Courses of Study 2023-2024 
    Jul 21, 2024  
Courses of Study 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies and Procedures

In the College of Human Ecology .

Academic Advising Student and Career Development

Program Advisors

Program advisors are faculty and instructors assigned to students in the department of their major. The program advisor is available to discuss course requirements and sequences, useful electives in and outside the college, research opportunities, and future goals and career opportunities. The student must use their major curriculum sheets available online with other advising resources to ensure that their course selections meet graduation requirements for the major, the college, and the university.

Directors of undergraduate studies (DUS) coordinate advising in each department and are available to answer questions about the advising system and the undergraduate major. Students may change advisors by working with the DUS in their major.

Students exploring alternative majors should work closely with college counselors in the Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development.

Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development

The Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development (ASCD) (1210-1220 MVR Hall) is a center for undergraduate first year and transfer admission activities; new student orientation activities; academic planning and advising; personal advising; and career development advising, exploration, and programming; interpretation of college policies; study abroad; and multicultural student programs.

Personal counseling, including exploration of problems or concerns of a personal nature, is available to all students. These ASCD counselors, however, are not psychiatrists or therapists; they are available to help students understand and navigate the Cornell system, and to offer guidance, perspective, assistance, and referral. Discussions are completely confidential. Appointments may be made online, through the receptionist in ASCD or by calling (607) 255-2532 and are scheduled in advance for 30-minute intervals.

In addition, ASCD provides advising support for several student organizations, including Human Ecology Ambassadors, the Association for Students of Color, the Pre-professional Association toward Careers in Health, and the Orientation Committee. Primary responsibilities of the office are listed below:

Academic advisement. This resource is provided to all students as a complement to faculty advising. Counselors assist in course scheduling, academic planning, selection of a major, graduation requirements, and related issues.

Undeclared majors. Students who have not yet declared a major work closely with counselors in the Office of Student and Career Development, (1210 MVR Hall).

If you have general ideas about what you would like to study, or what you would like to do after college, then you have probably already narrowed your choice of majors. If you have, then choosing one of those majors as a tentative first home in the college is appropriate.

  • You will be assigned a program advisor by your department.

  • You will receive departmental invitations and communications.

  • You may change your major at any time.

  • You must choose a major by the end of your first year.

Career counseling. Career counseling is designed to help students clarify the relationship between personal skills, abilities, and career goals. Services are offered on an individual or group basis. Counselors assist in identifying career outcomes of the majors, developing networking skills, suggesting course work appropriate to various career goals, and assisting students in their general internship and job searches.

Post-graduate advisement. Material and advice pertaining to graduate and professional schools, graduate entrance examinations, courses of study, and career outcomes is readily available.

Students with disabilities. The College of Human Ecology is committed to assisting students with disabilities; accommodations are available to students who have registered with the Office of Student Disability Services (420 CCC). You are encouraged to contact SDS before your arrival on campus in order to arrange services in time for your first semester. Support within the college is available through the Office of Student and Career Development, (1210 MVR Hall).

Financial aid. Students who encounter financial difficulty may discuss their needs with a counselor, but should work directly with the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment to address and resolve those issues. Complete information is available from the Office of Financial Aid, 203 Day Hall.

The Human Ecology Alumni Association Student Grants. Students in the college can apply for these competitive grants to further their academic interests through independent research, community outreach, conference travel, and limited summer study related to career preparation/professional development. Applications are available on the college website.

Multicultural Programs

The College of Human Ecology believes that a diverse, inclusive community enriches the educational process for all members of the college community. Consequently, the college focuses particular efforts on a broad range of services for students of color. This includes not only recruitment but also services for students already on campus. Additionally, the college collaborates with university and New York State opportunity programs to assure that Human Ecology students have access to the vast array of services available here.

The professional staff of Human Ecology’s Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development includes a director of multicultural programs who assists in the recruitment, admission, and enrollment of the most qualified and appropriate African American, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and first-generation college students to the college.  Additionally, all accepted Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students (specifically for New York State residents), are required to attend a special university-wide pre-first year summer program (The Pre-Collegiate Summer Scholars Program/PSSP) that introduces accepted students to the Cornell campus and its classrooms.  Support for current students include the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI); academic, career, and personal counseling; and advising and support for student activities and programs.

Human Ecology Peer Partnership Program supports incoming students of color and first-generation college students transition to the college and university. Small groups of first-year students, usually about six to eight students, are paired with faculty and upper-class students. They meet weekly for discussions, guidance, and explorations of the Cornell campus and the Ithaca community. For more information, contact Verdene Lee in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532) or Gary Evans (E306 MVR, (607) 255-4775) in the Department of Human Centered Design.

Association for Students of Color (ASC). With the motto “Yesterday’s vision, today’s reality, and tomorrow’s hope,” the ASC was created to bring together Human Ecology students to provide a supportive foundation for enrollment, retention, graduation, and career exploration and development for students of color. The goals of the ASC are to increase communication between students of color, administration, and faculty; assist in increasing enrollment of students of color in Human Ecology; and assist in increasing the retention of students of color in Human Ecology and in their selected majors. ASC’s two committees are recruitment/retention and career development. For more information, contact Verdene Lee (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532).

The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) is the New York State program that provides enrichment activities for pre-med and pre-law New York State residents. Services are targeted at populations that are historically underrepresented in scientific, technical, health-related, or licensed professions and/or that are economically disadvantaged and that demonstrate interest in, and potential for, a CSTEP–targeted profession. For more information, contact Verdene Lee in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532).

Global Education

Global education broadens understanding of the world’s many different societies as well as the various cultural communities of this country. Students take courses in the Cornell programs listed below that may be used to meet degree requirements. The college encourages students to incorporate courses from these cultural programs and from study abroad experiences in their degree programs. See information on study abroad and exchange program opportunities.

