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GuIDe uaTe StuDY

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CONTENTS How do I choose members for my special committee? 11 Can there be multiple authors for a single thesis
Who is my special committee chair? 11 or dissertation? 17
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Does anyone I do not select serve on my committee? 11 When is the thesis or dissertation due? 18
Welcome! A Letter from the Dean . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What happens to me if a member of my committee Can I submit my thesis or dissertation online? 18
Fields of Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 leaves Cornell? 11 What do I do after my final examination? 18
Can I change my committee members? Can they choose Am I allowed to publish my work before I get my degree? 18
What is a field? 5
to leave my committee? 12 Why are there additional fees for publishing my thesis? 18
What are my major and minor subject requirements? 5
Who are my GFA and my DGS, and why are they important? 5 Degree Requirements: Registration Units . . . . . . 12 Research Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Student Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 What is a registration unit? 12 Environmental Health and Safety 19
How many registration units do I need to earn a degree? 12 What research issues involve environmental health
What is “student status”? 6
How much time is allowed to complete my degree? 12 and safety? 19
Is it possible to study part-time? 6
Can I get registration units based on prior study at other How do I learn to stay safe? 19
What are registration units and how many are required? 7
universities? 13
Can I register at other schools while I am registered Research on Human Subjects and Live Vertebrates 19
Can I get registration units based on prior study at Cornell? 13
at Cornell? 7 How do I know if I need to investigate this further? 19
Can I get registration units for summer or extramural study? 13
What are time-to-degree limits? 7 Course Enrollment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Can I get registration units for summer research? 13
Who can I speak to for more information about my
Can I get registration units for study in absentia? 13 How do I know if I need to take courses? 20
registration and student status? 7
Can I get an entire degree in absentia? 14 Is there a difference between enrolling in graduate or
Employment and Registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 undergraduate classes? 20
Degree Requirements: Examinations . . . . . . . . . . 14
Can I work part-time and still receive registration units? 7 What is course enrollment? 20
What exams do I need to pass to get my master’s degree? 14
What about employment for students who hold fellowships or Can I make changes to my course requests? 20
What exams do I need to pass to get my Ph.D.? 15
graduate research assistantships? 8 Can I audit courses? 21
When can I hold my exams? 15
University Registration: Getting Registered . . . . . 8 Can I take classes that my special committee
Where can I hold my exams? 15
What is university registration? 8 does not require? 21
What is the role of faculty members during examinations? 15
Do I need to register during the summer? 8 What if a special committee member can’t attend Course Grades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
If I am registered, do I still need to enroll in courses an examination? 16 What are my grading options? 21
during the academic year? 9 If I am enrolled in a joint M.S./Ph.D. program, must I What if I can’t finish all course requirements by the end
Course Enrollment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 pass all of the aforementioned exams? 16 of the semester? 21
Now that I am registered and know my student status, What do my exam results mean? 16 How long do I have to change a grade of Incomplete (INC)
how do I enroll in courses? 9 What if I am in the Ph.D. program, and I decide to cut it or No Grade Reported (NGR)? 21
How do I drop unwanted classes or change short? Can I get a degree for my work if I have not Program Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
my grading options? 9 completed a thesis? 16
Can I defer my admission offer? 22
Can I audit classes? 9 Degree Requirements: Thesis or Dissertation . . . 17 Can I change my field, degree program, or student status
Special Committees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Do I really need to write a thesis or dissertation? 17 once I am enrolled? 22
What are special committees? 10 What is the format of a thesis or dissertation? 17 Can others affect my program without my consent? 22
What if I am in a professional master’s program? 10 What is the Papers Option? 17 What is petitioning? 22
When do I need to select my special committee members? 10


Special Committee Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 What expenses am I responsible for if I am registered Cornell University Policies and Procedures . . . . . 35
How can I change the members of my special committee? 23 in absentia? 28 Academic Integrity and Acknowledging the Work of Others 35
How long do I have to make changes to my Do I need to pay summer tuition? 29 Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students Relating
special committee? 23 Do non-degree students have to pay tuition? 29 to Graduate Education and Support 36
Can I change the chair of my special committee? 23 Under what conditions am I entitled to a tuition refund? 29 Romantic and Sexual Relationships between Students
What if a committee member wants to leave my Financial Matters: Other Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 and Persons in Authority 39
special committee? 23 What is the student activity fee? ($34) 29 Sexual Harassment 40
Can my chair leave my committee? 23 What is the Candidate for Degree Only fee? ($35) 29 Release of Information 40
Registration Status Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 What is the active-file fee? ($200 per term up to six terms) 30 Policy of Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity 41
What is the dissertation fee? ($125) 30 Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality 41
How do I change my registration status? 24
What is the microfilm arrangement fee? (optional: $45) 30 Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds 42
How do I register in absentia? 24
What is the late-filing fee? ($100) 30 University Ombudsman 42
Do I need to fill out a summer registration form if I
Other Cornell University Policies 43
am registered in absentia? 24 Financial Matters: Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
What does it mean if a student has non-registered status? 24 Is my financial aid package taxable? 30 Graduate School Organization and Programs . . . 43
How do I take a leave of absence? 24 If I pay my own tuition, can I get a tax deduction? 31 How do I reach someone in the Graduate School? 43
How do I return from a leave of absence? 25 Where can I get additional information about taxation? 31 What is the graduate faculty? 44
Does it cost anything to come back from a leave What is the General Committee? 44
Financial Matters: Student Health Insurance
of absence? 25 How are students represented at the Graduate School? 44
Plan (SHIP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
What does it mean to withdraw? 25 Can I spend some time at other universities? 45
Do I need to enroll in SHIP? 31 Where do graduate students go to relax on campus? 45
Considerations When Nearing Completion . . . . . 25 What if I already have adequate insurance? 31 Where can I get help finding a job after graduation? 45
Thesis/Dissertation 25 Under what conditions does the university pay for SHIP? 31 I’ve just been appointed to a teaching assistantship. Where
Do I need to write a thesis or dissertation? 26 Financial Matters: Cornell Fellowships . . . . . . . . 32 can I get help figuring out how to teach other students? 45
Must I format my thesis or dissertation a certain way? 26 What kinds of fellowships are available? 32 Cornell Online 46
What is the Thesis Advisor? 26 What types of assistantships are available? 32
Should I consult with the Thesis Advisor? 26
Graduate School Contacts at a Glance . . . . . . . . 48
What about summer funding? 32 The Graduate School 48
How do I submit my thesis or dissertation? 26
Financial Matters: Need-based Financial Aid . . . 32 Graduate School Deans 48
General considerations 26
How do I determine my eligibility for need-based Graduate Student Service Representatives (GSSRs) 48
What do I need to do to make sure I graduate? 27
financial aid? 33 Graduate Loans Office 49
When during the year must I complete all of the
What about loans? 33 Thesis Advisor 49
requirements to get my degree? 27
Can international students get loans? 33 Publications and Graduate School web site 49
When is Commencement? 27
Financial Matters: Other Sources of Big Red Barn 49
When do I get my diploma? 27
Can I accept employment before I get my degree? 27 Financial Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Financial Matters: Tuition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 What outside fellowships are available? 34
Is part-time work available on campus? 34
What will my tuition be? 28
Are there other sources of funds? 34
Will my tuition remain the same for my entire
Does the Graduate School offer research travel assistance? 34
academic career? 28
What are Cornell prize competitions? 34
 Is financial support available for child care expenses? 35
INTRODUCTION
The Guide to Graduate Study provides graduate students with a
description of the policies, requirements, and organization of
the Graduate School. The rules governing graduate education
are established by Cornell University’s graduate faculty and
published in the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty, a
separate publication. The Code contains specific details about
graduate study and should be consulted whenever you have
questions. To help you, sections of the Code are referenced
in the text of various topics throughout this guide. Printed
copies of the Code are available at the Graduate School, or you
can read it online at www.gradschool.cornell.edu/code.
The resources listed on pages 46–47 of this booklet contain
general requirements pertaining to all Cornell University
graduate students. However, many graduate fields have
additional guidelines. You should refer to individual fields
for more information or visit the Graduate School’s online
catalog at catalog.gradschool.cornell.edu.

www.gradschool.cornell.edu 
welcome!
A LETTER FROM THE DEAN
The Cornell Graduate School is here to support your study and your research. We are dedicated to
helping you succeed in your graduate program.
We created this Guide to Graduate Study handbook to explain the academic requirements for an
advanced Graduate School degree. It should answer many of your questions, so we encourage you
to keep it available as a reference. If you need more help, please do not hesitate to call on us at the
Graduate School. We are here to facilitate your education.
Cornell University offers graduate students a lot of flexibility, freedom, and independence in their
academic programs. With few exceptions (generally limited to certain professional degree programs)
you will find minimal requirements for either total credit hours or required courses. Instead, you
will take an active role in defining your degree program under the guidance of a faculty committee,
called your special committee. You may choose your committee members from more than 1,600
faculty members in nearly 100 fields of study. Such flexibility ensures that you can take advantage of
the breadth of resources available at Cornell to meet your academic goals.
We appreciate that there is life beyond the classroom, lab, or library, and we strongly encourage you
to take part in extracurricular activities. The Graduate School produces a booklet titled Life at Cornell,
which describes the many sports, social, and cultural activities that take place on campus and in the
Ithaca area. It’s also a resource for Cornell University and Ithaca-area services, including housing and
shopping. Copies are mailed to new students.
Graduate students enhance the intellectual life at Cornell University through their scholarship,
research, and participation in campus activities. We are pleased you have joined us.

Alison G. Power
Dean of the Cornell Graduate School


Fields of Study (Code, III.D.1.)
What is a field?
What are my major and minor subject requirements?
Who are my GFA and my DGS, and why are they important?
Fields of Study, Subjects, and What is a field?
Concentrations
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/pubs_and_forms/ A field is a group of graduate faculty members who have come together around common academic interests.
pubs/fieldsofstudy.pdf They are drawn from different departments and are voted into the field by existing members. In general, a
Fields of Study faculty member belongs to one department, but may be associated with many graduate fields. You will select
catalog.gradschool.cornell.edu major and minor subjects from within these fields.
The Graduate School publishes a list of major and minor fields, the degrees offered, and the subjects and
concentrations within each field. You can find this list in the Student Services Office of the Graduate School
and on the Graduate School web site.
What are my major and minor subject requirements?
As a master’s degree student, you must choose one major and one minor subject. Doctoral candidates
choose one major and two minor subjects of study, although some fields have permission from the General
Committee to require only one major and one minor subject. You pick faculty members from these approved
subjects to form a “special committee.” The members of the special committee decide what is required
for you to attain a Cornell graduate degree. You should consult your graduate field assistant (GFA) or your
director of graduate studies (DGS) to learn more about special committees, and major and minor subject
requirements.

