Courses of Study 2023-2024 
    Jun 13, 2024  
Courses of Study 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Course Enrollment and Credits

Students use Student Center to request classes for the upcoming semester during the pre-enrollment period and to add or drop classes for the current semester during the add/drop period. See for more information about enrolling in classes.

Credit Hours

Full time undergraduate students are expected to enroll in a minimum of twelve (12) academic credit hours of college-approved coursework per semester. Exceptions are granted only at the discretion of the student’s college.

Cornell adheres to United States Department of Education, New York State Education Department, and Middle States Commission on Higher Education guidelines pertaining to the definition of a credit hour. For more information, see the policy on Defining and Assigning Credit Hours .

Credit toward a graduate degree shall be earned only through work designed expressly for graduate students (courses at the 5000-level or above). Graduate students may enroll in 1000 to 4000-level courses but these shall not count towards the degree requirement.

Transfer Credit

In order for transfer credit to be accepted by Cornell University, the coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited institution. A list of the six recognized accrediting bodies accepted by Cornell is available on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website.

For courses taken outside of the United States, academic coursework may be evaluated for Cornell University credit provided that the coursework is taken at the college level and recorded on an official transcript. Additionally, students who wish to transfer credit(s) from outside of the United States may be requested to submit an international credential evaluation or proof of accreditation for the institution where the coursework was completed.

Beyond what is stated above, transfer credit policies vary by college and not all colleges accept transfer credit. Students wishing to transfer credits from another institution should consult their college registrar’s office.


Students pre-enroll during the fall for the upcoming spring semester, and during the spring for the following fall semester. Dates are announced in advance and are posted on Student Center and on Course offerings for a given semester are viewable and searchable on the Class Roster, which also includes a scheduling tool for planning purposes. Students are expected to meet with their academic advisors before pre-enrolling to affirm that the courses they intend to take will ensure satisfactory progress toward a degree.

New students pre-enrolling over the summer should follow the guidelines sent by their college about choosing classes. New students will have an opportunity to meet with their advisors when they arrive on campus.

Course Add/Drop

During add/drop periods at the beginning of each semester, students may adjust their schedules using Student Center. Courses may be added, dropped, or swapped; see the Class Roster for up-to-date course offering information and the Enrolling in Classes page for assistance with the enrollment process. Professional schools, the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, and First-Year Writing Seminars may have different course enrollment and add/drop policies. Address questions about permission-only courses and adding or dropping a specific course to the registrar’s office in the college offering the course. Students are responsible for reviewing and verifying their enrollment in courses prior to the end of the add/drop period. Students are responsible for all registration activity and must follow published deadlines.

Repeat Coursework

Students wishing to pursue research opportunities may enroll in courses such as research, honors research, or independent study. Some students enroll in research-focused courses for more than one semester. While the course number may be the same, these courses represent a progression of research and scholarship and are not a repetition of the same material. Students are expected to demonstrate positive forward development in their knowledge and scholarship.

Some topics courses, colloquia, and seminars carry the same course number and title. These courses, from semester to semester, focus on a different topic or area of study. Although students may enroll in the same course more than once, the content of each offering varies.

Students wishing to take a course more than one time to improve a poor or failing grade should consult their college registrar prior to enrollment. For more information about how repeat coursework may impact financial aid, see the Course Repeats and Financial Aid Eligibility site.

Forbidden Overlaps

The university offers a broad range of diverse courses. Many of these courses have overlapping content, and students must make their selections carefully to ensure that they will receive credit for each course they take. Students who enroll in courses with overlapping content will only receive credit for one of those courses. Please refer to the list of courses with overlapping content .

Auditing Classes

Auditing a class means an individual regularly attends, but does not participate in all aspects of the course. An auditing student will not earn any credit hours and the course will be marked with a “V” on the official transcript. Auditing students will be responsible for any applicable course fees. 

Colleges, departments, or instructors may prioritize for-credit enrollments in classes at their discretion. Some courses do not lend themselves to auditing, and in such cases, instructors have the authority to not allow students to audit.

Note that undergraduate and professional school students may not audit any classes. Physical Education classes may not be audited. Students taking classes through Continuing Education and Summer Sessions may choose to audit eligible classes. Graduate students may enroll as an auditor in any course available for audit, though some courses may impose restrictions or prerequisites. Students should discuss potential elective courses with committee members.

Closure of Student Record

A student’s academic record is closed to revisions of enrollment, grading, and academic actions once a degree has been awarded. Students are responsible for requesting a review of their academic record prior to degree conferral. Changes requested by a student after the awarding of a degree are considered by the student’s school or college, and only under extraordinary circumstances. Supportive documentation is required.