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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

About SCE

Cornell's founder, Ezra Cornell, declared, "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." At the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions (SCE), we work hard not only to live up to that vision and charge, but also to add "in any place, at any time" to Cornell's revolutionary statement.


SCE traces its roots to summer courses in geology, zoology, and entomology that were presented in 1876, only eight years after the opening of the university. These courses were offered in the summer to take advantage of the season's natural outdoor classrooms and to give elementary and secondary school teachers an opportunity to further their education while their schools were not in session. We continue in this tradition today by offering programs at times and in places and ways that best meet the needs of our students and the goals of our faculty.

Please visit our history page to learn more about SCE.


SCE's mission is to present the broadest possible range of high-quality learning opportunities to Cornell's many constituencies. We draw on the resources of all of Cornell's academic units, identifying needs and developing programs that most appropriately and effectively deploy Cornell's vast and varied educational resources.


Our many and varied constituencies include Cornell students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends; undergraduates and graduate students from institutions worldwide; international students and scholars; high school students and school-age children; area residents; executives; retirees; and a broad range of individuals seeking discretionary education, including people working in business, industry, government, and the professions, especially those at a high level of responsibility. For more information, see people.

Educational opportunities

SCE is dedicated to offering educational opportunities in as many subject areas and formats as possible, year-round—and if we don't have what you're looking for, we'll help you design it.

Options include credit and non-credit courses, full semester classes and one-day executive seminars, on- and off-campus programs, online learning opportunities, education vacations, and internship programs.

Classes are taught by Cornell faculty members; leaders in higher education, industry, and government; and distinguished scholars from around the world.

See the courses/programs, semesters, and locations links for more information.

Advising and consulting

The SCE Registrars’ Office provides academic counseling to anyone currently studying or interested in studying at Cornell. In addition, SCE staff members are available to consult with people and organizations both inside and outside of Cornell on topics including developing custom courses, independent study, workshops, professional updates, and executive programs. For information, e-mail, call 607.255.4987, or write to School of Continuing Education, B20 Day Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-2801.


Although we help students working toward degrees by registering them in Cornell courses, SCE does not itself grant degrees.

Be sure to also visit our outreach and staff pages.