Who are my GFA and my DGS, and why are they important? (Code, III.E.1.)
The faculty members in each field appoint a director of graduate studies (DGS) to represent them to the
Graduate School and coordinate activities of the field. The DGS is the primary liaison between the field and the
Graduate School. He or she helps establish academic priorities and allocate resources for graduate students. The
DGS strives to enhance the quality of graduate education and general student welfare. These individuals also
oversee the admissions process and so may be the most familiar with you when you arrive. You will need to
have your DGS sign any documents required by the Graduate School.
The graduate field assistant (GFA) helps students, faculty, and the DGS in many ways. The GFAs serve as
liaisons between students and the faculty. They are familiar with campus resources and can answer many
questions about the degree process. The GFA also can help you with paperwork and clarify your student
status.

Student Status (Code, IV.B.)
What is “student status”?
Is it possible to study part-time?
What are registration units and how many are required?
Can I register at other schools while I am registered at Cornell?
What are time-to-degree limits?
Who can I speak to for more information about my registration and student status?
What is “student status”?
The university assigns each student to one of three particular statuses: regular degree, provisional, or non-
degree. Regular degree candidates actively work toward a degree. Provisional students may study for a
semester or two to determine if they are adequately prepared for entry into a program. (Provisional status is
limited to two semesters.) Non-degree students register with the university to further their academic interests,
but are not enrolled in a degree-granting program. These individuals work under the supervision of an
advisor and are limited to a maximum of two semesters as non-degree students.
Provisional or non-degree students who later enroll in a regular degree program may transfer registration
units completed during their provisional or non-degree status (see page 7, “What are registration units and
how many are required?”).

Is it possible to study part-time?


Yes. There are two ways to study part-time.
The first is the Employee Degree Program. After one year of regular full-time service at Cornell, all regular
full-time non-academic employees, non-professorial academic staff members (who do not hold voting status
on any faculty), and ROTC military personnel may apply. Employee Degree Program students need not
spend any semesters as full-time students for master’s programs. Cornell University faculty members are
ineligible for this program. Ph.D. programs require two semesters of full-time study.
If you’re a doctoral student in the Employee Degree Program, you may petition to waive full-time study
requirements in two ways. First, your special committee must attest that your employment overlaps
sufficiently with the academic program, and the committee must attest that you participate fully in the
graduate program on a part-time basis.
The second way to study part-time is through the Area Residents program. Established Ithaca-area
residents may be admitted to part-time research master’s and professional master’s degree programs.
Students must be accepted or rejected following the same admissions standards set for full-time study. The
pursuit of a doctorate may not be conducted in this manner.


What are registration units and how many are required? (Code, V.C.)
In addition to faculty evaluation and formal exams, your progress is measured by the length of time you
spend in pursuit of the degree—also known as registration units. One registration unit equals the satisfactory
completion of one academic semester of full-time study and research. Two registration units are the
minimum requirement for a master’s degree. Six registration units are the minimum required for doctoral
candidates, with at least two coming after the A Exam (see page 14, “Examinations”). Non-thesis or terminal
master’s degree programs (see page 15, “What exams do I need to pass to get my Ph.D.?”) require at least four
registration units. At least half of the registration units must be earned from full-time academic-year study on
the Ithaca campus or satellite locations. (Part-time students are exempt from this requirement.)
Some programs (for example, Master of Engineering or non-degree programs), by agreement with the
Graduate School, do not require registration units. If you transfer from such a program to another that
requires registration units, you may petition to earn registration units for the time spent in the prior program.
Can I register at other schools while I am registered at Cornell?
No. Cornell University does not allow concurrent registration with other universities except through the
Exchange Scholars Program. If you attempt to do this, your Cornell registration will be terminated.
What are time-to-degree limits?
Master’s students should spend no more than four years between the first registration and completion of
all requirements. In part-time programs, the limit is six years. Ph.D. candidates are limited to seven years of
study. Extensions may be granted by petition, which includes a reasonable plan for completion.
Students enrolled in the Employee Degree Program are exempt from these time requirements.
Who can I speak to for more information about my registration and student status?
You may check with your graduate field assistant or with the Graduate Student Services Office in Caldwell
Hall. If registration is not completed properly, you may not enroll in courses or you may be fined.
Employment and Registration (Code, V.C.6.)
Can I work part-time and still receive registration units?
What about employment for students who hold fellowships or graduate research assistantships?
Can I work part-time and still receive registration units?
You may be allowed up to one registration unit each semester for up to 20 hours of employment per week,
either on or off campus.


In addition, you may be allowed up to one-half of a registration unit for each semester for 21 to 40 hours of
employment per week, on or off campus. This does not apply to graduate research assistants, who are eligible
for a full registration unit each semester. Master’s students may earn a maximum of one registration unit in this
way. Ph.D. students may earn a maximum of two units in this way. If you wish to earn registration units in this
way, you must obtain the prior approval of your special committee chair and director of graduate studies (DGS).
What about employment for students who hold fellowships or graduate research
assistantships?
If you have a university-funded fellowship, external fellowship, or graduate research assistantship, you may
accept employment of no more than eight hours per week, if allowed under the terms of the fellowship. In
dire cases of financial need, a director of graduate studies may appeal to the Graduate School for an exception
on your behalf.

University Registration: Getting Registered (Code, V.)


What is university registration?
Do I need to register during the summer?
If I am registered, do I still need to enroll in courses during the academic year?
Registration dates What is university registration?
www.cornell.edu/academics/calendar
Registration is the first step in your study at Cornell. Once registered with the university, you will have
established your student status and be able to use Cornell’s many resources. You must register each semester
until you finish your degree or withdraw from the program. You do not have to register if you are granted a
leave of absence.
All first-time registrants and continuing students with “holds” must register in person at Bartels Field
House the first day of fall registration or at 143 Caldwell Hall at other times. If you are a continuing student
with no “holds,” you will be registered automatically if your tuition is paid. Holds are unresolved academic
or financial issues.
Just the Facts Do I need to register during the summer? (Code, V.C.3.)
jtf.cornell.edu
You must register for the summer session if, during the summer, you will receive financial aid, fellowships,
Summer Registration Form
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/summer loans, assistantships, travel grants, or tuition awards. You also must register in order to use campus facilities
during the summer. If you are not on campus, but if you meet any of the previous conditions, you must
register for the summer.
Summer Registration is held online and in the Graduate School Student Services Office in 143 Caldwell
Hall around the third week in May. (Bring your student ID if you register in person.) There is no cost if you
are not requesting registration units for summer study. If you are requesting registration units for summer

study, you will have to pay tuition.
If I am registered, do I still need to enroll in courses during the academic year?
Yes. Registering does not enroll you in any courses. It simply establishes your student status (see below,
“Course Enrollment”).
Course Enrollment (Code, VI.D.2.)
Now that I am registered and know my student status, how do I enroll in courses?
How do I drop unwanted classes or change my grading options?
Can I audit classes?
Bear Access for CourseEnroll Now that I am registered and know my student status, how do I enroll in courses?
uportal.cornell.edu
Almost all course enrollment at Cornell University is done online using the Just the Facts system. On or off
campus, you can register at jtf.cornell.edu. All enrollment must be completed within the first three weeks of
class.
Some courses require permission of the instructor to register. To get permission, complete a course
enrollment form, available from your GFA, and get the signature of the course instructor.
General Petition form How do I drop unwanted classes or change my grading options?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
Courses can be dropped or grading options and credit hours changed without penalty through the seventh
week of the semester. You can do this online at jtf.cornell.edu.
After week seven, changes to your courses will only be made in exceptional circumstances. In addition,
your transcript will show a “W” signifying that you withdrew, rather than completed the course.
If you want to drop a course after the seventh week, you must get a General Petition form signed by the course
instructor and your special committee chair. In some cases, you can petition to not have a “W” shown on your
transcript. Forms for petitions can be found in the lobby of Caldwell Hall or online.
Can I audit classes? (Code, VI.D.2.)
Auditing a class means you regularly attend the class, but do not participate in all aspects of the course. You
also will not receive any credit hours and the course will be marked with a “V” on your transcript. Some
courses do not lend themselves to auditing, and in such cases instructors may not allow it.


Special Committees (Code, VI.B.)
What are special committees?
What if I am in a professional master’s program?
When do I need to select my special committee members?
How do I choose members for my special committee?
Who is my special committee chair?
Does anyone I do not select serve on my committee?
What happens to me if a member of my committee leaves Cornell?
Can I change my committee members? Can they choose to leave my committee?
Special Committee Selection and What are special committees?
Change form
admin.gradschool.cornell.edu/scsc/ If you are in a research-based degree program, you will select a special committee chair and additional faculty
members to create a special committee. The special committee is responsible for helping you develop your
research and academic program. The Graduate School imposes no requirements for courses or grades, so your
special committee will ensure that you make appropriate progress and achievement.
What if I am in a professional master’s program?
If you enroll in a professional master’s program, you will first be assigned an advisor from your field. This
professor will oversee your academic progress. You may change your advisor to fit your academic and
research interests. To change an advisor, you must submit a Special Committee Selection and Change form,
available online, on paper at 143 Caldwell Hall, or on the Graduate School web site as a PDF.
When do I need to select my special committee members? (Code, VI.B.4.)
The first step is to select your special committee chair. You must do that within three weeks of registering
with the Graduate School. (If you are uncertain of your chair, you may select a temporary one or your field’s
director of graduate studies may assume the role.) Master’s degree students must complete their special
committee selection by the end of the second semester. Doctoral candidates must have a full committee no
later than the end of the third semester, although some fields have earlier requirements. Your graduate field
assistant will know for sure.

10
How do I choose members for my special committee? (Code, VI.B.2.)
You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting members of your special committee. Any member of
any graduate field may serve on your special committee, with occasional limits imposed on the faculty based
on their field standing. Your special committee chair must be from your graduate field.
At a minimum, master’s students must select one faculty member to represent their major subject (the
chair) and a second member to represent their minor subject. Doctoral candidates must have one faculty
member representing their major subject and two minor members, each representing each of their minor
subjects. For those fields that have secured permission from the General Committee to require only one
minor subject, the third member of the special committee must represent an additional concentration
within your major subject.
At least two of the doctoral candidate’s special committee members must be general members of the
graduate faculty; the third member may be a divisional or minor member of the graduate faculty. Only the
director of graduate studies can nominate ad hoc members to serve as minor members. An ad hoc member
can be any qualified individual who is not a member of the graduate faculty. An ad hoc member serves in
addition to the three regular members.
Who is my special committee chair? (Code, VI.B.4.)
The faculty member who represents your major subject is considered the chair of your special committee.
Your chair will supervise your thesis or dissertation work and will typically provide the facilities and
supervision necessary to conduct your research.
Does anyone I do not select serve on my committee? (Code, VI.B.3.)
Some fields require and assign a field-appointed member to special committees to help administer exams.
This member serves in addition to existing committee members. If you request it—and the field-appointed
member agrees—this appointee may be counted as one of your selected members and serve on the committee
beyond examinations.
What happens to me if a member of my committee leaves Cornell?
Your chair may serve for up to one year without special approval if he or she leaves the university. To
maintain your chair’s status, you must petition on that individual’s behalf. A retiree may continue serving as
either chair or minor member.

