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Petitions to the Faculty

A petition is the official way to request action on academic matters that are not routine. The petition form, which may be obtained in Engineering Advising or online at www. engineering.cornell.edu/resources/registrar/forms.cfm, is used to document the request and decision.

Petitions are required for such purposes as:

  • Amending a program of study by adding courses after the 15th calendar day of the semester or dropping courses after the first 57 days of the term;
  • Requesting to amend a college curriculum requirement, such as substituting a course or a stated sequence of courses in a degree-requirement area;
  • Requesting an exception to a college academic policy based on extenuating circumstances,
  • Documenting an advisor’s approval of a course towards the Advisor-approved elective requirement.

The petition should include convincing evidence that an exception is warranted. 

Students not yet affiliated with a Major should submit their petition to the Engineering Registrar. Affiliated students should check with their Major to determine where to submit their petition.

Leave of Absence

There are three types of leaves of absence for students in the College of Engineering: voluntary leave of absence, health leave of absence, and required leave of absence. Voluntary and health leaves of absence are for a minimum of six months. Required leaves are for a minimum of one semester.

Students on any type of leave of absence are not permitted to enroll in courses at Cornell during their leave. Students may take courses at other institutions while on a leave. In order to satisfy Cornell degree requirements, courses taken at another institution must be approved in advance through a formal transfer petition form (see page 128). Credit for courses completed at foreign institutions during a leave of absence will not be accepted for transfer credit unless students are returning to their countries of permanent residence during their leave of absence. At most, 18 transfer credits may be used to meet degree requirements after matriculation. See Engineering Advising if you have questions.

Students who are considering taking a voluntary or health leave, as well as those who are placed on a required leave of absence, should check with the Bursar’s Office, Office of Financial Aid, Housing and Dining, and Student Employment to find out about financial implications. It is particularly important for students who have educational loans to contact the Office of Financial Aid. Eligibility for medical or auto insurance may also be affected during a student’s leave of absence.

Students who are granted a voluntary or health leave of absence during a semester are responsible for any outstanding tuition or other university charges owed through the date of the leave of absence. On-campus housing and dining charges may accrue until the student no longer utilizes the services, regardless of the posted leave date.

Voluntary Leave of Absence (VLOA)

Students sometimes desire to suspend their studies for a period of time (VLOA’s are granted for no less than six months and no more than two years). During the semester, a student may request to take a voluntary leave of absence up until the last day of classes. Students who are in good standing in the college at the conclusion of a semester may request to take a voluntary leave of absence to suspend their studies prior to the start of the following semester.

Unaffiliated students request a voluntary leave through Engineering Advising. Affiliated students request a voluntary leave of absence through their Major department. Requests must be in writing, and include: a formal request for a voluntary leave of absence, effective date, CUID#, net id, home mailing address, student name, and original signature with date. A voluntary leave of absence granted during a semester will be effective on the date the written request is received by Engineering.

A voluntary leave of absence that is granted between semesters or before the deadline to “drop a course without a W” will result in the current semester being expunged (courses will be removed from student record). Leaves granted after the deadline to “drop a course without a W” and before the last day of classes will result in W’s on a student’s transcript for the courses in which he/she was enrolled (W’s do not impact a student’s GPA).

Health Leave of Absence (HLOA)

Students sometimes benefit from taking a leave of absence to address physical or mental health issues (HLOA’s are granted for no less than six months and no more than two years). During the semester, a student may apply to take health leave of absence up until the last day of classes. The health leave of absence process is initiated by a student with Gannett Health Services (https://www.gannett.cornell.edu/services/leaveofabsence.cfm ). Gannett clinicians assess the student and if deemed appropriate will recommend a health leave of absence to the college. The college may include academic conditions for the leave, in addition to any conditions set forth by Gannett. The college evaluates the recommendation from Gannett and grants the health leave of absence. A health leave of absence will be effective on the date stated in the letter from Gannett.

A health leave of absence that is granted between semesters or between the first day of class and the last day of class in a particular semester will result in the upcoming or current semester being expunged (courses will be removed from student record with no impact on GPA).

Required Leave of Absence (RLOA)

At the end of each semester, the academic records of all students are reviewed. Unaffiliated students’ grades are reviewed by the faculty Committee on Academic Standards, Petitions, and Credit (CASPAC) and affiliated students’ grades are reviewed by their Major department. Students who do not meet the requirements for good standing may be issued a required leave of absence (RLOA’s are issued for no less than one semester). A required leave of absence will be effective on the date stated in the official notification to the student.

Rejoining the College After a Leave of Absence

Students who wish to rejoin the college after either a voluntary or required leave of absence should contact the college at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which they wish to return. Unaffiliated students should contact Engineering Advising and affiliated students should contact their Major department. Students will be asked to complete and submit a “Request to Rejoin” form. If no conditions were imposed at the time of the leave, permission to rejoin will be granted upon satisfactory completion of the “Request to Rejoin” form. Students who were given conditions to meet while on leave will be granted permission to rejoin once evidence has been presented that all conditions have been met. Students who are rejoined will receive written confirmation and be reactivated at the university.

