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

Policies, Procedures, Students Services, and Supports

In the Brooks School of Public Policy .

Student Support

To help students navigate the many opportunities and resources available in the Brooks School and at Cornell more broadly, we have developed a team approach to academic advising and student support. This approach is designed to give students the best support possible as they make their way through our Brooks programs. While it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to make sure that their course selections meet graduation requirements, our student services team will be available every step of the way. We want our students to succeed and are here to help make that happen.

Brooks School’s Office of Enrollment and Student Services
Director, Christie Avgar, MSW, LCSW
MVR 2301

The Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services is first point of contact for Brooks students throughout their time at Cornell. The staff and advisors in this office work closely with faculty mentors and advisors and offices across the university to provide personal and academic counseling, while encouraging a healthy school-life balance. Please note that our Enrollment and Student Services counselors are not formal psychiatrists or therapists; however, they are available to help students navigate Cornell, and to offer guidance, support, and referral.

The following support services and student groups are managed by and provided in consultation with the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services:


Undergraduate Admissions- Offering support for both first-year and transfer applicants
Graduate Admissions- Offering support to professional graduate degree applicants


Undergraduate Academic Advising – Includes support with course scheduling, academic planning, graduation requirements, interpretating academic policies, minor selection, pre-med/pre-law advisement, study abroad planning, and related questions.

Professional Graduate Academic Advising – Includes support with course scheduling and planning, degree progress, petition and course substitutions, graduation requirements, and related questions.
MPA Program Student Advising Coordinator: Rebecca Brenner
Additional questions regarding MPA advising:
Additional questions regarding MHA advising:

Career Counseling/Services

Undergraduate Career Counseling:

Includes support with identifying career outcomes, developing networking skills, selecting course work appropriate to various career goals, and guidance on navigating the interview and job search or graduation school application process. Services include cover letter review, mock interviews, and résumé review.

Graduate Professional Career Counseling:

Brooks Masters in Public Administration Office of Career Management

The Office of Career Management is designed to help Master of Public Administration students and alumni put their degree to work in a competitive job market. Services include guidance to assemble individualized career plans, résumé and cover letter critiques, interview training, and networking support and guidance. 

Assistant Director, Millie Reed
MVR 2201

Sloan Master of Health Administration Career Management Services

Services include guidance to assemble individualized career plans, resume and cover letter critiques, interview training, and networking support and guidance. Experienced professionals in the Sloan alumni network serve as executives in residence (EIR) to provide Master of Health Administration students with industry insights. EIRs critique résumés, perform mock interviews, and help students identify and secure internships and full-time positions customized to students’ unique career interests.

Contact: Associate Director, Cathy Bartell, MHA  
MVR 3301A

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programming

The Brooks School is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive learning community. Undergraduate programming includes a peer-partnership program and our pre- summer scholars program among other opportunities.    

Faculty Mentors

The Brooks School faculty mentors are experts in their field who provide students with valuable insight as they select electives, consider research opportunities, navigate challenging coursework, and think about their academic goals. Our interdisciplinary team of faculty mentors have backgrounds in demography, economics, methods, or sociology, in addition to their expertise in public policy.

Undergraduate faculty mentors are randomly assigned undergraduate students during their first week in the Brooks School. If a student’s policy interests better align with an alternate mentor’s background, a faculty mentor change may be requested at

Graduate faculty mentors and/or advisors are assigned to professional students based on student interest and faculty subject area expertise. If a student’s policy interests better align with an alternate mentor’s background, a faculty mentor change may be requested from the program.

Liaison, Advocacy, and Referral Services 

Providing students connections with other Cornell offices such as Cornell Health, the Learning Strategies Center, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), Student Disability Services, and more.


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 Brooks School registrar (1204 MVR Hall) maintains students’ official academic records, including the audit of progress toward the degree. The Brooks School registrar also provides services such as adding and dropping courses, correcting student records, and approving the transfer of credit from other institutions.

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 Brooks School 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 Brooks School 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 Brooks School 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 pre-enroll 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 an advisor to discuss academic plans.

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

Incoming students can connect with advisors in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services throughout the semester and at orientation.

Deadlines for Add/Drop and Grade Option Changes for Full 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.

Course Loads

Undergraduate Course Loads:

Full-time matriculated undergraduate 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.  Undergraduate students in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy are limited to 18 credits per semester. Students with more than two semesters at Cornell and at least a 3.5 GPA are eligible to petition to go up to 22 academic credits. Students who have been at Cornell for less than two semesters, or who have a GPA lower than 3.5 are only eligible to petition if the additional credits are for PE or academic support classes (e.g. MATH 1006 - Academic Support for MATH 1106 ).