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Special Committee Selection and Can I change my committee members? Can they choose to leave my committee? (Code, VI.B.6–8.)
Change form
admin.gradschool.cornell.edu/scsc/ Yes (see page 23, “Special Committee Changes”).

Degree Requirements: Registration Units (Code, V.C.)


What is a registration unit?
How many registration units do I need to earn a degree?
How much time is allowed to complete my degree?
Can I get registration units based on prior study at other universities?
Can I get registration units based on prior study at Cornell?
Can I get registration units for summer or extramural study?
Can I get registration units for summer research?
Can I get registration units for study in absentia?
Can I get an entire degree in absentia?
What is a registration unit?
One registration unit corresponds to the satisfactory completion of one academic semester of full-time study
and research, representing an evaluation of your academic progress by your chair (see page 7, “What are
registration units and how many are required?”).
How many registration units do I need to earn a degree?
You need a minimum of two registration units for a master’s degree. A doctoral degree requires six units
with at least two coming after the A Exam (see page 14, “Examinations”). At least four registration units are
required for a non-thesis master’s degree (see page 15, “What exams do I need to pass to get my Ph.D.?”).
You must earn at least half of your registration units from full-time academic study on the Ithaca campus
or satellite locations. (Part-time students are excepted.) Following each semester, the chair of your special
committee will attest to your registration status and evaluate your progress. You must register each semester
until you finish.
How much time is allowed to complete my degree? (Code, VI.H.)
If you’re enrolled in master’s programs, no more than four years should pass between your first registration
and completion of all requirements. Part-time master’s students may take up to six years. Ph.D. candidates
are limited to seven years of study. You may petition to extend these limits.

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Request for Transfer of Registration Can I get registration units based on prior study at other universities? (Code, V.C.5.)
Units form
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms As a doctoral candidate, you can petition to receive up to two registration units for master’s work completed
in a relevant program. This is accomplished by completing the Request for Transfer of Registration Units
form, available online or in Caldwell Hall.
Master’s degree students cannot receive registration credits for previous study at other graduate schools.
Can I get registration units based on prior study at Cornell?
If you transfer from provisional or non-degree status, you may petition to receive registration units for up to
two semesters spent in the prior program.
Can I get registration units for summer or extramural study? (Code, V.C.3.)
If you enroll in regularly scheduled Cornell courses or extramural study and register in the Graduate School
and Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, you may be awarded registration units.
Six credit hours are worth one-half a registration unit; 11 credit hours equate to one registration unit. To be
eligible for summer study registration units, you must pay summer tuition.
Can I get registration units for summer research?
If you perform research full-time for a six-week period under the direction of a member of the graduate
faculty and with prior approval of the dean, you may earn a maximum of one-half of a registration unit.
Under unusual circumstances, after an additional six weeks of study, you may petition to be granted one
registration unit for the 12-week session. In exceptional cases, registration units for summer research may be
allowed for the summer prior to your first year of registration. Under all circumstances, summer tuition must
be paid in order to receive registration units for summer research.
Can I get registration units for study in absentia? (Code, V.C.7.)
Yes. If you’re a regular registered student, you may register in absentia with approval from the Graduate
School and your special committee. This lets you study away from the university during the academic year.
When in absentia, you continue to earn registration units under the direction of the special committee,
although the work should be under the immediate supervision of a qualified director designated by the
committee and acting on its behalf.

13
Can I get an entire degree in absentia?
No. Under certain conditions, the dean may regard a period of study in absentia under the guidance of a
graduate faculty member as if it were study on campus, rather than in absentia. However, during this time,
full regular tuition, rather than in absentia tuition, must be paid. No more than two registration units for the
Ph.D. or one for the master’s degree may be used to satisfy the minimum registration requirements in this
way. In addition, you may register for no more than eight semesters in absentia with the same limitations on
employment as on-campus students.
Degree Requirements: Examinations (Code, VI.F.)
What exams do I need to pass to get my master’s degree?
What exams do I need to pass to get my Ph.D.?
When can I hold my exams?
Where can I hold my exams?
What is the role of faculty members during examinations?
What if a special committee member can’t attend an examination?
If I am enrolled in a joint M.S./PhD. program, must I pass all of the aforementioned exams?
What do my exam results mean?
What if I am in the Ph.D. program, and I decide to cut it short? Can I get a degree for my work if I have not completed
a thesis?
Special examinations are required to obtain an advanced degree in the research-based programs at Cornell.
Often, these exams need to be taken with consideration of anticipated completion dates.
What exams do I need to pass to get my master’s degree? (Code, VI.F.1.a.)
If you are enrolled in an M.A. or M.S. degree program, you must pass the Final Examination for the Master’s
Degree, an oral exam that covers your master’s thesis. You can take this after all degree requirements have
been fulfilled, but no earlier than one month before completing the minimum registration unit requirement.
To pass the exam unconditionally so as to receive a degree, all regular, proxy, and field-appointed
members of the examining committee must assent that this exam was passed unconditionally. You can fail
or conditionally pass the Final Examination for the Master’s Degree. The implications of these results are
discussed later in this section.

14
What exams do I need to pass to get my Ph.D.?
You must pass at least two exams, known respectively as the A and B Exams. Some fields require an
additional qualifying examination.
The A Exam is also known as the Examination for Admission to Candidacy. This oral exam may include a
written component, as determined by your special committee. You can take the exam after completing two
registration units in your program, but before beginning your seventh semester, unless special permission is
obtained from the dean. (Code, VI.F.1.b.)
Passing the A Exam means the graduate faculty believe you are ready to present a dissertation. Some fields
may offer a non-thesis master’s degree after a doctoral candidate has earned at least four registration units
and passed the A Exam. This is a master’s degree awarded to a student who is continuing on for the Ph.D.,
and is awarded without completion of a thesis.
The B Exam is an oral defense of your thesis or dissertation. This exam can be taken after completing all
degree requirements, but not earlier than one month before completing the minimum registration unit
requirements. At least two registration units must be earned between the passing of the A Exam and the
scheduling of the B Exam. (Code, VI.F.1.c.)
The qualifying exam, or Q Exam, is required in some fields for Ph.D. applicants. This exam helps the
special committee determine your ability to pursue doctoral studies, continue in a program, and tailor an
appropriate program of study.
All exams must be passed. Students can unconditionally pass, conditionally pass, or fail; the implications
of these results are discussed later in this section.
Schedule of Examination form When can I hold my exams?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
As long as you meet the registration requirements discussed above, you can take an exam with seven days
notice to the Graduate School. This gives the director of graduate studies time to announce the exam to other
faculty members. Any may choose to attend.
Where can I hold my exams?
Exams must be held on the Ithaca campus or at a satellite location. However, for an exam to be held in a
satellite location, the exam schedule must be posted in the Ithaca office of the field of study, as well as in
the satellite location, prior to the exam. (Code, VI.F.5.)
What is the role of faculty members during examinations?
All members of the special committee are expected to attend the examinations and evaluate you, the
candidate. Other graduate faculty members are encouraged to attend exams and they may question you only
during the time allocated by the chair.
15
Designation of Proxy for What if a special committee member can’t attend an examination?
Examinations/Thesis Approval Form
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms No more than one member of the committee can be physically absent from an exam. At the discretion of the field,
and with the agreement of all members of the committee, you may petition to allow one committee member
(either the special committee chair or a minor member) to participate from a remote location via conference call,
video conferencing, or the like. For the B Exam and the Final Exam for the master’s degree, however, the student
and chair must be present together in Ithaca or at a designated satellite location. If a minor member is unable to
attend an exam, he or she may designate a proxy to represent the same concentration as he or she would have at
the exam. Chairs may not designate proxies. If the chair is not in Ithaca for an exam, he or she must designate one
of the minor members in attendance to sign the Results of Examination form on his or her behalf.
If I am enrolled in a joint M.S./Ph.D. program, must I pass all of the aforementioned exams?
No. If you need an M.A. or M.S. for the Ph.D., you may petition your special committee to approve
combining the Final Examination for the Master’s Degree with the Examination for Admission to Candidacy.
It is still possible, though unlikely, that an additional qualifying exam may be imposed under these
circumstances. If a master’s is not required for the Ph.D. degree, you may have to take all of the exams.
Results of Examination form What do my exam results mean?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
If you pass an exam, all members of the examining committee should report this decision to the Graduate
School within three business days. No further action is required. You may conditionally pass an exam, in
which case the examining committee provides you and the Graduate School with the conditions for passing.
Once these conditions are met, you pass the exam. If you fail an exam, a re-examination is allowed only with
the approval of the special committee. At least three months must pass from the time of the failed exam and
the re-examination. (Code, VI.F.7.)
If you’re unanimously failed, you must petition the General Committee to continue study. If the minor
members, but not the chair, or the chair, but not all of the minor members opposes re-examination, you
must petition the General Committee to continue study.
Graduate faculty who attend the exam, but are not on the examination committee, may inform the dean
in writing if they disagree with the results of the exam.
What if I am in the Ph.D. program, and I decide to cut it short? Can I get a degree for my work
if I have not completed a thesis? (Code, VI.F.2.)
Some fields allow a special committee to nominate a doctoral candidate for a non-thesis master’s (Code, III.
A.1.b.). Such a nomination requires you to have earned at least four registration units after passing a special
exam. Performance on this exam should be at least at the level of a passed master’s exam. Your GFA will
know if your field offers this option.
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Degree Requirements: Thesis or Dissertation (Code, VI.G.)
Do I really need to write a thesis or dissertation?
What is the format of a thesis or dissertation?
What is the Papers Option?
Can there be multiple authors for a single thesis or dissertation?
When is the thesis or dissertation due?
Can I submit my thesis or dissertation online?
What do I do after my final examination?
Am I allowed to publish my work before I get my degree?
Why are there additional fees for publishing my thesis?
The final of the three major requirements for an advanced degree is the thesis or dissertation.
Do I really need to write a thesis or dissertation? (Code, VI.G.1.)
All research degree candidates must present a thesis of acceptable scholarship and literary quality. For
master’s students, the thesis must include an abstract, not to exceed 600 words, signed by the special
committee chair. For doctoral candidates, this must include an abstract, not to exceed 350 words, signed by
the special committee chair.
Thesis and dissertation What is the format of a thesis or dissertation?
requirements
thesis.gradschool.cornell.edu The format and production requirements are contained in the booklet Doctoral Dissertation and Master’s
Thesis: Formatting, Production, and Submission Requirements, available from the Graduate School or on the web.
You can learn more about thesis requirements by attending seminars held in February, June, and October.
You should also take advantage of the Graduate School’s Thesis Advisor, who can answer questions in person,
on the phone, or via e-mail at thesis@cornell.edu.
What is the Papers Option? (Code, VI.G.2.)
In certain fields, the special committee may allow you to submit a thesis or dissertation composed of
publishable papers.
Can there be multiple authors for a single thesis or dissertation? (Code, VI.G.3.)
In some circumstances theses and dissertations may be written as partnerships. You must get approval from
the General Committee before project work is started.

