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Academic Policies

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty, students, and administration support and abide by the university Code of Academic Integrity. CALS adheres to the university guidelines regarding academic integrity including the establishment of an Academic Integrity Hearing Board. Read more about the Academic Integrity Policy.

 

CALS Academic Standing

Satisfactory progress towards a degree is determined by:

  • Semester GPA of at least 2.0.
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 12 or more academic credits per current semester.
  • Students must enroll in at least one CALS class each semester until 55 CALS credits have been successfully completed.
  • Maintain reasonable progress within a student's major.
Recommended:

Earn at least 60 academic credits by the end of the sophomore year and at least 90 academic credits by the end of junior year to be on track to graduate in 4 years.

Maintain Good Academic Standing:

During the semester, if you encounter difficulties, be sure to seek help. Students are advised to review their class schedule with their CALS Advisor, faculty advisor and/or major advising coordinator to discuss these suggested topics:

  • Optimal credits for success, possibly reducing your course load;
  • Balance of courses: science labs versus intensive writing, etc.;
  • Is this still the right major?
  • Thoughts about your career path and related courses;
  • Obstacles that might interfere with your success;
  • Suggested resources.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is committed to helping each student reach their full academic potential. At the end of each semester, the Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions reviews the academic records of all students who are not making satisfactory academic progress or do not maintain good academic standing and takes appropriate action. Academic actions include but are not limited to:

  • Issuing warnings,
  • placing students in the Academic Success Program (ASP),
  • granting students a leave of absence, or placing them on a required academic leave or required academic withdrawal.

All students- especially International students, financial aid recipients, athletes, and students participating in ASP - should ensure they plan their semester schedule based on meeting federal, state, and University requirements.

Students who fall out of good academic standing for one of the following reasons will receive an academic warning letter:

  • Completion of less than twelve (12) academic credit hours;
  • Failure to complete a minimum of one CALS class if the minimum 55 CALS credits are not yet complete;
  • Incompletes on student record;
  • Not making progress in their major classes.

The notice is intended to alert the student of minimum graduation requirements and offer support and assistance for improving academic performance. No notation will appear on the permanent academic record. However, in specific circumstances, when CALS is asked to verify good academic standing for the previous semester, the college must report that the student did not meet the criteria.

If you are a student interested in changing your major or an internal transfer and you receive an academic warning letter, it is because you fell outside of good academic standing for one of the reasons defined above.  Do not worry about this having a negative impact on your ability to transfer/change majors. The Inclusive Academic Advising team can explain why students fell outside of good academic standing with the major/college as needed.

The purpose of ASP is to proactively identify areas that may be causing academic difficulties and determine how best to address them.  Students have a limited number of semesters at CALS, and we want to ensure that students achieve success semester-to-semester.  We partner with students to address these challenges quickly so that students can utilize resources and support on- and off-campus that may support their success.  ASP facilitates communication between students, CALS Student Services, Athletics, OADI, and their Academic Department/Major so we can work together in the upcoming semester.  Students are in the driver’s seat for their success, and we are here to help plan and navigate the journey together. Participation in the Academic Success Program (ASP) will not appear on your permanent transcript.  

Students are placed on the CALS Academic Success Program (ASP) when:

  • Term GPA below 2.0 and cumulative GPA below 2.0;
  • Semester GPA below 2.0, could have high cumulative GPA, but has extenuating circumstances and/or academic alerts (prior ASP, Academic Concerns, and INC or leaves);
  • A student returning from a health leave (excluding physical leaves);
  • Patterns or history of not engaging with outreach.

Students are placed on ASP but can opt out when:

  • Term GPA below 2.0, but high cumulative GPA and no extenuating circumstances and/or academic alerts (prior Academic Concerns or leave);
  • Under 12 academic credits due to an incomplete, but seems to be doing okay academically;
  • Has been on ASP in the past;
  • Patterns or history of not engaging with independent outreach (connecting with IAA outside of assigned ASP);
  • Note: students must meet with their ASP advisor before opting out of the program.

