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): Successful completion of two 1-credit non-academic PE Cornell courses with a satisfactory grade (SX). Students are expected to complete the Physical Education Requirement in their first two semesters at Cornell.

Swim test: Successful competition of the swim test. 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 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.
  • First-year students may not enroll in more than 18 academic credits (not including PE or review/supplemental courses) and are limited to one S-U optional course per semester.
  • If a student wishes to exceed *22 academic credits (to a maximum of 25 credits) in one semester, they must submit a request through Chatter Resources. *Subject to availability.

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