Petition for Engineering Communication Requirement Consideration

One option for fulfilling the Engineering Communication Requirement is via petition. Cornell Engineering (CE) has an upper-level Engineering Communications Requirement for undergraduates that may be fulfilled through a specialized petition application process. Historically, this option was created in order to allow a student's  Undergraduate Honor Thesis to fulfill the Engineering Communication Requirement, when appropriate. However, other projects, supported and lead by Engineering faculty, have come to fulfill this requirement when such projects are appropriate, proposed in advance, and approved by the Engineering Communication subcommittee of the College Curriculum Governing Board’s Subcommittee.  Below, learn about this process and how to begin a petition application.

Petition Application Process

Students must use the Engineering Communication Requirement Petition form -- not the general College of Engineering petition form. To obtain this form and individual guidance for your petition, contact the Engineering Communications Program to arrange an appointment to discuss the process and paperwork. Send your email to . 

Upon sending a request to the email above, you will be given specific information on how to proceed.  This email may also include some clarification questions and/or an invitation for a quit meeting with the ECP Director, in order to better understand the intended petition project.  

Reminder: Petitions must be submitted by the end of the third week of the semester in which the work will be done. 

  • All paperwork should be done by Sept 9, 2022 for Fall 2022 semester credit.
  • All paperwork should be done by Feb 8, 2023 for Spring semester credit. In spring semester, students who have a petition approved will enroll in a 1cr S/U course in order to prompt clarity and transparency on transcripts. 

Petition Considerations and Background Information

Upon receiving the email requested above, the Director of the Engineering Communications Program will advise each petition student on how to submit a petition application.  Petitions applications often go through revision cycles before they are accepted, and if they are accepted.

In some cases, students may plan to engage in a significant amount and variety of communication work elsewhere in the CE. Such work is not merely fulfilling coursework already expected by engineering faculty; this petition option is for work above and beyond regular coursework expectations. This work might be accomplished through any of several avenues, such as undergraduate research, independent study, an honors project, or even an outreach activity. In such cases, it may be appropriate for students thus engaged to petition the Cornell Engineering College Curriculum Governing Board's Subcommittee on Engineering Communications for permission to use their upcoming communication work to meet that requirement.

  • The student's communication work must be directly related to engineering or computer science or must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor as a relevant and important application of engineering and computer science expertise.


  • The communication work must be completed either under the direct supervision of an engineering faculty member or of the appropriate faculty member (approved by the faculty advisor in the student’s major course of studies), and must commence after the petition is approved.

Beginning spring 2023, fulfilling the Engineering Communication Requirement via petition will require a 1cr Ind Study enrollment (ENGRC 3340), which will be administered by the Engineering Communications Program Director.

Note 1:As of spring 2023, students who have a petition approved will sign up for an ENGRC Independent Study section as an S/U option. This is for clarity on transcripts that the Engineering Communications Requirement has been met.

Note 2:  While the petition is facilitated by the Engineering Communications Program, engineering faculty who accept student petition work are assuming responsibility for aligning acceptable levels of performance indicators and learning outcomes within their own departments or majors in regards to meeting CE, ABET, or other review bodies’ requirements and reporting.  While the Engineering Communications Program is always glad to advise, ECP does not and cannot monitor faculty within the CE’s departments or programs to fulfill these requirements.


Each student will be advised thoroughly about petition materials. Generally speaking, students and faculty alike should anticipate that a "portfolio" of materials should grow during the semester, not just be populated at the end of the semester. There should be

  • full evidence of substantive iterative revisions at least two writing-based communication endeavors;
  • original sets of written comments by the identified professor on the student's papers and petition;
  • documented evidence of meetings with the engineering faculty member during the semester, where the writing/revising was the subject of the meeting.

Commonly, some petition applications are denied, such as those below. This is not a complete list; rather, it is illustrative.

  • Communication work that is substantially complete before the petition is filed will not be considered.
  • Communication work not related to engineering or computer science or that does not require the application of engineering and/or computer science expertise will not be considered.
  • Communication work that stems from a standard pedagogical approach for all students in an engineering course (such as writing papers or giving presentations as a normal part of the coursework).
  • Communication work supervised by individuals who are not CE faculty may only be considered with the approval of the faculty advisor.

Note: Sometimes, not often, students are working with faculty from other colleges on projects, where students are applying their expertise in the context of the other disciplines. The petition approach typically allow the faculty advisor to determine if the project(s) are appropriate. Faculty advisors need to sign the petition form as well. In the past, those petitioning in these cases are generally CS majors.

To obtain this form and individual guidance for your petition, contact the Engineering Communications Program to arrange an appointment to discuss the process and paperwork. Send your email to .