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Applying to Graduate Study in ECE / Application Requirements

What is the application materials’ submission deadline?

All completed application materials (application, transcript(s), recommendation letters, etc...) should be submitted and received no later than December 15th.

How should I submit my application?

In order to apply to the ECE Department, you will be required to submit your application online. The ECE Department does not mail out hard copy applications.

Can I apply for Spring admission?

No. We do not accept applications for admission in the spring semester. We only accept applications for consideration for fall admission.

What are the Minimum Requirements for all ECE applicants?

The ECE Department looks for all applicants to be able to meet the following minimum criteria:

  • GPA: Minimum Grade Point Average: 3.5/4.0 or above
  • Class Standing: Student should be in the Top 5% of their class or above
  • GREs: Both versions of GRE scores are considered acceptable.
    • “Old” Version of GRE Score Minimum Requirements: 500-Verbal, 750-Quantitative, 5.0/6.0-Analytical
    • “New” Version of GRE Score Minimum Requirements: 153 – Verbal,159 – Quantitative, 5.0 - Analytical
    • Please note that if any of your the individual areas of your GRE scores do not meet the suggested minimums, you are still encouraged to apply.
  • TOEFL: Please carefully review all of the details here regarding the TOEFL.

Which degree program should I select on the application form?

Regardless of if you will have earned either a Bachelor's or a Master's degree, you should be applying directly to our Ph.D. Program.

Please note that we (ECE) do not offer an Master of Science (MS only) program. We (ECE) only accept applications for our Ph.D. Program. If you are interested in earning a Master's Degree only please review our Master of Engineering (MEng) Program.

May I waive the application fee?

In cases of extreme financial need, contact the Cornell Graduate School directly at Their office will consider your request for a fee waiver. The School of Computer and Electrical Engineering is not authorized to grant such requests.

Items to Accompany Application Submission

What items should be submitted along with my application?

All ECE applicants are required to submit each of the following items:

  • Application: You are encouraged to apply online.
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE scores: ALL applicants are required to submit GRE scores (scores must be officially submitted by ETS, photocopies are not acceptable).
  • TOEFL scores: ALL international applicants are required to submit a TOEFL (scores must be officially submitted by ETS, photocopies are not acceptable). Please note that Cornell does NOT recognize anything other than the TOEFL as an English language ability indicator.
  • Transcripts: one from each university you have attended. Each transcript must be translated into English. You should plan to upload a scanned copy in PDF format in your online application. No hard copy Transcripts will need to be submitted.
    • You may upload a scanned copy of your transcript into the CollegeNet Online Application System. Please use the following guidelines to do so:
      • Scan at the lowest dpi document (use under 200 dpi whenever possible).
      • Ensure that the institution name and other identifying marks are not missed during the scanning process, and that it is clearly legible and can print on 8 ½" x 11" size paper.
      • Save your document as a PDF file.
      • Scanning in gray scale or black and white may produce the best results.
      • If you upload a scanned copy of your transcript, you do NOT have to provide an official hard copy version to accompany your application. You will only need to provide an official hard copy transcript if you are made an offer of admission and you choose to accept it.
      • If the scanned file is too large then make a photocopy first then scan the photocopy.
  • Recommendation Letters: a minimum of three (3) letters are to be submitted, with at least two (2) of them from faculty.
  • Resume or CV: optional
  • DO NOT submit hard copy materials of any kind. If you have materials that you would like to have our faculty review, please post them online and include a link to them in your Statement of Purpose.


Updating Application, Checking Status, Applications Results

How can I update any information on my application after I have already submitted it?

Send an email to Scott Coldren. Under normal circumstances, you should receive a reply with roughly 48 hours.

How may I check the status of my application?

You may check the status of your application materials yourself via your online application. If you are unable to do so, you may also send an email to Scott Coldren.

How will I receive my application submission results?

You will be contacted via email with the results of your application submission when a finalized decision has been made. You will not receive a hard copy results letter. Be certain that the email address you provide in your application is valid.


Are GRE scores required from all applicants?

Yes, ALL applicants are required to submit valid GRE General Test Scores (the Subjective scores are not required). There are no exceptions or waivers granted. All three sections of the exam (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical) are required.

Please be aware that the submission of either GRE or TOEFL test scores is only valid for the admissions cycle that you are specifically applying for. Cornell does not carry over scores from previous years. If you had made arrangements with ETS to have test scores submitted for a previous year, you will have to have them submitted again for the admissions cycle that you are specifically applying for and pay the full cost.

Where should I submit my GRE/TOEFL scores?

Your scores will be submitted directly to Cornell University, not to the ECE Department.

What Code(s) should I use to submit my GRE/TOEFL scores?

  • GREs - You need to use the Institutional Code of 2098 for Cornell University and the Departmental Code of 1203 for Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • TOEFL – You need to use the Institutional Code of 2098 for Cornell University and the Departmental Code of 66 for Electrical and Computer Engineering.

I’ve taken the GRE/TOEFL more than once. Which set of scores will be reviewed?

The ECE Department will receive all of your scores. The scores that you have self-reported on your application will be the ONLY scores that will be reviewed. You may not combine scores from multiple exams taken; you may only submit a complete set of scores.

If I’ve already taken the GRE/TOEFL, how long are my test scores valid?

GRE scores are valid for up to five (5) years from the original date of the exam. TOEFL scores are valid for up to two (2) years from the original test date. In order to ensure your scores are both valid and up to date, contact ETS directly.

I’m an International Applicant. Do I have to submit a TOEFL score with my application?

If you come from a country where English is not the native language, you MUST submit TOEFL scores from an exam taken within the last two (2) years.

How do I know if I qualify for a TOEFL exemption?

The TOEFL is not required of applicants who have studied full-time for two (2) or more years in a college or university where English is the language of instruction and the college or university is located in a country where English is the native language. This is a policy of the Cornell University Graduate School and no exceptions will be made. [more info]

What is the deadline for submission of GRE/TOEFL scores?

All official GRE/TOEFL scores must be submitted by December 15th. It is the responsibility of the APPLICANT to ensure that official scores are submitted by the deadline date. Be sure to self-report all available scores on your application and have the official scores sent immediately!

Did you know?

US Patent 502, 384 Dynamo-Electric Machine or Motor, was also created by Harris J. Ryan 1887, which overcame a major defect in the operation of DC (direct-current) machinery.