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Distribution Requirements

The purpose of the distribution requirement is to have all students achieve common learning outcomes.

Introductory Life Sciences/Biology Requirement: Students must complete at least six academic credits from the list of courses that fulfill distribution requirements. (For more information, see tabs below.)

Physical and Life Sciences 18 credits in at least three disciplines of which six credits must be introductory life sciences/biology and three credits in chemistry or physics and a quantitative literacy course

Chemistry/Physics: Complete a minimum of three academic credits of chemistry or physics. Includes all Cornell courses with the CHEM or PHYS prefix at Cornell (excluding courses that are supplemental, independent study, research, TA, internship, and First-Year Writing Seminar).

Quantitative Literacy: Faculty legislation requires minimum competency in quantitative literacy. This requirement can be satisfied by earning a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus exam or a score of 5 on the AP Statistics exam, or transfer an approved calculus or statistics course with a minimum letter grade of “C” or better; or take an approved calculus or statistics course at Cornell.

Other Physical Life Sciences: Please refer to the comprehensive search engine of college distribution requirements for the most up to date list of courses that meet this requirement.

Social Sciences and Humanities: Students must complete four courses of 3 or more credits each from the following seven categories of courses in the humanities and social sciences. At least one course category MUST be completed in three different categories. Human Diversity (D) is a required category and MUST be completed. No more than two courses in the same department will be counted toward the distribution requirement. To view a searchable list of courses, please search for courses that fulfill distribution requirements.

Written and Oral Expression: 9 credits total, of which at least six must be in written expression. Oral expression is not required by the college, but may be required for some majors. If not required, all nine credits may be in written expression. Writing in the Majors courses do not count towards the writing requirement.

Definition of Human Diversity

It is expected that in the process of earning a degree, students will enhance their abilities to communicate with people of different cultural perspectives; to listen carefully and respectfully to views of others, especially views with which they disagree; and to employ ethical reasoning in judging ideas, actions, and their implications. These courses explore the challenges of building a diverse society, and/or examine the various processes that marginalize people and produce unequal power relations in terms of race, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, gender, age, or economic status.

Human Diversity Areas

All courses that satisfy the Human Diversity requirement have at least 50% content in one of the following areas:

  • critical analysis of historically or contemporary marginalized* communities
  • examination of diverse processes that produce unequal power relations in terms of race, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, gender, age, or economic status.
  • review of the challenges of building a diverse society

*Any groups with reduced access to social status, political influence, economic advancement, educational advancement, health care, information, or any of the goods, services, and powers of a society can be considered marginalized. Causes of marginalization may be related to ethnic status, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, geography, economics, and government policies. Those who exist on the furthest margins of a society are frequently subject to several of these forces.

A student can complete the Human Diversity (D) requirement in one of two ways.

  1. Enrolling in an approved course at Cornell University.
  2. Request substitution of a Cornell course not currently approved, or approval of a transfer course (including courses taken abroad). This process is a minimum of 4-6 weeks. The petition is reviewed upon receipt of requested material from instructor of record, so please plan accordingly.

Introductory Life Sciences/Biology Requirement: Specific major requirements are not outlined below. Students should discuss course selection with their faculty advisor or departmental representative and should be used as a guideline when selecting appropriate courses for your curriculum.

Students must complete at least six academic credits from the following or Credit by Examination or pre-approved non-Cornell credit.

Advising Recommendation

Course number

Course Title

Credits

Biological Sciences Majors: https://biology.cornell.edu/academics (BIO-AG)

BIOG 1440

Comparative Physiology

3

BIOG 1445

Comparative Physiology, Autotutorial

4

BIOMG 1350

Cell and Developmental Biology

3

BIOEE 1610

Ecology and the Environment

3 or 4

BIOG 1500

Investigative Laboratory

2

BIOEE 1780

Evolutionary Biology and Diversity

4 or 5

BIOEE 1781

Introduction to Evolution and Diversity (online)

4

BIOEE 2525/2526/2527

Ecology and Conservation of Wildlife in the Neotropics

4

BIOSM 1500 (summer)

Investigative Marine Biology Laboratory

3

BIOSM 1610 (summer)

Ecology and the Marine Environment

3

BIOSM 2770 (summer)

Marine and Coastal Conservation Biology

3

BIOSM 3830 (summer)

Field Marine Invertebrate Biology

3

BIOSM 1780 (summer)

Evolution and Marine Diversity

4

Life Sciences Majors (BIOLS-AG)

BIOAP 1100

Domestic Animal Biology

4

BIOMG 1290

Personal Genomics and Medicine

3

BIOMG 1150

Human Genetics: Science & Society

3

BIOG 1140

Foundations of Biology

4

BIOEE 1180/STS 1180

Evolution

3

DSOC 1300

Just Food: Exploring the Modern Food System

3

PLSCI 1420

Functional Plant Biology

3

PLHRT 1112 (summer)

Lawns, Gardens and Landscapes

3

PLHRT 1115

The Nature of Plants

3

PLBIO 1130

Light and Life

3

PLBIO 2100

Medical Ethnobotany

3

PLBIO 2400

Green World Blue Planet

3

PLBIO 2410

Plant Diversity and Evolution

3

PLSCI 4190

Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry

3

PLBIO 2450 (summer)

Plant Biology

3

BIOMS 1130 (summer)

Introduction to Reproduction

3

BIOSM 1500 (summer)

Investigative Marine Biology Laboratory

3

BIOSM 1610 (summer)

Ecology and the Marine Environment

3

BIOSM 3450 (summer)

Marine Mammal Biology

3

BIOSM 1780 (summer)

Evolution and Marine Diversity

4

Non-Life Science Majors (BIONLS-AG)

EAS/BIOEE 1551(summer)

Field Introductory Oceanography (Intro Biology will be fulfilled when

combined with EAS/BIOEE 1540 on campus)

1.5

PLSCS/BIOMI 1120

Microbes, the Earth, & Everything

3

BIOEE/EAS 1560

Introductory Oceanography with Laboratory

4

ENTOM 2020

Invasions

3

ENTOM 2030

Honey Bees: Their Intriguing Biology & Interactions with Humans

3

PLBIO 2470

Plants and People

3

PLBIO 2490

Hollywood Biology: Science in Cinema

3

PLBRG 2010

Plants, Genes, and Global Food Production

3

ENTOM 2011

Alien Empire: Bizarre Biology of Bugs

3

VIEN 2204

Principles & Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wines

3

PLPPM 2013

Mushrooms, Molds, and More

3

BIOMI 1100

College Dormitory Microbiology

3