Eligibility to petition does not guarantee approval to go over 18 credits.  Students must also have support from an advisor in the Office of Enrollment and Student Services. Students must meet with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services before a decision will be granted.  Approvals to go over 18 credits are granted under limited circumstances.

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 Brooks School registrar in 1204 MVR Hall as soon as possible. The Brooks School 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

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 or other appointed representative.

Course Enrollment while Studying Abroad

Students who plan to study abroad should consult with an advisor in the Office of Enrollment and Student Services before departure to consider the schedule of classes that they will take upon their return to campus. Once abroad, the student can 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 and Waitlists 

Enrollment in many classes is limited. When class space is limited, programs may restrict a class to a specific population of students, reserve several seats for specific students, or offer a waitlist. Restrictions, reservations, and waitlist priority for relevant courses is typically listed within the notes on the class roster. These processes are to help ensure that the students who need a course to graduate have priority enrollment. Each department or program has their own process for managing a waitlist. Refer to the department program coordinators or the professor offering the class for more information. 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.

Administrative Drop from Classes

It is the student’s responsibility to verify they have the appropriate prerequisites for courses before enrolling. Students who believe they have relevant experience or alternate coursework that prepares them for the course, should seek permission from the instructor before enrolling without a prerequisite. Students who do not meet the posted prerequisites on the course description may be dropped from the class.  

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.

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. For example, students may not receive 8 credits toward graduation requirements if they take PUBPOL 2000  and ECON 3030  because both are Intermediate Microeconomics courses, only 4 credits would be allowed. 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  .

Independent Study/Special Studies/Project Session Courses

Special Studies and Project Session courses provide opportunities for students to do independent work not available in regular courses.  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 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 reached by 45 to determine the number of contact hours needed for the course.  For independent study/project session/special studies outside of the Brooks School, please refer to the policies and procedures listed for the respective unit.

Graduate/professional Independent Study Courses 

Students must seek instructor approval to enroll in the Brooks graduate level independent study courses. Enrollment is through permission number or manual add form.  Students and supervising faculty are responsible to discuss requirements of the independent study before enrollment. 
The graduate/professional independent study courses offered through the Brooks School are: 

Brooks Undergraduate Special Studies Courses

The undergraduate other special studies courses offered through the Brooks School are:

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 an undergraduate special studies course in the Brooks School, a student completes an online special studies form for the departmental office offering 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 form and submits the form to obtain signatures from the instructor and director of undergraduate studies. Special studies forms are available online. The deadline to enroll in Special Studies is the end of the 5th week of the semester.

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 Brooks School Credit Requirements for details.

Changes in Status and Petitions

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 Brooks School 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 an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services or with the staff in the Brooks School 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 school’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 Brooks School, options other than petitioning may be preferable in some cases. To explore whether a petition is appropriate, the student may discuss the situation with an academic advisor or the Brooks School registrar.

If a student decides to submit a general petition, the form is available on the Brooks School website. After completing the form the student must meet with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services  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 school registrar’s decision to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  A member of the advising 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 Brooks School of Public Policy. In absentia study can be done during any semester: fall, winter, spring, or summer. First-year writing seminars and Brooks School core public policy courses 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 Brooks School 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 Brooks School’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 Brooks School of Public Policy Website. 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 Brooks School 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.

For Brooks School undergraduate student, 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. The Brooks School Public Policy summer trips to Copenhagen (PUBPOL 2030) and Turin (PUPPOL 3620) are offered through Cornell and do not count towards in absentia credit limits. Study abroad during the fall or spring semester must be done through the Study Abroad office 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 school. 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 Brooks School registrar requests approval from the appropriate department if a student wants to apply in-absentia credit to major requirements. 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 Brooks School 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 Brooks School of Public Policy.

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 Brooks School of Public Policy or College of Human Ecology at Cornell unless the student has transferred equivalent Brooks School or Human Ecology credit. (No more than 2 courses of equivalent credit may be applied to the 43 credits required in Brooks School or Human Ecology course work.

Leave 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 Brooks School of Public Policy 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 Brooks School registrar (1204 MVR Hall), in writing, 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 school after the third week of the semester they were due back.

Students considering a leave of absence should discuss their plans with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services The form to initiate a leave of absence is online, 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 Brooks School 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 an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services.  The advisor will guide the student on procedures to obtain a recommendation from Cornell Health to the Brooks School registrar for the student’s return. Students should plan sufficiently in advance to assure time for Cornell Health and the school 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 submitting a withdrawal request. A student considering such an action is urged to first discuss plans with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services. The University Registrar will determine the effective date of the withdrawal.

In some instances, a student may be given a withdrawal by the Brooks School registrar. Students who leave the Brooks School 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 Brooks School or who has been given a withdrawal by the Brooks School 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 school.

