Physical Education & Swim Test

Physical Education Requirement

All incoming freshmen are required to take two credits (two courses) of Physical Education, one credit each semester of the first year on campus.  Registered participants in Cornell Athletics may receive PE credit. There are some exceptions for transfer students. All requests for accommodations to the Physical Education or Swim Test requirement due to disability must be made through Student Disability Services.

IMPORTANT: Swim Test Information

There will be no Swim Tests conducted in SP21.

Any senior graduating in FA20 or SP21 who has not completed the swim test, will have the requirement waived per the University.

Incoming Freshmen will have the $100 late fee waived to when they complete the test in subsequent years.

Swim Test Requirement

The University Faculty Committee on Physical Education has established a basic swimming competency requirement for all entering freshman undergraduates. The test is normally taken as part of the Fall orientation process and is required to be completed in the student's freshman year. The test consists of entering the deep end of the pool with a feet-first jump and making a continuous seventy-five-yard swim using a stroke or strokes of the student's choice. There is no required stroke or time limit. Any student who cannot pass the swim test is required to include swimming in his or her program of physical education before choosing electives.

If a student does not pass the swim test in his/her first Beginning Swimming PE class, then the student must take a second Beginning Swimming PE class. Successful completion of two Beginning Swimming classes (based on attendance requirements) with the instructor's recommendation will fulfill the University's swim test requirement.

Students who feel they require more individualized instruction may contact Fred DeBruyn, Associate Director of Physical Education at 255-2629 or  Individual lessons will be charged $25.00/session and the fees will be bursar billed to the student. Individual lesson times will be arranged with the student and will continue until the student passes the swimming requirement. Individual lessons will not be given physical education credit. Participation in individual lessons does not guarantee the student will pass the swimming test.

Students who feel they are unable to take the swim test because of a documented medical disability, must petition Student Disability Services for a swim test accommodation.  Students whose petitions are granted will be required to take one of the following Physical Education classes as an alternative to the swimming requirement: Body-Mind (PE1400) or (Wilderness First Aid (PE1625).

Swim Tests Fees:

There is a $100.00 fee for all make-up swim tests taken by sophomores, juniors or seniors except during the Fall orientation period. This fee also applies to any person who completes the swimming requirement when they are no longer registered at Cornell University.

Fees may be paid by check or charged to the student's Bursar bill.

How to take the Swim Test For Free:

1. If you are a Freshman, complete it during the Fall Orientation period or at any of the listed make-up days during the year.

2. If you are an Upperclassman, complete it during the Fall Orientation period.

3. Take a Physical Education swimming class and pass it during class time.