Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs at Cornell University

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Admissions to Cornell University's graduate programs are highly competitive, and the specific requirements and processes may vary depending on the program and field of study. However, here is a general overview of the admissions process for graduate programs at Cornell:

  • Research Program Options: Prospective students should thoroughly research the graduate programs available at Cornell University and identify the ones that align with their academic and career goals. Each program may have specific requirements and prerequisites, so it is important to review the program's website for detailed information.
  • Application Submission: Applicants must submit an online application through the Cornell University Graduate School's application portal. The application typically includes personal information, academic history, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores (such as the GRE or GMAT), and a resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is a crucial component of the application. It allows applicants to articulate their research interests, career goals, and reasons for pursuing graduate studies at Cornell. It is important to demonstrate a strong alignment between the applicant's goals and the resources and opportunities offered by the program.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most graduate programs at Cornell require applicants to submit letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or other individuals who can attest to the applicant's academic abilities, research potential, and personal qualities. It is essential to select recommenders who are familiar with the applicant's work and can provide strong and detailed recommendations.
  • Transcripts: Applicants must provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Transcripts should reflect strong academic performance and may be evaluated for coursework relevant to the chosen field of study.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Some programs may require applicants to submit scores from standardized tests such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). However, it's important to note that not all programs require standardized test scores, and some may have made them optional.
  • Application Fee: Applicants are typically required to pay an application fee to cover the administrative costs of reviewing and processing applications. However, some programs may offer fee waivers for eligible applicants who demonstrate financial need.
  • Application Deadlines: Each program sets its own application deadlines, which can vary depending on whether it is a master's, doctoral, or professional program. It is crucial to review the specific program's website for accurate and up-to-date deadlines.
  • Interviews and Additional Requirements: Depending on the program, applicants may be invited for interviews, portfolio reviews, or additional assessments as part of the admissions process. These steps allow the program to further evaluate an applicant's fit and potential for success.

What is the standard range of GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores considered for applicants seeking admission to Cornell's Graduate programs?

As one of the Ivy League universities, Cornell has a very high standard in terms of standardized test scores.

  • GRE average scores ranges: 155- 170 for all subjects.
  • LSAT: 173 and higher.
  • MCAT: 36.6 and higher.

Are there master's degree options at Cornell University where GRE or GMAT scores are not mandatory?

Cornell University offers some master's programs that do not require the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). The specific requirements for each program can vary, so it's essential to check the individual program's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here are a few examples of master's programs at Cornell that may not require the GRE or GMAT:

  • Master of Engineering (MEng) Programs: Many MEng programs in engineering disciplines at Cornell do not require the GRE. These programs typically focus on professional practice and industry-oriented coursework.
  • Master of Professional Studies (MPS) Programs: The MPS programs at Cornell are designed for professionals seeking advanced knowledge and skills in their field. Some MPS programs may not require the GRE or may offer waivers based on certain criteria.
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program: The MPA program at Cornell's Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) does not require the GRE. The program focuses on public administration and policy analysis.
  • Master of Real Estate (MRE) Program: The MRE program at Cornell's Baker Program in Real Estate does not require the GRE. This program is designed for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the real estate industry.
  • Master of Laws (LLM): Cornell's LLM program doesn't require GRE or LSAT scores.

What hurdles might individuals encounter when applying to Cornell's Master's programs with a less competitive GPA?

Admission to Cornell University's master's programs can be competitive, and a low GPA may present challenges during the application process. However, it's important to note that admissions decisions are based on a holistic review of an applicant's entire profile, including academic performance, standardized test scores (if required), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, work experience, and other relevant factors.

While a low GPA may pose a hurdle, it does not necessarily eliminate the possibility of admission. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Strong Supporting Factors: If your GPA is lower than the average for admitted students, it can be helpful to have strong supporting factors that showcase your capabilities. This can include exceptional performance in relevant coursework, research experience, professional achievements, or other accomplishments that demonstrate your skills and potential.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Strong performance on standardized tests, such as the GRE or GMAT, can help compensate for a lower GPA. These scores provide an additional data point for admissions committees to evaluate your academic abilities.
  • Relevant Work Experience: Having relevant work experience in the field you wish to pursue can be advantageous. Professional achievements, leadership roles, or tangible outcomes from your work can demonstrate your readiness for graduate-level study and help offset a lower GPA.
  • Additional Application Materials: Emphasize your strengths in other parts of the application, such as your statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, or a well-crafted resume. Highlight your passion for the field, specific skills or experiences, and how the program aligns with your goals.
  • Consideration of Individual Circumstances: Admissions committees understand that every applicant has unique circumstances that may have affected their academic performance. If you faced challenges or extenuating circumstances that impacted your GPA, it can be beneficial to address them in your application and explain how you have grown or overcome those challenges.

What is the degree of complexity involved for international students seeking admission to Cornell University?

As an internationally renowned institution, Cornell University attracts a large number of applications from talented international students. While admission to Cornell can be competitive for both domestic and international applicants, it's important to note that the university values diversity and actively seeks to enroll students from around the world. Here are some factors to consider regarding the admission process for international students:

  • Admission Standards: International students are evaluated based on the same criteria as domestic students. Admissions committees assess an applicant's academic performance, standardized test scores (if required), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, extracurricular activities, and other relevant factors. The competition can vary across different programs and departments within Cornell.
  • Academic Preparation: Cornell seeks students who have demonstrated strong academic abilities and potential for success in their chosen field. International applicants are typically evaluated based on their educational background, including their performance in coursework, exams, and any additional qualifications such as research projects or academic awards.
  • English Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English is crucial for success at Cornell. International applicants whose native language is not English are usually required to demonstrate English language proficiency through standardized tests such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Meeting the minimum language proficiency requirements is important for admission consideration.
  • Financial Considerations: International students should also be prepared to meet the financial requirements of studying at Cornell. Tuition, fees, and living expenses can be significant, and international students often need to provide proof of financial resources to support their studies.
  • Visa Process: Once admitted, international students will need to navigate the visa application process to obtain an appropriate student visa (usually an F-1 visa for degree-seeking students). Cornell's International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) provides guidance and support to students throughout the visa application process.