Africana Studies and Research Center

American Indian Program

Asian American Studies Program

East Asia Program

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

Gender and Global Change

Institute for European Studies

Languages and Linguistics

Latin American Studies Program

Latino Studies Program

Peace Studies Program

Program for Contemporary Near Eastern Studies

Program in Jewish Studies

Religious Studies

South Asia Program

Southeast Asia Program

International Students

The International Services Office of Global Learning (300 Caldwell Hall, (607) 255-5243) provides a broad range of services to international students. All international students should maintain contact with the International Services Office. Counselors in ASCD are also available for assistance.

International students in the College of Human Ecology are encouraged to meet with the college registrar to discuss any questions or concerns that they have about their academic record.

Career Planning, Graduate and Professional School, and Job Search Resources

Counseling. The Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532) provides career development counseling and resources to help students explore career options through employment and internship opportunities and professional and graduate school advising. Individual assistance is available as well as group programming, workshops, and panels. Career development is strongly encouraged and supported, including skill development in résumé writing, networking, and interviewing. Students also are instructed in the use and protocol of online résumé submissions and on-campus recruiting. The office works in conjunction with Cornell Career Services (103 Barnes Hall, (607) 255-5221) to facilitate access to university-wide programs.

The Career Exploration Center (CEC, 1203 MVR Hall) is a starting point for students looking for professional development and career-related information, as well as off-campus opportunities. Selected resources about careers, career development planning, as well as job and internship search techniques, general directories to begin job or graduate school searches, and information for alumni networking are housed there. Also available are College of Human Ecology specific career resources, along with Cornell Career Services handouts, internship search guidelines, graduate and professional school testing booklets and registration packets, study abroad, and the Capital Semester program materials. Computers provide access to web-based information regarding internship and employment opportunities, as well as graduate/professional schools.

The CEC is open weekdays during the academic semester. Student career assistants are available to provide résumé and cover letter critiques, conduct videotaped mock interviews, and help navigate the library resources.

Selected resources are listed below. Exploring such resources will help students investigate their interests, skills, and values as they relate to career options, provide useful information and tips for a successful summer or full-time job search, internship search, and provide access to employment opportunities. In addition, please refer to the college’s career development website.

Internship Search and Career Guides. The CEC has handouts, organized by major, that provide a starting point for students to begin their internship search. Also available in the CEC are career guides targeting career exploration, public health, nursing, physician’s assistant programs, business, psychology, and social work.

Pre-law or Pre-med. Students who consider themselves pre-law or pre-med are encouraged to make an appointment with a counselor to discuss planning and possibilities. Students interested in law can learn more about applying to law school, preparing for the LSAT, and exploring career opportunities using a legal education. Students interested in pursuing a health-related career are welcome to join PATCH (Pre-professional Association Toward Careers in Health), which provides opportunities for students to explore various careers in medicine and health care. PATCH provides guidance as students prepare for the graduate or medical school application process, and it offers a mentor program for incoming students.

Alumni Connections Program (ACP) Welcomes alumni, parents, and other professionals to sponsor a Cornell first-year, sophomore, junior, or senior to help them explore careers of interest.  This program offers a wide range of brief career exploration job shadowing and informational interviews for students to complete throughout their time at Cornell.  Please visit their website for more information.

Alumni Career Presentations. Alumni from the college return to campus throughout the year to discuss their postgraduate or professional experiences. These meetings are ideal for exploring career outcomes of specific majors.

Career Development Workshops. The college hosts several workshops every semester. These workshops develop a strong understanding of the value of a Human Ecology education and are designed to help students market themselves for either summer or full-time job opportunities. Students learn how to know themselves through reflection of skills, interests, abilities, and to conduct effective job searches, write résumés and cover letters, and interview successfully.

Cornell Handshake. Exclusively for Cornell students, Cornell Handshake is an essential tool for all students.  Listings for internships and jobs; important announcements and postings related to academic interests (including medicine/health, law and design); volunteer opportunities; and much more. Learn more about Cornell Handshake and complete the online tutorial on the Career Services website.

On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) This service provides access to on-campus interviews with employers interested specifically in Cornell students. Interviews occur primarily in banking and financial services, retail sales and management, facilities planning and management, and consulting. Please note that on-campus recruiting is only one component of a successful job search. Approximately 70 percent of Cornellians get their jobs through other resources.

Not for Profit in New York City and Not for Profit in Washington, D.C. Speak with representatives from dozens of New York City or Washington, D.C., not-for-profit/public service agencies about work or internship opportunities in health, education, advocacy, government, and more (held only during the spring semester).

Communications Consortium. Interview with organizations in advertising, public relations, film and radio, and print media. National organizations come to Syracuse, N.Y., to meet with students for individual appointments. During the spring semester, a job fair is held the evening before.


Office of the Registrar

The Office of the University Registrar (B07 Day Hall) maintains the official academic records for the university and provides students with their official university transcripts. Additional information is available on the university registrar’s website. The college registrar (1204 MVR Hall) maintains students’ official academic records, including the audit of progress toward the degree. The college registrar also provides services such as adding and dropping courses, correcting student records, and approving the transfer of credit from other institutions. Additional information is available on the HE registrar’s website.

Registration and Course Enrollment

University Record Holds

The University assumes certain legal responsibilities for persons who participate as students in the University environment. As a result, specific requirements must be met in order to be eligible to remain enrolled for a current term or enroll in a subsequent term. For more information, refer to University Record Holds .

Verification of Registration

Many insurance companies or scholarship funds require verification of full-time registration at Cornell. Should students need such verification, they should use the official university verification service at or request an official letter from the Office of the University Registrar (B07 Day Hall). Students who need letters of good standing should contact the Human Ecology registrar’s office (1204 MVR Hall).

Bursar Bill

A bursar bill is sent to each student over the summer and winter breaks; it summarizes what is owed to the university. The bursar bill can also be viewed through Student Center. Any questions regarding the bursar bill should be directed to the bursar’s office (260 Day Hall, (607) 255-2336). Initial New York State residency eligibility is determined during the admissions process, but the bursar’s office will handle any request for a status change after matriculation.

