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Ph.D. Admission Process

Applying for ECE Ph.D. Graduate Study / Admission Requirements

Details You Should be Aware of Prior to Applying: 

  • Applications for the ECE PhD Program are accepted for Fall Admission ONLY.
  • Deadline for submission of all completed application materials is DECEMBER 15. This is a hard deadline and no exceptions will be made.
  • Applicants are responsible for the submission of all completed application materials prior to theDECEMBER 15 deadline.
  • Applications that remain incomplete after the DECEMBER 15 deadline will be considered ineligible for admission.
  • GRE General Test is required; Subject Test is optional and not required.
  • If you are a Foreign National whose primary language is not English, a TOEFL or IELTS Score will be required. Be sure to review the Cornell Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements prior to submitting your application. TOEFL or IELTS Scores that do not meet the minimum score requirements will NOT be considered for admission.
  • The submission of Test Scores (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS) are valid ONLY for the admissions cycle you are specifically applying for. Submitted Test Scores are not carried over from previous years. If you submitted Test Scores prior to the year you are applying for, you will be required to submit them again and pay the full cost.
  • You must submit an online application through the Cornell Graduate School in order to be considered for admission to our PhD Program.
  • For questions regarding the admissions process, contact the ECE Manager of Student Services

Required Items to Accompany Application Submission

All ECE Ph.D. Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission.

  1. Online Application: All Applicants must apply through the Cornell Graduate School’s Online Application
  2. Statement of Purpose: Expected length should be no more than One or One and a Half pages.
  3. GRE Scores: ALL Applicants are required to submit GRE Scores. See below for additional details regarding Test Scores.
  4. English Language Proficiency Scores: ALL Foreign Nationals whose Native Language is not English are required to submit either a TOEFL or IELTS score. See below for additional details regarding Test Scores.
  5. Unofficial Transcripts: An Unofficial Transcript from each University you have attended is required for submission. The Transcript(s) must be in English. You will upload your Transcript(s) yourself in your online application.
  6. Letters of Recommendation: A Minimum of Three (3) Letters of Recommendation are required. At least Two (2) of the letters should be submitted by faculty members familiar with you and your background.
  7. Resume / Curriculum Vitae

DO NOT submit any Hard Copy Materials of any kind. They will not be considered or added to your online application materials.

Test Scores: GRE, TOEFL and IELTS

GRE Scores

  1. All ECE Ph.D. Applicants are required to submit valid GRE General Test Scores (the Subjective Scores are not required).
  2. There are no exceptions or waivers considered.
  3. Scores from All Three Sections of the GRE (Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical) are required.
  4. Minimum Required GRE Scores are: 153 – Verbal, 159 – Quantitative, 5.0 – Analytical.
  5. Only Official GRE Scores submitted by ETS will be considered.
  6. GRE Scores should be submitted to the Cornell Graduate School only; they should not be sent to ECE directly, or to any other office on the Cornell Campus.
  7. Use the required Institutional Code of 2098 for Cornell University when having ETS submit your official GRE Scores. A Departmental Code is not required.
  8. Official GRE Scores are required to be submitted by the DECEMBER 15 Deadline.
  9. Be aware that Official GRE Scores are only considered Valid for up to Five (5) Years from the Original Test Date. Invalid scores will not be considered.

TOEFL Scores

  1. If you are a Foreign National whose Native Language is not English, you will be required to provide proof of your English Language Proficiency.
  2. Minimum Required TOEFL Scores are: 20 – Reading, 20 – Writing, 15 – Listening, 22 – Speaking.
  3. If you are not able to meet or exceed the required scores in each of the four areas, you will not be considered for admission.
  4. Only Official TOEFL Scores submitted by ETS will be considered.
  5. TOEFL Scores should be submitted to the Cornell Graduate School only; they should not be sent to ECE directly, or any other office on the Cornell Campus.
  6. Use the required Institutional Code of 2098 for Cornell University when having ETS submit your official TOEFL Scores. A Departmental Code is not required.
  7. Official TOEFL Scores are required to be submitted by the DECEMBER 15 Deadline.
  8. Be aware that Official TOEFL Scores are only considered Valid for up to Two (2) Years from the Original Test Dates. Invalid scores will not be considered.
  9. If you believe you may qualify for a TOEFL Waiver, you should consult the Cornell Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements page

