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Graduation Resources

General Policy Statement

Students are admitted to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) to pursue a baccalaureate degree. Degree-seeking undergraduate students are expected to enroll in and successfully complete courses that will move them toward degree completion in a timely manner. Timely degree completion is generally considered four years (eight academic semesters). 

Reasons for Policy/Purpose

Timely graduation is an underlying foundational principle for undergraduate education at the University. To make the best use of students and University resources, students must pursue their undergraduate degree on time and are not allowed to register for courses indefinitely without having a formal plan for completing a degree in time. This policy implements the criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Graduating Early

Students may elect to graduate in fewer than 8 (or equivalent) full-time semesters if they can complete all graduation (college, major, and university) requirements. 

Requests will be considered under the following conditions: 

  1. College Residency Requirement: Students must satisfy the college residency requirement. 
  2. Official Request for Early Graduation: Students may request to graduate early and officially change the degree date immediately following the pre-enrollment period for the anticipated final semester.
  3. Pre-enrollment in required classes: Students must pre-enroll in the classes required to meet graduation requirements (major, college and university) by the requested date.
  4. Application to Graduate: Once the graduation date has been updated, you must complete Parts I and II of the application to graduate found in DUST.
Graduating Late

The Bachelor of Science degree is expected to be completed in eight academic full-time semesters (or equivalent). Limiting students to eight semesters is important for two reasons.  

  • This limit encourages individual students to complete their undergraduate degree at an appropriate time.  
  • It ensures that university resources are allocated equitably, used effectively and efficiently and that federal financial responsibilities are met.

In the rare event the degree requirements cannot be completed in eight (or equivalent) terms, students may request permission to delay their expected degree date under the following conditions:

  1. College Residency Requirement: Students must satisfy the college residency requirement.
  2. Official request to delay graduation: Requests will only be granted for students who have found themselves in emergent circumstances beyond their control which have prevented them from completing the degree requirements in eight terms.
  3. Requests cannot be made until the student’s final expected graduation term and will not be reviewed without confirmation from the student’s major department.

Students are expected to make satisfactory academic progress on graduation requirements (college, major, and university) each semester and complete the requirements for graduation within eight (or equivalent) terms. If degree requirements cannot be completed in eight (or equivalent) terms, a student 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 following reasons (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list)

  • The purpose of changing a major. 
  • Requests to add an additional major, minor, or specialized coursework.
  • To complete pre-requisite courses for a graduate or professional program
  • To raise the GPA
  • To maintain other benefits, such as insurance.

Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the process if a student elects to graduate early, changes their mind, and wants to return to their original degree date?

    The student must meet with an advisor on the Registrar team in CALS Student Services

  1. What are examples of when a student cannot delay graduation?

    Situations that are not acceptable reasons to delay graduation after completing degree requirements include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Adding/completing a minor
  • Adding/completing a second major 
  • Wishing to choose a different major after completing the requirements for one major 
  • Pursuing a learning abroad opportunity
  • Improving cumulative GPA
  • Repeating a course to improve a grade
  • Taking graduate/professional program prerequisite courses (e.g., preparing to apply to Medical School, Law School)
  • Prolonging student loan deferment
  • Extending the time of US visa/student status
  • Maintaining eligibility for specific types of federal, state, and institutional aid
  • To apply for and maintain eligibility for a scholarship, including learning abroad scholarships
  • Seeking more time to complete an honors thesis
  1. How does this policy apply to student-athletes?

   The policy is the same for all undergraduate students, regardless of individual characteristics. The student should contact International Services for guidance.

  1. How does this policy apply to student-athletes?

The policy is the same for all undergraduate students, regardless of individual characteristics. The student should contact the Office of Compliance and Student Services for Athletics for guidance.

  1. How does this policy apply to students on leave of absence?

Upon the student’s return from leave, the expected graduation date will be adjusted to accommodate the duration of their absence. Students will usually resume their academic status as it was before the leave,      whether that is good academic standing, under academic warning, or another status. For more comprehensive details and the full policy regarding returning from a leave of absence, please refer to the section on the CALS website under "Returning from Leave of Absence."

  1. How does this policy affect students who are double majoring or seeking a minor or multiple minors? 

Students pursuing a double major should declare both majors within the recommended timelines. Students completing more than one major or minor simultaneously will not be granted extended time to graduate. They will need to meet the same pace of progression and GPA standards as any other undergraduate student.  Completion of one major, college requirements, and university requirements are required for degree conferral. A CALS student will be conferred their bachelor’s degree upon completing the requirements for a single major. 

Please review the information on the CALS website here.

In some cases, students need an additional course beyond their expected graduation date and are unable to complete it at Cornell University. In this situation, students can request to complete their coursework at another institution (8 or fewer). Complete the steps below to initiate the request: 

  1. Request to be placed on a leave of absence. 
  2. Complete the Application for External Transfer Credit (if applicable).
  3. Complete the petition to complete your remaining requirements at another institution
  4. When available, submit your application to graduate

Once the course is complete, have the offering institution send an official transcript to the CALS Office of Student Services via email to cals-studentservices [at] cornell.edu. When the transcript is received, the student's degree will be reviewed for conferral for the next eligible degree date (for example, if the transcript is received on June 5, the student will be an August Graduate).

Degrees are conferred three times each year, in May, August, and December. These dates are published on the university’s Academic Calendar.

In their senior year, students are prompted by an email from the CALS Office of Student Services to complete an online application to graduate. The application is intended to help expected graduates identify academic issues early enough in the final year to make any necessary changes in course selection to satisfy those requirements. The application deadline for part I and part II for both fall and spring graduates is December. 