Proration of Tuition

To be eligible for proration of tuition a student must have completed a minimum of 8 semesters of study at Cornell and have fewer than 9 credits remaining to complete degree requirements. The student must be in good standing and meet all other proration requirements. See the college registrar (1204 MVR Hall) for more information.

Students of mature status may carry 6 to 11 credits but must request that their tuition be prorated. Prorated tuition will be considered only for requests of between 3 and 10 credits. All requests should be made to the college registrar (1204 MVR Hall) by the end of the pre-enrollment period in the semester before the term in which proration is requested.

Course Enrollment

Initiating the Process

Course Pre-enroll selections are only “requests” for seats in classes. Between the end of the course enrollment period and the beginning of the next semester, course requests are evaluated by the offering college department. Students can determine if their requests have been successful when final schedules are published before the add/drop period. Students are expected to make course requests for the subsequent semester during a specified time in the current semester. Those dates are advertised publicly and are available on the university registrar’s website. Course Pre-enroll takes place electronically, using software available through Student Center. During this time, each student should meet with his or her faculty advisor to discuss academic plans.

Information on courses is readily available in this catalog and in the Class Roster for each semester.

Incoming students will meet with faculty advisors during the orientation period.

Course Loads

Full-time matriculated students must carry at least 12 credits (exclusive of physical education) to maintain full-time status. Refer to the section, “Minimum Semester Requirements ,” for details. The normal course load in the college ranges from 12 to 18 credits. Students who wish to enroll in more than 18 credits per semester must petition. They must have completed at least two semesters at Cornell with a cumulative GPA of 3.50. A maximum of 22 credits are allowed by petition. Students may not withdraw from courses after the 57th calendar day of the semester without petitioning and by substantiating extenuating circumstances. Students should avoid the need to drop courses by taking on a reasonable workload and using the drop period to make changes in their program.

Petitions to enroll for more than 18 credits are not accepted during the pre-enrollment period.

Late Course Enrollment

Students who do not complete course enrollment during the pre-enrollment period must wait until the beginning of the next semester’s add/drop period to enroll. Extensions are rarely granted and usually only for documented illness.

Students who do not meet the deadline for any reason should see the college registrar in 1204 MVR Hall as soon as possible. The college registrar can explain available options and course enrollment procedures under such circumstances.

Note: Students can review their course schedule using Student Center. Students are responsible for checking their course schedule for accuracy of course numbers, credit hours, grade options, and other data. Errors must be corrected immediately. Procedures for correcting enrollment errors as well as for making any other changes are described in the following section.

Course Enrollment Changes

It is to the student’s advantage to make any necessary course enrollment changes as early in the semester as possible. Adding new courses early makes it easier for the student to keep up with course work. Dropping a course early makes room for other students who may need it for their academic programs.

Ideally, students evaluate their course load carefully at the beginning of the semester. If, in the first week or two, the instructors do not discuss the amount of material to be covered and the extent of student assignments, students need to ask about course requirements.

Deadlines for Add/Drop and Grade Option Changes

Note: Brief add/drop periods exist for half-semester courses.
  1. During the first 15 calendar days of the semester, courses may be added, dropped, or the course credits changed. Special status courses (4000, 4010, 4020) and Teaching Apprentice courses (4030) may be added through the end of the 5th week of the semester.
  2. During the first 57 calendar days of the semester, courses may be dropped or the grade option changed.
  3. After the 57th calendar day of the semester, any requests for course changes must be made through the petition process. Students should request an appointment with a Student and Career Development counselor in 1210 MVR Hall to initiate the process.
  4. After the 57th calendar day of the semester, any student granted permission to drop a course after petitioning will automatically receive a grade of W (Withdrawn), and the course and grade will remain on the official transcript even if repeated in a later semester. The deadline to petition to drop a course with a “W” is the end of the 12th week.

Deadlines for Half-Semester Courses

Students may drop half-semester courses within the first three-and-one-half weeks of the course. Students may add a course after the first week of classes only with the permission of the instructor. After the first three-and-one-half weeks, students must petition to drop the course.

Permission of Instructor/Department

Certain courses may be taken only with the permission of the instructor or department as indicated in this catalog or through Student Center. Undergraduates must obtain permission of the instructor to take any graduate course. Students must request the instructor’s permission during the course enrollment period by placing their name on a list maintained by the departmental advising assistant.

Course Enrollment while Studying Abroad

Students who plan to study abroad should consult with their faculty advisor before departure to consider the schedule of classes that they will take upon their return to campus. Once abroad, the student can use the internet to access Courses of Study and the Class Roster for the coming semester. The roster is available on the web approximately two weeks prior to pre-enrollment.

Enrollment Restrictions

Enrollment in many human ecology courses is limited. When a course is overenrolled, students are generally assigned on the basis of seniority or by criteria defined for each course as listed in the course description. Students’ professional goals may be considered. Those students not admitted to a course may be placed on a waiting list maintained by the professor or the department offering the course. Course instructors are responsible for determining the criteria to fill their classes from waiting lists. Waiting lists are maintained only for the first three weeks of each semester.

Limited-Enrollment Classes

Students who do not attend the first two class sessions of courses with limited enrollment may be dropped from the course list. Students can avoid being dropped from a class by notifying the instructor that unavoidable circumstances have prevented their attendance.

Cross-Listed Courses

To apply a cross-listed course to graduation requirements, students must enroll in the department for which they need the credits. If changes in department designations need to be made, this must be done during the official course add period for the semester. To do so, students must complete a Cross-listed Course Change Request 

Forbidden Overlaps

Students should scrutinize course descriptions for details about other Cornell courses with duplicate content that would preclude a student from receiving full credit for duplicate courses. To aid students in this evaluation, the College of Arts and Sciences maintains a list for Cornell University of courses that have duplicate content, see the list of courses with overlapping content .

