Cornell Engineering Coronavirus Resources and Updates

Last updated on July 23, 2020 at 10:59 a.m.

Cornell University and Cornell Engineering are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The situation is fluid and Cornell is working hard to keep you updated on efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of the community.

University Resources and Updates

The university has posted guidelines, restrictions, statements and resources for use by all of Cornell. Please continue to check the university's Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources and Updates website as it will contain all information relevant to everyone in the larger Cornell community.

Since July 22, 2020 : Faculty application form for research re-activation

Student FAQ's at bottom of page


Additional University Resources:

Cornell Engineering Resources and Audience Specific Updates

Below you will find supplemental information provided by Cornell Engineering regarding resources, services, operating schedules, and answer to questions not addressed on the university's main COVID-19 website.

If you have a question that is not addressed on this website, faculty should contact their director or chair, staff should contact their supervisor, and students should contact their advisor or the leadership of the program their question pertains to.

EVENT UPDATES: Before making plans to attend any Cornell Engineering events, please confirm with an event organizer whether or not the event has been canceled, rescheduled or moved online.



The university remains open and most of the research activities are now being conducted remotely. Only essential research activities are allowed on campus. If you are unsure if you are listed as essential, please ask your chair or director.


Research and Teaching Faculty (Adjuncts, Lecturers, Postdocs, Research Associates)

Undergraduate Students - Also see FAQs at bottom of page

M.Eng. Students - Also see FAQs at bottom of page

Ph.D. and M.S. Students


Cornell Engineering Coronovirus Student FAQ

This information is specific to Cornell Engineering undergraduate and M.Eng. students. Students should also refer to the University coronavirus FAQ.

If I am not allowed on campus, how will I get help?

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Student support staff in the College of Engineering are here to help you! Our office doors may be closed, but our staff remain available to you via email and Skype or Zoom meetings. We will be updating our websites with detailed information, but here are some initial contacts:

What if I have questions about the extended drop/grade change deadline?

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The drop a course without a ‘W’ deadline and the S/U grade change deadline have both been extended through the last day of classes, May 12. Students should contact Engineering Advising or their undergraduate major coordinator or their director of undergraduate studies in their major PRIOR to making any drops or grading basis changes to discuss potential implications. Please see the FAQ below about changing a course to S/U grade option.

What should I consider when deciding to change my course to S/U grade option?

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Undergraduate students will be permitted to change their grading basis to S/U via Student Center in any course (with the exception of 7 week courses from the first half of the semester that have already been completed and graded) through the last day of classes, May 12.

Please be aware that dropping below 12 academic credits and/or having a semester GPA below a 2.0 (remaining graded courses) may have significant impact on your academic progress and financial aid. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid directly for more information, especially before dropping below 12 credits.
The following restrictions on S grades will be eased for SP20:

  • S grades from this semester will be permitted for:
    • meeting the requirements for affiliation into an engineering major (see FAQ on how S/U affects your ability to affiliate below);
    • completing common curriculum, major degree, and minor requirements;
    • satisfying college and major requirements for good academic standing.
  • Credits taken for an S grade rather than letter grade this semester will be excluded from the maximum allowable S credits toward major or graduation requirements. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of courses that can be taken with the S/U option this semester.

For more information about this, please contact Engineering Advising.

How will taking courses S/U affect my ability to affiliate with a major?

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If there is a specific grade required for a course to affiliate with an engineering major, an S in SP20 will satisfy that requirement.
As always, grades of S/U are not given grade point values or taken into account in computing grade point averages.
Although S grades will be permitted for meeting the requirements for affiliation into an engineering major, some engineering majors also rely on grade point averages amongst a subset of courses in order to accurately gauge a student’s readiness to enter that major. Because S/U courses are not included in the grade point average, your GPA will be determined by courses already taken, or being taken, with a letter grade; this may impact your ability to satisfy affiliation criteria.

For more information about this, please contact your major department directly or Engineering Advising to discuss.

How will taking courses S/U affect my ability to apply to medical school?

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For Pre-Health students, in the past, medical school prerequisite courses were not accepted by most Medical Schools unless they had letter grades. Some schools are relaxing this requirement as a result of the current COVID-19 situation. However, there is not a universal stance regarding grades and Pre-Health students are encouraged to research specific schools they are interested in applying to for guidance. The safest option would be to take a medical school prerequisite course for letter grade and students should work with their health career advisor before choosing S/U.

Note that the SP20 COVID-19 Health Careers FAQs page is now live on the Career Services website.

How do I submit forms with signatures to the Registrar without going to campus?

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Please visit the Engineering Registrar’s office Forms page for guidance and instructions on completing forms via email.

When do M.Eng. students need to leave campus?

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Professional degree students should aim to have all campus-based needs completed by March 18. Be aware that if you remain in the local area over the coming weeks you will not have access to most in-person campus services, except for Cornell Health, which is moving to telehealth for as many visits as possible. If you have been approved to remain in campus housing, you’ll have access to limited dining services as well.

What about my M.Eng. project?

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On-campus graduate research, including Master of Engineering projects, will be suspended indefinitely starting Wednesday, March 18, at 5:00 p.m.  Students have until then to perform an orderly shutdown of all activities taking place on the Cornell campus. After that deadline, students will not be permitted on campus (this includes graduate offices), with only a few exceptions. Students should plan to continue their research activities remotely, such as analyzing data, reviewing the literature, writing up papers, and engaging in analytical or computational research.

