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Abroad Policies

Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the study abroad policies set forth by Cornell and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. If you have any questions about the policies, please reach out to cals-studentservices [at] (CALS Student Services)

Please carefully review the following:


Eligibility for Studying Abroad

Section 1.0

  • Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher (be advised that some programs may require a higher GPA).
  • Students must meet the minimum requirements of CALS and the desired study abroad program (including but not limited to GPA, prerequisites, program of study focus, language, etc.)
  • The study abroad program must not prevent you from delaying graduation.
  • Students must be in good standing with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (NOTE: Students in “restricted good standing” will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Students must resolve all University record holds and be a full-time student in good academic standing.
  • Where possible, students must have finished any work required to resolve any incompletes. If you have more than two incompletes, you must meet with the CALS Student Services advisor to determine eligibility to study abroad. 
  • Meet application deadlines for the desired program (varies per program). 
  • Meet with an Education Abroad advisor through the Office of Global Learning for any program-specific questions. 

Course Approval

Section 2.0

  • Studying abroad involves applying to the specific desired international program as well as obtaining both formal college and major approval for your planned course of study.
  • Students must obtain signatures from their major and CALS student services by completing the CALS Study Abroad Course Approval Form.
  • Student’s major advisor signature is required before submitting your course approval to CALS Student Services.
  • All course approvals are provisional, dependent on successful completion of the courses and submission of syllabi and work to the appropriate department.
  • Final course approval forms should be submitted electronically to CALS Student Services at cals-studentservice [at] (cals-studentservice[at]cornell[dot]edu)
  • Students are required to notify their major and CALS Student services in writing, no later than 7 calendar days after the start of their program with any course changes that were not previously indicated on the approved course approval form. 
  • Students may not register for independent study credit or any other Cornell courses while enrolled in programs abroad.



Section 3.0

  • Students who do not follow the CALS study abroad policies may be subject to academic discipline upon their return to Cornell. 
  • Participation in a study abroad program requires that students maintain good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.75 (this may be higher if required by the desired program).
  • Students may not enroll in online coursework through the host institution/program; Cornell; or elsewhere. This includes independent study. 
  • If planning to take a course before departure to an approved Cornell winter program that may overlap with a spring study abroad program, students must get prior approval for the winter course by CALS Student Services. Priority is given to the study abroad program over the winter course when the overlap occurs. 
  • Students may not enroll in duplicate courses (overlaps of classes taken or planned at Cornell/abroad). The policy at Cornell regarding cross-listed/overlapped courses applies to abroad classes as well. It is the student's responsibility to be aware if a course taken contains a majority of content either abroad or at Cornell with another enrolled course. 
    • If you are unsure, it is recommended you choose another course. Please contact the cals-studentservices [at] (CALS Student Services) prior to your departure. 


Petition Process for Unapproved Programs

Section 3.1

  • Cornell offers a wide range of program opportunities vetted and approved by the Office of Global Learning and Global Cornell's travel safety experts. If you wish to attend a non-approved program, a formal petition is required to obtain Cornell's one-time recognition of the program.
  • Petitions for non-approved study abroad programs must meet the same standards and adhere to the principles that guide study abroad at Cornell. This includes the ability of the petitioned program to enter into a contractual agreement with Cornell on a student-by-student basis. 
  • Petitions are reviewed by the Office of Global Learning as exceptional opportunities that meet specific academic needs not available through existing programs. We encourage you to apply to an existing program as a back-up in case your petition is not approved. Learn more about the petition process


Academic Credit and Transcripts

Section 4.0

Academic Credit:
  • Students must enroll in the equivalent of 15 U.S. credit hours at the host institution/program.
  • Credits earned through Education Abroad programs count toward the maximum 60 transfer credits permitted by CALS; credits transferred are limited to 15 credits per semester, 30 per academic year even if the program is above 15 credits per semester.
  • All courses must be taken for a letter grade while abroad (no pass/fail, S/U classes).
  • Students must earn the equivalent of a U.S. grade of C or better to receive credit for the courses taken abroad. Disclaimer: International grading scales may differ from US grading scales. Cornell references WES for grading scale comparison. 
  • Any major or minor credits must be approved by major advisors/department advising coordinators.
  • CALS distribution must be approved by CALS Student Services.  
  • Internships, experiential learning, PE, and certain other courses do not count for credit.
  • Save all syllabi, reading lists, and completed work for all courses taken abroad. These materials are often required to confirm if a course can fulfill college distribution and/or major requirements.
  • If courses at the host institution change, students must notify major advisors if the course is related to the major within 7 days of the start of the program. 
  • If the course at the host institution changes and the course is related to the college distribution, contact cals-studentservices [at] (CALS Student Services) with the update within 7 days of the start of the program.
  • Diversity, and written/oral communication distribution courses are prohibited. 
  • Language Study Abroad: Cornell values engagement with the local culture while abroad. Language is a part of your host country’s culture and an important part of your experience. In non-English speaking countries where English is not an official National Language, students must take a course in the language of the host country when studying abroad for a semester or year. CALS defines what types of language courses fulfill this university requirement. Students on short-term or multi-country programs are not required to study the language while abroad.


Enrollment Restriction

Section 4.1 

  • 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. 
  • Students should pre-approve the transfer credit ahead of enrollment to ensure that the coursework will be eligible to transfer to Cornell CALS. 
  • All external transfer credits are subject to the standard limitations of CALS transfer credit policy
  • International students may contact CALS Student Services for course approval

Section 4.2

  • All courses taken abroad regardless of program will be considered transfer (non-Cornell) credit.
  • CALS students are permitted a maximum of 60 transfer (non-Cornell) credits.
  • Courses taken abroad will appear as transfer (non-Cornell) credit on your Cornell transcript and will not impact your Cornell GPA. 
  • After your study abroad experience, and after final grades have been posted, request an official transcript from your host institution/program. For specific instructions, see the "Where Should I Direct My Transcript?" FAQ.
  • Credit is only granted once an official transcript is received from the host institution/program. 
  • Students must earn the equivalent of a U.S. grade of C or better to receive credit for the courses taken abroad.
  • Study abroad courses may not fulfill the PE or swim test requirement.
  • It can take up to 3 months (rarely longer than this) for abroad credits to be processed to your Cornell transcript and will depend on when they are released by the host institution/program.


Summer or Winter Abroad

Section 5.0

  • Cornell encourages students to pursue summer/winter abroad experiences. Students will follow the application processes of their chosen program and do not apply through Cornell University. 
  • Students may receive transfer (non-Cornell) credit for courses taken abroad over the summer or winter but must get the courses approved before going abroad. 
  • Students can get pre-approval by submitting the CALS pre-approval form linked here. All CALS transfer course policies apply and should be reviewed ahead of applying to a summer or winter program.
  • An official transcript from the accredited institution bearing the institutional seal and registrar's seal must be sent directly from the institution to CALS Student Services following the completion of the coursework. 
  • A non-Cornell summer or winter program is not considered Cornell travel and students are responsible for matters related to the program and international travel such as but not limited to health, safety, finances, housing, travel, and conduct while participating in the experience.