Special Studies Courses

Each department in the College of Human Ecology (DEA, FSAD, HD, HE, and NS) offers special studies courses that provide opportunities for students to do independent work not available in regular courses.

The other special studies courses are 4000 Directed Readings; 4010 Empirical Research; and 4020 Supervised Fieldwork. Juniors and seniors normally take those courses, and a faculty member in the department in which the course is offered supervises work on an individual basis. It is important for students to use the appropriate course number (3000, 4000, 4010, or 4020) for a special project.

To register for a special studies course, a student completes an online special studies form for the departmental office where he or she plans to take the course. The student discusses the proposed course with the faculty member under whose supervision the study would be done and then prepares a plan of work. If the faculty member agrees to supervise the study, the student completes a special studies request.  Once the instructor has signed the request, the student will receive an email with a permission code to enroll in the special studies course.  It is the responsiblity of the student to make sure this is done in a timely manner. The deadline to enroll in Special Studies is the end of the 5th week of the semester.

Semester credits for special studies courses are determined by the number of contact hours the student has with the supervising faculty member (or a person designated by the faculty member). To earn 1 credit, a student must have the equivalent of three to four hours of contact time per week for 15 weeks (a total of 45 contact hours). For additional credit, multiply the number of credits to be earned by 45 to determine the number of contact hours needed for the course. Strict limitations exist on the number of special studies credits that can apply toward graduation and how these credits may be applied toward Major requirements. Refer to “Human Ecology Credit Requirements ” for details. To register in a special studies course taught in a department outside the college, follow the procedures established by that department.

Changes in Status

General Petition Process

The petition process permits students to request exceptions to existing regulations. Petitions are considered individually, weighing the unique situation of the petitioning student with the intent of college and university regulations. In most cases, extenuating circumstances are needed for a petition to be approved if it involves waiving a deadline. These are situations beyond a student’s control, such as a documented medical emergency.

Students can avoid the necessity to petition by carefully observing the deadlines that affect their academic program. See “Course Enrollment Changes” above for some of the important deadlines. If unsure of a deadline, check with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall) or with the staff in the college registrar’s office (1204 MVR Hall).

A general petition may be needed to carry fewer than 12 credits, withdraw from a class after the 57th calendar day of the semester deadline, add a course after the first 15 calendar days of the semester (Add Deadline), change a grade option after the 57th calendar day deadline, be exempt from one or more of the college’s graduation requirements, substitute a required course in one’s major with another course, or stay an additional semester to complete the graduation requirements.

Although many kinds of requests can be petitioned in the college, options other than petitioning may be preferable in some cases. To explore whether a petition is appropriate, the student may discuss the situation with a college counselor or the college registrar.

If a student decides to submit a general petition, the form is available on the HE Student Portal. After completing the form, meeting with a counselor in 1210 MVR Hall, the form will route to the registrar. Once a decision is made, the student will be notified at their Cornell e-mail address indicating approval or denial of the petition.

Students may appeal the college registrar’s decision to the Committee on Academic Status. A member of the counseling staff can guide a student through this process.

In Absentia Study

Under certain conditions, credit toward a Cornell degree may be given for in absentia study, that is, study done at an accredited institution away from Cornell after the student matriculates in the College of Human Ecology. In absentia study can be done during any semester: fall, winter, spring, or summer. First-year writing seminars may not be taken in absentia.

To be eligible for in absentia study, a student must be in good academic standing and must receive permission in advance from the college registrar. A student not in good standing may study in absentia but will not receive transcript credit until the Committee on Academic Status has returned the student to good standing. Students not in good academic standing who wish to finish their degree in absentia must seek pre-approval from the college’s Committee on Academic Status via the general petition process. In some cases, students may petition for in absentia credit after the work has been completed, but there is no guarantee that such credit will be awarded without advance approval.

In absentia petition forms are available on the HE Student portal. In absentia study during the fall or spring semester carries a nominal administrative fee. (Contact the Bursar’s office, 260 Day Hall, for the current amount.) Students will receive an e-mail from the college registrar notifying them of the petition decision.

Note: Students seeking pre-approval for in absentia course work should do so well in advance as turnaround time for the approval process can be variable.

The combined number of in absentia, AP credits and pre-matriculation credits applied to graduation requirements may not exceed 15 credits. Students who study abroad during the summer or winter term are limited to a maximum of 9 in absentia credits. Study abroad during the fall or spring semester must be done through the Study Abroad office or through formal Human Ecology Exchange Programs and is not considered in absentia study. Students studying while on a leave of absence during the spring or fall semesters may not receive credit for nondomestic campus programs.

On the following rare occasions, a student’s petition for more than 15 credits in absentia may be allowed: (1) the work taken represents a special educational opportunity not available at Cornell, (2) it relates to the student’s particular professional goals, and (3) those goals are consistent with the focus of the college. The in-absentia petition form is used to request more than 15 credits in-absentia. Wells and Ithaca College credit are not considered in-absentia credit and are not included in the 15-credit limit.

The college registrar requests approval from the appropriate department if a student wants to apply in-absentia credit to requirements in his or her major. Students seeking in-absentia credit for a modern foreign language in which they have done work must obtain the approval of the appropriate language department (College of Arts and Sciences). The department will recommend the number of credits the student should receive and may require the student to take a placement test after returning to Cornell.

The student is responsible for having the registrar of the institution where in-absentia study is done send transcripts of grades directly to the Human Ecology registrar’s office (1204 MVR Hall). Only then will credit be officially assessed and applied to the Cornell degree. Credit for in-absentia study will be granted only for those courses with grades of C– or better. Courses may not be taken for S–U grades unless it is the only grade option offered. In-absentia courses appear on the Cornell University transcript, but the grades are not calculated in the student’s GPA.