17
When is the thesis or dissertation due? (Code, VI.G.4.)
You must submit a complete draft to all members of your special committee at least six weeks before
the final examination. (Your special committee may modify this requirement.) At least five days before the
final examination, you must provide all members of your special committee with a complete, typed, and
editorially acceptable copy of the thesis or dissertation for final approval. (Your examining committee may
still require modifications.) Final examinations may not be scheduled until this requirement has been met.
Digital submissions Can I submit my thesis or dissertation online?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/pubs_and_forms/
dspace Yes. The Graduate School encourages all students to submit their final, approved thesis or dissertation via DSpace.
This option requires you to convert your document to PDF format. The approved digital document is automatically
forwarded to a local printer. There is no charge for digital submissions, but you will be charged for printing, and
must provide payment before the document is sent to you or your graduate field.
What do I do after my final examination? (Code, VI.G.5.)
Within 60 days of passing the final examination, you must submit two copies of your thesis or dissertation
to the Graduate School. These must be in the proper specified format and must include an abstract signed by
the chair of the special committee.
Am I allowed to publish my work before I get my degree?
With the approval of your special committee, you may publish all or part of a thesis before receiving your
degree. You must acknowledge in the publication that the work is based on a thesis or dissertation that has
been accepted in partial requirements for the degree.
Why are there additional fees for publishing my thesis?
One copy of your thesis or dissertation must be bound. It becomes the official record of the university and is
housed in the library. To ensure broad access to dissertations, doctoral candidates must sign a contract with
University Microfilms Inc. (U.M.I.) for the filming and publishing of the abstract, and pay the required fee. If
you submit your thesis or dissertation digitally, some of these requirements are met. See the Graduate School
web site for more information.

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Research Considerations
Environmental Health and Safety
What research issues involve environmental health and safety?
How do I learn to stay safe?
Research on Human Subjects and Live Vertebrates
How do I know if I need to investigate this further?
Candidates working with hazardous materials or human or animal subjects must follow special policies
intended to help prevent accidents and injuries; conform to environmental and occupational health and
safety regulations; reduce institutional liability; and establish safety responsibilities for members of and
visitors to the university.
Environmental Health and Safety

What research issues involve environmental health and safety?


Biological safety, fire safety, radiation safety, and chemical and laboratory safety all qualify as environmental
health and safety considerations.
Cornell Environmental Health and How do I learn to stay safe?
Safety
www.ehs.cornell.edu Federal and state regulations require that employees with certain job responsibilities receive training. Cornell
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) offers short courses on chemical safety for laboratory workers and EPA
requirements for chemical waste disposal, as well as training in laboratory inspection, laser safety, and radiation
safety. If your work may include these responsibilities, you must be trained before you begin your research. Visit
www.ehs.cornell.edu, where you can enroll in the training you need. You will also find other safety resources,
including links to databases and material safety data sheets.
University Committee on Human Research on Human Subjects and Live Vertebrates (Code, VI.E.)
Subjects
www.osp.cornell.edu/Compliance/UCHS/ How do I know if I need to investigate this further?
homepageUCHS.htm
If you plan to involve human subjects in your research, you must seek the approval of the University
Animal Research
www.osp.cornell.edu/Compliance/animals.html Committee on Human Subjects. Research need not involve physical intervention to require approval. The
committee must review many kinds of data gathering. If you use live vertebrates in your research, you must
seek approval of the Cornell University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to ordering,
acquiring, or handling animals.

19
Course Enrollment
How do I know if I need to take courses?
Is there a difference between enrolling in graduate or undergraduate classes?
What is course enrollment?
Can I make changes to my course requests?
Can I audit courses?
Can I take classes that my special committee does not require?
How do I know if I need to take courses? (Code, VI.D.2.)
The Graduate School does not require courses for a degree. The special committee (or advisor) is the sole
judge of whether you must take courses. If you’re in a professional master’s programs, such as the Master
of Engineering, Master of Professional Studies, or Master of Regional Planning, you will often have course
requirements specified by the field.
Is there a difference between enrolling in graduate or undergraduate classes?
The graduate faculty does not differentiate between undergraduate and graduate courses; nor does it regulate
the type or number of courses you may take. However, you must be aware of your special committee’s
requirement.
What is course enrollment?
Course enrollment is the act of signing up for specific courses. All students must enroll in courses within
three weeks of registration. If you are not enrolling in courses, you must enroll in thesis or dissertation
research using the appropriate course numbers assigned for that purpose.
Can I make changes to my course requests?
You may add courses through the third week of the semester. You may drop courses, change grading options,
or change the number of credit hours in variable unit courses through the seventh week of the semester.
After that, such actions may only be made in exceptional circumstances, requiring a petition signed by the
course instructor and the special committee chair. A course dropped after the seventh week appears as a “W”
on your transcript, signifying withdrawal. Exceptions are granted only in exceptional circumstances with the
approval of the instructor and the special committee chair. After the last day of classes for the semester, no
course may be dropped and no changes may be made to credit hours or grading options.

20
Can I audit courses?
You can either enroll in courses for credit or you can audit them. An audited course will appear as a “V” on
your unofficial transcript and will not appear on your official transcripts. Auditing a course requires regular
class attendance, but not necessarily participation in all aspects of the class. You should discuss this option
with the course instructor.
Can I take classes that my special committee does not require?
Graduate students may enroll in any course offered by the university, though some courses impose
restrictions or prerequisite requirements. Your special committee may want you to concentrate solely on your
research, so you should discuss potential elective courses with your committee members.
Course Grades
What are my grading options?
What if I can’t finish all course requirements by the end of the semester?
How long do I have to change a grade of Incomplete (INC) or No Grade Reported (NGR)?
Fields and special committees may require coursework, professional development, or other requirements
above the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Degree candidates are expected to meet these
requirements in a timely and satisfactory manner.
What are my grading options? (Code, VI.D.2.)
When you enroll in a course for credit, you may be offered the option of taking it for a grade or pass/fail. Not
all classes offer this option.
What if I can’t finish all course requirements by the end of the semester?
If you do not finish all the coursework by the end of the course, the professor may assign you an Incomplete
(INC) and give you time to finish. However, instructors are not required to do this and may instead deduct
unfinished work from your final grade.
How long do I have to change a grade of Incomplete (INC) or No Grade Reported (NGR)? (Code,
VI.D.3.)
You have one year from the end of the course to satisfy its requirements. If successful, your professor will
change your grade from INC or NGR to a letter grade. That grade will appear with an asterisk on your
transcript. If you do not satisfy course requirements, the INC or NGR becomes a permanent part of
the transcript. You can retake the course, but both the INC or NGR and the most recent grade will be on
your transcripts.
21
Program Changes
Can I defer my admission offer?
Can I change my field, degree program, or student status once I am enrolled?
Can others affect my program without my consent?
What is petitioning?
Can I defer my admission offer? (Code, IV.D.1.)
Generally, you are offered admission for a particular semester. If you want to defer admission, you must
receive approval from your graduate field.
Can I change my field, degree program, or student status once I am enrolled? (Code, IV.D.3.)
Yes, but you must obtain approval from the intended field of study and the Graduate School.
If you’re an international student seeking to change to a new degree program or field of study, the
Graduate School must again verify that financial support is available for the new program. If full Cornell
support is not available, you will be required to provide evidence of non-Cornell financial support for
yourself and any dependents that accompany you.
Can others affect my program without my consent?
The special committee may recommend that a doctoral candidate’s degree program be changed to a master’s
degree program at any time.
General petition form What is petitioning?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
The General Committee, which is the faculty governing board of the Graduate School, may grant exceptions
to specific legislation within the Code of Legislation if it feels such actions are in accord with the Graduate
School’s fundamental educational principles. Under extenuating circumstances, you may request an
exception, but you must submit convincing evidence that an exception is warranted.
The General Committee may delegate the handling of routine student petitions to the dean. If the dean
refuses to grant a petition, you have the right to have the case reviewed by the General Committee.

22
Special Committee Changes (Code, VI.B.7.)
How can I change the members of my special committee?
How long do I have to make changes to my special committee?
Can I change the chair of my special committee?
What if a committee member wants to leave my special committee?
Can my chair leave my committee?
Special Committee Selection and How can I change the members of my special committee?
Change form
admin.gradschool.cornell.edu/scsc Changing the members of your special committee requires approval from all members of the newly formed
committee. It does not require approval from members that are leaving the committee. File these changes
immediately with the Graduate School on the Special Committee Selection and Change form, available
online as an interactive form or printable PDF, or on paper at 143 Caldwell Hall.
How long do I have to make changes to my special committee?
You can make changes at any point prior to three months before the final examination. No doctoral
candidate may schedule a B Exam within three months of a change to the special committee without the
dean’s approval.
Can I change the chair of my special committee?
Yes. It is the same as changing any other committee member. However, a change in a doctoral student’s chair
after the A Exam requires the director of graduate studies to confer, at a minimum, with the student, the
outgoing chair, and the prospective chair. The director of graduate studies will report any problems to the
dean, who may not approve the switch.
What if a committee member wants to leave my special committee? (Code, VI.B.8.)
Any member may resign at any time from a special committee. It is your responsibility to reconstitute your
special committee. If you fail to find other members, you will not be permitted to continue registration in
the Graduate School.
Can my chair leave my committee?
Yes. A chair may resign at any time.

23
Registration Status Changes (Code, V.)
How do I change my registration status?
How do I register in absentia?
Do I need to fill out a summer registration form if I am registered in absentia?
What does it mean if a student has non-registered status?
How do I take a leave of absence?
How do I return from a leave of absence?
Does it cost anything to come back from a leave of absence?
What does it mean to withdraw?
Student Program Change form How do I change my registration status?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
You can change your status by submitting the Student Program Change form to the Graduate School,
available online as a printable PDF, or on paper at 143 Caldwell Hall.
In Absentia Petition form How do I register in absentia? (Code, V.C.7.)
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
To be registered in absentia, you must fill out the In Absentia Petition form outlining the reason you must
pursue your degree requirements off-campus. When registering in absentia, you may waive the Student
Health Insurance Plan requirement if you show you will have adequate insurance coverage.
Do I need to fill out a summer registration form if I am registered in absentia?
Yes. Summer registration is a separate process required of all students who receive financial aid,
assistantships, or use campus facilities during the summer.
What does it mean if a student has non-registered status? (Code, V.D.)
This means you are either on leave or have withdrawn.
Leave of Absence form How do I take a leave of absence? (Code, V.D.1.)
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms
Leaves of absence can be granted for personal or medical reasons. You must file a Leave of Absence/
Withdrawal form with the Graduate School Office in Caldwell Hall. A leave of absence can run for up to
12 months and may be renewed up to three times. After four years, you must reapply for admission to the
Graduate School.

