The information below describes some of the academic policies and procedures that pertain to DNS undergraduates. This includes General Policies and Procedures FAQs as well as considerations and procedures for Changing or Adding a Major or Minor and for Using non-Cornell Courses to Meet Requirements.

General Policies and Procedures

FAQ CHE CALS
What are my College graduation requirements (e.g. College credits, social sciences or humanities, or communication)? CHE graduation requirements CALS graduation requirements
How do I monitor my progress toward graduation?

Students: In Student Center select “Academic Requirements” from the drop-down menu.

Faculty/staff: In Faculty Center, search for or select a student under the “Advisor Center” tab, then select “Academic Requirements” from the drop-down menu.

Students: In DUST select “Degree Progress.”

Faculty/staff: In DUST, select student from list of advisees, then select “Degree Progress.”

College (i.e. not major) requirements only.

How do I search for classes? Use the Class Roster of currently active courses to filter by department, level, credits, and more (see instructions on how to search by course distribution). The Course Catalog lists all courses, including those temporarily inactive or off-year. Use the Class Roster of currently active courses to filter by department, level, credits, and more (see instructions on how to search by course distribution). The Course Catalog lists all courses, including those temporarily inactive or off-year.
How do I find classes that fulfill a particular requirement? Use available filters in the Class Roster, (e.g. Breadth/Distribution) to search for courses with a certain distribution code in any College. Within DUST click “Degree Planning” and then “College Distribution Requirements.”
Do I have to take required classes for a letter grade? Yes; all DNS students (CHE or CALS), must take required courses for a letter grade. Yes; all DNS students (CHE or CALS), must take required courses for a letter grade.
Can I use AP credits to fulfill any requirements?

**AP credits are not accepted by many grad/med schools.

See the Human Ecology page for a list of accepted AP credit for DNS majors in CHE, and contact CHE if your scores qualify. See this page for a description of accepted AP credit for DNS majors in CALS, and contact CALS if your scores qualify.
What is my credit minimum and maximum each semester? CHE students must take at least 12 credits (not including PE or supplementary courses). After the first two semesters at Cornell, students may petition to take over 18 credits, but may not exceed 22. CALS students must take at least 12 credits ( not including PE or supplementary courses). After the first two semesters at Cornell, students may petition to take over 22 credits, but may not exceed 25.
How do I petition for an exception to a requirement or policy—e.g. for curriculum substitutions, transfer credit, and late grade option changes)? CHE students access and submit petitions through the CHE Forms and Petitions page. CALS students submit petitions through Chatter under “Forms and Tools.” Substitutions for major requirements are approved directly by DNS rather than by petition.
What is my credit minimum and maximum each semester? CHE students must take at least 12 credits (not including PE or supplementary courses). They may petition to take more than 18 credits, but may not exceed 22. CALS students must take at least 12 credits (not including PE or supplementary courses). They may petition to take more than 22 credits, but may not exceed 25.
How do I enroll in NS special studies credits (e.g. NS 4010, 4020, or 4030)? The Class Roster has instructions. All students must enroll in NS special studies credits via the “Special Studies Enrollment Form” that can be found on the CHE Forms and Petitions page. The Class Roster has instructions. All students must enroll in NS special studies credits via the “Special Studies Enrollment Form” that can be found on the CHE Forms and Petitions page.
Can I use non-Cornell courses to fulfill a requirement? See below under “Using non-Cornell Courses to Meet Requirements.” See below under “Using non-Cornell Courses to Meet Requirements.”
How would I change my major or add a major or minor? See below under “Changing or Adding a Major or Minor.” CHE students may NOT have a second major. See below under “Changing or Adding a Major or Minor.” CALS students may have a second major ONLY if it is also in CALS.

It is common for interests to evolve in college, which may mean a change in academic track. The options and procedures available to students considering changing their academic track are described below.

Changing or Adding a Major or Minor

  • Talk to counseling and career services personnel available through your College or Colleges of interest, visit Cornell Career Services, and talk to faculty members and peers. They can help you discover the major that best suits your interests.
  • Investigate admissions requirements for Colleges and majors of potential interest. When you find a major that interests you, visit the appropriate contact person within DNS (listed below) or contact the department of interest. Talk about career possibilities and your progress toward completion of major requirements in relation to the time you have left at Cornell.
  • Taking classes in the potential new major first, which would then count toward requirements if a switch is made.
  • Different College (e.g. from CALS to CHE): review the Internal Transfer Requirements and Procedures and apply for admission into that College.
  • Same College (e.g. Biological Sciences-CALS to NS-CALS):
    • CHE students must fill out the CHE Change of Major form
    • CALS students only need to coordinate approval and a new faculty advisor with their new major department. In DNS, this includes meeting with Dr. Julia Felice to approve the transfer and Terry Mingle to assign a new advisor. CALS students who add a second CALS major must complete the requirements of majors in order to graduate with a double major. It is the student’s responsibility to keep both faculty advisors informed and to obtain both signatures on the Application to Graduate.
  • NS or HBHS major: meet with Dr. Julia Felice (julia.felice@cornell.edu) to review transcripts and progress toward requirements
  • GPHS (CHE or CALS): contact Terry Mingle (tpm2@cornell.edu) to obtain and fill out a request form (NOTE: the GPHS major only accepts a limited number of sophomore transfers). The Global Health Program reviews it and meets with the student to authorize or deny the switch. Once authorized, students should follow the procedure for their college described below.
  • Non-DNS majors: contact that department for requirements and procedures.

Follow department-specific steps to do so, because minors are controlled, tracked, and audited by the academic department or unit in which they are offered.