A student who holds a Regents’ or Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans Scholarship may claim that scholarship for study in-absentia if the study is done in a college in New York State and if it is for a maximum of 15 credits acceptable to the College of Human Ecology.

The rules regarding study in-absentia apply to transfer students with the additional stipulation that at least 60 credits must be taken at Cornell. At least 43 of the 60 credits must be in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell unless the student has transferred equivalent human ecology credit. (No more than 2 courses of equivalent credit may be applied to the 43 credits required in human ecology course work.)

Leaves of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence at any time after they have commenced attendance at the university as part of a Cornell degree program. A leave may be extended for a second semester by making a written request to the Office of Human Ecology Registrar (1204 MVR Hall). Note: In-absentia study status and leave of absence status are not the same; however, students may petition to earn credits with either status. Students on leave must notify the college registrar (1204 MVR Hall), of their intention to return to campus by returning the Return from Leave of Absence form by November 30 for a spring return and July 31 for a fall return.  Those whose leave period has expired will be withdrawn from the college after the third week of the semester they were due back.

Students considering a leave of absence should discuss their plans with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development. The student must initiate the leave request unsing the Cornell Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Request to officially request a leave.  Leaves initiated after instruction begins will be charged a percentage of the semester tuition.  The University Registrar will determine the effective date of the leave.

The academic records of all students who are granted a leave of absence are subject to review, and the Committee on Academic Status may request grades and other information from faculty members to determine whether the student should return under warning or severe warning or in good academic standing.

Under certain documented medical circumstances a student may be granted a health leave of absence. Health leaves are initiated by the student with Cornell Health. If they recommend a health leave for the student, the college registrar may grant the leave. A health leave is for an indeterminate period of time not to exceed five years. Students who are granted a health leave of absence have the option to maintain contact with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532). The counselor will advise the student on procedures to obtain a recommendation from Cornell Health to the college registrar for the student’s return. Students should plan sufficiently in advance to assure time for Cornell Health and the college registrar to consider their request.  The request should be initiated by November 30 for a spring return and by July 31 for a fall return.


A withdrawal is a termination of student status at the university. Students may withdraw voluntarily at any time by submtting a withdrawal request. A student considering such an action is urged to first discuss plans with a counselor in the Office of Student, and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532).  The University Registrar will determine the effective date of the withdrawal.

In some instances, a student may be given a withdrawal by the college registrar. Students who leave the college without an approved leave of absence, or do not return after the leave has expired, will be given a withdrawal after the seventh week of the semester in which they fail to register.

A student who has withdrawn from the college or who has been given a withdrawal by the college registrar and who wishes to return at a later date must reapply through the Office of Admission for consideration along with all other applicants for admission. If the student was in academic difficulty at the time of the withdrawal, the request for readmission will be referred to the Committee on Academic Status (CAS) for consideration, and that committee may stipulate criteria under which the student may be readmitted to the college.

Grades and Examinations

Grade Definitions and Equivalents

The official Grading Guidelines  use a system of letter grades ranging from A+ to D-, with F denoting failure.  An INC grade is given for incomplete work, R is given at the end of the first semester of a two-semester course.

Repeating Courses

Students may enroll a second time for a course they have already passed or in which they received an F. If a student has previously passed a course he or she is taking a second time, the second enrollment will not count toward the degree/credit requirements, however the grade received will be included in the cumulative GPA.

If a student enrolls in a course in which he or she previously received an F, the credits from the second enrollment will count toward the graduation requirements and the grade will be included in the cumulative GPA. The F will also remain on the record and will be included in the GPA.

S–U Grades

Some courses in the college and in other academic units at Cornell are offered on an S–U basis. Courses listed as SX–UX are available only on an S–U basis and may not be taken for a letter grade. A student who is attempting to qualify for the semester’s Dean’s List must take at least 12 credits of course work graded non–S–U. See Awards and Honors for more details about the Dean’s List.

No more than 12 S–U credits will count toward a student’s 120-credit graduation requirement. However, a student may take more than one S–U course in any one semester. S–U courses may be taken only as electives or in the 9 credits required in the college outside the major unless the requirements for a specific major indicate otherwise. First-year students enrolled in WRIT 1370 and 1380 (offered for S–U grades only) are permitted to apply those courses to the first-year writing seminar requirement. If a required course is offered only S–U, it will not count toward the 12-credit limit.

To take a course for an S–U grade, a student must check the course description to make sure that the course is offered on the S–U basis; then either sign up for S–U credit during course enrollment, or obtain and file an add/drop form in the Human Ecology registrar’s office before the end of the 57th calendar day of the semester.

Grades of Incomplete

A grade of incomplete (INC) is given when a student has completed a substantial portion of the class but has not completed all the work for a course on time but when, in the instructor’s judgment, there was a valid reason. A student with such a reason should discuss the matter with the instructor and request a grade of incomplete. Students are at risk of going under the minimum semester requirement if an INC grade in a course puts the total number of credit hours under 12 for the semester. For more information, refer to Minimum Semester Requirements .

A grade of incomplete may remain on a student’s official transcript for a maximum of two semesters and one summer after the grade is given, or until the awarding of a degree, whichever is the shorter period of time. The instructor has the option of setting a shorter time limit for completing the course work.

If the work is completed within the designated time period, the grade of incomplete will be changed to a regular grade on the student’s official transcript. If the work is not completed within the designated time period, the grade of incomplete automatically will be converted to an F by the college registrar.

When a student wants to receive a grade of incomplete, the student must arrange a meeting with the instructor (before classes end and the study period begins) to work out the agreement. Within the On-line Grade Adjustment Application (OLGAA), there is the ability to Report on a Grade of Incomplete and Explanation for Reporting a Failing Grade of F or U. This form is submitted with the final grades whenever a grade of incomplete is given. This form is for the student’s protection, particularly in the event that a faculty member with whom a course is being completed leaves campus without leaving a record of the work completed in the course. This form should be completed by the final grade submission deadline.

