Master's Admission Process

Prepare for applying to our Masters program, by exploring the research topics in MSE. If you feel that MSE is a good fit for your goals and drive you'll need to take the GRE and if English is not your first language you'll need to take the TOEFL. 

Applications for the Master of Science program are handled through the Cornell Graduate School. This includes the online application and any accompanying materials. You'll be notified by April 1 regarding your acceptance.

The GRE has been made optional for the 2021 admission cycle.

Application Process FAQ

Applying to graduate school can be confusing. Look through our FAQ for more information. If you need more information please contact the graduate field representative at or schedule a virtual meeting.

Marissa Porter
Graduate Field Representative
Materials Science and Engineering
Cornell University
210E Bard Hall
Ithaca, NY  14853-1501

What is the deadline for the application and all accompanying materials?

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The deadline for submitting all application elements (online application form, transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (if necessary), letters of recommendation) is February 1st.

How many copies of recommendation letters, transcripts, etc. should I provide?

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Please send only one copy of each and do not send any full publications. Sending an abstract of any publications is acceptable.

May I send photocopies of transcripts, GRE and TOEFL scores, and letters or recommendation?

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Applicants can scan their transcripts and upload the documents into the online application themselves as part of the submission process. If you are unable to upload official transcripts into the online application, we must receive official copies of transcripts in sealed envelopes. For students who are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission, a formal paper transcript will be required prior to matriculation. If you send photocopies of these documents, they must be notarized or they will not be accepted. We accept the official GRE & TOEFL scores sent to us electronically by the Educational Testing Service. We recommend using the online recommendation process provided within the Graduate School’s online application system. If this method will not work for you, original letters of recommendation must come directly from the applicant's recommenders in sealed and signed envelopes. Cornell graduates are not required to provide us with GRE or TOEFL scores.

Where do I send my application materials?

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Cornell now requires applicants to complete an online application with statement of purpose.  Your supporting documents should be uploaded into your application online. If you are unable to do this, mail all supporting materials (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.) directly to:

Materials Science & Engineering Department
Graduate Field Representative
210 Bard Hall
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-1501

What code should I use to have the Educational Testing Service send my GRE and TOEFL scores to Cornell University?

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Use only the following codes: 

  • GRE: Institution Code: 2098; Department Code: 1499
  • TOEFL: Institution Code: 2098; Department Code: 69

Departmental codes are not used to match scores to applications.  If you are unable to provide a Department Code, it is not a problem.

How will I know that Cornell has received all of my application materials?

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If there are any missing application materials, we will contact you. If you do not hear from us, please assume that we have all necessary information. NOTE: the more frequently you correspond with us about your materials, the less efficient we are in processing applications in general, including your own. The best insurance for having your application processed in a timely manner is to follow the process outlined on the Graduate School website and the recommendations spelled out in this FAQ.

What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL test scores considered by the MS&E admissions committee?

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TOEFL score minimum requirements as outlined by the Graduate School: reading (20), writing (20), listening (15), and speaking (22).

The GRE has been made optional for the 2021 admission cycle.

How can I ensure that my application will be competitive with other applicants?

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Complete and submit your application, including all supporting materials. Ensure they arrive at Cornell University before the deadline of January 2. Take your GRE and where applicable, your TOEFL tests well in advance of submitting your application. Provide ETS with the following code to forward your scores to Cornell: 2098. Exception: Cornell graduates do not have to take the GRE test to apply for graduate studies. Make sure those who write your letters of recommendation send them to us well ahead of the deadline. If all application materials are received by the deadline, then that application is in the best possible position to compete with all other applicants. Making our decisions as early as we can provides our applicants with the best possible service; applicants know what our decisions are early in the admissions process.

May I contact MSE Faculty about my application?

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If applicants or prospective applicants wish to contact faculty with specific questions about research, then contact with faculty is encouraged. However, all questions regarding applications, the application process, or an applicant's status should be sent to the Materials Science & Engineering Graduate Field Assistant for response.

Do you provide support for a Master of Science Candidate?

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Students accepted into the Master of Science program in the Field of MSE can receive financial support from outside sources in any of several forms: external fellowships, loans, and private support. The Cornell Department of Materials Science and Engineering cannot offer direct financial support to students in this program. The Cornell Graduate School maintains a useful database of fellowships. You may also be eligible for government-supported loan programs.

For more information about the cost of tuition, please see the Graduate School Website.

Are Master of Science Candidates eligible for RA/TA positions?

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Occasionally, but opportunities are limited.

From time to time, other university departments are unable to meet their teaching needs and M.S. students may be able to fill the gap. MSE does not maintain a list of such openings nor does the department typically get involved with helping students secure those opportunities.