Participation in ASP is only reversed due to grade changes, resolved incompletes, and late withdrawal petitions that increase a student's GPA to 2.0 or higher.

Request for a Leave or Withdrawal from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

Please read the following instructions and policy, then link to the bottom of this page to access the Cornell University Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Request Form.

Health Leave of Absence (HLOA): Students considering a Health Leave of Absence (HLOA) should first schedule a consultation with the Cornell Health Leaves Coordinator healthleaves [at] cornell.edu (healthleaves[at]cornell[dot]edu). For more information about the process and steps, refer to the Health Leave of Absence section on the Cornell Health website.

Voluntary Leave of Absence (VLOA): A student may request a voluntary leave of absence (VLOA) due to an opportunity or personal circumstances unrelated to a health condition. Students seeking this kind of leave have an expected return date after the end of the current term. A student seeking a VLOA is responsible for initiating the request by submitting the Cornell Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Request Form.

Withdrawal: A student who decides to withdraw from Cornell University for personal reasons or matriculation in another institution of higher learning, with no intention of returning, is responsible for submitting the online Cornell University Leave/Withdrawal form. The student’s withdrawal from the university will be effective the date the student submits the form. Students not requesting leave and who fail to become registered will be withdrawn from the university.  For more information, refer to the Leaves and Withdrawals section of the website. 

  • Deadline: At any point throughout the term, the student can request to withdraw from the institution. Once withdrawn, the student must apply for readmission for any future enrollment. Readmission to the university is not guaranteed.

Once you formally submit the leave request or withdrawal request through the online form, it will be dated and time-stamped. You will receive an email sent to your official Cornell email address verifying your submission was successful and the date submitted. This date determines your official last day of attendance for tuition and grading purposes if the request is during an active term. If the leave or withdrawal is for a future term that has not yet started, the effective date will always be the day after the last date of attendance at Cornell. 

Review the CALS policy on leaves and withdrawals:

Students who wish to suspend their studies for a period of time or permanently may request a leave or withdrawal. 

