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 2022 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 us at or schedule a virtual meeting.

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. All required materials must be received by the deadline to be reviewed for admission.

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. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application process. If you received acceptance, you are required to electronically submit your official transcripts before your program begins. More info on electronic submission here: Transcript Requirements : Graduate School (

Official GRE & TOEFL/IELTS scores must be sent to us electronically by the Educational Testing Service.

Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically and timely. We recommend using the online recommendation process provided within the Graduate School’s online application system. 

Where do I send my application materials?

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All application materials must be uploaded into your online application. Paper copies of application materials will not be accepted.

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

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Please use institutional code 2098 for sending your scores to us. Department codes are not used for matching scores to applications. If the testing service requires a department code, you may choose "undecided" or "not listed".

Be sure to use the exact spelling and formatting of your name on both your application and test score report. Name punctuation and spacing must also be the same. If your name is misspelled, misformatted, or inverted (example: last-first on TOEFL and first-last on application), your scores will not be matched and your application may remain incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

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

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Once we have received all of your materials, your application status will change from "in progress" to "complete". If the deadline has passed and review has begun without us receiving all of your required documents, you will see a status change to "incomplete". Please view your checklist to see what you are missing and submit immediately. We will not review incomplete applications.

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: You must meet the below submit minimums AND a total TOEFL score of 100+ to be reviewed. Applications submitted with scores less than any of the below will not be reviewed. Note: We do not accept the "My Best" TOEFL score. Instead, we recommend submitting all scores from all TOEFL exams taken. 

  • Reading (20)
  • Writing (20)
  • Listening (15)
  • Speaking (22), AND
  • Total (100+)

IELTS Academic: overall band score of 7.0 or higher.

GRE has been made optional for the 2022 admission cycle.

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 financial 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.

Is there an accelerated M.S. program for current Cornell students?

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Yes! There is an accelerated one-year thesis based M.S. program open to current Cornell MSE senior thesis undergraduate students. If interested, please speak with your senior thesis advisor. To apply, your advisor must agree that your senior thesis, given one more year, can turn into a publication quality M.S. thesis. If your advisor agrees, you may apply to the program through the regular application. After applying, please email the MSE admissions team to let us know of your interest in the accelerated program:  

No GRE requirement.