Courses of Study 2016-2017 
    Jan 17, 2022  
Courses of Study 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies and Procedures

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .


All students must register with the university at the beginning of each semester. In order to be considered a registered student by the university, a student must:

  • complete course enrollment according to individual college requirements;
  • settle all financial accounts, including current semester tuition;
  • clear any holds, whether these are from the Bursar’s Office, Cornell Health, the judicial administrator, or the dean of his or her college; and
  • satisfy New York State health requirements.

Students can check their registration status using student essentials ( Students are expected to register by the fifth week of the semester. Failure to register may result in a withdrawal including termination of Cornell services such as, but not limited to, library access, meal plans, door access, Blackboard, and bus service. Students may be considered withdrawn by the college. Only registered students are entitled to attend classes and have access to services.

Course Enrollment

Students will receive course enrollment information from the university registrar. After planning a schedule of courses in consultation with their faculty advisor, students will pre-enroll in Student Center during their scheduled appointment time.

A student is able to electronically enroll in 18 academic credits during pre-enrollment.

A student is limited to a maximum of 22 credits during the add/drop process.

If a student wishes to enroll in more than 22 credits, up to a maximum of 25 credits, they must submit an online petition by the add deadline through DUST to the CALS Registrar if the following criteria has been met:

  • Two semesters of study completed at Cornell
  • Minimum GPA of 3.300 in their previous two semesters
  • In good standing with the university
  • No incompletes
  • Approval from academic advisor

To enroll in courses that involve independent study, teaching assistantships, internships, or undergraduate research, a student can visit the Special Studies Information and complete the Special Studies request through Chatter.

Repeated Courses

Students may enroll again for a course in which they received a grade of F, U and UX in a previous semester. Please note the following applies:

  • Both grades will be recorded and calculated as part of their cumulative GPA.
  • If a student retakes a course in which a passing grade was earned, both grades will be recorded and calculated accordingly as part of their cumulative GPA (grades of U and UX have no impact on a GPA).
  • Repeating a course increases the number of credits required for graduation by the number of credits in the course.

Forbidden Overlaps

With seven undergraduate colleges/schools at Cornell there are many courses that offer more than 50% of the same material. These courses are referred to as Forbidden Overlaps. A list of these courses is available to all individuals with an active netID through Chatter–navigate to Course Enrollment Tools and Forbidden Overlaps.

Students may enroll for a course that is considered to be an overlap. Please note the following applies:

  • Both grades will be recorded and calculated as part of their cumulative GPA.
  • Completing an overlapping course will increase the number of credits required for graduation by the number of credits in the course.


The grade of incomplete is appropriate only when two basic conditions are met:

  1. The student has substantial equity at a passing level in the course with respect to work completed.
  2. The student has been prevented by circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness or family emergency, from completing all of the course requirements on time.

An incomplete may not be given merely because a student fails to complete all course requirements on time. Such a practice would be open to abuse; by deferring completion of some major course requirement, a student could gain advantage over his or her classmates by obtaining additional time to do a superior job. 

An incomplete is not an option that may be elected at the student’s own discretion. While it is the student’s responsibility to initiate a request for a grade of incomplete, reasons for requesting one must be acceptable to the instructor, who establishes specific make-up requirements and deadlines for completion. Generally, students are allowed a maximum of two successive semesters for completion of coursework.  However, the instructor may set a shorter time limit.

For CALS students, they must not enroll again for a course in which they received an incomplete. Instead, work for that course should be completed without further enrollment. The instructor files an online grade form through OLGAA when a grade has been assigned. An incomplete not made up by the end of two successive semesters reverts to a failure. In the case of a graduating senior, incompletes revert to failures at the time of graduation.  When a grade is submitted, an asterisk appears on the official transcript next to the grade to indicate the initial incomplete grade.

For additional information, please refer to university guidelines on incompletes .

Enrollment Changes

A student is held responsible for and receives a grade for those courses in which he or she enrolls unless the student officially changes such enrollment.

All changes in courses or credit, grading options, or sections must be made by the student using the online add/drop through Student Center or the official course add/drop form at the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall. Approval of the faculty advisor may be required to change course enrollment. Department or course instructor approval may be required for select courses.

Students may add courses and change credit hours where applicable during the first 15 days of the semester, and may drop courses and change grading options through the 57th calendar day of the semester.