24
International Students and Scholars If you take a leave, you lose access to campus facilities and personnel, and there is no guarantee your
Office financial aid will be continued. If you are not an American citizen and hold a non-immigrant visa, you must
www.isso.cornell.edu
leave the country within 15 days or apply for optional practical training before the effective leave of absence
date. Before leaving Cornell, international students should contact the Graduate Student Services Office and
the International Students and Scholars Office for information on maintaining visa eligibility for re-entry.
For U.S. citizens with educational loans, the repayment grace period starts the date the loans become active.
How do I return from a leave of absence? (Code, V.E.1.)
If you want to return within four years and your leave has been renewed annually, you need only submit a
written request to the Graduate School.
If you have been away for more than four years, the Graduate School considers you to have withdrawn
and you must reapply for admission. Under certain circumstances, you may just file an Application for
Student Program Change form. Your field may then request additional information.
If your leave was for health reasons, you must get approval from Gannett Health Services or another
appropriate health care professional before coming back. Before registering, you also will need approval
from your field and the Graduate School.
Does it cost anything to come back from a leave of absence?
A doctoral candidate who has passed the A Exam and has earned six or more registration units must pay an
active file fee for each semester of leave up to six semesters when he or she files the dissertation. As of spring
2006, this fee is $200 per semester. A master’s candidate who returns to take a final exam must register for
that day as a Candidate for Degree Only and pay an administrative fee.
What does it mean to withdraw? (Code, V.D.2.)
Any interruption of continuous registration is considered a withdrawal unless you are granted a leave of
absence. You may voluntarily withdraw at any time. Withdrawal is the most appropriate option if you do not
intend to resume studies or complete an advanced degree at Cornell University.
Considerations When Nearing Completion
Thesis/Dissertation (Code, VI.G.)
Do I need to write a thesis or dissertation?
Must I format my thesis or dissertation a certain way?
Who is the Thesis Advisor?
Should I consult with the Thesis Advisor?
How do I submit my thesis or dissertation?
25
Do I need to write a thesis or dissertation?
You must write a dissertation if you are pursing a doctoral degree. A thesis is required for all M.A. and M.S.
degrees and for some professional master’s degrees (see page 17, “Thesis or Dissertation”).
Thesis and dissertation Must I format my thesis or dissertation a certain way?
requirements
thesis.gradschool.cornell.edu There are some strict but easy-to-follow rules for dissertations and theses. They are contained in the
publication Doctoral Dissertation and Master’s Thesis: Formatting, Production, and Submission Requirements,
which you can get at the Graduate School Office or online at thesis.gradschool.cornell.edu. In addition, you
can download Microsoft Word and the LaTeX templates for properly formatting theses and dissertations.
Who is the Thesis Advisor?
The Thesis Advisor approves the final format of your thesis or dissertation before you present it for final
submission to the Graduate School.
Should I consult with the Thesis Advisor?
As you write your thesis or dissertation, you should feel free to consult the Thesis Advisor during posted
office hours for advice on standards and requirements. You also can call the Thesis Advisor, 255-5828, or
send e-mail to thesis@cornell.edu. The Thesis Advisor also holds workshops, usually in February, June, and
October.
Digital submissions How do I submit my thesis or dissertation?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/pubs_and_forms/
dspace There are two ways to submit your thesis or dissertation: through the traditional, hard-copy submission, or
through digital/web-based submission called DSpace (an overview and the advantages of using DSpace can be
found at www.gradschool.cornell.edu/pubs_and_forms/dspace).
Within 60 days of successfully defending your doctoral dissertation, you must submit two unbound
and signed final copies of the dissertation to the Graduate School along with the required forms (master’s
candidates must submit two bound copies with signatures or submit a single digital version via DSpace). A
list of all required forms can be found using the appropriate link at thesis.gradschool.cornell.edu. If you wait
more than 60 days to file you thesis or dissertation you will have to pay a $100 late filing fee.
General Considerations
What do I need to do to make sure I graduate?
When during the year must I complete all of the requirements to obtain my degree?
When is Commencement?
When do I get my diploma?
26
Can I accept employment before I get my degree?
What do I need to do to make sure I graduate?
Besides satisfying the academic and research requirements imposed by your special committee, you must:
• have a final transcript of your undergraduate degree on file with the Graduate School;
• pay all your bursar bills.
Doctoral students must:
• file a dissertation within seven years of first registering in the Graduate School;
• earn a total of six registration units; two must be between the Admission to Candidacy Examination (A
Exam) and the Final Examination (B Exam). Exceptions require permission of the Graduate School.
Master’s students must:
• file a thesis within four years of first registration in the Graduate School;
• earn a minimum of two residence units in registration.
When during the year must I complete all of the requirements to get my degree?
The Graduate School announces a deadline for candidates to fulfill all requirements. This deadline is just before
members of the graduate faculty meet to vote on degrees. These meetings are in August, January, and May.
When is Commencement?
Commencement exercises are held in May and December for students who complete their degree requirements
in the previous year. If you expect to complete your degree requirements in August, you may participate in
Commencement exercises the May before the degree is expected.
When do I get my diploma?
Diplomas are available for pick-up for the May conferral or mailed to a street address 12 to 16 weeks after the
degree conferral date. For May graduates, most diplomas are available at field receptions on Commencement
Day. Diplomas also may be shipped internationally to a valid street address. For August and January
graduates, diplomas are available 12 to 16 weeks after conferral in Day Hall or may be shipped.
Can I accept employment before I get my degree? (Code, V.C.6.)
You must follow the Graduate School’s policy on employment to continue as a student. If you receive
financial support from Cornell, you must adhere to the university’s limit on work hours. If you exceed that
limit, assistantship and fellowship payments will stop and you will have to pay prorated tuition.
If you begin a job that precludes further university funding, you should file for a leave of absence
“upon completion of degree” with the Graduate School. The effective date of the leave will be
reported to the federal government, which will initiate loan repayment procedures. If you receive
outside funding, you must adhere to the requirements of the funding agency.
27
Financial Matters: Tuition
What will my tuition be?
Will my tuition remain the same for my entire academic career?
What expenses am I responsible for if I am registered in absentia?
Do I need to pay summer tuition?
Do non-degree students have to pay tuition?
Under what conditions am I entitled to a tuition refund?
Policy on Graduate Student Tuition What will my tuition be?
www.policy.cornell.edu/vol3_13.cfm
Tuition for graduate students is based on the college to which the chair of your special committee belongs.
There are three kinds of graduate tuition: endowed, contract, and law school.
You pay endowed tuition if your chair is in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning; the College of
Arts and Sciences; the Johnson Graduate School of Management; the College of Engineering; or the School
of Hotel Administration. If your chair is on the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
the College of Human Ecology, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, or the College of Veterinary
Medicine, you pay contract tuition. If your chair is in the Law School, you must pay law school tuition.
If you’re in the landscape architecture program or in one of the nine fields in the former Division of
Biological Sciences, you will pay tuition at the contract rate, regardless of your chairperson’s appointment.
(The following fields were in the Division of Biological Sciences: biochemistry, molecular, and cell biology;
biophysics; ecology and evolutionary biology; genetics and development; microbiology; neurobiology and
behavior; physiology; plant biology; and zoology.)
Graduate Student Services Will my tuition remain the same for my entire academic career?
143 Caldwell Hall
607 255-5820 No. Tuition is likely to increase each year and may do so without notice. Also, the amount, type, and source
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/contact
e-mail: gradschool@cornell.edu
of financial support are subject to change.
Graduate Loans Office What expenses am I responsible for if I am registered in absentia?
190 Caldwell Hall
607 255-5821 If you register in absentia, you pay $200 tuition each semester.
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/loans
e-mail: gfao@cornell.edu

28
Continuing Education/Summer Do I need to pay summer tuition?
Sessions
www.sce.cornell.edu If you plan on taking classes over the summer, you must register in the Graduate School and in the School
of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, which sets the per-course tuition and fees. If you register for
registration-unit credit for summer, you will be charged based on the fraction of the registration unit to be
earned. If you do not enroll in summer courses, you may register with the Graduate School for the summer at
no charge (see page 8, “University Registration: Getting Registered”).
Do non-degree students have to pay tuition? (Code, IV.B.3.)
Yes. Non-degree students are charged full tuition. A faculty sponsor may request that a field’s director of
graduate studies and the Graduate School waive the tuition. If the faculty sponsor is a member of a statutory
college, the Johnson Graduate School of Management, the School of Hotel Administration, or the Law
School, the request must be directed to the dean of that college or school.
Under what conditions am I entitled to a tuition refund?
If you are granted a Leave Upon Completion of Degree, tuition for that semester is prorated on a daily basis and
the money is returned to you (or to your funder, if that entity paid your tuition initially). If you request a leave of
absence or withdrawal from the university within the first part of the semester, you may get some tuition refunded.
Financial Matters: Other Fees
What is the student activity fee? ($34)
What is the Candidate for Degree Only fee? ($35)
What is the active-file fee? ($200 per term up to six terms)
What is the dissertation fee? ($125)
What is the microfilm arrangement fee? (optional: $45)
What is the late-filing fee? ($100)
What is the student activity fee? ($34)
The required graduate student activity fee funds many organizations and activities for graduate students.
It is not usually covered by university tuition awards, and is included in your bill from the bursar’s office.
Students studying in absentia are not charged the student activity fee.
What is the Candidate for Degree Only fee? ($35)
A master’s candidate who is not registered in the Graduate School at the time of the final examination pays
a Candidate for Degree Only (CDO) registration fee. A grace period to avoid the fee extends three weeks into
the beginning of the semester following your final semester registered as a full-time student. The grace
period includes the summer after the spring semester and first three weeks of the fall semester.
29
What is the active-file fee? ($200 per term up to six terms)
Doctoral candidates pay an active-file fee for each semester they take a leave of absence or fail to register until
the dissertation is accepted. Candidates not registered at the time of the final examination pay the active-file
fee for that semester.
What is the dissertation fee? ($125)
Graduating doctoral candidates must pay this fee, which covers the costs of preparing and mailing a master
microfilm of the entire dissertation, publishing the abstract in the monthly periodical “Dissertation Abstracts
International,” and binding both copies required for the Cornell University libraries.
What is the microfilm arrangement fee? (optional: $45)
The dissertation research of doctoral students must be published in its entirety on microfilm whether or not
you plan to or already have published any or all of the work. University Microfilms Inc. provides worldwide
distribution of your work. You retain all other control over your dissertation and are free to grant publishing
rights as you see fit.
What is the late-filing fee? ($100)
After your final exam, you have 60 days to make the needed changes in your dissertation or thesis, obtain
final approval, and submit the final copies to the Graduate School. If you take longer, you are charged a late-
filing fee.
Tax Compliance Office
www.payments.cornell.edu/Tax_Compliance.cfm
Financial Matters: Taxes
Is my financial aid package taxable?
If I pay my own tuition, can I get a tax deduction?
Where can I get additional information about taxation?
Is my financial aid package taxable?
Stipends for assistantships are subject to state and federal taxation and must be treated as regular wages. Cornell
will withhold taxes on stipends as required by state and federal guidelines. Foreign students who are classified
for tax purposes as non-resident aliens must file an IRS form 1040NR and a New York State form IT 203.
Fellowship awards are taxable, excluding tuition, fees, and the cost of books, supplies, and equipment.
Make sure you keep proof of receipts, cancelled checks, and other expenditures. Cornell University is not
required to withhold taxes on fellowship checks of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and recipients are
responsible for all taxes. If you’re a nonresident alien, you will have taxes withheld on the stipend portion of
your fellowship unless the proper form is filed showing that a tax treaty with your home country excludes the
30 fellowship.
Internal Revenue Service If I pay my own tuition, can I get a tax deduction?
www.irs.gov
You might be eligible for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. Consult IRS Publication 970 “Tax Benefits for
New York State Department of
Higher Education,” available on the IRS web site.
Taxation and Finance
www.tax.state.ny.us
Where can I get additional information about taxation?
Cornell University Payment
Additional information is available on the Cornell University Payment Services and Tax web site,
Services and Tax
www.payments.cornell.edu www.payments.cornell.edu. NOTE: All foreign students should complete the foreign national questionnaire
and follow the instructions for remitting it to “tax dept” for review. It can be downloaded from the web site
noted above.
Student Health Insurance Plan
www.studentinsurance.cornell.edu
Financial Matters: Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
Do I need to enroll in SHIP?
What if I already have adequate insurance?
Under what conditions does the university pay for SHIP?
Do I need to enroll in SHIP?
Yes. You will be automatically enrolled in the mandatory SHIP. The coverage is optional for off-campus
students.
What if I already have adequate insurance?
On-campus students who are paying all or part of their tuition and think they have sufficient health insurance
coverage may petition Student Insurance to have the Graduate School pay SHIP fees. However, such students will
hold both policies—their own and SHIP. Contact the Graduate School in Caldwell Hall for a health insurance appeal
form. In absentia students may, if they have adequate alternate insurance, waive SHIP coverage. Complete the
waiver form attached to the in absentia form to appeal SHIP.
Under what conditions does the university pay for SHIP?
The university will pay for the health insurance if you are receiving full tuition and stipends from or through
Cornell. Cornell will pay the SHIP premium for graduate students with external fellowships only if the
fellowship provides full support through the university.

