See the Human Ecology Credit Requirements of the Courses of Study for complete details. To view this section online, click the following link and scroll down to Graduation Requirements.

Human Ecology Credit Requirements

Course Distribution Directions - Course distributions are groups of courses categorized by course content. Some requirements on your Curriculum Sheet direct you to choose courses with a specific distribution. This is common for Humanities or Additional Credit requirements, depending on your major.

See Curriculum Sheets for departmental requirements.

In this Section:

  • Students must earn a minimum of 120 total academic credits to graduate. Physical education nor “10XX” courses do not count towards the 120 minimum credits for graduation
  • Of the 120 credits, at least 60 credits must be earned at Cornell University.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 43 Human Ecology credits from College Distribution, Major Requirements and electives.
  • Students must earn 9 credits in Human Ecology departments outside their major department:
    • “HE” prefix courses below the 3000 level do not count towards this requirement. 
    • A maximum of 3 credits of department special studies (4000, 4010, and 4020) may be applied. “4030: Teaching Apprenticeship” courses do not count towards this requirement.
    • See Off-Campus Programs below for additional options.
    • Students must complete a minimum of 2 natural science courses as outlined on the major’s curriculum sheet.
  • Students must complete 2 First-Year Writing Seminars during their first two semesters. Those who do not fulfill this requirement will be referred to CAS. These seminars will not be approved for in absentia study.

Excellence in academic achievement is recognized by placing on the Dean's List the names of students who have completed satisfactorily:

  • At least 12 credits  of letter grades.
  • A semester GPA of 3.7 or above.
  • No F or U grades.

Dean's List will be determined at the end of each semester. Dean's List will be officially noted on each students transcript each term it is received. Notification that students have achieved Dean's List will be sent to the students Cornell e-mail address.

  • Students must fulfill the requirements specified for a major that are in effect at the time of their matriculation. They also have the choice of fulfilling the requirements specified for subsequent years. However, they cannot mix and match requirements from different years
  • Curriculum requirements for each graduating class are available online.

Human Ecology will accept all minors that are approved by the University. Minors are controlled, tracked, and audited by the department or unit in which they are offered. Information regarding completion of requirements must be reported by the unit sponsoring the minor to the Human Ecology's Registrar's Office for it to be noted on the transcript.

  • S/U grading option may not be used for College Distribution cuorses or required major courses unless it is the only grade option offered for those courses.
  • S/Us MAY be used for the 9 credits of Human Ecology coursework outside of one's major and for electives.
  • Students may apply no more than 12 credits of S/U towards graduation requirements. If a required course is only offered S/U, it will not count towards this limit. Students may take more S/Us if they choose, but the additional credit will not be applied towards graduation.
  • The deadline for changing grade options is 57 calendar days after the start of classes, the same as the “Drop” deadline.
  • Students must carry 12 credits each semester (excluding physical education) to be matriculated as full-time students. Carrying fewer than 12 credits will have financial aid implications and will make students subject to academic action as defined by the Committee on Academic Status (CAS).
    • Exception: Mature students (24 years or older at date of matriculation) can enroll for as few as 6 credits without petitioning for permission
  • Students must complete 12 Human Ecology credits by the end of their sophomore year. They must take at least 5 of those credits each year (i.e. they cannot enroll in 12 credits one year and no credits in the next.).

There is no limit to the number of credits that may be taken in the endowed colleges (Arts, AR, EN, HO) or in the statutory colleges (HE, ILR, and CALS). Depending on their needs and desires, students may choose to take additional courses and graduate with more than 120 credits. 

Leaves of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence before the beginning of the semester or during the first twelve weeks of the semester for which a leave is sought. A leave may be extended for a second semester by making a written request to the Office of Human Ecology Registrar (Academic Surge A). Note: In absentia study status and leave of absence status are not the same; however, students may petition to earn credits with either status. Students on leave must notify the college registrar (Academic Surge A), in writing, of their intention to return to campus at least one month before the beginning of the semester by returning the Return from Leave of Absence form. Those whose leave period has expired will be withdrawn from the college after the third week of the semester they were due back.