Students who wish to rejoin the college after a health leave of absence must first contact Gannett (https://www.gannett.cornell.edu/services/leaveofabsence.cfm). Once Gannett recommends to the college that a student be rejoined, the student will be asked to complete and submit a “Request to Rejoin” form. If no academic conditions were imposed at the time of the health leave, permission to rejoin will be granted upon satisfactory completion of the “Request to Rejoin” form. Students who were given academic conditions to meet while on the health leave will be granted permission to rejoin once evidence has been presented that all conditions have been met. Students who are rejoined will receive written confirmation and be reactivated at the university.

Affiliated students requesting to rejoin should contact their Major. Majors must accept students in good standing who have successfully completed all appropriate portions of the Common Curriculum, including prerequisites for the Major, and who have met the requirements for affiliation. They are not required, however, to accept rejoining second– year students who are not in good standing or have not made adequate academic progress.

Ordinarily, students who take a leave of absence after affiliating with a particular Major return to that same Major. However, an affiliated student on leave of absence who wishes to transfer to a different Major at the time of rejoining must apply to the new Major. This process may take a few weeks, so notification of intent to rejoin with a change in Major must be received early. Majors are not required to accept a student who began the third year in another Major and later requested transfer. A student who is not accepted into the new Major must rejoin in the original Major.

All students who are rejoining the college should consult with their faculty advisors prior to finalizing their course selections.

Extramural Students

Students not enrolled full-time who register for individual courses through the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions are called extramural students. Tuition for extramural study is calculated according to the number of credits; no one may register as an extramural student for more than 11 credits per semester. Extramural students do not have the privilege of health insurance or the use of Gannett Health Services, unions, physical education facilities, or other services for which full-time Cornell students pay a fee. Engineering students on a leave of absence may not take Cornell extramural courses.

In the College of Engineering, credits earned in extramural courses taken in either fall or spring semester are counted as transfer credits. Summer or winter session courses taken at Cornell are not considered transfer credit (see section on transfer credit [page 128] for details).

Students may not enroll in courses extramurally during their last semester of undergraduate enrollment.

Since extramural students are not full-time, they may need to begin paying back student loans while taking classes. The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment has more information.

The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions is located in B20 Day Hall.

Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who voluntarily withdraw from the engineering degree program sever all connection with the college. Unaffiliated students who wish to withdraw should do so through Engineering Advising. Affiliated students should do so through their Major.

A student who fails to register in the first three weeks of the semester, without benefit of a leave of absence or permission for study in absentia, will be deemed to have withdrawn.

A withdrawal that is granted during a semester goes into effect on the day it is requested. If a withdrawal is requested after the 57th day of a semester, the courses in which the student was registered at the time of the request are treated as having been dropped (i.e., a “W” will appear on the transcript for each course). Students are responsible for any outstanding tuition or other university charges owed through that date. On-campus housing and dining charges may accrue until the student no longer utilizes the services.

Students who withdraw from the College of Engineering are eligible to apply for admission to one of the other six undergraduate colleges at Cornell. The university’s internal transfer process and deadlines must be followed.

Students who have withdrawn but wish to return must make a formal appeal for readmission. This is rarely granted. It is subject to a review of the student’s academic background and depends on available space in the college and in the student’s Major.

Changing Engineering Majors

Students who have affiliated with an Engineering Major may want to change Majors. Other possible candidates for change of Major are students who are withdrawn from their Major (and, therefore, from the college). Such students may apply to another Major.

Students who transfer into the College of Engineering from another institution are not usually eligible to change Majors for a period of one year.

To apply to change Engineering Majors, complete a Change of Major form. Students must be accepted into the new Major; Majors are under no obligation to accept students who have already affiliated with a different Major.

Internally Transferring to Another College at Cornell

Students interested in applying to transfer within Cornell should consult with their faculty advisor, Engineering Advising, and the Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees (OITCD), 200 CCC Building (http://internaltransfer.cornell.edu/).

The advisor at OITCD provides advising that is related to university policies as well as to transfer procedures for each college at Cornell. Students should make an appointment early in the semester in order to understand the requirements for transfer and have time to complete those requirements. Some colleges require attendance at information meetings, a meeting with a faculty member, portfolios, etc.—tasks that may need to be completed prior to the application deadline.

Often students find it necessary to take some coursework in their desired major or college in order to facilitate transferring. Students should consult with Engineering Advising to Changes in Status 146 ensure that they are maintaining good academic standing within the College of Engineering. Withdrawing from all engineering coursework will result in being withdrawn from the College of Engineering, regardless of whether a student is accepted by the target college. The staff at Engineering Advising help students evaluate how to maintain good academic standing while exploring a new interest or taking courses to facilitate transferring.

Before applying to transfer, students may find it helpful to explore the relationship among their interests, strengths, values, majors, and career paths with staff at Cornell Career Services in 103 Barnes Hall (http://www.career.cornell.edu/career/).

Change of Name or Address

Students are responsible for updating their addresses and phone numbers online through the Student Center on any networked campus terminal. (Public terminals are located outside the University Registrar’s office and in many of the campus libraries and residence halls.) This applies to both their home and local addresses. Important correspondence may be delayed by forwarding, and failure to receive mail on time is not a valid excuse for missed deadlines.

Changes of name or social security number should be submitted in writing to the University Registrar’s office.