While the admission process can be competitive, Cornell University is committed to enrolling a diverse and talented international student population. The university values the unique perspectives and experiences that international students bring to campus. It's important for international applicants to carefully review the admission requirements, follow all instructions, and present a strong application that highlights their academic achievements, personal qualities, and contributions they can make to the Cornell community.

Are there interviews for Cornell’s Master's or joint-degree programs?

The interview requirements for Cornell University's Master's or joint-degree programs can vary depending on the specific program or department. While some programs may require interviews as part of the application process, others may not. It's important to check the individual program's website or contact the admissions office for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding interview requirements for the program(s) you are interested in.

In general, here are a few points to consider regarding interviews for Cornell's graduate programs:

  • Program-Specific Interviews: Certain programs may require interviews to assess an applicant's fit, motivation, experience, and potential for success in the program. These interviews can be conducted in-person, over the phone, or via video conferencing platforms.
  • Invitation for Interviews: If interviews are required, the program will typically extend interview invitations to selected applicants after the initial application review. Not all applicants may be invited for an interview, and receiving an interview invitation is generally a positive sign in the application process.
  • Interview Format and Content: The interview format and content can vary. It may be a one-on-one interview with a faculty member, an alumni interview, a panel interview, or a structured interview with multiple interviewers. The content can include discussions about your academic background, research interests, career goals, and fit with the program.
  • Preparation: If an interview is part of the application process, it's essential to prepare beforehand. Research the program, understand its curriculum and faculty, and be ready to discuss your background, experiences, and goals. Consider practicing common interview questions and prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer(s) as well.

Lets explore the admission requirements for various graduate programs at Cornell University that do not require GRE scores.

Master of Engineering in Computer Science - GRE Required

The admission deadline for the Master of Engineering program in Computer Science at Cornell University is:

1. Transcripts of all previous college and university work.

2. Statement of purpose.

3. Diversity statement.

4. Letters of recommendation.

5. GRE test scores are required for the Master of Engineering program in Computer Science.

6. Proof of competence in English (TOEFL or IELTS).

Food Science and Technology M.S. - No GRE

The admission requirements for the MS in Food Science and Technology program are:

  • Academic transcripts
  • 2-3 recommendations
  • A current resume
  • Personal statement
  • No GRE scores are required.

Dual Degree Finance MBA- GRE not required.

Admission Requirements for Dual Degree Finance MBA:

  • GRE or GMAT scores are not needed.
  • Resume
  • Admission essays
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official academic transcripts

Residential MBA Application Requirements- Cornell University- GRE Required

The admission requirements at Cornell University for its MBA program are as follows:

  • Online Application: Complete and submit the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA online application. This application is distinct from other Johnson MBA programs and is not transferable.
  • Academic Records/Transcripts: Provide copies of your academic records or transcripts from all universities attended, along with proof of Bachelor’s degree graduation. Official transcripts are not required initially but can be sent electronically or by post to Cornell Tech Admissions. International students must have their transcripts evaluated by a U.S.-based credential evaluation company.
  • English Proficiency Test (For International Applicants): If English is not your first language, submit a valid TOEFL (minimum 100) or IELTS (minimum 7.0 overall band) score. You may check Johnson’s English Language Proficiency Policy for a waiver. Duolingo scores can also be sent to Cornell Tech – Graduate Admissions.
  • GMAT or GRE Score Report: You can request a GMAT/GRE test waiver in your application by explaining in 100 words why you believe you can succeed in this academically rigorous program. If not waived, submit your highest GMAT or GRE score.
  • Resume: Submit a resume detailing your professional history, academic background, and relevant skills or activities. The program prefers candidates with at least 2 years of digital or tech industry experience. Limit your resume to 2 pages.
  • Personal Statement: Write a 500-700 word essay addressing several questions about your motivations for applying, your suitability for a tech-focused MBA, your professional experience and career goals, a challenging decision you've faced, and your view on the most important characteristic of digital age leaders.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Submit a letter (up to 700 words) from a current or former manager or supervisor. The letter should discuss your academic and interpersonal abilities, technical skills, teamwork experience, and areas for improvement. You may submit an additional letter if it's relevant.
  • Application Fee: Pay a nonrefundable fee of $200 to submit your application.

MS in Mechanical Engineering Admission Requirements

Every applicant must have taken the GRE general test and have a bachelor's degree in engineering or the physical sciences. It is highly advised that GRE subject test results in physics, math, or engineering be submitted. Except in extraordinary circumstances, only the fall semester is given for admission.

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam or IELTS Academic Exam for non-native English applicants
  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test is required for MS in Mechanical Engineering

Master of Engineering Hybrid Program

Admission requirements for M.Eng. Online learning program are as follows:

  • Two years of work experience
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • ​​​Transcripts from each college or university previously attended.
  • Professional writing sample
  • A combination of three letters of recommendation, professional and academic.
  • Official GRE general test scores (optional) 
  • Undergraduate degree requirements: Required degree in engineering, mathematics, or science, conferred by an accredited college or university. 
  • Application fee of $105