  • Deadline: A student may request a leave or withdrawal at any time after the student has commenced attendance at the university. If the leave is for the current term, the Last Day of the Semester is the deadline (see the academic calendar).
  • Duration: A student is not permitted to return from a leave after an academic term has begun.  A leave is granted for up to five years.
    • Prolonged Time Away: A leave exceeding five years results in an official withdrawal from the University. Due to changing curriculum and major requirements, requests for readmission from a leave of five years or greater require reapplication. To begin the process, please email CALS_Admissions [at] cornell.edu
  • Grades: If the student submits a leave or withdrawal after the published deadline to drop classes, the student will receive the course withdrawal notation (W) for any courses that have not been completed.  The student is not eligible to take an incomplete or receive a grade for a course when the leave date precedes the class end date.
  • Leave or withdrawal considerations: student's should check with the Office of the Bursar, Office of Financial Aid, Housing and Residential Life, Cornell Dining, Student Health Benefits, International Services, Athletics, and student employment to find out financial implications. It is particularly important for students who have educational loans to contact the Office of Financial Aid. Eligibility for medical or auto insurance may also be affected during a student’s leave of absence. Students who are granted a leave or withdrawal during a semester are responsible for any outstanding tuition or other university charges owed through the effective date of the leave or withdrawal. On-campus housing and dining charges may accrue until the student no longer utilizes the services, regardless of the official leave date.
  • Academic Actions: While a student may take a leave at any time, the CALS Office of Student Services in consultation with the CALS Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions may place academic conditions on the return based on curriculum sequencing, time-to-degree requirements or academic actions that will be determined and communicated to the student at or by the end of the term. The college retains the right to add conditions that must be met before a student may return from leave. 
  • Student Status: Students on a leave of absence may not enroll in any courses the University offers. Students on leave are not registered with the university and, therefore, are not eligible for privileges afforded to registered students, including, but not limited to, residing in university housing, accessing university resources, and receiving direct supervision by faculty members. 
  • Academic Standing: students who are in good academic standing in the college at conclusion of a semester may request to take a leave of absence to suspend their studies prior to the start of the upcoming semester. Leaves/withdrawals requested for an upcoming term will be effective on the day after the end of the last term attended.
  • Effective date for leave or withdrawal: 
    • A leave or withdrawal granted before the semester begins or by the University drop deadline will result in the upcoming or current semester's courses being expunged, with the exception of partial term classes that have completed. Students in this case are eligible to return to the college at the start of the next semester subject to any conditions placed on their rejoin.
    • A leave or withdrawal granted after the university drop deadline and by the last day of the term will result in W’s on a student’s transcript for enrolled classes. Partial term classes (e.g. Seven Week - First) in which the course has ended prior to the requested leave date will remain on the transcript with the grade awarded and will not be withdrawn with a W. 
  • Study Abroad enrollment restrictions while on leave: Study abroad undertaken during a leave of absence will not receive academic credit. International students on leave of absence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences may enroll in courses at a college or university in their home country of residence only, as such enrollment is not defined as study abroad. Study Abroad undertaken during a leave of absence will not be accepted as academic credit toward the Cornell degree.
  • Pre-approval of transfer credit: To satisfy Cornell degree requirements, courses taken at an external institution must be pre-approved by the college. Credit for courses completed at foreign institutions during a leave or withdrawal will not be accepted for transfer credit unless students return to their countries of permanent residence during their leave of absence.  
  • International students: International students are advised to consult with the Office of Global Learning, International Services, regarding a leave of absence from the University.
    The student’s college or the university reserves the right to change a leave to a required leave or withdrawal if an academic or disciplinary review determines it appropriate.
  • Transcript Notation: A student approved for a leave will have “Leave of Absence” noted on the student’s official transcript. The student will receive a grade for any course completed before the leave request date.

If you agree with these policies and terms and wish to submit your leave or withdrawal, click the link below to access the form.

I understand; please take me to the form. 

Required Academic Leave

  • The committee considers cumulative GPA, GPA for the most recent semester(s), number of semesters participating in the Academic Success Program (ASP), unsatisfactory grades in courses required by the program for which the student is registered, and/or number of semester hours of work completed when placing students on a required academic leave.
  • More information about beneficial reflection and activities while on a required academic leave can be found below.

We encourage students placed on required academic leave to:

  1. Reflect on the past semester and current situation: Use the time on academic leave to reflect on the factors contributing to your academic struggles. Identify any challenges or issues that affected your performance, such as time management, study habits, personal circumstances, or health concerns. 
  2. Seek support: Reach out to CALS inclusive academic advisors, professors, faculty advisors, major advising coordinators, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in your Academic Department, or support staff to discuss your academic situation and seek guidance. They can provide valuable advice and resources or refer you to appropriate support services. 
  3. Develop an action plan: Work with your inclusive academic advisor or other professional staff to create a comprehensive action plan that outlines the steps you will take to improve your academic performance. This plan may include strategies for time management, study techniques, and setting realistic SMART goals. 
  4. Address any underlying challenges: If you identify any personal, emotional, or health-related challenges that impacted your academics, take steps to address them. Seek counseling, therapy, or medical assistance to strengthen your well-being and develop effective coping mechanisms. Complete any outstanding incomplete/s.  
  5. Improve study habits: Evaluate and enhance your study habits. Experiment with different techniques like active reading, annotative notetaking, creating study schedules, and seeking additional resources like tutoring or supplemental instruction. 
  6. Build academic skills: Identify areas where you may need improvement, such as writing, critical thinking, or quantitative skills. Take advantage of any online resources (Khan Academy, YouTube, Crash Course), workshops, or courses to enhance these skills. 
  7. Stay organized and manage time effectively: Implement effective time management strategies by using calendars, to-do lists, and prioritization techniques. Break down tasks into smaller, manageable parts to avoid procrastination and maintain a consistent study routine. 
  8. Stay connected with professors: Maintain open lines of communication with your professors and demonstrate your commitment to improving your performance. Developing a positive rapport with your professors can also provide opportunities for mentorship, academic or career guidance, or connection to research or employment opportunities. 
  9. Stay engaged with academic material: Even if you are not enrolled in classes during your academic leave, continue to engage with academic content through self-study. Read textbooks, scholarly articles, or relevant online publications to keep your mind active and maintain a connection to your academic field/major. 
  10. Maintain a support system: Seek support from friends, family, or peers who can encourage and motivate you during this time. Surrounding yourself with individuals who believe in your ability to succeed can make a significant difference.