  • DNS students also may pursue any one of 125 formal undergraduate minors offered by Cornell.
  • CALS and CHE students do not need to file paperwork with their home College to add a minor.
    • For CHE students, information on completion of requirements must be reported by the unit sponsoring the minor to the CHE Registrar for it to be noted on the transcript.
    • For CALS students, when filing Part II of the Application to Graduate, it is the student’s responsibility to identify the minor and to obtain signatures from all major and minor advisors. Minors are added to the record just prior to degree completion and will appear on the final transcript post-graduation.

Some students find it beneficial to use non-Cornell courses to fulfill major or College requirements, such as those who transferred into their major late, those who are also working toward minors or pre-professional paths, and those planning to spend a semester studying abroad. Students should meet with their faculty advisors to discuss all requirements and recommended course sequences, and must consider carefully how the course will fit into their Cornell graduation plan. Students are ultimately responsible for identifying school(s) and course(s), conferring with advisors, and meeting graduation requirements on time.

Using non-Cornell Courses to Meet Requirements

  • Look for general elective or College distribution requirements, e.g. humanities or social sciences.
  • Do not take major core courses away from Cornell, as this is generally not permitted.
  • In general, avoid biology and chemistry courses, particularly if interested in a pre-health (e.g. pre-med) paths. It is challenging to find adequate courses, and many clinical programs don’t accept courses away from your home institution. If proceeding, use caution:
    • Introductory chemistry courses must be equivalent to CHEM 2070-2080. Adequate sequences are those approved for science majors, biology majors, or pre-med majors.
    • Introductory biology courses should be from sequences approved for science/biology majors or pre-health majors. It is often better to complete a two-course sequence at one place than try to match a term elsewhere with a term at Cornell.
    • Organic chemistry choices vary. Pre-health students who take organic chemistry elsewhere (not recommended) should take a two-semester series for pre-health students of at least 8 credits (lecture and lab) equivalent to CHEM 3570-3580 and CHEM 2510. Students not in pre-health tracks may take a one-semester course equivalent to CHEM 1570 and CHEM 2510.
    • Biochemistry courses must be equivalent to Cornell offerings (e.g. NS 3200 or BIOMG 3300), with 4 credit hours, organic chemistry as a prerequisite, and all three content areas (i.e., proteins, metabolism, and molecular biology).
    • Physiology courses must be equivalent to NS 3410 or BIOAP 3110 and have a full year each of introductory chemistry and biology as prerequisites. Medical schools and biology departments in four-year colleges will be the best places to find the types of courses needed to substitute for NS 3410 or BIOAP 3110. Online courses may not be accepted.

CHE requires prior approval for non-Cornell courses via the “In Absentia Petition” on the CHE Forms and Petitions page to ensure that the credit will be accepted by both College and major. The Human Ecology Registrar approves all courses that are taken to fulfill college distribution requirements and makes the final approval on all petitions. Complete forms include 1) a description of the course from the college's catalog or web pages and 2) a full syllabus. Important notes:

  • Start early, as some summer courses fill up quickly and approval may take a few weeks. 
  • Undecided? Get all potential courses approved to leave options open!
  • To receive credit, the student must send an official completed transcript to the CHE Registrar.

CALS requires prior approval for non-Cornell courses via the “Pre-Approval Form for Non-Cornell Credit” form, which specifies how many transfer credits will be accepted and which graduation requirements they will be applied to. To evaluate the potential use of transferred credit to fulfill College distribution requirements, students must contact the CALS Registrar’s Office. To evaluate the potential fulfillment of major-level requirements, students must work with their faculty advisor and/or the Academic Affairs Office in DNS to obtain approval.

Student Record Privacy Statement - Annual Notification Under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include those listed below. For more information, see the Student Record Privacy Statement: Annual Notification Under FERPA as well as Cornell University Policy 4.5, Access to Student Information, which describes Cornell’s specific policies and procedures related to FERPA. 

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.

Students should submit to the office of the university registrar, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The university official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the university official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent:

   A. Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic (including emeritus faculty), research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

   B. Upon request, to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

   C. To parents or legal guardians of dependent students as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. In general, the university does not make education records available to the parents of a student. However, where the university believes that it is in a dependent student’s best interest, information from the student’s education records may, at the university’s discretion, be released to the parents or legal guardians of such a dependent student. Such disclosure generally will be limited to information about a student’s official status at the university, but parents or legal guardians of a dependent student may also be notified upon the authorization of the dean of the student’s college, or the Vice President for Student and Academic Services, or the Dean of Students, or their designees in the following cases:

  • when a student has voluntarily withdrawn from the university or has been required by the university to withdraw;
  • when a student has been placed on academic warning;
  • when the student’s academic good standing or promotion is at issue;
  • when a student engages in alcohol-or-drug-related behavior that violates Cornell policies;
  • when a student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction.
  • in exceptional cases when a student otherwise engages in behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued enrollment in the university.

   D. Disclosure of directory information. Cornell University has defined directory information to include the following: name, photograph, major field of study and college attended, dates of attendance, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height (of members of athletic teams), and any degrees earned and awards received. Directory information may be released unless the student updates his/her privacy settings (under personal information) on Student Center. Students who wish to suppress their directory information from the electronic directory must perform this update within 10 days of the date of official university registration. Students may rescind their no-release request at any time by writing to the Office of the University Registrar or on Student Center.

3. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education record that the student believes is inaccurate.

Students may ask the office of the university registrar to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate.

If the university decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the university will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Cornell University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

Unless otherwise indicated in writing by the student at the time of registration, or thereafter, the university will presume that a full-time undergraduate student is a dependent as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. Undergraduate students who are not financially dependent and do not wish to permit their parents or legal guardian access to their education records should advise the Office of the University Registrar in writing and provide evidence of financial independence. Graduate and professional students are not assumed to be financially dependent upon their parents or legal guardian for these purposes.

Contact us at AADNS@cornell.edu