Academic integrity is the heart of intellectual life — both in learning and in research. As members of the university community, all of us must support each other's efforts to master new material and discover new knowledge by sharing ideas and resources, respecting each other's contributions and being honest about our work. Otherwise, the university will fail to accomplish its most central and important goal.
You've already received a copy of The Essential Guide to Academic Integrity at Cornell (which includes Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity), and it's your responsibility to understand your rights and responsibilities under the code. Read it carefully because you need to understand exactly what professors mean when they talk about integrity and cheating. Plagiarism, the use or adaptation of another person's words or ideas without acknowledgement, is the most common form of academic integrity violation at Cornell. We will hold you to a professional standard of integrity, which means that you must acknowledge and cite ideas you adopt from others and any help you receive from peers.
- To see examples of what does or does not constitute an academic integrity violation, take this quiz.
- To refresh your understanding of the basic rules of citation, read our Guide to Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism.
- To learn basic rules for citing sources, visit the Cornell Library's guide on the APA and MLA.
- To find out how Cornell deals with cases of suspected violations of this policy, visit this site.
At the end of each semester, advising deans review students’ transcripts to identify students who are not in good academic standing. You are in good academic standing for a semester if you:
- Successfully complete at least 12 academic credits (See "Over/Underhours")
- Attain a semester GPA of at least 2.0 (equivalent to averaging a C grade) on academic credit-bearing courses.
Make reasonable progress toward completion of college and university requirements. This means:
- declaring a major by the end of the summer following the sophomore year;
- completing First-Year Writing Seminars during the first four semesters;
- and typically achieving 60 and 90 credits by the end of the sophomore and junior years, respectively (to facilitate graduating within eight semesters).
If you aren't in good academic standing, the faculty Committee on Academic Records or one of the college's advising deans may give you a warning or take academic action, asking you to explain your poor performance and submit corroborating documentation.
If you're in serious academic difficulty, you may be required to take a leave of absence, normally for a full year. Before being allowed to return to campus and reregister, you must document what you did on leave, how you resolved your problems and what your plan is for completing the degree.
Adding or Dropping Classes
After course enrollment (also known as “pre-enrollment”), students may not adjust their schedules until just before the new semester begins. During the first 15 calendar days of the semester, students may change courses without petitioning.
- After fifteen days, students must petition their advising dean to add courses. They may drop courses through the 57th calendar day of the semester if no issue of academic integrity is at stake. Between the 7th and approximately 12th weeks, students may petition to withdraw from courses, if (1) the instructor approves; (2) the advisor approves; (3) an advising dean approves; (4) the drop does not result in fewer than 12 credits; and (5) no issue of academic integrity is at stake. Students must meet with an advising dean to obtain petition forms.
- Courses officially dropped after the seventh week will be noted on the transcript by a “W” where the grade would normally appear. This is a matter of record and cannot be petitioned. Petitions to withdraw from courses may not be submitted after the published deadlines. Deadlines for short courses will be adjusted according to the length of the courses.
- The effective date of all course changes will be the day the student submits all completed paperwork to the Student Services Office at email@example.com (KG17 Klarman Hall).
Students requesting to enroll in two courses with time conflict can complete the Time Conflict Form and are not required to submit the General Petition Form.
Deans List Requirements
Effective Fall 2020 - Spring 2021:
Dean’s List citations are presented each semester to Arts & Sciences students who have exemplary academic records. For 2020–2021, the requirement is a minimum semester GPA of 3.600 (without rounding); no failing, unsatisfactory, missing, or incomplete grades in any class, and at least 15 letter-grade credits (not S/U). For students earning Dean’s List, the honor will appear on their official transcript for the corresponding term.
Students may earn Dean’s List retroactively within one-year of that term after making up an incomplete grade or by resolving a missing grade. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Arts & Sciences Student Services if any grade change makes them eligible for a prior term Dean’s List.
You may elect to graduate early if you are able to complete all graduation requirements in fewer than eight semesters.
You must still satisfy the college’s residency requirement as part of the graduation requirements. This residency requirement requires that students who are first-year matriculants into Cornell spend a minimum of six semesters in residence, external transfers must spend a minimum of four. To request an early graduation, you must notify the A&S Registrar’s Office in KG 17 Klarman Hall or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The earliest you can request to graduate early and officially change your graduation date is immediately following the pre-enrollment period for your anticipated final semester. You should have pre-enrolled in the classes required to meet the graduation requirements by the requested graduation date. You must then complete Part I of the Application to Graduate in data.arts and have Part II completed by your major advisor.
Graduating Late or 9th Term Enrollment
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree is expected to be completed in eight terms. If B.A. degree requirements cannot be completed in eight terms, students may seek permission to continue their studies. Requests will only be granted for students who have found themselves in emergent circumstances beyond their control which have prevented them from completing the degree in eight terms. Study beyond the eighth term is not automatically granted for the purposes of changing a major. Such requests should be discussed with a college academic advisor and require registrar approval. Requests to add an additional major or minor will not be approved for study beyond the eighth term.
