The university has only two requirements for graduation that must be fulfilled: the swim test, and physical education courses. A student’s college determines degree requirements such as residency, number of credits, distribution of credits, and grade averages. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the specific major, degree, distribution, college, and graduation requirements for completing his or her chosen program of study. See the individual requirements listed by each college or school or contact the college registrar’s office for more information.
All undergraduate students must complete two semesters of work in physical education unless exempted from this requirement for medical or other special reasons or by virtue of advanced standing on admission. For transfer students the requirement is reduced by the number of semesters satisfactorily completed in a college of recognized standing before entering Cornell. Credit in physical education may be earned by participating in courses offered by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education , participating on an intercollegiate athletic team, or performing in the marching band.
Physical education is a requirement of the first two terms at Cornell. Students must register for it in each semester, except those in which postponements are granted, until the requirement is satisfied.
Temporary postponements may be granted on the basis of physical disability, schedule conflicts, or excessive work load (employment exceeding 20 hours per week). Health Services can provide certifications based on health, and the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment can provide certifications of employment. Students should see the director or assistant director of Physical Education to establish postponements or waiver of the requirement. Students with medical concerns should contact the Office of Student Disability Services. Questionable or unusual cases may be resolved by petition to the Faculty Advisory Committee on Athletics and Physical Education.
The Faculty Advisory Committee on Athletics and Physical Education has established a basic swimming and water safety competency requirement for all entering freshman undergraduate students. Normally, the test is given at the Helen Newman Hall and Teagle Hall pools as part of their orientation process. The test consists of a feet-first entry into the deep end of the pool and a continuous 75-yard swim using front, back, and optional strokes. Any student who cannot pass the swim test is required to register for PE 1100 - Beginning Swimming as his or her physical education course before electives can be chosen. A swim test hold will be placed on the student’s record until he or she has passed the swim test or fulfilled the requirement by satisfactorily completing all attendance requirements for two semesters of Beginning Swimming and having the recommendation of the instructor. Students unable to meet the swim requirement because of medical reasons should contact the Office of Student Disability Services. Students who have religious or other reasons must petition the Faculty Advisory Committee on Athletics and Physical Education for a waiver of the requirement. When a waiver is granted by the Faculty Committee on Physical Education, an alternate requirement is imposed. The alternate requirement substitutes one of the following courses: PE 1626 - Wilderness First Responder or PE 1265 - Wellness and Fitness for the original swimming requirement.