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  and  is taking the course 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 an F was previously received, 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

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 WRIT 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 sign up for S–U credit during course enrollment or change the grading option 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 school 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 Brooks School 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 or the program director for the subject area in which the course was taught.  
3.    Meet with the associate dean for undergraduate studies or academic affairs of the college/school 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 a faculty mentor, the Brooks School registrar, or with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services.  


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

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 legislations 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 a reasonable time after the end of the semester, preferably until the end of the following term, 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 consultation with the university registrar.

Preliminary Examinations

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

Academic Standing

Criteria for Good Standing

Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy has established a set of minimum academic standards that all undergraduate 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 Brooks School as first-years must enroll in a minimum of one 3-credit course each semester in PUBPOL during each of their first four semesters, excluding winter and summer sessions. Transfer students must take six credit hours of PUBPOL coursework in each of their first two semesters in the Brooks School.   
  4. A student must be making “satisfactory progress” toward a Brooks School bachelor’s degree.
  5. Students must receive a passing grade in PUBPOL 2000 Intermediate Microeconomics and PUBPOL 2101 Statistics for Public Policy. Students who do not receive a passing grade in either of these courses will be placed on a warning status. 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 Brooks School will be placed on a warning status. Students who have completed the second or subsequent semesters of matriculation at the Brooks School who have not taken both of the required writing seminars will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Status and will be placed on a warning status, a required leave or may be withdrawn from the Brooks School. 

For Master of Public Administration and Executive Master of Public Administration students, the minimum academic standards are as follows:

  1. A student must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher. For students receiving financial aid from the Brooks School, a semester and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher is required.
  2. A student may count no more than two courses with grades of “C” or “C+” toward the degree requirements. No grades below a “C” are considered. 
  3. A student cannot carry more than two (2) incomplete grades.

At the end of each semester, the program committees on academic status reviews each student’s academic record to ensure that the minimum academic standards are met. The committee takes appropriate action for students whose academic achievement is considered unsatisfactory as defined by these criteria. The program committees on academic status 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. Withdraw the student permanently from the Brooks School and Cornell University.
  2. Require the student to take a leave of absence for one or more semesters.
  3. Issue a warning to the student at one of the following levels (these imply that if the student does not show considerable improvement during the semester, the committee may withdraw the student):
    • Severe warning with danger of being withdrawn
    • Severe warning
    • Warning
  4. Add the student’s name to a review list; students with this status are monitored by the committee throughout the semester.
  5. Return the student to good standing.

Any of the above actions may be accompanied by semester credit limit or a requirement for the student to meet with an academic advisor by a date set by the committee. 

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. 

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. 

Students who have been previously placed on a required leave and wish to return to the Brooks School, must submit a plan of study to the committee before being rejoined. The student should contact an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services to discuss the process and due dates. 

Students who have been withdrawn from the Brooks School 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 an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student ServicesAfter three years, a former student must apply for readmission through the Brooks School admissions process. A student applying for readmission should discuss their situation with an advisor in the Brooks Office of Enrollment and Student Services The student also should talk with others who may be able to help—faculty mentors, 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 Brook School’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 Brooks School 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 Brooks School Office of the 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 Brooks School Registrar.

Academic Honors and Awards

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

Honors and Awards

Pi Alpha Alpha is a global honor society for students in the field of public affairs and public policy. Undergraduate students in their final semester, who are in the top 10% of their graduating class, and who received a GPA of at least 3.225 in all coursework, and at least a 3.7625 GPA in Brooks School coursework are eligible to join this honor society. Masters students in their final semester, with at least a 3.7 GPA are eligible to join. Eligible students in their final semester will be invited to join the honor society by a representative in their academic program.  

Bachelor of science with honors recognizes outstanding scholastic achievement in an academic field. 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. More information is available under “Brooks Honors Program.”

Bachelor of science with high distinction/distinction 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.

Brooks Committees and Organizations

The Brooks School Ambassadors is a group of Brooks School undergraduates who assist the Office of  Enrollment and Student Services with new student recruitment and yield, orientation and in providing feedback on various undergraduate initiatives 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 Enrollment and Student Services.  
For information, contact  

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).

Undergraduate Affairs

Mature Students

The school 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 Brooks School has adopted certain procedures specifically for that group. Advisors in the Office of Enrollment and Student Services 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 Brooks School registrar during the course pre-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 the Brooks School 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 Brooks School from one of Cornell’s other seven undergraduate units. Students transferring internally should take special care to learn the policies of the Brooks School, because rules at the various Cornell colleges often differ. Before admission, both internal and external transfer candidates should contact the Office of Enrollment and Student Services (607) 254-3451 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 school, those with a bachelor’s degree who are preparing for graduate study or jobs and careers in public policy–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 school 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 Enrollment and Student Services (607) 254-3451.