If the work is completed satisfactorily within the required time, the course appears on the student’s official transcript with an asterisk adjacent to the final grade received for the semester in which the student was registered for the course. A student who completes the work in the required time and expects to receive a grade must take the responsibility for checking with the Human Ecology Registrar’s Office (about two weeks after the work has been handed in) to make sure that the grade has been received. Any questions should be discussed with the course instructor.

The form for Reporting a Failing Grade of F or U should be completed by the instructor by the final grade submission deadline.  This form is used by the Committee on Academic Status when reviewing students at the end of a semester to determine if an action should be taken regarding the students’ progress to degree.

Grade Disputes

Students who find themselves in disagreement with an instructor over grades have several options:

  1. Meet with the instructor and try to resolve the dispute.
  2. Meet with the chair of the department in which the instructor has his or her appointment.
  3. Meet with the associate dean for undergraduate studies of the college in which the course was taught.
  4. Meet with the university ombudsman (118 Stimson Hall, (607) 255-4321).

A student may also seek advice from his or her faculty advisor, the college registrar, or with a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall).


Both the preliminary and final examination schedules are available on the university registrar’s website.

Final Examinations

Final exam information is located in the Final Examinations  section of this catalog.

Return of Exams, Papers, etc.

Although there is no federal or state legislation that pertains to the manner in which graded work is to be returned to students, the returning of such materials should be handled in such a manner as will preserve the student’s privacy. Students have a right to examine their corrected exams, papers, and the like, in order to be able to question their grading. They do not, however, have an absolute right to the return thereof. Exams, papers, etc., as well as grading records, should be retained for one year after completion of the course to afford students such right of review.

Due Date for Submitting Final Grades

Prompt submission of final grades is essential. Each college and school sets their own due dates for final grades independently each semester in consulatation with teh university registrar.

Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary exam information is located in the Evening Preliminary Examinations  section of this catalog.


Academic Standing

Criteria for Good Standing

The College of Human Ecology has established a set of minimum academic standards that all students must meet or exceed each semester. These standards are as follows:

  1. A student must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
  2. A student must successfully complete at least 12 credits per semester, excluding physical education courses. Mature students must carry at least 6 credits each semester, also excluding physical education.
  3. Students enrolling in the college as first-years must enroll in a minimum of one 3-credit course each semester in HE of their first four semesters, excluding winter and summer sessions. Transfer students must complete 12 Human Ecology credits by the end of their second semester at Cornell.
  4. A student must be making “satisfactory progress” toward a Human Ecology bachelor’s degree.
  5. All students must complete their requirements for first-year writing seminars (FWS) during their first two semesters at Cornell. Students who do not take a required first-year writing seminar in the first semester that they matriculate at the College of Human Ecology will be placed on a warning status.

Students who have completed the second or subsequent semesters of matriculation at the college who have not taken both of the required writing seminars will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Status. In these cases, if the student has not pre-enrolled for an FWS for the upcoming semester, a hold will be placed on the student’s semester registration status until they are actually enrolled in an FWS. If this requirement is not completed by the end of that semester, the student may be withdrawn from the college.

At the end of each semester, the Committee on Academic Status (CAS) reviews each student’s academic record to ensure that the minimum academic standards listed above are met. The committee takes appropriate action for students whose academic achievement is considered unsatisfactory as defined by these criteria. CAS considers each case individually before deciding on a course of action. In an effort to support every student’s success, the committee may take any of the following actions:

  1. Place a hold on a student’s university registration status or course enrollment for the current or upcoming semester.
  2. Withdraw the student permanently from the college and Cornell University.
  3. Require the student to take a leave of absence for one or more semesters.
  4. Issue a warning to the student at one of the following levels:
    1. Severe warning with danger of being withdrawn
    2. Severe warning
    3. Warning

These imply that if the student does not show considerable improvement during the semester, the committee may withdraw the student.

  1. Add the student’s name to a review list; students with this status are monitored by the committee throughout the semester.
  2. Return the student to good standing.

Students placed on a required leave must appeal to CAS to return. This appeal occurs at the end of the required leave period. Students who have been withdrawn may appeal the decision before the committee during the pre-semester appeals meeting. Students who have been placed on a status owing to incomplete or missing grades may request that their status be reviewed for possible updating to good standing once the grade records reflect the updates or corrections. These requests should be made using the general petition process and submitted to the college registrar.

All students with an academic warning status automatically will be reviewed for specific criteria at the end of the subsequent semester.  Students put on warning, severe warning, or severe warning with danger of being withdrawn status will be informed of conditions that they are expected to fulfill to return to good standing. In general, these conditions are that a student must earn a minimum semester GPA of 2.0, complete 12 credits (exclusive of physical education), and not have any incomplete, missing, F, or U grades on his or her most recent semester record.

If a student who has been previously placed on a required leave wishes to return to the college, they must submit a plan of study to the committee before being rejoined.  The student should contact a Human Ecology counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall) to discuss the process and due dates.

Students who have been withdrawn from the college by CAS may request that they be readmitted. Such students have three years from the date they were withdrawn to make this appeal with assistance from a counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall). After three years, a former student must apply for readmission through the college’s Office of Admission. A student applying for readmission should discuss their situation with a counselor in the Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development. The student also should talk with others who may be able to help—faculty advisors, instructors, or a member of the university medical staff. Any information given to the committee is held in the strictest confidence.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a critical issue for all students and professors in the academic community. Refer to the Academic Integrity  section of this catalog for complete information on the Code of Academic Integrity and Guidelines for Students.

The college’s Academic Integrity Hearing Board, which consists of a chairperson, three faculty members, and three students, hears appeals from students who have breached the code. It also deals with cases brought directly to it by members of the faculty.