Grade Changes

Each semester’s work is an entity, and grades are assigned for work completed during the official semester period. Grade changes after the end of the final exam period may be made only in the event of a calculation error on the part of the instructor. Grade changes based on additional work submitted by a student will not be accepted. It is College of Agriculture and Life Science policy that a student’s completed academic record is final one year from the date the degree is conferred.  After that time, no changes will be made to majors, minors, grades, honors, awards or any other aspect of a completed academic record.  

Academic Integrity Policy

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty, students, and administration support and abide by the university Code of Academic Integrity. Its principle is that absolute integrity is expected of every student in all academic undertakings: students must in no way misrepresent their work, fraudulently or unfairly advance their academic status, or be a party to another student’s failure to maintain academic integrity.

The maintenance of an atmosphere of academic honor and the fulfillment of the provisions of the code are the responsibility of the students and the faculty. Therefore, all students and faculty members shall refrain from any action that would violate the basic principles of this code.

  1. Students assume responsibility for the content and integrity of their submitted work, such as papers, examinations, or reports.
  2. Students are guilty of violating the code if they
    • knowingly represent the work of others as their own.
    • use or obtain unauthorized assistance in any academic work.
    • give fraudulent assistance to another student.
    • fabricate data in support of laboratory or field work.
    • forge a signature to certify completion or approval.
    • submit the same work for two different courses without advance permission.
    • knowingly deprive other students of library resources, laboratory equipment, computer programs, or similar aids.
    • in any other manner violate the principle of absolute integrity.
  3. Faculty members assume responsibility to make clear to students and teaching assistants specific regulations that apply to scholarly work in a discipline.
  4. Faculty members fulfill their responsibility to
    • maintain in all class, laboratory, and examination activities an atmosphere conducive to academic integrity and honor.
    • make clear the conditions under which examinations are to be given.
    • make clear the consequences of violating any aspects of the code.
    • provide opportunities for students to discuss the content of courses with each other and help each other to master that content and distinguish those activities from course assignments that are meant to test what students can do independently.
    • state explicitly the procedures for use of materials taken from published sources and the methods appropriate to a discipline by which students must cite the source of such materials.
    • approve in advance, in consultation with other faculty members, which work submitted by a student and used by a faculty member to determine a grade in a course may be submitted by that student in a different course.
    • monitor the work and maintain such records as will support the crucial underpinning of all guidelines: the students’ submitted work must be their own and no one else’s.

Cornell’s Code of Academic Integrity spells out how individuals who have allegedly violated Cornell standards for academic integrity are to be confronted and, if found to be in violation of those standards, sanctioned. The code provides informal resolution of most perceived violations through a primary hearing between the faculty member, the student involved, and an independent witness. If necessary, a hearing before a hearing board follows. The full code may be found here.

The Academic Integrity Hearing Board for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences consists of three elected faculty members, three elected student members, a chair appointed by the dean, and Lisa Ryan, who serves as secretary and record keeper. Professor Dale Grossman is the current chair.

Individuals who observe or are aware of an alleged violation of the code should report the incident to the faculty member in charge of a course or to the chair of the hearing board. General information and details on procedures for suspected violations or hearings are available from the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall or here.

Academic Honors

The college encourages high academic achievement and recognizes outstanding students in several ways:

  1. Dean’s List. Each semester, students are recognized for academic excellence by inclusion on the Dean’s List. Eligibility for the Dean’s List in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is determined by the following criteria:
    1. a minimum enrolled course load for the semester of 12 letter-graded credits;
    2. achievement of a semester GPA of at least 3.50; and
    3. achievement of an S grade, or a C- or better grade in each course (including physical education), with no incompletes or NGR grades. Dean’s List will be granted retroactively if students meet all the requirements after successful course completion of INC grades or NGR grades.
  2. Bachelor of Science with Honors
    1. Students receiving a cumulative Cornell GPA of 4.00 or greater will graduate “summa cum laude.”
    2. Students receiving a cumulative Cornell GPA of greater than or equal to 3.75 and less than 4.00 will graduate “magna cum laude.”
    3. Students receiving a cumulative Cornell GPA of greater than or equal to 3.50 and less than 3.75 will graduate “cum laude.”
  3. Bachelor of Science with Distinction in Research. Students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree with distinction in research when, in addition to having completed all the graduation requirements, they have satisfactorily completed the research honors program in their area of interest and have been recommended for the degree by the honors committee of that area. Special requirements are given in the section titled Research Honors Program.
  4. Ho-Nun-De-Kah (HNDK), founded in 1929, is the undergraduate honor society of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Members are recruited from the top 20 percent of the senior class and top 15 percent of the junior class. In keeping with the ideals of encouraging scholarship, leadership, and citizenship, members provide free tutoring and a variety of service activities to both the college and the community. Visit Ho-Nun-De-Kah’s website at