31
University Policy on Graduate
Student Assistantships
Financial Matters: Cornell Fellowships
www.policy.cornell.edu/vol1_3.cfm

What kinds of fellowships are available?


What types of assistantships are available?
What about summer funding?
What kinds of fellowships are available?
The Graduate School makes fellowships available to outstanding students through the graduate fields. Some
fields have income from restricted endowments or other departmental funds that also may be used for
fellowship awards. If you’re an incoming student, you can apply for a fellowship as part of your application
for admission. If you’re a returning student, you should consult with your director of graduate studies or
department chair about fellowship availability and the application process.
What types of assistantships are available?
Full-time graduate students may be awarded assistantships, which fall into four general categories: Teaching
Assistant (TA), Research Assistant (RA), Graduate Assistant (GA), and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA).
These awards are administered by fields and departments.
What about summer funding?
Your field may provide some additional support for the summer months, but it is not guaranteed. Recipients
of summer funding must register with the Graduate School (at no charge) during the summer to receive
funding.
Financial Matters: Need-based Financial Aid
How do I determine my eligibility for need-based financial aid?
What about loans?
Can international students get loans?

32
How do I determine my eligibility for need-based financial aid?
Cornell University administers several financial aid programs for United States citizens and permanent
residents, offered in the form of loans and tuition assistance. You must reapply for loans each year; renewal
is not automatic. Contact the Graduate School for application information. International students who are
creditworthy may apply for private educational loans with a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or
permanent resident.
New York State residents who pay part or all of their own tuition to Cornell may apply for the state’s
Tuition Assistance Program. Submit an application form to the New York State Higher Education Services
Corporation, Student Financial Aid, 99 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12255. More information is available
at www.hesc.com.
Higher Education Services What about loans?
Corporation
www.hesc.com The Federal Ford Direct Loan program is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate
a financial need. In addition, the Federal Perkins loan is need-based. It is a low-interest loan repaid to the
school. Due to limited funds, the priority for the Perkins loans is given to Ph.D. students with no funding or
partial funding.
If you do not qualify for need-based aid or federal loans do not meet your needs, you may be eligible
to borrow through private educational loan programs. Information is available from the Graduate School
Loans Office in Caldwell Hall.
Can international students get loans?
International students who are creditworthy may apply for private educational loans with a creditworthy co-
signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Financial Matters: Other Sources of Financial Assistance
What outside fellowships are available?
Is part-time work available on campus?
Are there other sources of funds?
Does the Graduate School offer research travel assistance?
What are Cornell prize competitions?
Is financial support available for child care expenses?

33
Graduate Fellowship Database What outside fellowships are available?
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/fellowships
The Graduate School maintains a database of more than 750 external graduate fellowships. The searchable
database, known as the Fellowship Database, is available on the web at www.gradschool.cornell.edu/
fellowships. Many of Cornell’s libraries and career centers also have information on fellowship and grant
opportunities.
Is part-time work available on campus?
Yes. Check with your director of graduate studies or department chair about the availability of work. Part-
time employment must not exceed the hourly limitations established by the graduate faculty.
Are there other sources of funds?
You should investigate the following sources: the chairperson of your special committee or department,
or the dean of the college; the Graduate School Loans Office; the Mario Einaudi Center for International
Studies; Conference Transportation Grants; and Cornell prize competitions.
Conference and Research Travel Does the Graduate School offer research travel assistance?
Grant forms
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/forms Full-time students may apply for assistance from the Graduate School for research-related travel. These grants
Mario Einaudi Center for are for dissertation research, not conference travel. Priority is given to Ph.D. students who have passed or will
International Studies pass the A Exam before traveling, who need to do pre-dissertation research, and who need to travel far from
www.einaudi.cornell.edu Ithaca. Awards are made twice a year. The deadline is November 1 for fall/winter research travel and February
1 for spring/summer research travel. Awards may be made retroactively if you traveled in the early part of the
fall semester.
The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies offers research travel grants for Cornell master’s and
Ph.D. students conducting short-term research and/or fieldwork in countries outside the United States. The
deadline is in early February.
Full-time graduate students who have been invited to present papers or posters at professional conferences
may apply for grants from the Graduate School to help cover transportation expenses. These grants are
awarded monthly subject to funding availability.
What are Cornell prize competitions?
Several university prize competitions with cash awards are open to graduate students. Often, these are
restricted to members of specific fields or colleges. Contact your department chair for more information.

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Is financial support available for child care expenses?
Yes. Day care grants of up to $5,000 are available on an annual basis on a sliding income scale to registered
graduate students with dependent children 12 and under. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For
information on applying, contact Victoria Blodgett at vab2@cornell.edu or 607 255-5184.
Cornell University Policies and Procedures
Academic Integrity and Acknowledging the Work of Others
Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students Relating to Graduate Education and Support
Romantic and Sexual Relationships between Students and Persons in Authority
Sexual Harassment
Release of Information
Policy of Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity
Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality
Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds
University Ombudsman
Other Cornell University Policies
Cornell Policy Office Academic Integrity and Acknowledging the Work of Others (Code, VII.A.)
www.policy.cornell.edu
Cornell Policy Notebook
All students are expected to adhere to the Code of Academic Integrity contained in the Policy Notebook for
www.policy.cornell.edu/notebook.cfm Cornell Community. The Principle of the Code reads, in part:
Absolute integrity is expected of every Cornell student in all academic undertakings. Integrity entails a
firm adherence to a set of values, and the values most essential to an academic community are grounded
on the concept of honesty with respect to the intellectual efforts of oneself and others. Academic
integrity is expected not only in formal course work situations but in all university relationships and
interactions connected to the educational process, including the use of university resources. While both
students and faculty of Cornell assume the responsibility of maintaining and furthering these values, this
document is concerned specifically with the conduct of students.
A Cornell student’s submission of work for academic credit indicates that the work is the student’s
own. All outside assistance should be acknowledged, and the student’s academic position truthfully
reported at all times. In addition, Cornell students have a right to expect academic integrity from each of
their peers. (From Policy Notebook for Cornell Community, page 67)
In addition, all students should be familiar with another chapter of the Policy Notebook for Cornell
Community called “Acknowledging the Work of Others.” The Policy Notebook is available in the Graduate
School Office and online. The university has established procedures for addressing violations of these
standards. Each college and school of the university, including the Graduate School, establishes its own
Academic Integrity Hearing Board. 35
Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students Relating to Graduate Education and Support
(Code, VII.C.)
The Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students Relating to Graduate Education and Support outlines general
provisions and procedural steps for handling most grievances involving graduate students and faculty
members, including issues such as academic integrity, remuneration, or joint publication. All conflicts should
be dealt with in a patient, sensitive, and dignified manner.
The following procedure was developed and written by the General Committee of the Graduate School in
May 1992, and amended in May 1997.

INTRODUCTION
This procedure is intended to provide a mechanism through which grievances can be fully investigated and
decisions rendered. It covers grievances which involve individual graduate students and faculty on issues
relating to graduate education and support.
It is expected that most grievances will take the form of alleged violations of terms of written agreements
and guidelines. However, these procedures should continue to recognize as “grievances” a broader range
of more subtle and sensitive matters having to do with such issues as remuneration, joint publication, etc.
These kinds of issues often involve unwritten expectations, expectations that must be dealt with in a patient
and sensitive manner that respects the dignity of all participants.
(The university-wide Sexual Harassment Procedures Policy 6.4 adopted July 8, 1996, supersedes all college
and university procedures which purport to handle sexual harassment complaints. Complaints from a
student alleging sexual harassment by a staff or faculty member should be filed with the Office of Equal
Opportunity (see below). Complaints alleging student vs. student sexual harassment should be referred to
the Judicial Administrator for handling under the Campus Code of Conduct.)

PROCEDURAL STEPS
1. Speak Directly to the Source of the Grievance
Whenever possible, the aggrieved shall first speak directly to the person(s) who is the alleged cause of the
complaint, or who bears responsibility for the cause.

