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Special Circumstances

Applying Study at Other Universities to Cornell RU Requirements

As a doctoral candidate, you can petition to receive up to two registration units for master's work completed in a relevant non-Cornell program. This is accomplished by completing the "Request for Transfer of Registration Units" form, available online or in 143 Caldwell Hall.

Master's degree students cannot receive registration credits for previous study at other graduate schools.

Applying Prior Study at Cornell to Your Current RU Requirements

If you transfer from a program that does not require registration units (e.g., M.Eng. or nondegree students) to one that does, you may petition to receive registration units for the time spent in the prior program.

Earning RUs for Summer or Extramural Study

If you enroll in regularly scheduled Cornell courses or extramural study (commonly known as ExMu) 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
  • Eleven credit hours equal one registration unit

To be eligible for summer study registration units, you must pay summer tuition.

Earning RUs for Summer Research

If you conduct full-time research 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 to receive registration units for summer research.

Earning RUs for Study In Absentia

If you're a regular registered student, you may register in absentia with approval from the Graduate School and your Special Committee. This allows you to 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, though the work should be under the immediate supervision of a qualified director designated by the committee and acting on its behalf.

Applying Part-Time Work to Registration Unit Requirements

You may be allowed up to one registration unit each semester while pursuing up to 20 hours of on- or off campus employment per week. In addition, you may be allowed up to one-half of a registration unit per semester while engaged in 21 to 40 hours of on- or off-campus employment per week. Master’s students may earn a maximum of one registration unit in this way. Ph.D. students may earn a maximum of two units this way. If you wish to earn registration units this way, you must obtain prior approval from the chair of your Special Committee and the DGS.