A Message from Julia Felice, DNS Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies


Dear New Students,

We are delighted to have you joining us in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS)! The DNS is home to the human health science majors as well as several minor fields at Cornell and includes students from three colleges.

The information on this page is for students in DNS majorsNutritional Sciences (NS)Human Biology, Health, and Society (HBHS), or Global and Public Health Sciences—who are either in the College of Human Ecology (CHE) or in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Until you arrive at Cornell, "Scheduling Advice for Freshmen" and the FAQs below may help you to choose courses appropriate for your chosen major. Please read it carefully to thoroughly understand your different options and choices. Transfer students should contact one of the resources listed in the next paragraph for an individualized schedule consultation. All students may still make changes (add/drop) to your schedule during the first several days of classes. 

Soon after you arrive on campus, you will be assigned an academic advisor from the DNS faculty. Any questions you have about advising should be directed to that person. In the interim, if you have any questions regarding the first term schedule, please contact Dr. Julia Felice (Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies), CHE Student Development Office, CALS Student Services, or the DNS academic affairs office.

Again, we welcome you to the Division of Nutritional Sciences and hope that you will let us be your HOME away from home!

Scheduling Advice for Freshmen:

First Term Schedule: You must enroll in a minimum 12 credits, not including PE and supplementary courses (see below for more information). 

  1. Chemistry
    • NS and HBHS Majors must enroll in CHEM 2070 General Chemistry I (4 cr). Students who are very strong in chemistry, have a chemistry AP score of 5, and do not plan on a pre-health (e.g. pre-med) path may consider CHEM 2150 Honors General and Inorganic Chemistry (4 cr) instead of CHEM 2070.
    • GPHS Majors should enroll in CHEM 2070 General Chemistry I (4 cr), CHEM 2150 Honors General and Inorganic Chemistry (4 cr), or CHEM 1560 Introduction to General Chemistry (4 cr). Students on or interested in the pre-health path (e.g. pre-med) should take CHEM 2070 and cannot take CHEM 1560.
    • It is strongly recommended that students also enroll in chemistry supplementary courses, e.g. CHEM 1007 Academic Support for CHEM 2070 (1 cr.) or CHEM 1070 General Chemistry | Workshop (2 cr.), for help with CHEM 2070.

    Note: If you do not get into the CHEM class that you want, you will need to visit the Chemistry Wait List web site for information.

  2. Introductory Biology (3-5 cr): BIOG 1500 Investigative Biology Laboratory (2 cr.) and/or one lecture course (e.g. BIOMG 1350 Introductory Biology: Cell and Developmental Biology (3 cr.), BIOG 1440 Introductory Biology: Comparative Physiology (3 cr.), or BIOG 1445 Introduction to Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, Individualized Instruction (4 cr.); see below for more information on choosing introductory biology courses).  
    • Some students may postpone to spring freshman year or sophomore year; consult with one of the resources listed above to decide if this is you, and consider replacing it with another College distribution requirement, e.g. a Humanities or Social Sciences course.
  3. First-Year Writing Seminar (3 cr)
    • CHE students must take one in both the fall and spring of their freshman year (for a requirement of 6 total credits).
    • CALS students generally do so as well, even though it is not required, to begin working toward meeting their 9-credit communication requirement.
  4. Introductory core major course:
    • For NS and HBHS majors: NS 1150 Nutrition, Health, and Society (3 cr, required) and NS 1160 Personalized Concepts and Controversies (1 cr, strongly recommended). Incoming NS and HBHS freshmen (not transfer students) are auto-enrolled in NS 1150; students must self-enroll in NS 1160.
    • For GPHS majors: NS 1600 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr, required). Incoming GPHS freshmen are auto-enrolled. 
  5. Physical Education (PE): Freshmen must take a PE course in both fall and spring semester.

Thank you!

Dr. Julia P. Felice 
DNS Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies

PS: For college orientation events, please visit either the College of Human Ecology (CHE) orientation information page or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) orientation information page.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is important that intro chemistry (CHEM 2070 and CHEM 2080, or just CHEM 2070 in the case of some GPHS majors) should be taken as a freshman so as to stay on track with later chemistry requirements (e.g. organic chemistry and biochemistry). 

Most students complete some or all of their introductory biology requirements—two lectures and one lab—their freshman year, but starting those courses can be postponed until spring freshman year or fall sophomore year if reasonable and warranted. Most students can complete the sequence of courses required for their majors if they take chemistry, but not biology, in their freshman year. 

