In Absentia


In absentia status provides an opportunity for graduate students to engage in approved study in a location at least 100 miles away from the University's campus location for the program in which the student has been registered (e.g. Ithaca, Geneva, Cornell Tech) during the academic year while continuing to work under the guidance of the Special Committee. Provided the proposed arrangement enhances the student’s program of study, the student may earn registration units. In absentia is limited to no more than 8 semesters, and students must reside more than 100 miles away from the University's campus location for the program in which the student has been registered (e.g. Ithaca, Geneva, Cornell Tech).  Students in absentia are eligible for loans, fellowships, and assistantships (assuming the assistantship can be performed away from campus), but not for on-campus employment. 

Students in absentia are expected to abide by the same limitations on employment as students registered on-campus:  no more than 5 hours per week for students on TA, GA, or RAships; no more than 8 hours per week for students on training grants, fellowship or TAship.


In absentia petitions are due June 15 for the fall semester and Nov. 1 for the spring semester.  Petitions received after the deadline, if approved, may be subject to late registrations fees and finance charges.  Students should settle Bursar accounts prior to the first day of classes and should provide the Bursar’s Office with their billing address for the absentia period.


Students who will be in absentia for the full semester are charged $200 tuition and the optional Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) premium.

Registering In Absentia

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 (SHIP) requirement if you show you will have adequate insurance coverage. Note, too, that you must complete summer registration while registered in absentia. Summer registration is a separate process required of all students who receive financial aid, assistantships, or use campus facilities during the summer. The forms are available here.

Earning an Entire Degree In Absentia

Cornell does not allow nor encourage students to earn degrees without completing work on the Cornell campus. 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 (see “Registration and Student Status,” at right).

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