How do I know if a course will transfer to Cornell?

Before you register for a course at another institution, be sure to file a petition for transfer of credit for each course you plan to transfer. Generally speaking, the college will accept liberal arts courses equivalent or similar to those offered by Cornell, provided that they are completed through accredited colleges and universities, don’t represent a repetition of coursework you’ve already received credit for, and are passed with a grade of C or higher.

Additionally, Cornell students can access a list of pre-approved transfer courses on Acadeum College Consortium. These consortial courses have been pre-approved by Cornell College for students to request registration. Please see the Transfer Credit and Summer Courses site for more details.  If you are looking for a particular subject area and do not find it on the Acadeum site, please reach out to and we can see if there is a course out there that meets your needs that just hasn’t been pre-approved yet.

What do you mean by "liberal arts" courses?

You should be looking for broad-based courses in the humanities, fine arts, natural or social sciences similar to those offered by Cornell. Overly specialized or technical courses, or those in disciplines beyond Cornell’s curriculum, should be avoided. A course in medical terminology or farm machinery may be valuable to you as you prepare for medical school or a career in agriculture, but it will likely not be accepted as part of your Cornell degree.

How will transfer credit affect my GPA?

Generally speaking, only Cornell courses are computed into your GPA (remember, you must earn a grade of a C or higher for credit to transfer). Exceptions are courses taken through Acadeum College Consortium and SIT study abroad programs, through which your earned grade will be reflected on your Cornell transcript and computed into your GPA.

What about Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, or Credit/No Credit grades?

Unless the host institution specifically defines a Passing, Satisfactory, or Credit grade as C or higher, the course will not transfer.

What if I forgot to petition before completing the course?

It is highly encouraged to petition for credit transfer before registering for a course. If you do not, we cannot guarantee credit transfer.

What about a college course I took while in high school before coming to Cornell?

You should arrange to have an official copy of this transcript sent to the Registrar. We will evaluate the course and add it to your Cornell transcript if it is accepted as a transfer credit.

How do I figure out the amount of Cornell course credit I will receive?

One Cornell credit is equivalent to four semester hours. Therefore, you should divide the number of semester hours by four, and quarter hours by six. For example, a course carrying three semester hours would transfer to Cornell as 0.75 course credits. Results not divisible by .25 are rounded down (e.g. four quarter hours = .50 Cornell credits).

Is there a limit to the total number of transfer credits I can apply to my degree?

There are several limits:

  • A maximum of 16 Cornell course credits (64 semester or 96 quarter hours) will be accepted in transfer from a junior or community college.
  • If you entered the college as a transfer student and have completed fewer than 16 term credits at Cornell, you must complete your final eight credits in residence and may not transfer credit back to complete your degree.

Who determines if a transfer course will fulfill a requirement in my major?

Your major department will determine this. This will be specified when you completed your petition for transfer of credit.  For Acadeum courses, those listed as equivalent to specific Cornell courses can be used to fulfill a requirement for a major or minor.

What about a general education requirement for the B.A., B.F.A., B. Mus, B.S.E., or B.S.S.?

The relevant Cornell department makes this decision. You will specify this when completing the petition for transfer of credit. Please note that in order to satisfy a general education requirement, a transfer course must carry at least three semester or four quarter hours of credit.

May I take a course through another school during the academic year, concurrent with my courses at Cornell?

Juniors or Seniors with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 may take a maximum of two courses through another school during the academic year concurrent with your Blocks 1-8 courses at Cornell.

Can I repeat a course I’ve already completed at Cornell through another school?

If you received a grade of F or W or WH for the course at Cornell, you may repeat it for credit elsewhere. Note that this will not raise your GPA or remove the original grade from your Cornell transcript. If you’ve passed the course (or an equivalent course) at Cornell, you will not receive additional credit for taking it again.

Can I complete my Cornell degree by transferring credits from another institution?

Yes, up to a maximum of two course credits, provided that your petitions are approved. Transfer students with fewer than 16 terms credits at Cornell may not complete their degree in this way.