Academic Records

Students may obtain their Cornell academic record in several ways. The Cornell transcript, which is the official record of the courses, credits, and grades that a student has earned can be ordered with no charge at the Office of the University Registrar (B07 Day Hall) or online at For more information, call (607) 255-4232. Students may also access their grades and course schedules electronically using Student Center. Students should be in the habit of checking Student Center by the second week of every semester to confirm that their schedule and grade options are correct. Adjustments must be made before published enrollment deadlines.

Students should use the Academic Advising Report through Student Center to track their degree progress.  It is important to check this document and bring any errors to the attention of the staff in the college registrar’s office (1204 MVR Hall).

Access to Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 assures students of privacy of their records. The law also assures students’ access to their records. Information concerning a student’s relationship with the university is considered restricted and may be released only at the student’s specific written request. Restricted information includes the courses elected; grades earned; class rank; academic and disciplinary actions by appropriate faculty, student, or administrative committees; and financial arrangements between the student and the university. Letters of recommendation are restricted information unless the student has specifically waived right of access.

Students who want additional information on access to their records may contact the Office of the College Registrar (1204 MVR Hall) or the Office of the University Registrar (B07 Day Hall). An inventory of those student records maintained by Cornell University offices in Ithaca, their location, and cognizant officers are available in the Office of the Dean of Students (401 Willard Straight Hall).

For specific information, refer to the university’s policy Access to Student Information or talk with the college registrar.

Academic Honors and Awards

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


Dean’s List. Excellence in academic achievement is recognized each semester by placing on the Dean’s List the names of students who have completed satisfactorily at least 12 credits of letter grades and who have a semester GPA of 3.7 or above. No student who has received an F or U in an academic course will be eligible.

Kappa Omicron Nu seeks to promote graduate study and research and to stimulate scholarship and leadership toward the well-being of individuals and families. As a chapter of a national honor society in the New York State College of Human Ecology, it stimulates and encourages scholarly inquiry and action on significant problems of living—at home, in the community, and throughout the world.

Effective November 2017, students are eligible for membership if they have attained sophomore, junior or senior status.  The top 25% of students in each major in the college are invited to join; induction is only in the Spring semester.

Bachelor of science with honors recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement in an academic field. Programs leading to a degree with honors are offered to selected students. Information about admission to the programs and their requirements may be obtained from the appropriate department or division. To graduate with honors a student must take approved courses in research methodology and evaluation, attend honors seminars, complete a written thesis, and successfully defend it in front of a committee.

Bachelor of science with high distinction/distinction (beginning with January 2014 graduates) recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement. High Distinction is awarded to graduates who earn a cumulative GPA of 4.000 or higher, Distinction is awarded to graduates who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.750 to 3.999.


The Elsie Van Buren Rice Public Speaking Contest awards prizes totaling $2,500 for speeches related to published research by Human Ecology faculty members. The contest is held each year in March.

The Flora Rose Prize is given to a Cornell Human Ecology junior or senior whom, in the words of the donor, “shall demonstrate the greatest promise for contributing to the growth and self-fulfillment of future generations.” Students apply in the spring semester. The recipient receives a cash prize.

The Florence Halpern Award is named for the noted psychologist, Dr. Florence Halpern, in recognition of her lifelong interest in “innovative human service, which betters the quality of life.” In that spirit the award is presented to an undergraduate in the College of Human Ecology who has demonstrated, through supervised fieldwork or community service, creativity in the search for solutions to human problems. Students apply in the spring semester. The award carries a cash prize.

College Committees and Organizations

Student Groups and Organizations

Following are brief descriptions of some of the organizations that offer valuable experiences to human ecology students. Information about many other student activities on campus may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Students (401 Willard Straight Hall).

The Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC) was formed to give students interested in apparel a chance to express their creativity outside of the classroom by producing a fashion show every spring. It has become concerned with all aspects of a professional presentation. Consequently, it also provides a creative outlet for those interested in graphics, photography, illustration, or theater production. Although many of its designers are part of the Fashion Design and Management and Fiber Science majors, the CFC welcomes people from all majors and schools.

Students have opportunities to work throughout the community in a variety of service capacities. They volunteer in day care centers, youth programs, health-related agencies, services for elderly people and people with disabilities, as well as nutrition programs, arts organizations, and Ithaca schools. For further information, contact the Public Service Center (200 Barnes Hall). Call (607) 255-1148 for information about volunteer work or (607) 255-1107 for information about work-study arrangements.

The Human Ecology Ambassadors is a group of Human Ecology undergraduates who assist the Office of Admission in the area of new student recruitment and yield. Ambassadors participate in group conferences with prospective students to provide information from a student’s perspective, assist with on-campus programs for high school students and potential transfer students, and help with prospective student engagement and letter writing. In addition, ambassadors attend regular meetings and serve as coordinators for activities in the Office of Admission.

For information, contact the Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-5471).

Students interested in the relationship between the physical environment and human behavior may join the Human-Environment Relations Students Association. For more information, contact the Department of Human Centered Design.

The International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) also has a student chapter. Membership information is available from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis.

The Association for Students of Color (ASC) unites Human Ecology students of color to provide a supportive foundation for their enrollment, retention, graduation, and career placement. ASC members work toward these goals in the following ways:

  1. participating in admissions hosting programs and conducting high school visitations
  2. sponsoring presentations on career and graduate school outcomes of a Human Ecology education
  3. providing volunteer services to the Cornell and Ithaca communities
  4. attending regular meetings and hosting annual fall and spring forums

For more information, contact the Office of Student, and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532).

The Preprofessional Association Toward Careers in Health (PATCH) provides support, advising, and up-to-date information to students pursuing careers in health care. Programs include academic advising, guest speakers from allopathic and alternative medicine, information on medical school admissions, exposure to complementary health-care career options, MCAT preparation tips, information on research and internship opportunities, and a visit to a local medical school. This student-run organization is sponsored by Human Ecology and is open to the Cornell community. For more information, contact the Office of Student, and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2532).

