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Graduation Requirements

Students are responsible for fulfilling all the requirements of their curriculum. Click on each section to learn more about the requirements to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Minimum total credits: 120 academic credits are required for graduation.

  • Repeated courses increase the number of credits required for graduation by the number of credits in the course. These credits do count toward the minimum 12 credits required for full-time status.
  • Review or supplemental courses (e.g., 1000- to 1099-level) increase the number of credits required for graduation by the number of credits in the course. These credits do not count toward the minimum 12 credits required for full-time status.
  • Physical Education courses do not count toward 120 credits for graduation. They do not count toward the minimum 12 credits required for full-time status.

Minimum credits at Cornell: 60 academic credits must be completed at Cornell (includes CALS Exchange, Cornell in Rome, Capital Semester and Cornell in Washington).

Maximum non-Cornell credit: 60 (AP, CASE, IB, GCE, French Baccalauréat, transfer coursework, Cornell Abroad) can be applied toward degree requirements. Students are limited to 15 non-Cornell credits earned before matriculation as a first-year student from an accredited college/university.

55 CALS credits are required for graduation. CALS credits include all courses from departments within CALS and courses offered in Applied Economics and Management, Biological Sciences, Biology & Society, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Information Science, Nutritional Science, and The Department of Statistics and Data Science.

100 minimum letter-graded credits: Prorated Chart for non-Cornell credit.

15 credits of “non-structured” coursework can be applied toward graduation requirements, including internships, teaching assistant, research, and independent study.

The University has two requirements for graduation that must be fulfilled by all undergraduate students: the swim test, and physical education courses. Information on university graduation requirements are on the Registrar's Office website

Physical education (PE): Credit in Physical Education may be earned by participating in courses offered by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, by being a registered participant on an intercollegiate athletic team, or performing in the marching band. Students are expected to complete the Physical Education Requirement in their first two semesters at Cornell.

Swim test: The Faculty Advisory Committee on Athletics and Physical Education has established a basic swimming and water safety competency requirement for all entering first-year undergraduate students. Transfer students are not held to this requirement. Swim tests are typically taken as part of the orientation process.

*Exception: Students who externally transfer to Cornell from another accredited college or university are exempt from the physical education and swim test requirement.

Eight semesters of full-time study are expected. External transfer students are credited with one semester in residence for each full-time semester (or equivalent) earned at another institution.

Internal transfer students must be enrolled in CALS for at least two semesters.

The final semester before graduation must be completed in a Cornell program as a full-time student. (The School of Continuing Education does not count towards a final semester of residency).

Students in the ninth and final semester may be eligible to apply for prorated tuition.

A minimum cumulative GPA2.00 or above must be maintained. The cumulative GPA includes all letter grades earned at Cornell.

A student must be enrolled in the following to maintain a legal CALS Schedule and to maintain good academic standing:

  • A minimum of 12 academic credits per semester is required to be a full-time student in good academic standing. NOTE: Students must enroll in an average of 15 credits per semester to be on track to graduate in 8 semesters.
  • Students in good academic standing may enroll in a maximum of 22 credits with the exception of first-year students in their first semester who may only enroll in a maximum of 18 credits (see below).
  • Students must enroll in at least one CALS course each semester until 55 CALS credits have been successfully completed.
  • Review or supplemental courses (1000 to 1099 level courses and Physical Education (PE) courses) will not count toward the 12 credit minimum required for full-time status.
  • 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.

Please see our Pre-Health requirements page for more information.