Students walk on the engineering quad during the fall semester

Incoming Exchange Programs

The College of Engineering accepts exchange students from the University of Cantabria, University of Comillas, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Course Selection and Registration

Exchange students should carefully identify desired courses on their application. Students should check the Courses of Study to ensure that they have taken the appropriate prerequisite courses and that the course is offered during the semester they are studying here. If you apply before the upcoming year's Courses of Study is published, use the most current version of the Courses of Study. Normally, the course descriptions will indicate if they are to run the following year. Course availability, locations, and times are NOT listed in the Courses of Study. This information is listed in the Class Roster. Please note that the class roster for the appropriate semester may not be available at the time you are completing your application.

Exchange students register for courses after matriculated (regular, full-time) Cornell students. Students may find that certain courses are closed or already full upon arrival. It is important to be flexible with course selection and schedules as students will not officially register for classes until just before classes begin. While students are asked to provide initial course requests at the time of application, course changes are still possible during the first two weeks of classes, as this is the time when students "shop" around to solidify their schedule ("Shopping" for classes is the practice of attending a number of classes during the first two weeks of classes before finalizing your schedule).

Please note that we cannot guarantee enrollment in any course. Enrollment permission is often subject to class size limitations, the consent of instructors, and demonstrated academic qualifications in the form of prerequisites. Senior "Capstone" and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) courses are not available. Exchange students should not expect to take any CS classes and may find Biomedical Engineering (BME) classes to be limited.

Course Load

Exchange students on F-1 visas are required to maintain full-time status while studying in the United States. Students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per semester during the academic year and 6 credits during the summer. Most exchange students enroll in 14-16 credits per semester. Exceeding 16 credits is not recommended for first-semester exchange students. Exchange students are expected to take half or more of their courses within the College of Engineering.


On-campus housing is limited and not guaranteed for visiting students. Finding housing in the Fall semester can be very challenging as single-semester leases are typically not available. Full-year housing is available off-campus, and housing during the spring is often available on-campus and is easy to find off-campus. Students should not commit to housing until they have received admission from Cornell.


Once students arrive on campus, they have the opportunity to sign up for a meal plan, which may be charged to their Cornell bursar bill.


Upon arrival, exchange students must check in with International Services within the Office of Global Learning in Caldwell Hall. This office offers services related to student life, the international community, and practical matters (for example: clothing to pack for the cold winter weather). Exchange students will also be assigned an advisor in the Engineering Advising Office and a faculty advisor in the primary field of study or home department/major for additional guidance on academic matters.

Orientation and Events

Fall and Academic Year students are strongly encouraged to attend new student orientation programs. See more information on general Cornell orientation

Global Learning staff and designated college representatives also offer campus-wide exchange student orientation at the beginning of each semester, in addition to College-specific orientation events. An optional international student orientation is available to incoming students in the fall semester for a fee.


Contact the Office of Global Learning.