Required Academic Withdrawal

  • Students who fail to make satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree in the program for which they are registered are dismissed from CALS.  
  • The committee considers cumulative GPA, GPA for the most recent semester(s), number of semesters on probation, unsatisfactory grades in courses required by the program for which the student is registered, and/or number of semester hours of work completed when determining whether a student is eligible to continue in the CALS.  

Required Academic Withdrawal: What are my options? Following required academic withdrawal, students have several options to consider: 

  1. Attend another college or university: You can transfer to another college or university. It's essential to research transfer policies and requirements at different institutions, as some may have specific guidelines for students with a history of academic dismissal. This may involve starting over as a first-year student or applying as a transfer student. 
  2. Take a break and reevaluate: Sometimes, taking a break from academics can be beneficial. You can use this time to reflect on your goals, identify any challenges you faced during your previous academic experience, and develop strategies for improvement. During the break, you can explore other interests, gain work experience, or pursue personal development. 
  3. Seek services that improve academic skills: You may consider enrolling in academic skill-building programs or courses to enhance your study habits, time management, note-taking, and other essential skills. These programs are often available at colleges and universities or through external educational organizations. 
  4. Attend a community college: Community colleges often have more relaxed admission policies, making them a viable option for students who have been academically dismissed. You can enroll in community college courses to improve your academic standing, demonstrate your abilities, and potentially transfer to a four-year institution later. 
  5. Explore alternative educational pathways: Not all career paths require a traditional college degree. You may consider vocational training or certificate programs that offer specific skills and qualifications for your desired field. Researching and considering alternative educational pathways can provide new opportunities. 

If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial for you to reflect on your past academic performance, identify areas for improvement, and create a plan that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Seeking guidance from inclusive academic advisors, career counselors, faculty, and mentors can also be helpful in navigating these options and making informed decisions. 

Where appropriate, students may not be rejoined until University holds, including bursar, collections, or enrollment holds, are cleared from their account. Please log in to Student Center to view any holds and contact the appropriate offices for more information.

To facilitate pre-enrollment, all requests for return must be received by the college by March 1st for the fall semester and October 1st for the spring semester. The final date to request a rejoin from a voluntary or required academic leave is the day prior to the semester's start. Any requests after that date will be referred to the following semester. In the case of health leaves, students must consult well in advance of those dates with both the college and Cornell Health.

Upon return, the student's graduation date will be recalculated to account for the time spent away. Students will typically return on the same academic status (good academic standing, academic warning, etc.) as they had prior to the leave. Students who are rejoined will receive written confirmation and be reactivated on the university student system. Five years is the maximum length of time a student may be on leave before being withdrawn permanently from the college (see prolonged time away).

Return from Voluntary Leave of Absence

A student requesting to return from a VLOA must petition to return through DUST. A completed form must be submitted no later than July 31 for a fall semester return or no later than November 30 for a spring semester return. These deadlines are firm to allow students ample time to make arrangements for housing and financial aid and to clear any outstanding holds.

Return from Health Leave of Absence

Students who are ready to return from a Health Leave of Absence (HLOA) must work with the Health Leaves Coordinator to initiate the return process. First, email the Cornell Health Leaves Coordinator healthleaves [at] cornell.edu (healthleaves[at]cornell[dot]edu). For the remaining steps, refer to the Health Leave of Absence section on the Cornell Health website.

