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The Dean's List, a per-semester honor, will not be awarded this spring.

April 10, 2020

Cornell Suspends Dean’s List Across Undergraduate Colleges, Law School

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None of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges will award Dean’s List honors for the spring 2020 semester.

The call was made in line with Cornell’s decision to extend the S/U grading option to the end of the semester for all classes, according to the College of Arts & Sciences’ webpage — “the intent is that students should not have to factor in Dean’s List eligibility when making their decisions to take a course for S/U or letter,” the site states.

“While we understand this is a disappointment to some, this is the most equitable solution,” Associate Dean of CALS Prof. Don Viands, plant breeding and genetics, wrote in a March 21 email to students, citing the “stress and challenges” of the semester.

The ILR school alerted students to the change via an email sent out on Friday, and the College of Arts and Sciences linked students to a landing page featuring frequently asked questions with the information on Sunday.

Cornell has awarded the designation for over 100 years — while today no formal list or statistics are published, those who make the list receive a special notation on their academic transcripts for the semester.

Requirements vary based on college, but typically only high-achieving students make the cut. For example, students in the College of Arts and Sciences who make a 3.6 in 15 credit hours  — with no incomplete, failed or withdrawn courses — receive the honor.

CALS also “strongly recommended” that professors pivot away from prelims and exams in another email to faculty members four days later.

Cornell Law School also suspended its dean’s list for the semester alongside a shift to S/U grading in all courses on March 27.