Students considering a leave of absence should discuss their plans with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development. The counselor can supply the necessary forms which students must complete and file with the Human Ecology Registrar’s Office (Academic Surge A) to officially request a leave. Leaves initiated after instruction begins will be charged a percentage of the semester tuition.  The University Registrar will determine the effective date of the leave.

Requests for a leave of absence received after the first twelve weeks of the semester, or requests for a leave of absence from students who have already had two semesters’ leave of absence, will be referred for action to the Committee on Academic Status. The committee may grant or deny such requests, attaching conditions to the leave as it deems necessary. Leaves of absence after the first seven weeks are generally granted only when there are compelling reasons why a student is unable to complete the semester, such as extended illness.

A student who requests a leave of absence after the first twelve weeks is advised to attend classes until action is taken on the petition. A student whose petition for a leave of absence is denied may choose to withdraw or to complete the semester. If the petition for leave is approved, the student’s courses will remain on the transcript with W grades.

The academic records of all students who are granted a leave of absence are subject to review, and the Committee on Academic Status may request grades and other information from faculty members to determine whether the student should return under warning or severe warning or in good academic standing.

Under certain documented medical circumstances a student may be granted a health leave of absence. Health leaves are initiated by the student with Cornell Health. If they recommend a health leave for the student, the college registrar may grant the leave. A health leave is for an indeterminate period of time not to exceed five years. Students who are granted a health leave of absence should maintain contact with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (Academic Surge A, (607) 255-2532) to arrange their return to campus. The counselor will advise the student on procedures to obtain a recommendation from Cornell Health to the college registrar for the student’s return. Students should plan sufficiently in advance to assure time for Cornell Health and the college registrar to consider their request.


A withdrawal is a termination of student status at the university. Students may withdraw voluntarily at any time by notifying the college registrar and by submitting the withdrawal from Cornell University form to the Human Ecology Registrar’s Office. A student considering such an action is urged to first discuss plans with a counselor in the Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development (Academic Surge A, (607) 255-2532).  The University Registrar will determine the effective date of the withdrawal.

In some instances, a student may be given a withdrawal by the college registrar. Students who leave the college without an approved leave of absence, or do not return after the leave has expired, will be given a withdrawal after the seventh week of the semester in which they fail to register.

A student who has withdrawn from the college or who has been given a withdrawal by the college registrar and who wishes to return at a later date must reapply through the Office of Admission for consideration along with all other applicants for admission. If the student was in academic difficulty at the time of the withdrawal, the request for readmission will be referred to the Committee on Academic Status (CAS) for consideration, and that committee may stipulate criteria under which the student may be readmitted to the college.

  • Practicing Medicine: 3 Human Ecology credits only
  • Cornell Abroad: 15 Cornell credits (statutory, non-Human Ecology)
  • Cornell-in-Washington: 15 Cornell credits including 8 PAM credits for PAM majors or 8 credits outside the major for non-PAM majors
  • Capital Semester: 12 Human Ecology credits including 8 PAM credits for PAM majors or 8 credits outside the major for non-PAM majors
  • A total of 12 credits of special study course work from Human Ecology or other colleges will count towards the 120 graduation credit requirement. [Additional credits can be taken but will not be applied.]
  • A maximum of three credits of 4000-4020 (not including 4030) may count towards the "credit outside the major" category as long as the special study is in a department outside the student's major.
  • Students cannot TA (4030) the same course for credit more than once or take and TA the same course simultaneously. 4030 does not fulfill any requirements towards the major. Registration for 4030 may not exceed 5 credit hours per semester.
  • "10XX" courses do not count towards graduation credit but does count towards full-time status.
  • PE courses do not count towards graduation credit and do not count towards full-time status.

