Non-Cornell (Transfer) Credit

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell University reserve the right to determine, in their sole discretion, whether course credit earned at other schools, either secondary or post-secondary, meet the College's and the University's academic standards and will, therefore, be eligible to be applied toward Cornell degree requirements.

Applicants and matriculated students should not assume that, because a particular course is taken at another accredited institution listed as a recommended course or a foundational course, will necessarily be eligible for Cornell credit.

Non-Cornell credit is defined as:

For Non-Cornell credit to be accepted by CALS, the coursework must :

  • be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States or the student's country of permanent residence;
  • the credits do not duplicate course work already completed at Cornell;
  • the credits have not been applied toward high school graduation requirements. (Please note, a student earns credit in high school for successfully completing the AP class.  If the student receives a sufficient score on their AP exam, the student will be given credit/exemption out of a course.)

Be equivalent in rigor to a Cornell course, as judged by:

  • course content and/or
  • the use of a textbook similar to that used in parallel Cornell course and/or
  • the use of examinations, writing assignments, projects, portfolios, or other submitted work that is substantially similar to those required in a similar Cornell course and/or
  • substantial similarity in meeting hours of the Cornell and non-Cornell course
  • the course is completed for a U.S. letter grade of "C" or better and
  • an official college transcript is sent directly to Cornell University

A student may apply a maximum of 60 non-Cornell credits towards their graduation requirements.

  • Students are limited to 15 AP credits or credits by exam (this includes all non-Cornell credit earned before matriculation as the first-year student from an accredited college/university)
  • Global Learning (not CALS Exchange) credits are limited to 15 credits per semester, 30 per academic year
  • If more than 60 non-Cornell credits have been completed, the CALS Student Services staff will work with the student to determine which credits best fulfill CALS graduation requirements

Non-Cornell Credit can be applied in the following ways:

  • Non-Cornell courses that are similar to courses offered in CALS are recorded as CALS credits and count toward the minimum of 55 CALS credits required for graduation
  • Non-Cornell credits are recorded on a student’s college degree progress, and can be applied toward CALS credits, distribution requirements, and major requirements. However, non-Cornell credits are not reflected on a student’s official transcript nor do the grades received factor into the students Cornell GPA.
  • If a course has no comparable course at Cornell, the CALS Office of Student Services will determine how the credit should be applied.
  • Faculty advisors determine how non-Cornell credit will be applied toward major requirements; the CALS Office of Student Services determines how non-Cornell credit will be applied toward CALS graduation requirements.

Obtaining pre-approval of a transfer course (highly recommended prior to enrolling in a course):

  • Students who plan to take courses at another regionally accredited institution should complete the transfer credit pre-approval form located in Chatter Resources, or through the CALS Transfer Course database.  It is possible that the course a student would like to complete has already been approved and is in the database on this site.
  • Credit will not be awarded for courses completed outside the home country in the fall or spring semester while on a leave of absence.

AP Credit/Credit by Examination

CALS students are limited to 15 non-Cornell credits (this includes all non-Cornell credit earned before a student's first semester in a college/university) as a first-year student from an accredited college/university.

More information and scores can be found here.

Examinations must have been taken and earned before high school graduation (or equivalent) but in all cases before matriculation to Cornell. The AP Credit/Credit by Examination page explains what (if any) credit students will be awarded. Certain departments will require or advise students to develop a firm grounding in the subject area and methodology by enrolling in the introductory course even if they received academic credit. *Please note that if you take a course that your credit places you out of, you will forfeit that credit.

If you have credit in math and are considering enrolling in courses in these areas, please be sure to visit the First Steps in Math website. Students should discuss with their faculty advisor and/or department on their specific course selection.

The CALS Office of Student Services will process the Advanced Placement credits  upon receipt from the testing service. Those receiving more than 15 credits will need to inform the CALS Office of Student Services which credits you wish to accept.

Advanced placement credits show on the student’s official Cornell transcript. More information can be found in the Cornell Courses of Study under the link for Advanced Placement.