36
2. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)
If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the aggrieved may file a grievance by sending a letter describing
the issue to the DGS in her/his field. This letter should be dated and filed as soon as possible but not more
than four months after the event giving rise to the grievance. (In a case in which the complaint is about a
recurring pattern of behavior, this time limit shall refer to the most recent instance of the behavior.) Copies
of this letter should be sent to the Dean of the Graduate School and to the University Ombudsman. If the
letter describes the grievance as involving issues of racial or gender-based discrimination, the Ombudsman
shall send a copy to the Office of Equal Opportunity, which shall then investigate that aspect of the charge.
If the DGS is the “source” of the grievance, Step 2 should be skipped and the grievance letter sent directly to
the Dean of the Graduate School.
If, in the judgment of the Dean of the Graduate School, the subject of the grievance involves matters
of college or university-wide implication or is otherwise beyond the authority of the DGS to resolve, the
grievance, upon the request of the dean, shall be removed to Step 3 below.
After notification, the DGS in the department in which the event occurred shall meet with both parties
and discuss the issue in as informal a manner as possible. Within 20 working days of having received the
original letter, the DGS shall provide a written response recommending a resolution to the problem, a copy
of which should be sent to the aggrieved, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Ombudsman. The
recommended resolution must be consistent with university policy.
3. Bring the Case to the Dean of the Graduate School
If one of the parties is not satisfied with the resolution at Step 2, she/he should notify the Dean of the
Graduate School in writing within ten days of receiving the decision. Upon receiving such notification, the
dean or her/his representative, shall meet with both parties to discuss the issue. The dean may, as she/he
feels necessary, request that others be present as will help her/him to arrive at a fair and informed decision
(as, for example, in a case where the grievance involves specialized expertise in a field). Within 20 working
days of having received notification, the dean shall issue a decision. It is recognized that under extraordinary
circumstances this deadline may not be met; then all parties should be notified of the delay.
4. Refer the Case to the Graduate Grievance Review Board (GGRB)
If one of the parties is not satisfied with the resolution at Step 3, she/he can refer the matter to a five-member
Graduate Grievance Review Board, which shall issue a recommendation. Within 25 days after receiving the
dean’s decision, the aggrieved shall inform the Ombudsman of her/his intent to take the issue to the GGRB.

37
The GGRB shall be established within the academic area (Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences,
Physical Sciences).
Board members are chosen as follows:
• Two graduate student members elected by the representatives to the Graduate and Professional Student
Assembly (GPSA) in that academic area. (Neither of these Board members should be in the same
department as the two parties.)
• Two faculty members in that academic area selected from the members of the General Committee (GC) of
the Graduate School.
• A chair chosen from the Graduate Faculty by the Ombudsman with the mutual consent of the parties
involved. If the parties can’t agree on the recommendation of the Ombudsman, then the Ombudsman
will submit a panel of five names to the parties involved. They shall indicate their preference for the
persons in numerical order. The one receiving the lowest total points shall be designated as the chair.
Within 20 working days after the Ombudsman is notified of the aggrieved’s intention to take the issue to
the GGRB, the Board shall meet to discuss the issue. The meeting shall include a hearing granted to both
parties. The Board shall arrive at a decision by a majority vote and shall, within five days after the hearing,
issue a final recommendation. This recommendation shall be forwarded to the Provost for final resolution.
GENERAL PROVISIONS
a. Since most of the issues of grievance that arise in graduate student-faculty relations involve matters of
personal sensitivity, they need to be resolved amicably and with a minimum of legalistic maneuvering.
b. Both parties in a grievance shall have the right to be present at each meeting outlined in the procedure
and to bring along a friend or other witness.
c. Both parties shall have the right to all cited relevant non-confidential documents, including meeting
records, and a summary of cited relevant confidential documents which shall be provided by the
Ombudsman. In the case of disagreement, the relevance of requested documents shall be determined by
the Ombudsman.
d. The graduate student shall suffer no reprisals or harassment for using the grievance procedure. Her/
his supervisors shall make reasonable allowance to adjust schedules to allow attendance at meetings
described herein, and shall not dock pay.
e. If several graduate students share a common grievance, they may file a grievance jointly and pursue it
according to the above procedure.
f. No decision will be construed as setting a precedent for any subsequent decision.

38
TIME LIMITS AND THE ROLE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
Oversight of the smooth functioning of the procedure shall be the responsibility of the Ombudsman. Upon
receiving the letter described in Step 2, she/he shall create a file to contain a clear record of the progress of
the procedure and other documents as she/he shall deem warranted. If the letter in which the aggrieved
files the grievance charges that the matter involves issues of discrimination that violate the university’s
policy of equal opportunity, the Ombudsman shall forward a copy of the letter to the Office of Equal
Opportunity, which shall then investigate those aspects of the grievance. If the proceedings advance to Step
4, the Ombudsman shall select the chair of the GGRB from among members of the Graduate Faculty. The
Ombudsman shall monitor the time limits described above, as follows:
• The date at which the grievance is considered filed shall be the date the grievance is received by the
addressee.
• If the aggrieved fails to respond to a decision within the time limit described herein, then the issue will be
presumed settled and the grievance will be closed.
Faculty Council of Representatives Romantic and Sexual Relationships Between Students and Persons in Authority
Resolution on Romantic and Sexual
Relationships Between Students The following became university policy on September 18, 1996:
and Staff The relationships between students and their teachers, advisors, coaches, and others holding positions
www.ohr.cornell.edu/policies/academic/
aclinksInteract.html
of authority over them should be conducted in a manner that avoids potential conflicts of interest,
exploitation, or personal bias. Given the inherent power differential, the possibility of intentional or
unintentional abuse of that power should always be borne in mind. For example, a conflict of interest
arises when an individual evaluates the work or performance of a person with whom he or she is
engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship.
Romantic or sexual relationships between students and persons in positions of authority compromise
the relationship between students and the university. No member of the university community should
simultaneously be romantically or sexually involved with a student whom he or she teaches, advises,
coaches, or supervises in any way. Individuals in such positions of authority must not allow these
relationships to develop or continue.
In unusual circumstances the supervising dean* of the person in a position of authority may grant
an exemption from this policy when full severance of the university relationship would create undue
academic or financial hardship for the student.

*The supervising dean shall mean the dean of the school or college of the staff member’s primary appointment, the dean of the Graduate
School in the case of graduate students, the Vice President for Student and Academic Services for staff members holding appointments in
that division.
39
Sexual Harassment Policy Sexual Harassment
www.policy.cornell.edu/vol6_4.cfm
Sexual Assault Policy Sexual harassment is a serious issue in the workplace and educational environments. It is unacceptable in
www.policy.cornell.edu/vol6_3.cfm any form.
Sexual harassment is demeaning, degrading, and illegal. It affects an individual’s self-esteem, and can
have a negative impact on an individual’s work or academic performance. Sexually harassing behavior is
prohibited throughout Cornell University. This policy addresses, and is limited to, sexual harassment in
the working and education environments. (From Policy Notebook for Cornell Community, page 111)
The university-wide Sexual Harassment Procedures supersede all college and university procedures, which
purport to handle sexual harassment complaints. Complaints from a student alleging sexual harassment by
a staff or faculty member should be filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity. The Judicial Administrator
handles sexual harassment complaints between students under the Campus Code of Conduct.
Release of Information
The Graduate School is committed to protecting a student’s right to privacy and keeping confidential all
student academic and financial records.
Information contained in the University Telephone Directory (name, local address, local telephone
number(s), and network ID) is not restricted. However, a student may request that some or all of their
information be omitted from either print or electronic versions of the directory by completing a no-release
form at the Office of the University Registrar. The form must be submitted in writing each academic year
within ten days of the date of official university registration.
Other information, including home address, dates of attendance and degrees earned, awards received,
and participation in officially recognized activities, may be released, but only with strict limitations. No
other information concerning a student may be released without a student’s written authorization. For more
information, consult the Policy on Access to and Release of Student Education Records, available from the
Office of the University Registrar.

40
Policy of Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity
The Cornell University Board of Trustees has the following policy on equality of educational and
employment opportunity.
It is the policy of Cornell University actively to support equality of educational and employment
opportunity. No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity or be denied
employment on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such
factors as race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
The university is committed to the maintenance of affirmative action programs that will assure the
continuation of such equality of opportunity. Sexual harassment is an act of discrimination and, as such,
will not be tolerated. (From Policy Notebook for Cornell Community)
Office of Workforce Diversity, Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality
Equity and Life Quality
160 Day Hall The Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality prepares the University Affirmative Action Plan
607 255-3976 and monitors and assists with the implementation of Cornell’s affirmative action and equal opportunity
www.ohr.cornell.edu/contacthr/workLifeDiversity/
policies and programs. Persons who want to obtain more information or have concerns or complaints
based upon, but not limited to, race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, national origin, color, creed, sexual
orientation, disability, or status as a veteran, should contact the Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life
Quality, 160 Day Hall; 607 255-3976; TDD: 607 255-7066.

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Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds

Open Doors
“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” This statement, made
by Ezra Cornell in 1865, proclaims Cornell University’s enduring commitment to inclusion and opportunity,
which is rooted in the shared democratic values envisioned by its founders. We honor this legacy of
diversity and inclusion and welcome all individuals, including those from groups that have been historically
marginalized and previously excluded from equal access to opportunity.
Open Hearts
Cornell’s mission is to foster personal discovery and growth, nurture scholarship and creativity across a broad
range of common knowledge, and affirm the value to individuals and society of the cultivation of the human
mind and spirit. Our legacy is reflected in the diverse composition of our community, the breadth of our
curriculum, the strength of our public service, and the depth of our commitment to freedom, equity, and
reason. Each member of the Cornell community has a responsibility to honor this legacy and to support a
more diverse and inclusive campus in which to work, study, teach, research, and serve.
Open Minds
Free expression is essential to this mission, and provocative ideas lawfully presented are an expected result.
An enlightened academic community, however, connects freedom with responsibility. Cornell stands for
civil discourse, reasoned thought, sustained discussion, and constructive engagement without degrading,
abusing, harassing, or silencing others. Cornell is committed to act responsibly and forthrightly to maintain
an environment that opens doors, opens hearts, and opens minds.
University Ombudsman University Ombudsman
118 Stimson Hall
607 255-4321 The Ombudsman’s office seeks the just and equitable resolution of conflicts within the university. The office
ombudsman@cornell.edu
web.cornell.edu/Ombudsman/
is independent of the university administration and all other groups on campus. That independence—
combined with immediate access to information and total confidentiality—enables the office to deal with a
wide variety of problems in a manner separate from any factions within the university. The office can provide
information on university policies and practices, find proper authorities to resolve a situation, or otherwise
seek a resolution itself. The office will advocate an equitable solution when a complaint has merit. The staff
in the Ombudsman’s office will discuss any grievance a graduate student may have. The office is in 118
Stimson Hall, 255-4321.

