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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Winter Session 2020 will run from December 26, 2019 to January 18, 2020, with three-week on-campus classes beginning on January 2, 2020. We will update the Winter Session site in September. If you would like to receive an email when this happens, please join our email list. In the meantime, you may want to browse through the site to get an idea of what we offer.

Students can earn credits on campus, off campus, and online during Cornell's Winter Session

School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, October 3, 2016

For nearly a month every winter, the Cornell campus is delightfully quiet. After finishing their fall exams, many students leave town for visits with family or friends, work, or to travel before the spring semester begins in late January.

However, for about 300 students every year, this is a time of intense academic activity. During Cornell’s Winter Session—a period of about three weeks from late December to mid-January—students can earn up to four credits in small, fast-paced classes on campus, online, and abroad.

On-campus courses are small, “so you’re able to quickly develop friendships with your peers and get a lot of personal attention from your professors,” writes one recent Winter Session student. She adds, “In three weeks, I was able to polish up my writing skills, immediately use those skills while applying to internships over Winter Break, and meet new friends.” On-campus courses will be offered from January 3 to 21, 2017.

Online courses have grown in popularity in recent years, and Cornell Winter Session offers about two dozen, in subjects ranging from economics and engineering to American studies and classics. At least part of their appeal is their portability; online courses can be taken from nearly any location—“on the shore, on the slopes, or on the couch!”—meaning minimal disruptions to holiday vacations or visits with family. Online courses are offered on varying dates between December 26, 2016, and January 21, 2017.

At least three off-campus programs will be offered in the upcoming Winter Session:

  • In Cambodia, from December 30 to January 15, students will explore the expression of Khmer culture and history in dance, silk, and stone, led by Kaja McGowan of Cornell’s Department of the History of Art.
  • In Jamaica, from January 9 to 21, students will learn about the history of global capitalism and participate in a service learning project, led by Ed Baptist of Cornell's Department of History.
  • In Baton Rouge, from January 9 to 13, students will help elementary school children put together video projects on the theme of black history in the U.S., led by Bryan Duff, coordinator of Cornell's minor in education.

Winter Session courses are open not only to Cornell undergraduates, but to anyone who wishes to enroll, from high school students to retirees. Enrollment deadlines vary, with the first (for international students and students from other institutions taking online classes) being November 30. The deadline for financial aid applications is December 1.

Marijke de Jongh, who took Poverty and Social Policy in the last Winter Session, writes, “I would absolutely recommend Cornell Winter Session to a friend. Cornell employs quality professors who put a lot of effort into structuring their class to maximize learning in a short period of time. I was struck by my constant desire to go to class.” Another recent Winter Session student, Jay Grollman, appreciated the quiet campus: “I had a positive experience with Cornell University Winter Session. The chaos of spring or fall semester was absent, and I was free to relax and focus on my studies.”

For more information about Cornell’s Winter Session, visit