Membership in the Sloan Student Association is open to students interested in health care and related fields. For more information, contact the president of the association (floor 3M MVR, (607) 255-7772).

The Health and Nutritional Undergraduate Society (HealthNutS) promotes nutritional well-being through education, communication, and research. Members of the student chapter organize programs and host on-campus speakers in nutrition and health-related fields. The student chapter is open to all students interested in nutrition education. For more information, contact DNS Student Services (

Committees and Councils

Several official organizations exist within the college to deal with matters of policy and to provide leadership in college planning. Most include elected student and faculty representatives; the actions of these various groups affect all students directly or indirectly.

The Educational Policies Committee (EPC) has two student members, one graduate and one undergraduate, who vote along with the faculty members on all matters relating to college academic policy. Recommendations are submitted to this committee regarding revisions in degree requirements, new curriculum changes, and new course approval.

The Committee on Academic Status (CAS) is comprised of one member of the faculty from each Human Ecology major including the Division of Nutritional Sciences, the Human Ecology Registrar, and a Student and Career Development liaison. The committee reviews and makes decisions on: The academic standing of undergraduate students, leave of absences/withdrawal requests after published deadlines. The committee advises the Registrar, as requested, relative to actions on student petitions and hears appeals from students on; actions by the Registrar, and other appeals.

Students also have the opportunity to serve on the Admissions Policy Subcommittee and the Academic Integrity Hearing Board.

The Selection Committee for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching or Professional Service handles the nomination and selection process for this prestigious yearly award. The committee consists of three teaching faculty members, one professional staff member, and three undergraduate members.

The Human Ecology Alumni Association Board of Directors includes two student board members—one junior and one senior. One student is selected each spring to begin a two-year term as student representative. The two students co-chair the board’s Student Activities Committee, which works to increase the visibility of the Alumni Association among the student body by funding a variety of activities. The student members also bring an important perspective to board deliberations about programming and annual goals.

The Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council is a student group whose members promote communication between undergraduates and the Human Ecology administration. Interested students apply each spring to join the council for the following academic year.

Undergraduate Affairs

Persons interested in undergraduate study in human ecology should contact the admissions office, 1220 MVR Hall, (607) 255-5471. Those interested in graduate study should contact the graduate field representative identified among the faculty of each department. Department faculty members are listed at the beginning of the course descriptions for each department.

Counselors in the Office of Admission, Student, and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall) can help current students understand college programs and requirements, as well as college and university resources and services. They provide a broad range of career services and personal support for all matriculated undergraduates. The college registrar (1204 MVR Hall) assists undergraduates with questions about academic credit and graduation requirements.

The Student Body

The college’s undergraduate admissions committee selects applicants who are academically well prepared and appear most likely to profit from the college’s various curricula. Admission is highly selective. Approximately half of the student body comes from New York State, with the remainder coming from other parts of the United States and abroad. Approximately 30 percent identified as members of minority groups. Members of the college faculty chair the special committees of approximately 200 graduate students.

Mature Students

The college recognizes that students who interrupted their formal education and are returning to school have needs different from those of younger undergraduates. To facilitate the education of mature students, defined as those 24 years old or older at first matriculation, the college has adopted certain procedures specifically for that group. Counselors in the Office of Student and Career Development (1210 MVR Hall) can provide information of interest to mature students. Mature students may petition to enroll in as few as 6 credits and also are permitted to extend their residency beyond the normal eight semesters. To find out about qualifying for prorated tuition, mature students must see the college registrar during the course enrollment period in the preceding semester.

Transfer Students

Students may be considered transfer students once they complete 12 college credits after high school graduation. An external transfer student is one who transfers to Human Ecology from an institution outside of Cornell University. Liberal arts credits from other institutions transfer readily, but students must earn a minimum of 60 Cornell credits to graduate. Internal transfer students are admitted to Human Ecology from one of Cornell’s other seven undergraduate units. Students transferring internally should take special care to learn the policies of Human Ecology, because rules at the various Cornell colleges often differ. Before admission, both internal and external transfer candidates should contact the Office of Admission (1220 MVR Hall, (607) 255-5471) to discuss credit transfer. Upon matriculation, admitted transfer students should attend the orientation and contact the Human Ecology registrar’s office (1204 MVR Hall, (607) 255-2235) to discuss how transfer credits will apply to their specific degree program.

External transfer students must spend a minimum of 4 academic (Fall or Spring) semesters in residence on the Ithaca Campus. Cornell in Washington/Study Abroad will not apply to this requirement. Summer session course work will not apply to this requirement.

Special Student Status

Students eligible for special status are those visiting from other institutions and interested in particular programs in the college, those with a bachelor’s degree who are preparing for graduate study or jobs and careers in human ecology–related fields, or those who have interrupted their education and are considering completing degree programs. Students accepted in the non-degree status of special student may enroll for a maximum of two semesters. During the second semester of attendance, a special student must either apply for admission as a transfer student or plan to terminate studies in the college at the end of the semester. Special students are expected to take a minimum of 12 credits each semester and to take one-half to two-thirds of their work in the statutory divisions of the university. Courses taken while a person is classified as a special student may be counted toward the requirements of the bachelor’s degree. Those interested in becoming special students should make appointments to discuss admissions procedures in the Office of Admission (1220 MVR Hall, (607) 255-5471).

Empire State Students

Occasionally, a student who is completing requirements for a degree through the Empire State College Program is interested in taking a human ecology course. This can be done by registering through the Division of Summer Session, Extramural Study, and Related Programs (B20 Day Hall, (607) 255-4987). All rules of the extramural division apply, and registrations will be accepted only on a space-available basis and with the written approval of the course instructor. At the time of registration, Empire State College students must provide the extramural division with a completed copy of Empire State College’s notification of cross-registration (form number SA-22, F-031) to verify enrollment in Empire State College. Such students will be charged 25 percent of the standard extramural tuition per credit.