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Courses, Credits, and Grades

All Fall/Spring CIW students are required to enroll in the core course and two or three electives.

Core Course

Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington D.C.

  • PUBPOL 4060/5060; GOVT 4998/6998; ALS 4998; AMST 4998; CAPS 4998; NS 4998
  • 4 credits
  • David Silbey

This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, and figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond. The idea is to not only to define and examine the issue, but also to think about how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of these reveal and to see how their chosen form of inquiry shapes their results.

Note: CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to global and public health.

Electives & GPHS/CAPS courses



  • All Cornell in Washington classes are regular Cornell University courses and grant academic credit.
  • You must be enrolled in at least 12 credits to remain in the program. Most students take 12 to 16 credits.
  • If you wish to enroll in more than 18 credits, you must check with your college registrar for permission.
  • As a Cornell student in the fall/spring CIW semester, you do not have to petition for your credits to transfer onto your transcript.


Grades & symbols

All CIW courses must be taken for a grade; courses may not be taken pass/fail. You can get your final grade(s) at the end of the semester by logging on to Student Center and clicking on “Grades” under Academic History. Your Cornell NetID and password are required. For more information, visit the Cornell University Courses of Study website.

  • Grades cannot be given over the telephone, email, or fax.
  • If you’re unable to access your grade(s), contact the IT Service Desk.
  • If you withdraw from a course on or after the withdrawal deadline, the symbol “W” appears on your transcript for the dropped course.



Your enrollment in courses, your grades, and the number of credits you earn will be recorded on your official Cornell University transcript and will be a part of your permanent and complete academic record at the university.

For more information, visit the Office of the University Registrar website.



  • The Cornell in Washington fall/spring semester program is open to all Cornell undergraduates in their second-semester sophomore year or later. Students from any Cornell college or major are invited to apply.
  • You must be in good academic standing and have the demonstrated intellectual interest and personal maturity to participate in the program.
  • Acceptance is on a space-available, first-come, first-served basis.
  • Before choosing any courses, check with your advisor or department about how CIW credits and courses will apply to your major.

ILR students

ILR students may participate in Cornell in Washington. ILR students may participate in off-campus programs beginning their junior year. Inform Brigid Beachler of your plan to join CIW (607.255.2266,