Course Enrollment

As you prepare for your journey through the College of Arts & Sciences, many tools are available to help you navigate the 2,000 courses offered by the College, as well as 2,000 additional courses in the six professional and applied colleges at Cornell.

There are two main tools you'll use as you enroll in classes:

  • Courses of Study website can help you plan your four years of study. It represents Cornell’s full catalog of courses and is published annually.
  • Class Roster website offers a robust search engine that allows you to explore classes by subject, class year, college, time offered, instructor, credits and other categories.

Since 2/3 of your coursework will be outside your major, the College encourages you to explore topics that interest you — whether that be the study of Japanese or JavaScript. If you take advantage of the incredible academic diversity and dynamic mix of theoretical and applied studies offered at Cornell, you'll enrich your life in ways you might not be able to imagine.

Choosing Your Courses

To help you choose your courses, we've created the following "cheat sheet" of important information. Be sure to have it handy as you put together your schedule.

  • To receive an Arts & Sciences degree, you will need to fulfill all of the degree requirements listed in the Courses of Study. The distribution requirements page can help you keep track of the courses you need to take. The Courses of Study helps you know what you need to do to fulfill your degree, while is the tool you'll use to sign up for classes.
  • Some important abbreviations to know when using both tools:
    • Distribution abbreviations for students who matriculated at Cornell prior to Fall 2020:
      • Physical and Biological Sciences (PBS)
      • Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (MQR)
      • Cultural Analysis (CA-AS)
      • Historical Analysis (HA-AS)
      • Knowledge Cognition and Moral Reasoning (KCM-AS)
      • Literature and the Arts (LA-AS)
      • Social and Behavioral Analysis (SBA-AS).
    • Distribution abbreviations for students who matriculated in Fall 2020 and later:
      • Arts, Literature, and Culture (ALC-AS)
      • Biological Sciences (BIO-AS)
      • Ethics and the Mind (ETM-AS)
      • Global Citizenship (GLC-AS)
      • Historical Analysis (HST-AS)
      • Physical Sciences (PHS-AS)
      • Social Difference (SCD-AS)
      • Social Sciences (SSC-AS)
      • Statistics and Data Science (SDS-AS)  
      • Symbolic and Mathematical Reasoning (SMR-AS)  
    • Remember, if the designation doesn’t include “-AS” then the course will not fulfill a distribution requirement for the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Not all courses offered at Cornell count for credit within the College of Arts & Sciences. Be sure to check this list of courses that won't count toward your degree or the 12 academic credits required for good academic standing.
  • Because some courses have overlapping content, they cannot both be counted toward your degree. Check this list of overlapping courses before you enroll in courses.
  • When available, you may elect the S/U option provided that such courses do not also count toward major requirements or serve as prerequisites for admission to the major. Courses taken with the S/U option can be used to fulfill college distribution requirements. 
  • To help you round out your schedule, you can search for one- and two-credit courses in the class roster.
  • You can monitor your progress toward degree completion by checking your DUST (Distributed Undergraduate Student Tracking) report here. The DUST report is updated after each semester to reflect your progress toward completing college requirements.

Adding and Dropping Courses

After the pre-enrollment period, you may not adjust your schedule until just prior to the new semester start during the general add/drop period. Both the university and college provide calendars with key academic dates for add, drop and withdrawal deadlines each semester. It is your responsibility as the student to be aware of and abide by these deadlines.

  • Adding a regular term course can be done during the first 15 calendar days of the semester (with the exception of specific courses with special deadlines).
  • Dropping a regular term course can be done in the first 57 days of the semester, if no issue of academic integrity is at stake. Dropping a course removes it from the academic transcript.
  • Deadlines for short courses will be adjusted according to the length of the courses.
  • After the 57th day, and by the withdrawal deadline (which is published each term in the college academic calendar), you may petition the college to withdraw from a course, if no issue of academic integrity is at stake. Courses officially withdrawn after the 57th day will be noted on the transcript with a “W” where the grade would normally appear. This is a matter of record and cannot be petitioned. Petitions to withdraw from courses may not be submitted after the published deadlines, except in exceptional circumstances.

Note: a student who has been charged with violating the Code of Academic Integrity in a course may not drop that course without the express written permission of the course instructor(s) unless the student has been cleared of the charges.

The effective date of all course changes will be the day the student submits all necessary and completed paperwork to the A&S Registrar’s Office.