If approved, students in the 9th and 10th term will be in a conditional status and will have restrictions placed on their enrollment to ensure successful completion of their degree. To request a 9th term, students must first have their faculty advisor update Part II for any remaining major requirements. Next they will need to submit a study plan to their college advisor listing the specific courses that will meet degree requirements for one major. Student may elect to prorate credits if enrolling in 9 or fewer credits or take a full-time load if they desire. However, enrollment will be limited to 15-16 credits for the term so students can focus on their remaining required courses. Students needing to enroll in a 10th term to complete their degree will be required to prorate tuition and their enrollment will be limited to only the courses/credits needed for successful completion of one major. Additional enrollments will not be allowed.
Leaves of Absence
Students request leaves for various reasons: career experience in an internship or job; experience in community or political action (volunteer or paid); time for a special project; new academic direction or re-kindled faith in academic study; financial reserves or renewed self-confidence and health.
Different types of leaves include:
Personal: You may take a personal leave of absence if you are in good academic standing. Leaves requested prior to the start of the term incur no tuition charges and you may apply to return in the subsequent semester. If you are experiencing difficulties and choose to take a leave after the semester has begun up until the drop deadline you will incur partial tuition and other university charges, but your courses will be dropped from your record without W’s. You may apply to return in the subsequent term.
Leaves requested after the university drop deadline will result in W’s on all your courses (with the exception of partial term courses already completed) and you will not be able to return until after one full semester away. Additional conditions may also be placed on your return.
- Health: To initiate a health leave you must consult Cornell Health Services. The college will readmit you from a health leave only upon the recommendation of Cornell Health. If you are in academic difficulty when you initiate a health leave, the college may stipulate additional conditions for your return. Incomplete courses must be resolved before you return.
All leaves will expire after five years and result in a permanent withdrawal from the college.
Requesting a leave: For more information and the full leave of absence policy, please reference the Courses of Study. You may wish to make an appointment with your advising dean to discuss your motives and plans for your leave. To submit your request for a voluntary personal leave, please use the university online leave and withdrawal form. A leave submitted prior to the start of the term will not incur any tuition liability. Consult the Tuition Refund Policy in the Courses of Study to assess the tuition charges that would accrue if you initiate a leave after semester classes have begun.
Returning and earning credit while on leave: Students wishing to return from leave must contact the college and, where appropriate, provide documentation that all conditions for returning have been satisfied including Bursar holds. To facilitate pre-enrollment, your request for return should be received by the college by March 1st for the fall semester and October 1st for the spring semester. In the case of conditional and/or health leaves, you should consult in advance of those dates with both the college and Cornell Health. For information on earning credit while on leave, visit the transferring credits page.
After a prolonged time away: If you've taken a break from your education but want to finish your degree, Student Services staff can assist you with identifying your remaining requirements. To begin the process, please email us at email@example.com.
Overhours or Underhours
To maintain good academic standing as a full-time student, students must complete at least 12 academic credits per semester. Physical education and some other courses do not count as academic credits. See this list of courses that do not count as academic or degree credit.
Note for Fall 2020: The university has strongly recommended that all students limit their enrollment to 18 academic credits to allow for a successful completion of the fall term and to reduce stress. Please see https://covid.cornell.edu/students/academic-policies/ for more details. However, A&S students will not need to formally petition to enroll in up to 22 total credits (or 18 credits maximum for students on warning or probation).
Please note that overhours petitions for Fall 2020 will only be approved in the case of extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
- Overhours: All students in good standing with the College may enroll in a maximum of 22 credits. Students who are on a warning or probationary status from the previous term may only enroll in a maximum of 18 credits. In order to facilitate a successful transition to undergraduate study, it is recommended that entering first-year students take no more than 18 credits in their first term. If, for compelling personal or academic reasons, students who seek to be overhours and enroll in more than 18 or 22 total credits, must submit a petition to the college for approval. Students who fail to receive college approval for overhours may count only 18 or 22 credits toward the degree for that semester.
- Underhours: First-semester freshmen and students experiencing unexpected personal or health challenges may end up being enrolled in fewer than 12 credits. Any student considering dropping below 12 academic credits should discuss their situation with an advisor before doing so. Students who complete fewer than 12 academic credits in a semester will have their records reviewed by the Academic Records Committee at the end of the semester. Students should be aware that enrollment under 12 credits may impact financial aid or visa status and should also consult with the appropriate offices before changing enrollment.
Petitions to Academic Policies
Students may submit a general petition to request:
- Late add
- Withdrawing from a course
- Change grade option after deadline (S/U to graded) to meet major requirements
- Foreign language exemption
Visit petitions to academic policies for more information.