exterior of savage hall with tiger lillies

DNS Open Office Hours FOR ADVISING

Open Office Hours for HBHS, NS, and GPHS majors for the week of September 27th will be as follows (all times EDT):

NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO OPEN OFFICE HOURS THIS WEEK. We are hoping to resume open office hours next week. In the meantime, please contact your DNS Advisor or a college advisor for assistance.

No appointments are needed for these "walk-in" individual meetings. 

The information on this page describes the resources available to DNS undergraduates for advising, career exploration, and academic success during their time at Cornell. If you are not able to meet with your DNS advisor or attend DNS Open Office Hours, advising questions can also be directed to dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu.

Faculty advisors, the DNS Academic Affairs Office, and College advising offices work closely together to be sure that students’ academic and major advising needs are met.

  • Assigned major advisors: DNS majors (HBHS, GPHS, and NS majors and Biological Sciences majors in the Human Nutrition concentration) are assigned DNS faculty advisors, which appear in Student Center and DUST. They provide primary counsel for your academic program and can help with planning courses, following progress to graduation, finding academic opportunities, managing difficulties with courses, or other special issues or problems. You want your faculty advisor to get to know you quite well because in your junior or senior years you may need a letter of reference for jobs, internships, or graduate programs. If you wish to change advisors (only after your first year), you must identify a faculty member willing to advise them and have the new faculty advisor contact Terry Mingle (tpm2@cornell.edu) to authorize the change. TIPS:
    • Keep in touch with them on a range of issues: Your faculty advisor can be a valuable resource and advocate in helping connect you to College and University resources.
    • Show respect for their busy schedules: 1) Make (and keep!) appointments rather than dropping by, if possible, 2) Convey the purpose of your meeting so that they can plan and prepare, and 3) Come prepared with your questions and any supporting documentation.
    • Know your requirements and progress: Rules and requirements vary across the colleges and by year of matriculation. Faculty do not know them in detail; it is the student’s responsibility to understand the requirements and policies for their College and major. Read the information available throughout the Roadmap, and ask advisors for clarification or confirmation.
    • Make a draft plan and expecting it to change: Develop both a short- and long-term plan to account for everything you need so that you can best identify how to adapt your schedule to changes in the course catalog and your evolving interests as well as make the most room for elective courses later on.
  • The DNS Academic Affairs Office (Kinzelberg Hall B36) is available when regular faculty advisors are unavailable or unable to help with a specific issue. This office also assists students with complex course scheduling, e.g. transfer courses or study abroad, coordinates approval of academic petitions, and keeps students informed of course changes and special seminars and opportunities. The Academic Affairs Office also assists students with complex course scheduling, e.g. transfer courses or study abroad, coordinates approval of academic petitions, and keeps students informed of course changes and special seminars and opportunities.
  • College Advising and Counseling Offices (CHE Advising and Counseling and CALS Student Services as well as advising offices in other Colleges) are also a place to go for advising help. They provide professional counseling and referral services to students who have academic, personal, and/or family problems, help students who are undecided or changing their majors, and provide general career planning services.

Cornell offers a wide range of resources and services related to exploring and pursuing potential careers of interest, including pre-health (e.g. pre-medical) tracks. College- and University-level career development offices, listed below, provide guidance for exploring potential careers, searching for professional development and employment opportunities, developing skills and materials for applying and interviewing, preparing for and applying to graduate and professional programs, and more. 

There are a wide range of resources at Cornell for students who would like help building their skills for studying, time management, or test taking and those who are having a difficult time with coursework in particular classes. The following list describes some important resources for course-specific needs as well as for more general academic support and skills-building.

  • Course teaching staff: Interact with the faculty, instructors, and TAs in your classes. If you don’t understand material or assignments, they need to know. They usually are happy to assist students who are working hard but having trouble. See them early in the semester when they can be most helpful, and take advantage of any office hours or walk-in tutorials. If you do poorly on the first assignment or exam, contact them to find sources of help. You probably need new strategies rather than simply planning to study longer or better for the next exam!
  • Supplemental courses: Students can enroll in 1000-level courses that offer course-specific support for other courses (e.g. CHEM 1007 supports students in CHEM 2070). These supplemental courses clarify lecture material, help students keep pace with lectures, and assist students with exam preparation. Courses in Biology, Mathematics, Physics, Economics, and Statistics are also offered.
  • Courses for building individual academic and personal skills: 
  • Learning Strategies Center: The LSC offers both course-specific support in several science- and math-based courses and general support to groups and individuals in areas such as Time Management, Textbook Mastery, Rapid Reading, Learning from Lecture, Exam Preparation and Strategies. For example, HE 1000 Critical Reading and Thinking is a 2 credit course to help students increase reading, thinking and learning skills.
  • Center for Teaching Innovation: The CTI offers both course-specific and general support to Cornell students, including supplemental instruction for major introductory courses, tutorial assistance, and workshops.
  • Cornell Writing Centers: Offered by the John S. Knight Institute, Writing Centers at three campus locations have graduate and undergraduate tutors to help students with particular pieces of writing, including academic papers, at any stage of development, focusing on improving the substance and quality of the writing by helping the writer with issues of self-confidence, active use of the imagination, and critical thinking. Tutors do not proofread or edit.

