The information below describes some of the most important academic policies and procedures that pertain to DNS majors (NS, HBHS, and GPHS).

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. 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. 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 downloadable pdf for table of accepted AP credit for DNS majors in CALS (pdf), 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 total 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 total 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.
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. Students may not double major with GPHS.

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.

Aiming for a DNS major (NS, HBHS, or GPHS)? Students who hope to transfer into a DNS major should first review the advising page for their target major (NS, HBHS, or GPHS). Students also planning to transfer Colleges (e.g. from CALS to CHE) must start with the Admissions office of their target College (see “Aiming for a new College?” below). In other cases:

  • Prospective NS or HBHS majors should contact dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu to review eligibility and potential course plans.
  • Prospective GPHS majors (freshmen and sophomores only) should contact the Academic Affairs Office (aadns@cornell.edu) for an application to transfer into the GPHS major. Applications are reviewed at the end of each semester. See the GPHS major page for more information.

Aiming for a new College (e.g. switching from CALS to CHE)? Prospective Internal Transfer students – i.e. those hoping to switch Colleges – should review the Internal Transfer page of their target College, e.g. the CHE Internal Transfer page and the CALS Internal Transfer page. They will work with the Admissions office of their target College to clarify questions about eligibility requirements and application procedures and deadlines. The College Admissions office will likely also connect prospective Internal Transfers to advising in their target major.

Aiming to switch to a non-DNS within your current College (e.g. switching from HBHS to HD)? Talk to the advising contact in your target major to ensure you are eligible and prepared to switch. CHE students must fill out the CHE Change of Major form, available on the CHE Forms and Petitions page, to switch to another CHE major. CALS students only need to coordinate approval and a new faculty advisor with their target major.

Aiming to add a major within your current College (e.g. double-majoring in NS-CALS and Biological Sciences-CALS)? CHE students may not double major. CALS students who wish to add a second CALS major should talk to the advising contact in their target second major, and must complete the requirements of both 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.

DNS students also may pursue any one of 125 formal undergraduate minors offered by CornellEach Cornell minor is controlled, tracked, and audited by the academic department or unit that offers it.

  • As a result, students interested in a DNS minor or pre-professional field (Global Health, Nutrition and Health, or the Didactic Program in Dietetics) should review DNS pages for details on eligibility, requirements, and procedures.
  • Students interested in a non-DNS minor must review the information provided by that minor department, follow those department-specific procedures, and coordinate with the minor department for minor-related advising needs.

CHE and CALS students do not need to file paperwork with their home College to add a minor to their academic record. Instead, 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, petitioning, and meeting graduation requirements on time.

Using non-Cornell courses to meet requirements

Get pre-approval as early as possible so as to know which courses are worth your time and money. Start early, as some summer courses fill up quickly and approval may take a few weeks. An approved petition does not commit a student to taking that class. To receive credit, the student must send an official completed transcript to the CHE Registrar.

Notes about specific potential transfer courses:

  • 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 students may petition for approval of 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 CHE 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. To evaluate the potential use of transferred credit to fulfill College distribution requirements, students must contact the CHE 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.

CALS students may petition for approval of non-Cornell courses via the “Pre-Approval Form for Non-Cornell Credit” form available on the CALS Advanced Placement and Non-Cornell (Transfer) Credit page. 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

FERPA is short for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding, including Cornell, must comply with FERPA. FERPA begins for a Cornell student on the first day of classes/semester or attendance, whichever comes first, and the student continues to be protected by FERPA for their lifetime.

FERPA gives students four basic rights with respect to their education record:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education record.
  2. The right to some control over the disclosure of their education record.
  3. The right to request the amendment of their education record where appropriate.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Education Records

Education records are defined as paper or electronic records, files, documents, email messages, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by Cornell University or by a person acting for the University. Education records include grades, class lists, course schedules, disciplinary records (including Judicial Administrator letters), financial records, disability accommodation records, and payroll records for students who are employed as a direct result of their status as students (e.g. work study or fellowships).

The following are excluded from the definition of education records:

  • Individual records and observations made by faculty and staff for their own use as reference or memory aids and are not shared with others.
  • University law enforcement records.
  • Medical and mental health records (these are covered under HIPPA).
  • Alumni records.
  • Employment records (except related to employment dependent upon student status).
  • Application materials unless they are retained after a student matriculates.
  • Records not maintained by the institution (i.e. peer grading).

Disclosure

Education records may be disclosed to school officials who have legitimate educational interests related to the information, with school officials at another institution where a student seeks or intends to enroll, in response to subpoenas, with a third party with whom the University has a contract, or in a health or safety emergency where the student's safety is at risk. The University may not disclose education records or personally identifiable information about students contained in education records without written permission of the student unless such action is covered by exceptions contained in FERPA.

Questions about disclosing information in one of the above situations should be directed to the Office of University Counsel at 607-255-5124.

Directory Information

FERPA permits each institution to define a class of information as directory information. FERPA permits disclosure of directory information without the student's consent. Directory information is defined and outlined by the University in the Student Record Privacy Statement and includes:

  • name
  • local and cell phone numbers
  • email address
  • photograph
  • major field of study and college attended
  • academic level
  • dates of attendance
  • enrollment status
  • university assistantship status (e.g. teaching assistantship, graduate research assistantship, research assistantship, graduate assistantship)
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height (of members of athletic teams)
  • any degrees earned and awards received
  • date of birth and local address (for the sole purpose of federal census data responses)

Address information is not considered directory information.

Students may choose to prevent the release of their directory information. FERPA holds can be added or removed by adjusting the privacy settings in Student Center. Implications of invoking this restriction include the following:

  • Student's name will not be released to honor societies and award programs even if honors criteria are met.
  • Name and email will not appear in the electronic directory.
  • Student's name will not appear in the commencement program.
  • Name will not be shared with parties attempting to verify enrollment or degree.

When a student has chosen to block the release of their directory information, Cornell may disclose the information under applicable exceptions or with the student's case-by-case consent.

Parents

When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins to attend a post-secondary institution, regardless of age, all FERPA rights belong to the student. This can be a significant shift for families as students begin college. Before a student begins attending Cornell University, families are encouraged to discuss how they will maintain an open dialogue about student experiences, enrollment, and grades.

Disclosure of FERPA protected information to parents or guardians of students is permitted without consent in the following instances:

  • In the best interest of students (dependent students only).
  • Released by the student (e.g. student participating in a phone conversation with their advisor and parent).
  • Used by Financial Aid to determine eligibility for or amount of aid.

Contact us at AADNS@cornell.edu