IELTS Scores

  1. If you are a Foreign National whose Native Language is not English, you will be required to provide proof of your English Language Proficiency.
  2. Minimum Required IELTS Score: 7.0 Overall Band Score.
  3. Official IELTS Scores should be sent directly to the Cornell Graduate School; they should not be sent to ECE directly, or any other office on the Cornell Campus.
  4. The Cornell Graduate School download IELTS Academic Scores that have been transmitted to their e-download account. Be sure to contact your Test Center and request that your Official IELTS Scores be sent to the following IELTS e-download account: Cornell University Graduate Admissions, 143 Caldwell Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  5. Hard Copy IELTS Scores are not acceptable.
  6. Official IELTS Scores are required to be submitted by the DECEMBER 15 Deadline.
  7. If you believe you may qualify for an IELTS Waiver, you should consult the Cornell Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirements page.

English Language Proficiency Requirement Waiver

The English Language Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL or IELTS) will be waived if you meet at least One (1) of the following criteria below.

  1. You are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (except Quebec). Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. are not exempt from the requirement.
  2. At time you enroll at Cornell, you will have studied in full-time status for at least two academic years within the last five years in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, or with English language instruction in Canada or South Africa. Even if English was the language of instruction at your school, if you did not study in one of these countries you are not exempt from the requirement. You must submit a transcript that shows you attended college in one of the approved locations, and that your academic program was at least Two (2) years in length.

The English Language Proficiency Requirement is set by the Cornell Graduate School. There are no exceptions.

1. Is the Deadline for Submission of ALL Completed Materials the same as Application Deadline?

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Yes. The Deadline is DECEMBER 15. This is a Hard Deadline for the submission of both the completed online application AND all completed admissions materials.

3. Can I apply for consideration for Spring Admission?

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No. We accept applications for consideration for Fall Admission ONLY.

4. What are the Minimum Requirements all ECE Ph.D. Applicants are expected to meet?

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  • GPA of 3.5 / 4.0 or above
  • GRE Scores: 153 – Verbal, 159 – Quantitative, 5.0 – Analytical
  • Foreign Nationals: English Language Proficiency Minimum Requirements
    • TOEFL: 20 – Reading, 20 – Writing, 15 – Listening, 22 – Speaking
    • IELTS: Overall Band Score of 7.0 or higher
    • Applicants whose scores fall below the minimum requirements will NOT be considered for admission

5. What are the Required Materials will I need to include in my Online Application?

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  • Statement of Purpose
  • Official GRE Scores
  • Foreign Nationals: Official TOEFL or IELTS Scores
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation (at least two should be from faculty members)
  • Unofficial Transcript(s) from each University you have attended
  • CV / Resume (optional, but encouraged)

6. Should I be submit any Hard Copy Materials?

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No. Any hard copy materials received will not be considered or added to your application. All items must be submitted in your online application.

7. Can I update my materials after I have submitted my application?

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Yes, but only if it is absolutely necessary. Send your requests via email to the ECE Manager of Student Services.

8. Which Degree Program should I select on the Application Form?

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

9. If I’m a Foreign National, how would I qualify for a TOEFL or IELTS Waiver?

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The English Language Proficiency Requirement may be waived only if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (except Quebec). Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. are not exempt from the requirement.
  • At the time you enroll at Cornell, you will have studied in full-time status for at least Two (2) academic years within the last Five (5) years in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, or with English language instruction in Canada or South Africa. Even if English was the language of instruction at your school, if you did not study in one of these countries you are not exempt from the requirement. You must submit a transcript that shows you attended college in one of the Approved Locations, and that your academic program was at least Two (2) years in length.

10. Will the Field of ECE keep me informed of my Application Status?

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  • No. ECE will not acknowledge the receipt of your application or the completion of your materials.
  • You will need to check the status of your materials yourself by logging into your online application and reviewing your Check List.
  • ECE will contact all applicants whose materials are Incomplete ONLY ONCE via email within several weeks of the DECEMBER 15 deadline.

11. How will I receive my Admission Results?

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When a finalized decision has been made regarding your application, you will be contacted by email only with your results.

12. Can I defer my admission to the ECE Ph.D. Program?

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Deferral requests are handled on a case by case basis. A request must be submitted in writing via email and must be explained in detail.