The CALS Office of Student Services in consultation with the CALS Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions may place academic conditions on the Health Leave of Absence return based on curriculum sequencing, time-to-degree requirements, or academic actions that will be determined and communicated to the student at or by the end of the term.

Return from Required Academic Leave

A student requesting to return from a required leave of absence must complete a petition through DUST for readmission. Students may not be returned until all academic conditions for returning have been satisfied including any outstanding holds.  Please log in to Student Center to view any holds and contact the appropriate offices for more information. 

  • Students who have been placed on a required leave of absence are not eligible for readmission until one fall and one spring semester has elapsed since the required academic leave.  Students can petition to return after one semester on leave.    

  • Students placed on required academic leave will receive a personalized academic plan developed collaboratively between CALS and their major. It is crucial for students to carefully follow and adhere to the academic plan provided by the department to ensure a successful reintegration into the college.  

  • Students must successfully complete all Incomplete (INC) grades before returning.  

  • In all cases, applications for readmission must be received by the deadline dates identified by CALS. Fall Deadline: 3rd Tuesday of June 11:59pm; Spring Return Deadline November 30. 

  • Readmission is not guaranteed.  Past academic history at CALS and current academic history are considered.  

  • Readmitted students who were previously academically dismissed must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in all coursework taken since readmission and must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of new coursework at Cornell University to be eligible for degree consideration. 

Additional Considerations: 

  • All grading/incomplete policies are in effect during all leave types.  If you have questions concerning the make-up of incomplete grades, please speak with an academic advisor in the CALS Office of Student Services. 

  • If you are a student returning from both a health leave and required academic leave, be sure to complete both applications for a successful return.  

  • Students returning from any leave should check in with the Bursar and Financial Aid to see if they have to complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal upon return as well.   

Voluntary Withdrawal

A voluntary withdrawal is a permanent severance from the university and candidacy for the degree. Students planning to withdraw should consult with their faculty and academic advisors. Students who do not request a leave and fail to meet the university's record hold requirements for a semester will be administratively withdrawn by the Office of the University Registrar. More information can be found on the Office of the Bursar website. A voluntary withdrawal must be officially submitted via the University Leave/Withdrawal form and is effective on the submission date.

Academic Actions

The CALS Office of Student Services, in consultation with the CALS Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions, may place academic conditions on the return based on curriculum sequencing, time-to-degree requirements, or academic actions that will be determined and communicated to the student at or by the end of the term.

Prolonged Time Away 

A leave exceeding five years results in an official withdrawal from the University. Due to changing curriculum and major requirements, requests for readmission from a leave of five years or greater require reapplication. To begin the process, please email CALS_Admissions [at] cornell.edu

Earning credit while on leave

To satisfy Cornell degree requirements, students can take courses at other accredited colleges and universities outside of Cornell. If students plan on taking courses during their leave, please note that they are restricted by the general transfer credit policy. Students should work with CALS and their academic department to understand how credits will apply to major requirements and CALS distribution requirements if they are approved to return to CALS.  

Credit for courses completed at foreign institutions during a leave of absence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will not be accepted for transfer credit. International students on leave of absence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences may enroll in courses at an accredited college or university in their home country only, as such enrollment is not defined as study abroad. 

Please contact our Transfer Support Specialist, Shawna Fulkerson (sb27 [at] cornell.edu (sb27[at]cornell[dot]edu)) or Transfer Student Success Navigator, Callan Robinson (cr586 [at] cornell.edu (cr586[at]cornell[dot]edu)) with any questions related to transferring credits back into CALS. 

These are the main tools you'll use as you enroll in classes:

A large part of your coursework will be outside your major, the College encourages you to explore topics that interest you. 

Choosing Your Courses

To receive a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences degree, you will need to fulfill all of the degree requirements listed in the Courses of Study. 