I’m an M.Eng. early admit. What information applies to me?

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Though M.Eng. early admits are currently classified as undergraduates, you have as much at stake with respect to your projects as any M.Eng. student. Therefore, in each M.Eng. program, we are proceeding as though your status is a professional degree M.Eng. student.

What financial assistance is available to me as an M.Eng. student?

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The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) leaders have been working to get emergency funding to graduate and professional students who have unforeseen costs relating to the coronavirus restrictions on campus. The Access Fund can pay for travel and other costs depending on student need. Please go to and fill out the COVID-19 Access Fund Travel Form. In some cases, these funds can also be used to reimburse purchases that have already been made. Applications for funds are being reviewed daily.

I’m an international student graduating in May. What do I need to know about OPT and leaving the country?

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The Office of Global Learning has indicated:

If you are graduating this spring and planning to apply for OPT, we do not recommend that you depart the U.S. for the full remainder of the semester. In order to be eligible, you must be in the U.S. in F-1 status, with a valid I-94 document. Please contact an advisor in International Services if you have questions about your OPT application process and travel.

I am an international student and have others questions about travel guidelines, maintaining my visa status, or moving to online instruction. Who can help?

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The Office of Global Learning has created an FAQ page to help address questions that our international students and scholars may have. The Office of Global Learning is temporarily adjusting immigration advising services, and are providing in-person support only for students with urgent travel needs, and moving to email for less urgent (time-sensitive) services. Effective today, walk-in advising will only be available for travel signatures, document pick-up (such as EAD, I-20 and DS-2019), and urgent advising questions. All other services, including CPT, OPT, tax questions, and extensions more than one month in the future, should be submitted via email ( There is a mailbox outside the door to the office where students may drop off documents. As always, students can call or email to set an appointment.

I’m in Ithaca without a car. How is the TCAT schedule being impacted?

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What if I'm registered for an Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW)?

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AEWs after Spring Break: We are developing online resources with interactive components for AEW students following Spring Break. We want to help you continue to benefit from the peer learning community in your workshops! Please stay tuned, and look for email communications from your facilitators or from Engineering Learning Initiatives about this.

Can I still access tutoring for the remainder of the semester?

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The Engineering Tutors-on-Call program is providing remote one-on-one tutoring for many core Engineering courses via video conference. As of April 6, students can schedule remote tutoring appointments through our regular online scheduling system: Please see the program webpage for further details:
CUES Tutoring will continue via Zoom/Skype. CUES Eligible students are highly encouraged to continue utilizing the link: to arrange virtual appointments.

What about ELI undergrad research grant funding and requirements for spring 2020?

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For students who have received Undergraduate Research grant funding from Engineering Learning Initiatives for the Spring 2020 semester: Unless you are a graduating senior, your faculty research supervisor may request (via email to that any remaining grant funding be used to support the continuation of your research in a future term. If your faculty research supervisor allows possibilities for continuing research-related tasks and activities in a remote way, and if you are able to do so from your current location, work with your faculty supervisor on making arrangements for remote tasks, deliverables, and mentoring.

For students who have received ELI Undergraduate Research grants over the past year: Due to the cancellation of both external and internal conferences and poster sessions, the ELI presentation requirement will be waived. Please stay tuned for communications from Engineering Learning Initiatives for alternative opportunities to showcase and share your research, for those who are able.

Is ELI accepting proposals for summer 2020 undergrad research grants?

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ELI Summer 2020 Undergraduate Research Grants application deadlines are extended. New deadlines are:

  • Faculty application deadline: Monday, April 13, by midnight
  • Student application deadline: Wednesday, April 15, by midnight 

As of now, we plan to consider proposed timelines for on-campus undergraduate research engagement for the summer that begin July 12 or later.  Options, and requests for support, for remote undergraduate research involvement, where possible, will be at the discretion of faculty research mentors.
If you have been working with a faculty mentor to prepare a summer research grant application, please consult with your mentor about possibilities for moving forward with that effort.

What do the changes to grading options in SP20 mean for Dean’s List and Latin Honors?

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Due to the many challenges this semester and issues of equity, the College of Engineering Dean's List for the Spring 2020 semester will be suspended.

Students enrolled during the Spring 2020 semester had the option of choosing the S/U grading option for any or all of their courses.  As a result, the rules for graduation with distinction have been modified as detailed below.

·       Cum laude, Magna cum laude, and Summa cum laude distinctions will be awarded to students based on the higher of their overall final GPA including or excluding the Spring 2020 term.

·       Cum laude distinction will also be awarded to students who achieve a semester GPA ≥3.50 in each of the last four semesters including Spring 2020, or in each of the last four semesters excluding Spring 2020; in each of these semesters, at least 12 letter-grade credits must be taken with no failing, unsatisfactory, missing, or incomplete grades.  Exceptions for students with Co-op or prorated tuition remain as noted above.


Note: All GPA calculations are minimums and are not rounded.

As a current first-year student, will I still be required to meet with my faculty advisor this semester in order to be able to pre-enroll for FA20 classes?

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Yes. We are working on a revised timeline to match the extended dates for pre-enroll and will be communicating with first-year students and their faculty advisors soon on the process and with guidance on how to connect virtually for this requirement.

What if I want to drop a course after the May 12 deadline?

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Students will be able to drop a course after May 12 and through the last day of the semester, May 23, with a grade of ‘W’. Students will not be able to do this themselves on Student Center and will instead need to submit a drop form and a general petition.