Admission Requirements

Admission to ILR is competitive, but each application is considered in its entirety and in comparison with other applications for the same class. The admissions committee, composed of faculty members from all concentrations, review the applications carefully and consider many factors in admissions decisions.

Cornell University expects all applicants to complete their application materials without the use of paid agents, credential services, or other paid professional assistance. The use of such services violates University policy, and may lead to the rejection of application materials, the revocation of an admission offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University.

  • Areas of study - Successful applicants have undergraduate (and graduate) degrees from a wide variety of majors including: the social sciences, humanities, psychology, business, history, law and others.
  • Work experience - Work experience is not required, but a majority of applicants for the professional masters programs (MILR and MPS) have spent a few years in the workplace. The MILR program is intended for students with 1-4 years of work experience, but we also admit a small group of outstanding students directly from strong undergraduate programs for fall admission only.
  • Transcripts - From all colleges or universities you've attended must be submitted. There is no specific minimum grade point average used as a cut-off, although undergraduate coursework and grades are a factor in the admission decisions.
  • Recommendations - 2 letters of recommendation are required. Academic recommendations are preferred, but we will also accept professional recommendations. Letters of recommendation need to be submitted via the applicant's online application.
  • Interviews - After your MILR application has been submitted you will be invited to record an online video interview. For your convenience, our interview questions have been pre-recorded so that you can complete your responses at any time. The video interview is part of a holistic assessment that will be considered alongside your completed application. Detailed information about the video interviews will be provided by email after you submit your application.
  • Resume - All applicants are required to submit a resume with their application.
  • Statement of Purpose - All applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose with their application.
  • Writing Sample - MS/PhD applicants are required to submit a writing sample. Applicants who have already completed a Master's degree must submit a copy of their Master's thesis.
  • Required tests - All applicants are required to submit test scores. Applicants may take either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Note: Please do NOT send any application items, such as resumes, transcripts, etc., through regular mail because we cannot include them in your application for the committee. ALL items must be submitted/uploaded through the online application system.

Please note that the graduate committee considers applications as a whole and test scores are only one of the criteria considered in making admissions decisions. There is no "cut off" score for admission to the program or awarding funding. You can view our mean GRE and GMAT scores in the MILR class profile at the top of this page.

All international students are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. This requirement may be waived if the applicant meets at least one of these criteria:

  •  is a citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (except Quebec). Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, or Singapore, are not exempt from the requirement
  • 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.  You must submit a transcript that shows you have attended college in one of these approved locations.

Cornell's official minimum sub-scores for each element of the TOEFL are:

  • Listening: 15
  • Reading: 20
  • Speaking: 22
  • Writing: 20

ILR recommends applicants have a minimum total score of 100 on the TOEFL with recommended sectional scores of 25 in each category.

The Graduate School requires an overall band score of 7.0 or on the IELTS.

International students may be required to complete Cornell's English for International Students and Scholars (EISS) program prior to enrollment to ensure students of the best chance of success in the program. This is determined by the ILR Graduate Committee.


Watch Our Video Interviews

2014 Postgraduate/Employment Report (PDF, 2 MB)

Connect with Us on...

 FaceBook  Twitter  LinkedIn       

See What Life is Like in Ithaca

Watch the MILR Experience Video

  • Watch this video to find out why the MILR is the top degree program in the area of HR and labor relations.


Be sure to refer to our Application Process FAQ (frequently asked questions) for answers to your application questions.