Distribution Requirements


Students must complete 42 credits (including FWS). These credits must be completed as a letter grade unless the course is only offered SX/UX. Students will explore liberal arts and sciences courses within the greater context of Cornell’s many schools, including the Nolan School. Distribution Requirements must meet the following criteria:

ARTS Distribution Electives

15 credit hours. Students must take 3 credits minimum in at least 3 of the following 5 categories in the College of Arts and Sciences.

  1. Arts, Literature, & Culture and Historical Analysis: courses coded ALC-AS or HST-AS
  2. Global Citizenship and Social Difference: courses coded GLC-AS or SCD-AS
  3. Social Science: courses coded SSC-AS
  4. Mathematics and Data Science: courses coded SMR-AS or SDS-AS
  5. Biological and Physical Sciences: courses coded BIO-AS or PHS-AS

*Note: Although a course may fall into more than one of these five categories, one course may only fulfill one category toward the ARTS Distribution Elective requirement.


Additional Distribution Electives

18 credit hours. Courses that meet the liberal arts and sciences requirement from any of Cornell’s colleges or schools; including the Nolan School. A complete list of all Cornell colleges’ course codes that meet this requirement can be found in the Courses of Study. Students should refer to the link for “College Distribution Requirement Codes” for this full list. Foreign language coursework can also be considered toward Additional Distribution Elective credit as well as other courses that meet the New York State liberal arts and sciences requirements.

Nolan School Classes currently approved to meet Additional Distribution Electives

  • HADM 4300 Introduction to Wines (ALC-HA)
  • HADM 4380 Seminar in Culture and Cuisine (ALC-HA, GLC-HA)
  • HADM 4375 Intro to Fermented Grains, Sake, and Cider (ALC-HA)
  • HADM 4310 Food & Wine Pairing: Principles and Promotion (ALC-HA)
  • HADM 4315 Nonprofit Social Enterprise & Food Justice (GLC-HA, SCD-HA)
  • HADM 4300 Digital Platforms (SSC-HA)
  • HADM 3610 Communication for Entrepreneurs (SSC-HA)
  • HADM 4650 Advanced Communication Practicum in Public Speaking for Hospitality Leaders (SSC-HA)
  • HADM 4320 Contemporary Healthy Food (SSC-HA)
  • HADM 4620 Intercultural Communication for Business (GLC-HA, SSC-HA)
  • HADM 3960 Leadership, Diversity, & Inclusion in the Hospitality Industry (SCD-HA)

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Course:

3 credit hours. The diversity course requirement is intended to provide students with an opportunity to explore the challenges/opportunities to an organization or community stemming from issues related to power, privilege, access, and equity.  A course will be counted toward the diversity requirement if it has a notable focus/emphasis on (i.e., includes within its primary objectives) content of the following nature

  1. An examination of access and equity in the context of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and/or ability
  2. Identify the major debates within our society related to power, privilege, access, and equity and explore the relevant histories to identify/understand what has led to them
  3. Apply knowledge of D&I to frame, analyze, discuss, and propose sustainable solutions to contemporary issues within organizations or communities
  4. Exploration of aspects of diversity as potential assets for transforming and enriching organizations and communities
  5. An exploration of Social Identity findings and its impact on individuals’ feelings, perspectives and experiences; and how understanding identities are linked to interpersonal and institutional levels.

List of approved D&I courses can be found here.


Ethics Course:

3 credit hours. The ethics course requirement is intended to prepare students to think critically and knowledgeably about what is (or should be) considered right or wrong, good or bad, virtue or vice within their personal, professional, and/or public lives.  A course will be counted toward the ethics requirement if it has a notable focus/emphasis on (i.e., includes within its primary objectives) content of the following nature:

  1. An introduction to the philosophical study of morality, including the theory of right and wrong behavior, the theory of value (goodness and badness), the theory of virtue and vice, etc.
  2. An introduction to the main theories of ethics, and/or the influential philosophers within a society (e.g., John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals in Western philosophy)
  3. An exploration of one or more contemporary ethical/moral issues and/or contrasting ethical opinions and the reasons behind the differences
  4. Identifying and articulating your own values, and the ability to provide others with reasons for your actions and give you the means of questioning the values of others
  5. To engage in reflection and discussion in order to gain confidence in identifying and articulating moral problems and reasons.

List of approved Ethics courses can be found here.