Ph.D. FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about Ph.D. study at Cornell Engineering. 

Can I apply to a graduate program for the spring semester?

This varies by engineering field and program. Many MS/PhD programs will accept students in the spring but may not be able to provide funding because funding is allocated to students in the fall semester. Some MEng programs will not accept students in the spring because of prerequisite fall and spring courses.


How many graduate fields or programs can I apply to?

You can send only one graduate application to one program at Cornell. However, you can list an alternative field of study or program on your application. If you are not accepted by your first choice, your application will be forwarded to your second choice.


Do I need a BS in engineering to apply to an engineering graduate program?

For most of the engineering fields, you need only an adequate course background in the field to be considered. This may or may not mean you need to have an engineering degree. Contact the field or look at the field’s Web site to see if you meet the requirements.


Do I have to take the TOEFL, and what are the minimum scores for this test?

As an international applicant, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. For exceptions and minimum requirements, please visit the Graduate School website.


Does Cornell’s career services provide services to graduate students?

Yes. Both the Engineering Career Center and Cornell’s Career Services offices provide assistance to graduate students. Many employers, including engineering companies, consulting firms, government agencies, financial firms, and nonprofit organizations, recruit engineering students at Cornell. There are career fairs and several company information sessions on campus during the academic year. Visit the Engineering Career Center online.


What is the deadline for application?

Deadlines vary from program to program. Most MS/PhD programs have January 15 deadlines for the next academic year. Deadlines for the MEng range from January 15 to April 1 for the next academic year’s applications. Refer to the Graduate School online catalog for your field to determine which deadlines apply to you. As a general rule, applicants who submit materials before February 1 for fall admission will be notified of a decision by April 1. Individuals may apply later than February 1 but are not guaranteed the same consideration as those received before the deadline.