Skip to main content

Petition Process

Over 100 Approved Programs

Cornell offers a wide range of program opportunities that are vetted and approved by the Office of Global Learning and Global Cornell's travel safety experts. These programs in countries around the world offer exciting and valuable international experiences—whatever your major or interests!

Our approved programs are managed directly by Cornell or by partner universities and nonprofits recognized for offering top-quality study abroad experiences. We have close working relationships with the approved programs and can vouch for their academic standards and cultural immersion, housing, administrative support services, health, safety, and security.

Our program partners communicate regularly with us, especially during times of crisis. Given today's global environment, we value these close relationships more than ever.

You Must Petition to Receive Credit

If you choose to take a leave of absence and attend an unapproved study abroad program or international university—even a current institutional partner—Cornell will not award credit or offer any administrative, health and safety, or financial aid support. The only way students can receive Cornell academic credit for study abroad during the academic year is by attending approved study abroad programs sponsored by the Office of Global Learning or a Cornell college or school.

If you want to receive credit for attending a study abroad program or university that is not on Cornell’s approved list, you must submit a formal petition in advance of applying to the program. If your petition is accepted, Cornell will grant one-time recognition of the program as an approved program for your participation. 

Petitions are reviewed as exceptional opportunities that meet specific needs not available through existing approved programs. The petition deadline is early so that if your petition is unsuccessful, you can still apply to an approved program. 

Start Early 

You must begin your petition well in advance of regular Cornell study abroad deadlines, since pursuing an unapproved program requires you to do a significant amount of research. You also need to allow time for your petition to be reviewed before the regular application deadline.

Submitted petitions are reviewed by the Office of Global Learning and your college or school. Decisions are final.

How to Petition

Before starting the petition process, you should have a solid understanding of the key advantages of the program you're interested in and why current approved offerings do not meet your international academic goals. Take time to research the program or university's academic, financial, and student support services to ensure that it will be a good fit for you and that a petition is the right path.

If you decide to pursue a petition, follow these steps.

  1. Get Advice
  2. Open Petition
  3. Follow Timeline
  4. Apply
  5. Evaluate


1 Meet with your Education Abroad advisor and college advisor for study abroad.

Before opening a petition, you are required to meet with both an Education Abroad advisor and the study abroad advisor in your college or school. Visit Get Advice to find out how to set up an appointment with the Education Abroad advisor responsible for your program's world region. Follow your college advising office’s process for scheduling a meeting with your study abroad college advisor. 

When you make an appointment with your Education Abroad advisor, be sure to include the name of the program you're interested in and the semester and year you would like to petition. During this initial meeting, you'll discuss your academic plans and why you want to petition to study abroad at this unapproved program or university. 

You will also discuss your selected program and petition plans with your college advisor. If you are a concurrent degree student, both colleges need to approve your petition. Plan to meet with your primary college first and then your secondary college.

The outcome of these meetings may be identification of an existing approved program that will eliminate your need to petition. You may also learn that the program is not feasible for academic or degree reasons, contractual reasons, or Cornell’s previous assessment of a program or university. If this is the case, you will not be allowed to begin the petition process.

2 Open your petition.

If your Education Abroad advisor determines it is appropriate to proceed, you'll receive a link to the online petition application. Petition applications will only be opened beginning August 15 for Fall/AY and February 1 for Spring abroad. The opportunity to open an application does not indicate that your petition will be approved.

The application will prompt you to provide information about your proposed study abroad program or university, including program details, housing types available, on-site support, program start and end dates, and the name of the institution that will issue the program's transcript. You will also need to upload the following:

  • A statement of purpose (approx. 500 words)  that explains how studying on this program enhances your academic career at Cornell University and why this program fulfills your needs in a way no existing approved program does. 
  • A list of the courses you propose to take, equal to a full course load.

Before the deadline, your college or school must review your application, indicating endorsement or not.

3 Follow the timeline for submitting your petition.

Your timeline depends on the semester you’d like to study abroad. You must meet both the petition deadline and the regular application deadline if your petition is approved. There are no exceptions.

4 Receive the decision and continue your application.

After your petition is reviewed, your Education Abroad advisor will contact you with the decision and next steps. Decisions are final.

If your petition is approved, you must submit a study abroad application, following all required steps, and meet the standard application deadline. Your study abroad program will be administered in the same way as all other programs facilitated by the Office of Global Learning. All academic and financial policies will apply.

If your petition is denied, we encourage you to continue with your application for an approved program, or on-campus plans.

5 Complete the study abroad student experience survey.

When you return to Cornell from a petitioned study abroad program, you must complete a required survey to share information and feedback about your learning experience. You'll receive a survey link at the end of your term abroad.

Next Up: Finances