you are not officially enrolled in the course until the paper add/drop form is processed by the CALS Registrar.

Credit Hour Definition

Cornell interprets and adheres to New York State Education Department’s definition of a credit hour as follows: A student will receive one credit by satisfactorily completing a course that requires at least fifteen (15) hours of instruction and at least thirty (30) hours of supplementary assignments. Hours are adjusted proportionately for other formats of study, e.g., laboratory, studio, research, problem-based learning, and independent study. On average, there should be three (3) hours of work per week per credit. For students taking fifteen (15) credits per semester, this translates into an approximate work-week of forty-five (45) hours

Entering your Courses

Students use Student Center to request classes for the upcoming semester during the pre-enrollment period and to add or drop classes for the current semester during the add/drop period.  More information about enrolling in classes is available from the University Registrar.