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Additional Requirements for International Applicants

In addition to the materials required of all applicants, international applicants must meet the following requirements. More information for international applicants is available from the Graduate School and the International Students and Scholars Office

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL and have the official score reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Only students who have studied full time for two or more years at a college or university where English is the language of instruction, located in a country where English is the native language, are exempt from the TOEFL.

Most applicants should have access to the Internet-based Test (iBT) version of the TOEFL. This version tests all four language skills important for effective communication: writing, listening, reading, and speaking. Each section has its own score, and the Graduate School has set the following minimum scores for admissions:

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

The Graduate School will continue to accept scores for the Paper Based (550 minimum) versions of the TOEFL for applicants in regions where the iBt is not available.
To have scores sent to Cornell from the ETS, you must indicate the Institutional Code for Cornell (2098) and the Department Code for ILR (87). TOEFL scores are only valid for two years from the test date, because language proficiency can change considerably in a relatively short period of time. Scores more than two years old cannot be reported or verified by ETS, and are not forwarded to institutions for consideration. If you took the TOEFL test more than two years before the date you applied to Cornell, you will have to take the test again in order to have your scores reported.

Credentials for International Students
All documents must be provided in the original language. Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by certified translations into English.

All transcripts or academic records must be official documents. If not issued directly by the college or university as original documents, they should be notarized, full-sized photocopies. They should include grades received in each subject each year, the number of weeks and the number of hours per week that each subject was studied, and, if possible, your rank in class. Courses must be described in detail. The general subject name (e.g., "mathematics") is not sufficient; the particular subject (e.g., "differential equations," "algebraic topology") must be identified.

Applicants who studied at colleges and universities outside the U.S. should have a degree or diploma that is the equivalent of the U.S. bachelor's degree or higher. International credentials are assessed in terms of the educational pattern of the country, the type of institution attended, and the level of study completed before the expected date of enrollment in the Graduate School. In general, the degree should represent a minimum of four years of college-level study which follows at least 12 years of schooling at the elementary and secondary level.
A list of equivalent degrees by country is available at

Financial Requirements for International Students
International students must provide proof of full financial support for the duration of their graduate studies. If an admission offer is made, the Graduate Admissions Office will inform the student of the amount of funding required and the procedure to provide financial certification.

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