  • Because some courses have overlapping content, they cannot both be counted toward your degree. Check this list of overlapping courses before you enroll in courses.
  • Courses taken with the S/U option can be used to fulfill college distribution requirements. 
  • You can monitor your progress toward degree completion by checking your DUST (Distributed Undergraduate Student Tracking) report here. The DUST report is updated after each semester to reflect your progress toward completing college requirements.

Time Conflicts: The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will have a time conflict policy similar to past semesters. The University has encouraged a no time conflict policy given the desire to minimize situations that will create stress for students.

In rare circumstances, CALS will consider time conflict petitions if all the following criteria are met:  

  • Permission from both instructors of the two conflicting courses.    
  • On-time submission of Time Conflict petition (available in DUST), opening ahead of the add/drop period.

Petitions will not be accepted after the University add deadline.  

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will have a similar credit limit policy as in past semesters. Students who wish to enroll in additional credits are encouraged to discuss academic loads with their academic advisor or major department. 

CALS undergraduate students may enroll in up to 22 credits maximum (22 credits are allowed when add/drop begins). It is recommended that entering first-year students enroll in a maximum of 18 credits in their first semester.

Petitions to Exceed Maximum Credit up to a max of 25 credits will not be considered, except for students expecting to graduate in  May 2024, or August 2024. Petitions will be considered based on meeting all the following criteria, if applicable

  • Case-by-case review showing strong academic performance with a heavy credit load. 
  • GPA of at least 3.3 for the previous few semesters
  • No grades of incomplete
  • The course is required for graduation with confirmation by the Academic Advisor.  
  • Timely petition submission (available in DUST). Petitions will not be accepted after the university add deadline.   

Through Student Center enrollment pages or submission of a completed add/drop form (only open during the add/drop period), students may add and drop classes during the specified enrollment periods (pre-enrollment and add/drop) of each fall and spring semester. Students select and enroll in up to 18 academic credits during the pre-enrollment period through Student Center and up to a maximum of 22 credits during Add/Drop. It is strongly recommended that entering first-year students enroll in a maximum of 18 credits in their first semester (including PE or review/supplemental courses). First-year students are limited to one S-U optional course per semester.

Specific deadlines and further instructions regarding course enrollment are available in the Course Enrollment and Credits section of the courses of study and the Class Roster each semester. Note: individual courses may have add/drop deadlines separate from the University dates. Please be sure to check.

Electronic Student Add/Drop Enrollment Request Form 

The university offers a broad range of diverse courses. Many of these courses have overlapping content, and students must make their selections carefully to ensure that they will receive credit for each course they take. Students who enroll in courses with overlapping content will only receive credit for one of those courses. Within the "Forbidden Overlaps" section of the Courses of Study website, you can find the list of courses with overlapping content if you scroll down to the "Forbidden Overlaps" section

Graduating Early

Students who are contemplating to graduate one or two semesters early should ensure they will satisfy all college and major requirements in time.  A meeting with your faculty advisor is recommended to be sure you fully understand and can complete all major requirements.  Students are able to apply non-Cornell (transfer) credit to graduate in less than 8 academic semesters. Students wishing to make any changes to their degree date are able to request an updated degree date in the first semester of the junior year. Although personal or economic reasons might factor in, please consider that your time at Cornell University is a rare and special opportunity where you can engage freely and intensely in courses, study abroad, and participate in research. 

  1. On the CALS Resources webpage, choose 'CALS Application to Update Degree Standing'
  2. Submit the online form for review

Delay Graduation

It is expected that students will make satisfactory academic progress on graduation requirements each semester and will complete the requirements for graduation within eight (or equivalent) terms. If degree requirements cannot be completed in eight (or equivalent) terms, students may seek permission to continue their studies. Requests will be considered for students who have found themselves in emergent circumstances beyond their control which prevented them from completing the degree in eight (or equivalent) terms. Study beyond the eighth (or equivalent) term will not be approved for the purpose of changing a major. Requests to add an additional major, minor, or specialized coursework will not be approved for study beyond the eighth (or equivalent) term.

