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Requirements and Policies

Tracking Degree Requirements & Academic Policies

Advisement Report 

Located on your My Academics tab in Student Center, your advisement report is a tool that shows all of the requirements that you have completed, and those you need to satisfy to graduate. The advisement report is based on the requirements noted in the courses of study and on your curriculum sheet. This report will update as soon as any changes are made to your enrollment.

The advisement report should match your curriculum sheet requirements. If your advisement report does not match your curriculum sheet, please notify the Brooks Registrar’s Office to resolve.

Academic Requirement and Policy FAQs:

The following FAQ guidance was developed from the official academic policies noted in the Brooks School section of the annual Courses of Study. Please refer to the Courses of Study for a complete outline of the Brooks School’s academic policies and procedures. For questions on academic policies and requirements please consult the Office of Admissions, Student Services and Career Management.


Do academic support courses meet my degree requirements?

Academic support courses like ECON 1001 do not meet your degree requirements and will not count towards your 120 credits needed to graduate.  Support courses will count towards your semester credit load  for the sake of remaining in good academic standing.

How many credits can I take in a semester? How many credits do I need to take each semester?

To remain in good academic standing you must complete at least 12 credits of academic coursework each semester. PE courses are not considered academic credits.  If you do not complete 12 academic credits in a semester, you are subject to academic action.

To graduate on time students need to average 15 credits per semester over the eight semesters at Cornell. 

The maximum number of credits you can take as a Brooks School undergraduate student is 18 credits.  

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.

Can I take a course that seems similar to one I already completed? What does a forbidden overlap mean?

Students cannot receive credit for their degree for multiple courses that cover a significant amount of similar content.  Courses that overlap in content with other courses on campus have a forbidden overlap note on the course description in the courses of study and in the class roster.  If you take two courses that are noted as a forbidden overlap, only one will count towards your degree for graduation. Please note that your advisement report will not automatically remove overlapping coursework, which could impact your overall credit totals. 

What GPA do I need to maintain to remain in good academic standing and graduate?

Students must earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better to graduate. Students who fall below 2.0 cumulatively or during a semester are subject to academic action and will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Status.  Students who fail PUBPOL 2000 Intermediate Microeconomics or PUBPOL 2101 Statistics for Public Policy will also be reviewed by the committee on academic status.

What classes can I take pass/fail or S/U?

You can take general electives to reach 120 credits with a grade of S/U, or you may take the 9 credits in Human Ecology with a grading option of S/U.

Distribution and major requirements must be completed for a letter grade, unless S/U is the only grading option available for that course. 

A maximum of 12 credits of coursework may be taken with the S/U grading option.  Additional coursework may be taken, but will not count toward your degree.

For example, PUBPOL 1111 is always graded S/U so it will still meet your degree requirements.  Please see your curriculum sheet for further guidance.

How many special studies/independent study courses (e.g. PUBPOL 4010 Empirical Research) can I take?

A maximum of 12 credits of special study/independent study/research coursework can count towards the 120 overall credits required to graduate. Courses will be indicated on the class roster with a component of either IND or RSC. Additional credits can be taken and will count towards your GPA, but will not be applied toward your degree.  A maximum of 12 credits of 4000-4030 may count toward the 43 Human Ecology/Brooks School credit requirement.  A maximum of 3 credits of 4000-4020 (not including 4030) may count towards the 9 Human Ecology credits outside the major requirement.

Students cannot TA (4030) the same course for credit more than once or take and TA the same course simultaneously. 4030 does not fulfill any requirements towards the major. Registration for 4030 may not exceed 5 credit hours per semester.

How can I enroll in special studies/independent study courses?

You need instructor permission to enroll in a special studies or independent study course. You are welcome to participate in independent study courses across campus.  Each college/school at Cornell has unique enrollment process. Please consult the respective college registrar for guidance on how to add an independent study course outside of the Brooks School. 

To enroll in a Brooks School special studies course, e.g. PUBPOL 4000 Directed Readings, PUBPOL 4010 Empirical Research, or PUBPOL 4020 Supervised fieldwork, you will need to complete a special studies form.  

To enroll in PUBPOL 4030 Teaching Apprenticeship, please complete the Teaching Apprenticeship Application.

What courses count towards the 9 credits in Human Ecology requirement?

Students can count any course with a subject code of DEA, FSAD, HD, or NS count toward the nine Human Ecology credits requirement.  The DEA, FSAD, HD, or NS course can be at any level.  Courses with the HE subject code also count, but only if they are at the 3000 or 4000 level.

One of my requirements says to take a course with a specific distribution (e.g. ALC, HA, SBA, PBS, etc.), how do I search by distribution code?

Course distributions are groups of courses categorized by course content. A complete list of distributions can be found in the courses of study.  You can pull a list of courses offered in a specific distribution code by searching the breadth and distribution tab on the class roster. Please note that the distributions on the curriculum sheet are shorter than the distributions noted on the class roster. This is because the class roster also lists the college where the course is offered.  For example, a PBS-AS course would be a Physical Biological Sciences course in the College of Arts and Sciences.  You can meet your Brooks School bachelor of science major distribution requirements using that distribution within any Cornell college or school.