However, postponing biology and/or chemistry may affect the timing of meeting the requirements needed to apply to professional, clinical (e.g. medical), and graduate schools. Students considering postponing introductory biology and/or chemistry should first discuss alternative scheduling options with advisors.

For all DNS majors, a total 8 credits of introductory biology is required:

BIOG 1500 Investigative Lab (F/S, 2 cr) AND
Choose two out of three from the following 3-credit lecture options:

  1. BIOMG 1350 Cell and Development (F/S, 3 cr)
  2. BIOG 1440 Comparative Physiology (F/S, 3 cr) OR* BIOG 1445 Comparative Physiology (Autotutorial) (F/S, 4cr)
  3. BIOEE 1610 Ecology and the Environment (F/S, 3cr) OR* BIOEE 1780 Evolution and Diversity (F/S, 3cr)

*Cannot take both to fulfill this requirement

Among three lecture options, BIOG 1440 (or BIOG 1445) and BIOMG 1350 are popular courses and recommended if you are pre-med. You can take one bio course (either lab or lecture) in each semester over three semesters OR may want to take lab plus lecture in one semester and another lecture in another semester, completing all within two semesters. If you are unsure which option might be best for you, contact one of the resources listed above.

The objectives of supplemental courses are to help students clarify course material, assist with problem analysis, in-depth questions and answers, and prepare for exams. There are supplemental courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, economics, and physics. We strongly recommend supplemental courses, especially chemistry and biology (e.g. CHEM 1007 or CHEM 1070 for support in CHEM 2070), to students, especially those whose preparation is not strong and/or who last took those courses many years ago. Note: Supplemental course credits do not count toward the 12-credit minimum needed for full-time status or toward the 120 total credits required for graduation. Please check the Learning Strategies Center's link for more information.

Students vary in how they choose to apply their AP credits towards their degree requirements, provided they have met the minimum AP scores determined by their College and by DNS, and are responsible for making arrangements to count AP credits toward their requirements. You will need to meet with your faculty adviser and College Registrar to discuss whether and how you are able to apply your AP credits toward your degree requirements. 

Your major, career interests, areas of interest outside your major, study abroad plans, and graduation timelines will help you determine the best way for you to use your AP credits. In general, you can use AP credits in subjects that are elective for your major (such as language) and for which you do not plan to pursue advanced study, either during or beyond your time at Cornell. In contrast, you may consider forfeiting AP credit and taking the introductory course at Cornell if 1) the course is important for a potential major or career goal (e.g. biology or chemistry for students considering a pre-health track) or 2) you need to prepare for more advanced courses in the same topic area.

Major specific guidelines/rules:

  1. AP Chemistry
    • Students must take at least 4 credits of introductory chemistry at Cornell; i.e., GPHS students who do not plan on taking CHEM 2080 may not use AP Chemistry credit to fulfill the CHEM 2070 requirement.
    • It is strongly recommended that NS or HBHS students take CHEM 2070 at Cornell—i.e. not use AP Chemistry credit to meet that requirement. 
  2. AP Biology
    • DNS majors may only use one AP Biology score of 5 to fulfill one of their introductory biology lectures (3 cr). Scores of 4 are not accepted.
    • Students with an AP Biology score of 5 are required to take BIOG 1500 and one lecture course. If students earn a B- or lower in those courses, we strongly recommend continuing with the second introductory biology lecture. A student who earns a B or higher and feels confident in second lecture’s subject matter can decide to discontinue with the sequence.
    • Students with an AP Biology score of 5 who decide to continue with a second introductory biology lecture will forfeit their AP Biology credits.

Other acceptable AP scores for CHE and CALS students may be found at the links below. Please note all Cornell students are limited to 15 credits from AP/pre‐college credits and In Absentia credits (credit taken at another institution after you’ve matriculated to Cornell) combined. 

AP policies for CHE students

AP policies for CALS students

Placement is by electronic submission of a ballot. Strongly recommend to take it during freshman year. Note: Human Ecology freshmen are required to complete two FWS by the end of their first year (one FWS per semester).

For more information, check the First-Year Writing Seminars page.

Freshmen are required to take PE (1 cr) each term of freshman year. The Credit will not be counted toward full-time status or 120 graduation credits. Physical Education registration will take place on-line. Please call the Physical Education office at 607-255-4286 for questions.

For more information, check the Physical Education page.