To request an additional term:

  1. On the CALS Resources webpage, choose 'CALS Application to Update Degree Standing'
  2. Submit a study plan detailing the specific courses that will meet degree requirements for one major.
  3. Submit the online form for review.

Finish Elsewhere

In some cases, students need an additional course beyond their expected graduation date and are unable to complete this course at Cornell University. In this situation, a student can request to complete their course work at another institution (up to 8 academic credits). To do this a student must complete the form to Complete remaining coursework/credits at another institution.

  1. Attain pre-approval of the course the student would like to take by completing a transfer pre-approval form.
  2. On the CALS Resources webpage, choose 'CALS Student Petitions'
  3. Choose the bullet 'Complete remaining coursework/credits are another institution'
  4. Submit the petition
  5. Request an update to the expected degree date

Once the course is complete the student must send an official transcript to the CALS Student Services Office verifying a grade of “C” or better. When the transcript is received, the students degree will be posted for the next eligible degree date (example: transfer received June 5; the student will be an August Graduate).

Students wishing to make any changes to their degree date, including finishing elsewhere are able to ask questions and request their record to be changed through DUST.

The grade of incomplete (INC) is appropriate only when two basic conditions are met:

  1. The student has substantial equity at a passing level in the course with respect to work completed.
  2. The student has been prevented by circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness or family emergency, from completing all course requirements on time. While it is the student's responsibility to initiate a request for a grade of incomplete, reasons for requesting one must be approved by the instructor. The instructor will establish specific make-up requirements and deadlines for completion.

The policy is in place to prevent abuse; deferring completion of some major course requirements could give students an advantage over their classmates by obtaining additional time to do a superior job. The option of an incomplete is purely an instructor's decision and may not be elected at the student’s discretion.

  • CALS students should not re-enroll in a course where they have received an incomplete (INC).
  • Coursework should be completed under the direction of the course instructor.
  • Deadlines are two (2) successive semesters, but instructors may require shorter deadlines. 
  • Two successive semesters serve as the default deadline if a deadline is not entered. 
  • If coursework is not completed within the designated time period, the notation of Incomplete (INC) will be converted to a failure (F*) or unsatisfactory (U*/UX*) grade, depending on the grading structure of the course.
  • Once a degree is conferred, no additional work can be completed.
  • Evidence of an incomplete (INC) remains permanently on the transcript.
  • When the course has been completed, a grade is entered with an asterisk (*), indicating that it was not completed during the regular semester. 
  • A degree may not be conferred with an Incomplete (INC) on the transcript.

More information can be found in the Grading Guidelines section of the courses of study.

Prorated tuition is a University policy. Visit the University Registrar's website for the conditions that must be met in order for undergraduate students to be considered for prorated tuition.

All applicants for prorated tuition should be aware of the possible impact that this enrollment status may have on financial aid, student loans, scholarships, on-campus employment, health insurance, or other considerations. It is the responsibility of the student to resolve these situations prior to submitting the application. Please schedule a meeting with the College Registrar to determine if you are eligible to apply for prorated tuition.

Students wishing to pursue research opportunities may enroll in courses such as research or independent study. Some students enroll in research-focused courses for more than one semester. While the course number may be the same, these courses represent a progression of research and scholarship and are not a repetition of the same material. Students are expected to demonstrate positive forward development in their knowledge and scholarship.

Some topics courses, colloquia, and seminars carry the same course number and title. These courses, from semester to semester, focus on a different topic or area of study. Although students may enroll in the same course more than once, the content of each offering varies. For more information about how repeat coursework may impact financial aid, see the Course Repeats and Financial Aid Eligibility site. For more information, visit the Courses of Study in the "Repeated Courses" section

Students are able to repeat a course at another institution, however if the student has successfully completed the course at Cornell, it will not transfer onto the students record.