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CALS Transfer Option

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is pleased to offer a Transfer Option, or "TO", to a select number of first-year applicants. Due to first-year enrollment restrictions and the depth of the CALS applicant group, we are unable to offer admission to many applicants who have shown outstanding academic potential. While this is not a guarantee of admission, we look forward to working with you on this path to applying for transfer!

What is a Transfer Option?
  • The Transfer Option is non-binding. Students may decide not to proceed with their TO at any time.

  • All TOs will have access to CALS Admissions support, including TO-specific information sessions, contact with CALS ambassadors, and Chatter. 

  • TO candidates will complete a short and no-cost application for Fall 2025.
  • The Transfer Option pertains to the major within CALS to which you initially applied. 

What's Next?
  • Complete the TO Reply Form! You must reply to the CALS Admissions Office using the TO Reply Form on or before the deadline to confirm your interest in this offer.  Candidates who do not submit a response to the TO offer by the deadline are no longer eligible to participate in the Transfer Option.
  • Join us on Chatter! Chatter is a place where you can connect with other TO candidates and ask questions of the CALS admissions team. There are also links to FAQs as well as other important TO resources.  
  • Choose a first year institution! This choice is completely up to you! You may choose any 2-year or 4-year accredited institution, preferably in the United States. It is extremely important that you choose a school where you can see yourself being happy for the remainder of your college career, and where you will be able to complete the course requirements for your Transfer Option.

Transfer Option Requirements

  • Attend an accredited 2- or 4-year institution that provides access to the course requirements for your CALS major. 
  • Study full-time during the academic year (August - May). 
  • Remain in good academic and disciplinary standing during the academic year. 
  • Complete all course requirements for your major with a "B" or better in each course.   
  • Earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA (3.5 for Biological Sciences) in your first college semester and a 3.0 average at mid-term during the second semester.  
  • All required courses must be completed for a grade and credit. Cornell does not accept Pass/Fail coursework. 
  • Required courses must be complete or in-progress at the time of application. 

To prepare for studying within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences each academic major has key foundation courses that transfer option candidates need to complete or have in progress at the time of their application.

Select the major in which you were offered the Transfer Option. Scroll to the "Transfer" tab, and select "Transfers Entering as Sophomores" to view your specific requirements. 

Here are some options that students often consider:

  • Community College Courses - These can be taken either concurrently (Fall/Spring) or in a Winter term
  • Online coursework - These are acceptable as long as they are taken for a grade from an accredited institution. (No Coursera, MOOCs, or certificate program courses)
  • Summer coursework - This is not ideal, as the course would not technically be "in progress" at the time of application, but this is an option that some students turn to as a last resort. If you find yourself in this situation, please let us know in your application that you plan on taking a summer course, and try to find a class that will end before July 1. 

We understand that students may not be able to get a course due to circumstances outside of their control. Please know that while our most successful candidates will have the required coursework completed or in-progress at the time of application, our admissions process is holistic, which means we take every aspect of a student’s application into consideration. During our review, we consider whether candidates have the academic background (rigor, coursework and grades) to be successful in their major at Cornell CALS, whether the personal attributes and extracurricular experiences shared demonstrate a solid connection with the CALS approach and mission, and that thoughtful fit is expressed for the candidate’s desired major, within Cornell CALS. 

We ask that you use your best judgement to find courses that will fulfill your major requirements, and have provided resources to help! Each major requirements page has a list of Cornell courses that current students often take. Click each link to view the course descriptions, and in some cases, the syllabi. Finding courses at your institution that closely align to the course descriptions and objectives of these Cornell courses will put you in the best possible position for your courses to transfer. 

Please note that our Admissions team will not be able to advise students on their semester schedules or provide official course evaluations prior to admission. We can, however, answer questions about special circumstances or any confusion that may arise throughout the year. 

CALS Transfer Policy

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Online Coursework

Online coursework must be taken for a grade from an accredited institution. You must submit an official transcript for these courses in your application in order to be considered for transfer credit.

Cornell does not accept MOOCs or certificate courses for academic credit.

AP/IB Credits

In some cases, AP or IB credit may be used to fulfill required course requirements. Please use the CALS Transfer Credit Policy  to see which scores will count for credit.  Please note that some majors will not accept test credit, and this will be noted on their requirements pages. 

Note: Placing out of a course at your first institution may not fulfill a course requirement for the CALS Transfer Option, you must meet Cornell's minimum score to receive credit. 

Quarter System Schools

CALS semester system awards quarter system credits by calculating .67 credits per credit of study at an institution on the quarter system. A 5-credit quarter system course is equivalent to a 3-credit semester course.  

If your major requires two semesters of a course (ex: Biology), plan on taking two quarters of Biology if they are 5 credits each.

College Credit Earned in High School

Cornell University does not accept credit for courses sponsored by colleges or universities but taught in the high school to high school students (dual enrollment). CALS does not accept credit from College Now, SUPA, University in High School, NOLS and other comparable programs. CALS does not accept credit for programs offered to students for completion of high school degree in a college setting such as, but not limited to, Bard, TAMS, etc.  

If you have taken a college course while in high school, on a college campus, and it did not count towards your high school graduation requirements, you may fill out a College Credit Earned in High School form for possible consideration.  

The Transfer Option Timeline

April - May
  • Complete and submit the TO Reply Form by the expressed deadline in your email from CALS Admissions
  • Attend a Transfer Option Introductory Information session (Invitations will be sent to your email)
  • TO Check-in Webinar - Learn more about the application process (Will be recorded)
  • Deadline for TO Change of Major requests
  • TO application link will be emailed to you no later than January 31st.
  • TO Application Webinar - Walk through the application process with CALS Admissions (Will be recorded)
  • TO Application due March 15, 2025
  • Financial Aid application due (if applicable)
April - May
  • Transfer decisions will be released on a rolling basis