42
Other Cornell University Policies
• Alcohol and other drugs: www.policy.cornell.edu/vol4_8.cfm
• Copyright: www.policy.cornell.edu/cm_images/uploads/pol/copyright.html
• Patents: www.policy.cornell.edu/cm_images/uploads/pol/Patent.html
• Responsible use of electronic communications: www.policy.cornell.edu/vol5_1.cfm
Graduate School Organization and Programs
How do I reach someone in the Graduate School?
What is the graduate faculty?
What is the General Committee?
How are students represented at the Graduate School?
Can I spend some time at other universities?
Where do graduate students go to relax on campus?
Where can I get help finding a job after graduation?
I’ve just been appointed a teaching assistantship. Where can I get help figuring out how to teach other students?
Cornell Online

Graduate School contacts How do I reach someone in the Graduate School?


www.gradschool.cornell.edu/contact
If you have questions, contact the Graduate Student Service Representative (GSSR) assigned to your field
(a listing is available under “contact” on the Graduate School web site.) You may visit during office hours,
which are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 607 255-4884.
GSSRs can help explain degree requirements or special procedures for circumstances such as traveling
abroad, taking a leave of absence, or applying for fellowships and research grants. If the staff cannot help,
you will be referred to an appropriate dean.
You should feel free to contact the Graduate School staff with problems that members of your special
committee are unable or unwilling to help you solve. If you feel you have a special problem, please make an
appointment to see an associate dean as soon as possible.

43
The following is a list of the senior staff of the Graduate School.
• Dean: Alison G. Power
• Associate Dean: J. Ellen Gainor
• Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Terry D. Plater
• Assistant Dean of Student Services: Sarah Hale
• Director of Student Life and Career Development: Victoria Blodgett
The dean is responsible for promoting the quality of graduate education and the well-being of graduate
students. Associate deans of the Graduate School are academic administrative officers who assist the dean
and act as the principal administrative officers of the Graduate School in the dean’s absence.
What is the graduate faculty?
The graduate faculty is not an administrative unit, but rather a group of individuals drawn together by a
shared interest in graduate education.
What is the General Committee?
The General Committee is the administrative, legislative, and judicial board of the Graduate School. Its
members have continuing responsibility for the school. They have jurisdiction over all graduate work and
over all degrees beyond the first degree offered by any school or college of Cornell University with a few
exceptions, which are explained in the Academic Code.
The General Committee approves revisions to the Code of Legislation, approves appointments to the
graduate faculty, and makes recommendations to establish new advanced degrees. The Graduate Faculty also
acts upon petitions and provides general policy guidance.
Graduate and Professional Student How are students represented at the Graduate School?
Assembly (GPSA)
165 Day Hall The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) is the official representative organization for
607 255-3715 graduate and professional students. Students in each graduate field and professional school elect one or two
www.assembly.cornell.edu/GPSA/Home
members to form the GPSA’s Council of Representatives (COR). In turn, the Council elects 15 of its members
to form the GPSA, a voting body. Beyond its representative roles, the GPSA appoints members to university
committees and sets the graduate student activity fee, which funds graduate student organizations and
programs. For information, contact the Office of Assemblies, 165 Day Hall, 607 255-3715 or www.assembly.
cornell.edu/GPSA/Home.

44
Can I spend some time at other universities?
If you’re a doctoral candidate, you may participate in a variety of exchange programs with the
recommendation of your advisors. These include one or two semesters in residence at another major research
university participating in the Exchange Scholar Program (Berkeley, Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard,
M.I.T., Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, or Yale). To be eligible, you should have completed
at least two registration units. Applications must be submitted to the Graduate School a minimum of two
months before your intended period of study.
You may also attend a course or two at a nearby college or university to fulfill an academic requirement
that cannot be met at Cornell. For information on these programs, contact the Graduate Student Services
Office in Caldwell Hall.
The Big Red Barn Where do graduate students go to relax on campus?
607 254-GRAD
brb.gradschool.cornell.edu The Big Red Barn Graduate and Professional Student Center is the campus center for graduate students, a
casual gathering spot offering a dining facility and meeting space. The Barn hosts regular social programming
throughout the academic year, including poetry readings, open-mike nights, swing dance lessons,
international coffee hours, and a fireside seminar series. For more information, phone 607 254-GRAD or
check out brb.gradschool.cornell.edu.
Graduate Career Development Where can I get help finding a job after graduation?
Office
350 Caldwell Hall The Graduate Career Development Office helps graduate students seeking non-academic careers. Services
607 255-5184 include confidential individual career counseling, career development workshops, and access to a variety of
vab2@cornell.edu
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/careers career development resources.
For information, contact the Graduate Career Development Office, 350B Caldwell Hall, 607 255-5184. Call
to make an appointment or find out about walk-in hours. Additional services are available at Cornell Career
Services, 103 Barnes Hall, and at the career centers of the various colleges.
Center for Learning and Teaching I’ve just been appointed to a teaching assistantship. Where can I get help figuring out how to
420 CCC
607 255-3493 teach other students?
www.clt.cornell.edu
The university offers training programs for teaching assistants (TAs) through the Center for Learning and
Teaching (CLT). An all-day “Graduate Teaching Development” workshop is offered on a Saturday at the
beginning of the fall and spring semesters. This is open to all graduate TAs. For more information, contact CLT
at 420 Computing and Communications Center, telephone 607 255-3493, or visit www.clt.cornell.edu.

45
Cornell Online
• Big Red Barn Graduate Student Center
brb.gradschool.cornell.edu
Schedules and other information for the Graduate Student Center, which is located in the Big Red Barn.
• Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty
www.gradschool.cornell.edu/code
This is the link to the Code of Legislation, which covers a wide variety of issues and policy important to
graduate students including exams, leaves of absence, conflict resolution, and academic integrity.
• Cornell Information Technologies
www.cit.cornell.edu
An extensive online information source for using on-campus information systems, including computers,
e-mail, web pages, computer labs, telephones, multimedia equipment, and the networks that connect
them.
• Course Catalog
cuinfo.cornell.edu/academics/courses.cfm
• CUInfo
cuinfo.cornell.edu
A link to almost every web site of interest to Cornellians, including student life, academics, news, events,
directories, campus information, computing at Cornell, administration, faculty, and Ithaca and the
surrounding community.
• Graduate School
www.gradschool.cornell.edu
Admissions, academics, financial aid, student services, and more information about the Graduate School.
• Housing Office
housing.cornell.edu
Learn about housing options and opportunities on-campus and around Ithaca.

46
• International Students and Scholars Office
www.isso.cornell.edu
Assistance for international students, faculty, and their families, including issues concerning federal
immigration, tax and labor regulations, and counseling on personal, academic, and cultural matters.
• Mario Einaudi Center For International Studies
www.einaudi.cornell.edu
A gateway to many resources that can aid students in their overseas research or employment interests.
• Student Activities Office
www.sao.cornell.edu
Information about the more than 700 political, artistic, recreational, and professional organizations for
students at Cornell.
• Thesis and dissertation requirements
thesis.gradschool.cornell.edu
Provides details on how to format and submit your thesis or dissertation.
• Transportation Services
www.transportation.cornell.edu
Information about commuter and parking services, Cornell mail services, Red Runner courier services,
and CU Transit buses and vans.
• Uportal
uportal.cornell.edu
Online access for students to e-mail, grades, campus service, and more.
• Web Mail
webmail.cornell.edu
This site lets you access your campus e-mail from anywhere.

47
Graduate School Contacts at a Glance
The Graduate School
Graduate School Deans
Graduate Student Service Representatives (GSSRs)
Graduate Loans Office
Thesis Advisor
Publications and Graduate School web site
Big Red Barn
The Graduate School
Caldwell Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-2602
Phone: 607 255-5820
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (unless otherwise indicated)
Graduate School Deans
Office of the Dean
350 Caldwell Hall
Phone: 607 255-7374
Fax: 607 255-5822
dean_gradschool@cornell.edu or grad_associate_dean@cornell.edu
Alison Power, Dean
J. Ellen Gainor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Terry Plater, Associate Dean
Sarah Hale, Assistant Dean for Student Services (143 Caldwell Hall)
Graduate Student Service Representatives (GSSRs)
143 Caldwell Hall
Phone: 607 255-5820
Fax: 607 255-1816

48
The GSSRs are organized by field and are your primary point of contact in the Graduate School
• Biological Sciences: Diane Yates (607 255-1894; dry2@cornell.edu)
• Engineering (field names A–E): Barbara Edinger (607 255-5817; bae2@cornell.edu)
• Engineering (field names G–T): Anne Haessner (607 255-5826; ah33@cornell.edu)
• Humanities and Physical Sciences: Shirley Weaver (607 255-5819; sjw5@cornell.edu)
• Social Sciences (field names A–K): Janine Brace (607 255-5832; jmb20@cornell.edu)
• Social Sciences (field names L–Z): Anne Haessner (607 255-5826; ah33@cornell.edu)

Graduate Loans Office


190 Caldwell Hall
Phone: 607 255-0441
Fax: 607 255-1816
gfao@cornell.edu
Linda Frady, Financial Aid Counselor
Thesis Advisor
125 Caldwell Hall
Office Hours: 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday; 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday
No appointments; walk-in basis only
Phone: 607 255-5828
Fax: 607 255-1816
thesis@cornell.edu
Minnie Empson, Thesis Advisor
Publications and Graduate School web site
325 Caldwell Hall
Phone: 607 255-1935
Fax: 607 255-1816
grad_pubstat@cornell.edu
John Tonello, Director of Communications
Big Red Barn
Phone: 607 254-4723
Kris Corda, Manager
49
INDEX
A G P
A Exam, 14, 15, 16 General Committee, 44 Part time, 6
Academic integrity, 35 Grades, 9, 21 Petitioning, 22
Audit, 9 Graduate Career Development Office, 45 PhD, 15, 26
B Graduation, 27 Policies and procedures, 35–42
Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA), 44 Professional masters, 10
B Exam, 14, 15, 16
Graduate faculty, 44 Provisional status, 6
Big Red Barn, 45
Graduate Research Assistantships, (GRA), 19 R
C Grievance procedure, 36, 37, 38
R.O.T.C. military personnel, 6
Child care, 35 H Registering, 8, 24
Course enrollment, 9, 20
Health insurance, 31 Registration units, 7, 12, 13
Conference travel assistance, 34
I Research on human subjects and live vertebrates, 19
D Research travel assistance, 34
In absentia, 13, 14, 24, 28
Defer, 22 S
Incomplete, 21
Degree exams, 14, 15, 16
International students, 33 Sexual harassment, 39, 40
Degree requirements, 17, 18, 26
Ithaca area residents program, 6 Special Committee,10, 11, 23
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), 5
L Student status, 6
Dissertation, 17, 18
Summer registration, 8
E Leave of absence, 24
Loans, 33 T
Employee Degree Program, 6
M Taxes, 30, 31
Employment, 8
Teaching Assistant (TA), 35, 45
Environmental health and safety, 19 Major and minor requirements, 5
Thesis, 17, 18, 26
F Masters, 14
Tuition, 28
Fees, 29 N
W
Fellowships, 32, 34 Non-degree students, 6, 29
Withdrawal, 25
Financial aid, 32, 33 O
Field, 5
Office of Workforce Diversity, Equity and Life Quality, 41
Field change, 22
Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds, 42

50
NOTES

51
NOTES

52