Class Rank

The college does not compute class rank.

Academic Standing

At the end of each semester, the Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions reviews the records of those students who in any respect are failing to meet the academic requirements of the college or who persistently fail to attend classes. For students not making satisfactory progress, the committee takes appropriate action, including, but not limited to, issuing warnings, placing students on probation, granting students leaves of absence, advising students to withdraw, or suspending or expelling students.

Specifically, the committee considers as possible cause for action failure to attend and participate in courses on a regular basis or, at the end of any semester, failure to attain one or more of the following:

  • semester GPA of at least 2.00
  • cumulative GPA of at least 2.00
  • satisfactory completion of 12 or more credits per semester
  • reasonable progress toward completion of major and distribution requirements

In general terms, regular participation in course work with academic loads at a level sufficient to assure graduation within eight semesters and grades averaging C (2.00) or higher are prima facie evidence of satisfactory progress and good academic standing.

Petitions Procedures

The Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions is a college committee of six faculty and two student members. On behalf of the faculty, the committee:

  • reviews CALS students’ progress toward meeting graduation requirements
  • reviews petitions submitted by students pertaining to exceptions from CALS academic regulations, requirements, policies and procedures
  • may reconsider action previously taken by the committee
  • reviews petitions for readmission from students previously terminated by the committee
  • notifies the petitioner by Cornell email of the action taken by the committee

A petition for exemption from a college academic requirement or missed deadline may be filed by any student who has grounds for exemption. A petition may be filed online through Chatter or is available in person at the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall. A petition is usually prepared with the assistance of a student’s faculty advisor, whose signature is required. The advisor’s recommendation is helpful to the committee. The committee reviews the petition and determines whether the evidence would warrant an exemption or other action.

Students wishing to withdraw from a course after the end of the 57th calendar day of the semester must meet with a CALS Student Services advisor to determine if the reason to withdraw is petitionable. Requests for course changes are approved only when the members of the committee are convinced that unusual circumstances are clearly beyond the control of the student. The committee assumes that students should have been able to make decisions about course content, total workload, and scheduling prior to stated deadlines. A grade of W (for “withdrawal”) is recorded on the transcript if a petition to drop a course is approved after the deadline and if an approved drop results in fewer than 12 credits.

Electronic petitions can be found on Chatter. For more information please contact the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall.

Leave of Absence

A student who finds it necessary to leave the university should submit a petition for a leave of absence whether for the current semester or a future semester. Filing a petition serves as appropriate notification to university offices is reflected appropriately on the student’s transcript.

An approved leave is considered a voluntary interruption in study and holds the student’s place in the college without requiring reapplication to the university. Voluntary leaves are issued in two ways:

  • Unrestricted for students in good academic standing (no restrictions placed on length of leave up to five years, or activities pursued)
  • Restricted (length of leave and activities pursued may be specified)

A leave exceeding five years results in a withdrawal from the University.

All grading/incomplete policies are in effect during a leave of absence.  If you have questions concerning make-up of incomplete grades, please meet with an academic advisor in the CALS Student Services Office.

A student returning from a leave of absence, unrestricted or restricted, must petition to return through Chatter. Returning from a restricted leave petitions are reviewed by the Committee on Academic Achievement and Petitions. Students who were approved for a health related leave through Cornell Health must file a petition to return through Chatter in addition to completing all forms/documentations required by Cornell Health.

Information and petition forms are available on Chatter or from the CALS Student Services Office, 140 Roberts Hall.


A student who wishes to leave the university permanently, for personal reasons or matriculation in another institution of higher learning, should file a petition for withdrawal from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University through Chatter. Such petitions are approved if the student is in good academic standing.