Students should scrutinize course descriptions for details about other Cornell courses with duplicate content that would preclude a student from receiving full credit for duplicate courses. For example, students may not receive 6 credits toward graduation requirements if they take D SOC 1101 and SOC 1101. Because both are introduction to sociology courses, only 3 credits would be allowed. To aid students in this evaluation, the College of Arts and Sciences maintains a list for Cornell University of courses that have duplicate content, see the Forbidden Overlap List.

For students entering Cornell as first-year students, no more than 15 credits earned elsewhere (e.g. AP/IB, college courses earned in-absentia) may be applied to the 120 credits required for graduation. The College and departments/programs may place additional limits on how AP or in-absentia credits may apply to particular requirements. Students with questions about specific transfer credits should work with the registrar's office.

The Human Ecology Registrar's Office will process AP credits upon receipt from the testing service. Please check the Transfer Credit Report on Student Center to confirm your credit has been posted. For those receiving more than 15 credits of AP coursework, you will need to inform the registrar which credits you wish to accept.

The Advanced Placement Equivalencies Sheet outlines how AP credit can be used to complete college requirements.

Please keep in mind that you are allowed 15 credits from AP/pre‐college and In Absentia combined. In Absentia credit comes from credit taken at another institution after you’ve matriculated to Cornell. The Registrar's Office will process your AP credit upon receipt from the testing service, if more than 15 credits are received you will need to inform the Registrar which credits you wish to accept.

Students must earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better to graduate. Students who fall below 2.0 cumulatively or during a semester are subject to academic action.

The Registrar’s office manages the transfer credit process in coordination with the Directors of Undergraduate Studies in the College. Transfer students are required to complete all degree requirements with at least 60 credits of coursework from Cornell University. Thus, a maximum of 60 hours in transfer credit, for courses with a grade of “C-” or above may be allowed from other accredited colleges or universities.

Cornell University does not accept credit for courses sponsored by colleges but taught in high school to high school students, even if the college provides a transcript of such work. 

Students must submit an official transcript from all institutions in which transfer credit is being requested. Courses with a grade of “C-” or above will be considered for transfer.

A syllabus for each course containing the information below should be submitted for review:

  • Syllabus must cover 80 percent of the material covered in the  Cornell course.
  • Syllabus uses a standard textbook equivalent to that used in a Cornell course. 
  • Syllabus must include examinations, writing, projects, or other submitted work, produced individually or collectively, that is roughly as extensive as that required in the equivalent Cornell course. 
  • Syllabus must indicate roughly equivalent meeting hours as are required in the equivalent Cornell course. 

Transfer credit may be awarded for Freshmen Writing Seminar requirements. These courses may be reviewed by the Knight Institute at the request of the Registrar.

  • Transfers are highly encouraged to seek approval from advisers (faculty or student services staff) regarding their incoming schedules. A heavy course load (more than 15 credits) during the first Cornell semester is discouraged.
  • Students in some majors may require an extra semester or two to finish departmental requirements.
  • Premeds should speak with their advisers or student services counselors regarding course sequencing and timing, college and university resources, and medical school admission timetables. Pre-Meds must complete 30 credit hours (not including PE or S/U grades) at Cornell to be eligible for the HCEC process.

Students in the college are permitted to enroll in a maximum of 18 credit hours per term.  Students with 2 terms of study at Cornell, a minimum GPA of 3.3000, and that are in Good Standing with the college may petition to take up to 22 credits per term. Petitions to take more than 18 credits are accepted ONLY during the add/drop period in the term in which the additional credits will be taken. We will not accept petitions during the pre-enrollment period for any academic term to exceed 18 credits. The petition is online and may be accessed by clicking here

Advising Reports are available through Student Center for all students.  They match the student's curriculum sheet for their major based on their matriculation date.  While the Advising Report matches the information on the curriculum sheets, the curriculum sheets should be consulted for additional information.