Transfer students are assigned a faculty advisor during Orientation, and are welcome to direct questions to dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu before that point.

Advising, Transfer Credits, and Grades: Transfer students often have to adjust to new advising and grading systems than those they experienced at their previous systems, and have to consider transfer credits.

  • Cornell students are expected to be proactive and self-directed in identifying and seeking advising support, which commonly entails emailing faculty advisors directly (see the If you are unsure of where to go or who to ask, start with dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu)!
  • Unlike many schools that do not offer grades above an A, Cornell allows grades of A+’, which can lead to a GPA above 4.0. In addition, many classes curve grades at the end of the semester. As a result, depending on the professor, the class, and everyone else’s academic performance, your final grade might differ significantly from your raw test scores.
  • You will have to work with your College Registrar to figure out which transfer credits might fulfill your College distribution requirements, and with DNS to figure out which might fulfill major requirements; see Key Resources: Academic Policies and Procedures in this Roadmap for more information.

Course Planning: Students can transfer in a maximum of 60 credits to Cornell, and must complete a minimum of 60 credits at Cornell. CHE transfers must complete 43 CHE credits, and CALS transfers must complete 55 CALS credits. Courses from past schools may count if they are approved as substitutes by College Registrars. Beyond that, there is no common or recommended first-term schedule for transfer students, even within the same major, because transfer students come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of goals for their time during and after Cornell. Each transfer student must develop a schedule that builds on previous academic experiences, allows adjustment to Cornell's learning environment, enables the exploration of new academic options, and keeps the student on track to meet college and major graduation requirements! Below is a list of important things for transfer students to consider when making their schedules:

  1. Which major (i.e., NS-CHE, NS-CALS, or HBHS) or special career interests (e.g., pre-health, the Didactic Program in Dietetics) do you have? Review relevant sections in this Roadmap, including pages describing available majors, minor fields, pre-professional paths, and opportunities for DNS undergraduates. Most questions can and will be answered during the DNS Orientation!
  2. How much of the required biology and chemistry sequences have you completed? This is a key starting point in planning your schedule. Both the NS and HBHS majors require two semesters of introductory biology, an introductory biology lab, and two semesters of introductory inorganic chemistry, which are prerequisites for many of the other required courses. Most new students should avoid taking two advanced science courses in the first term.
  3. How do the courses you have already taken meet your Cornell requirements? In general, The College Registrar and/or the DNS Academic Affairs Office determine whether and how previous courses meet major and College requirements. The use of some transfer credits to fulfill Cornell requirements may not be determined until the first Cornell semester begins, but it is still possible to determine an appropriate list of first semester courses ahead of time by 1) reviewing major requirements, 2) identifying which previous courses may be adequate substitutes for major requirements, 3) obtaining full syllabi for these courses, and 4) contacting dnsstudentservices@cornell.edu.
  4. (For NS majors and students interested in dietetics) Where are you in terms of any nutritional sciences courses that may be required for your major? Which NS courses must you still take or are you unsure about? Transfer students should be sure that you understand the required sequences of NS courses, and students interested in dietetics should review the pages in this Roadmap related to The Didactic Program in in Dietetics. 
  5. What other courses are you interested in taking? Students should make a list of the courses that they would like to take, and use the Class Roster, which lists the courses actively available in the following two semesters, to find the descriptions and times and terms that these courses are offered to be sure how they may fit.
  6. What other courses must you take to fulfill your intended major, career preparation, or college graduation requirements? Most transfer students have already taken introductory courses in the social sciences, written communications, and humanities, and many have also taken quantitative and analytical course(s) at your previous college(s). However, transfer students should be sure to review the complete requirements for a student in their major and College within this Roadmap. The CHE and CALS Registrars also have summary sheets describing College requirements.

  7. Make a tentative schedule for the first Cornell term and plans for the upcoming terms, and review it with  an advisor. Most new Cornell transfer students should aim for 13-15 credits in their first semester, particularly if they are taking an advanced science course such as biochemistry or organic chemistry. Thinking ahead and developing tentative schedules for the remaining semesters at Cornell is strongly recommended. This strategy helps students to assess whether their plans are realistic and to identify any important conflicts in course scheduling. Proposed schedules should be reviewed regularly with faculty advisors, and revised over time as students’ needs and interests evolve.

Contact us at aadns@cornell.edu