Meeting graduation requirements is the student’s responsibility; if a problem is discovered, it must be resolved before the degree can be conferred. Students are responsible for checking DUST degree progress and official transcripts each term. They should seek clarification from their major advisor and/or the CALS Office of Student Services if major and/or college graduation requirements are unclear or if there are problems with the academic record. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the Application to Graduate, located in DUST, by the given deadlines.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Fill out and submit Part I: College Requirements. This includes your DUST (Distributed Undergraduate Student Tracking) report and a chart of all of the courses and credits you have taken, term by term and in total. You need to answer a series of questions about fulfilling other college requirements. After you submit this form, you'll receive an email confirmation and be asked to make an appointment with your advisor to fill out Part II, Major Requirements. To prepare for that appointment, put together a list of courses you have taken for the major.
  • Work with your faculty advisor to fill out Part II: Major Requirements. If you have more than one major, you must meet with each major advisor to fill out a Part II for each major. Your advisor will have a link to the Part II application, which contains a series of questions about courses you have taken for the major. 
  • For more information, or if you have problems completing your Application to Graduate, contact CALS Student Services at cals-studentservices [at] cornell.edu (cals-studentservices[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Your academic journey through Cornell won't be the same as anyone else's, so it's important to take some time to review your academic progress ahead of pre-enrollment.

Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor or department advising coordinator to review your major progress.

Schedule a meeting with an advisor in CALS Student Services to review your college degree progress.

You can also monitor your progress toward meeting your college degree requirements by checking your DUST (Distributed Undergraduate Student Tracking) reports. The DUST report is updated soon after the end of each semester. To monitor your progress toward meeting your major requirements, please contact your major department. 

Information regarding diplomas is available on the Cornell University Registrar Diploma Information page.

Beginning with the Fall 2026 conferral date, Cornell University will institute a standardized Latin Honors system based solely on final cumulative undergraduate GPA. Link the courses of study for detailed information

Latin Honors afford recognition for academic excellence over the duration of a student's entire official undergraduate coursework at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Latin Honors are officially annotated on the transcript and diploma of students who have graduated.

Honor level (Summa, Magna, Cum Laude) is calculated on final cumulative GPA after final grades post for the student’s graduating semester. Honor will be noted on the student’s official transcript and diploma.  

Bachelor of Sciences with Honors

Students must meet one of the following sets of criteria to receive a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors:

  • Summa Cum Laude: Students who receive a cumulative GPA of 4.00 or greater after the final semester will graduate with “Summa Cum Laude.”
  • Magna Cum Laude: Students receiving a cumulative GPA of greater than or equal to 3.75 and less than 4.00 after the final semester will graduate “Magna Cum Laude.”
  • Cum Laude: Students receiving a cumulative GPA of greater than or equal to 3.50 and less than 3.75 after the final semester will graduate “Cum Laude.”

How to compute Latin Honors eligibility in your final semester for a Bachelor of Science with Honors

S = the number of letter-graded credits completed

T = the number of letter-graded credits enrolled for in the current semester

Q = Quality points completed (A quality point for one course would be the number of credits you took the course by, multiplied by the quality point assigned to the grade). i.e. if you took a 3 credits course and received an A, you would have 12 quality points

Quality-point equivalents

A+ = 4.3

B+ = 3.3

C+ = 2.3

D+ = 1.3

F= 0

A = 4.0

B = 3.0

C = 2.0

D = 1.0

A- = 3.7

B- - 2.7

C- = 1.7

D- = 0.7

The grades of INC, R, S, and U do not have quality-point equivalents.

Plugin the numbers from your record to compute the following Latin Honors Eligibility:

SUMMA

4.0 x (S + T) – Q = total number of quality points needed to attain SUMMA standing. To figure out the GPA needed you would take the Quality Points needed and divide it by T (the number of letter-graded credits you are enrolled for).

MAGNA

3.75 x (S + T) – Q = total number of quality points needed to attain MAGNA standing. To figure out the GPA needed you would take the Quality Points needed and divide it by T (the number of letter-graded credits you are enrolled for).

CUM LAUDE

3.50 x (S + T) – Q = total number of quality points needed to attain CUM LAUDE standing. To figure out the GPA needed you would take the Quality Points needed and divide it by T (the number of letter-graded credits you are enrolled for).

Cornell University is phasing out individual school and college Dean's Lists. The Dean's List designation will not apply to undergraduate students matriculating in Summer 2023 and beyond. It will be discontinued for all students at the end of the Spring 2026 semester.

Each semester undergraduate students are recognized for academic excellence by inclusion on the Dean’s List. Eligibility for the Dean’s list in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is determined by the following criteria:

  1. A minimum course load for the semester of 12 letter-graded credits;
  2. Achievement of a semester GPA of at least 3.50; and
  3. Achievement of an “S” grade, or a “C-” or better grade in each course (including Physical Education), with no “Incompletes”, "Withdrawals (W)" or “NGR”.
  • When is the determination made?
    At the end of each fall or spring semester after grades are posted.
  • Notification
    Students will receive an email notice from the CALS Office of Student Services that they have attained the Dean's List, and their official University transcript will record the achievement based on the criteria above.
  • Dean's List Certificate
    Dean's List Certificates are available in DUST once grades are posted.
  • Grade changes and Incompletes
    Dean's List will be granted retroactively if a student meets all the criteria due to a grade change or makeup of an incomplete. It is the student's responsibility to contact CALS Student Services to have Dean’s List posted to their record.  Dean's List cannot be granted once a degree has been awarded. More information can be found under course enrollment and credits in the Courses of Study.
Note: Dean’s List was suspended for all undergraduate colleges for Spring 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19