Zoom Recording of the Incoming First Years’ Information Session on 7/13/22
Thank you to everyone who made it to our information sessions on Tuesday (7/12) and Wednesday (7/13)! It was great to see all of you on the other end of Zoom and to hear your questions. If you weren’t able to make it – or would like to view it again, please check on the recording here.

As mentioned during the information sessions this week, we will have open hours for advising next week. This will be a great opportunity to review and finalize your schedule, to ask questions about registering for classes, and for anything else DNS and pre-enrollment related!

What to Expect: Throughout these hours, the Zoom link will take you to the waiting room – we will let each student into the Zoom meeting in the order of entry to the waiting room. Once you are placed in the Zoom meeting, you will have a meeting with a member of our team to ask questions and review your schedule. Please plan to use video, audio, and screensharing as needed. This will all help us to provide feedback and help find the answers you are looking for.

Hours: Monday, July 18th, 9:00am – 12 Noon (ET) and 2:30pm – 5:30pm (ET);
Tuesday, July 19th, 9:00am – 12 Noon (ET) and 1:00pm – 5:00pm (ET) – this is the first day of pre-enrollment for incoming students. Please feel free to jump on this Zoom if you are having trouble registering!
Wednesday, July 20th: Meetings available as needed, please email us at dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu

Zoom Links for Open Advising Hours July 18th & July 19th:

Greetings from the Academic Affairs Office to our incoming freshmen and transfer students!

We are delighted to have you joining us in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS)!  We are pleased that you have chosen one of our majors as the starting point for your academic career at Cornell:

Across these programs, we are expecting an exciting group of over 200 students this August. The DNS faculty, staff, and student advisors are all looking forward to your arrival! Whether you are completing your major through the College of Human Ecology (CHE) or in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), our colleges are committed to student success on every level. 

We will be contacting you via your @cornell.edu email address, so be sure to activate your Cornell NetID and regularly check your Cornell email.


Pre-enrollment for fall semester courses begins on Tuesday, July 19th and ends on Friday, July 22nd. This is your first (not only!) opportunity to get a spot in your preferred fall courses. You will be able to add/adjust once the Add period begins on Wednesday, August 15th.

To help you prepare for pre-enrollment, we will offer information sessions and advising hours. Details will be posted here and sent to new students in the coming weeks.

Once you are assigned a DNS faculty advisor (during Orientation), 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 either Human Ecology Advising and Counseling or CALS Student Services.


DNS Orientation for incoming NS, HBHS, and GPHS majors will be held on during the University orientation period. Details will be posted here and sent to new students in the coming months. 

You will be given your assigned DNS faculty advisor during orientation and have an opportunity to connect with them as well as to learn about DNS academic programs and undergraduate opportunities. Please look out for more details to come in August!

Once again, we welcome you to the Division of Nutritional Sciences and hope that you will let us be your HOME away from home - we look forward to working with you!

It is recommended that students in their first semester at Cornell - whether starting their freshman year or starting their first year as a transfer student - limit their credit load to 13-15 credits, not including P.E. courses or supplementary courses (e.g. CHEM 1007, the supplement to CHEM 2080, or CHEM 1057, the supplement to CHEM 3570).

Students must enroll in at least 12 credits, not including P.E. or supplementary courses, to maintain full-time student status.

  • Incoming NS majors: NS 1150 Nutrition, Health, and Society (3 cr, required)
  • Incoming HBHS majors: NS 1400 Introduction to Human Biology, Health, and Society (3 cr, required)
  • For GPHS majors: NS 1600 Introduction to Public Health (3 cr, required)


We plan to bulk-enroll incoming students into these major core courses; i.e., students in these majors do not have to self-enroll during pre-enrollment.

  • 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.
  • ALL majors: It is strongly recommended that students also enroll in the chemistry supplementary course, CHEM 1007 Academic Support for CHEM 2070 (1 cr.) (does not count in credit total)

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.

All NS, HBHS, and GPHS majors eventually need two introductory biology lectures (several options) and the separate introductory biology lab (BIOG 1500, 2 cr). Many begin this requirement in their first semester—most often, a lecture. Some students may postpone beginning this requirement until the spring of their first 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. Options and considerations are described in the FAQs on the bottom of this page.

  • 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.

It is recommended that incoming first-year students take a PE course in both fall and spring semester.

Some students also add a social sciences (e.g. HD 1150) or humanities course to balance out their core major and natural science courses. Visit the DNS Roadmap and talk to your College advising office (see links at the top of this page) to identify courses that might work for you!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Topics Listed Above

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

All DNS majors eventually (not all in the first semester!) need to complete two introductory biology lectures (3 cr each, 6 total) and one introductory biology lab (2 cr), specifically:

     BIOG 1500 Investigative Lab (F/S, 2 cr) AND two of 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


Many DNS major begin this requirement in their first semester with either a lecture or a lab. Considerations for choosing among the options are listed below.

  • BIOG 1440/1445 and BIOMG 1350 (lecture options, 3-4 cr): Students interested in pre-health paths are encouraged to fulfill their lecture requirements with BIOMG 1350 and either BIOG 1440 or 1445 – the order doesn't matter – just because they offer more tailored content for those interested in clinical careers (any two lectures meet medical school requirements!). Some describe BIOG 1440 as having more application-based learning and BIOMG 1350 as being more information-heavy.
  • BIOG 1440 vs. BIOG 1445 (lecture options, 3 cr): BIOG 1445 has an "auto-tutorial" format, with only online lectures and no prelims throughout the semester. Students take oral and written quizzes on each unit and a lab practical and final exam at the end. Great skills for time management and self-directed learning are essential! In contrast, BIOG 1440 has a standard class format, with set lecture meeting times and fewer, larger prelim assessments.
  • BIOEE 1610 and BIOEE 1780 (lecture options, 3 cr): These lectures are open to pre-health students, and work for clinical programs! They just do not provide the same level of preparation for later pre-health coursework and testing.
  • BIOG 1500: Many students postpone taking BIOG 1500, the lab, because it is a time-intensive addition to the first semester. These students complete this either spring semester freshman year or fall semester sophomore year. Students who are comfortable in lab settings or eager to start might consider this option.

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 (pdf download)

If you have questions about AP credit, please contact your college's Admissions Office.

Students enroll in an FWS the same way they enroll in other courses!

Incoming Human Ecology students are required to complete two FWS by the end of their first year (one FWS per semester). CALS students must complete three communication courses over their whole time at Cornell (two written, one written or oral), and often enroll in FWS their first year to work toward this requirement. 

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.

If you have any questions about how to choose your fall semester courses, we encourage you to reach out to your College advisors in either Human Ecology Advising and Counseling or CALS Student Services. If you have questions about enrollment in NS courses (e.g. NS 1150, 1160, or 1600) or you aren’t sure where to direct a question, feel free to contact us at dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu.

Welcome to the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and we look forward to greeting you at the start of the semester!

The DNS Academic Affairs Office