Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

218 Ives Hall, 607-255-1522

M.S. Track for B.S. ILRs Degree Program Policy

  1. Objectives of the M.S. Track for B.S. Degree Program
  2. Administration of the Program
  3. Admissions
  4. Special Graduate Committee and Advisors
  5. Residency Requirements: Registration Units
  6. Course Requirements
  7. Grades
  8. Language Requirements
  9. Teaching Requirements
  10. Thesis/Dissertation
  11. Examinations
  12. Recommendations for the Degree

1. Objectives of the M.S. Track for B.S. ILRs Degree Program

Undergraduates in ILR may pursue a plan to earn the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Science degrees in ILR in five years if admitted to the M.S. program during the last year of the B.S. program.

Note: Applicants to the B.S. ILR may not apply for the M.S. concurrently. The M.S. ILR is a separate degree program which requires a completed bachelors degree at the time of matriculation.

2. Administration of the Program

The B.S. degree program is administered by the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, subject to Cornell University and New York State Department of Education regulations.

M.S. study at Cornell University is regulated by the General Committee of the Graduate school and the policies set forth in the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty. This Code of Legislation sets forth the rules governing graduate education as established by the graduate faculty of Cornell University. Faculty and staff in the graduate fields and the Graduate School are responsible for making these regulations available to students and prospective students. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the various regulations that apply to their programs.

3. Admissions

Students in the B.S. ILR program must apply for the M.S. ILR during their 4th year of undergraduate studies. If accepted, they work to complete the B.S. during the 4th year and in the 5th year the student enrolls as an M.S. student.

NOTE: The student is charged tuition at the undergraduate rate during the 4th year and at the graduate rate during the 5th year of study.

Applicants are required to submit a completed Cornell Graduate Application (and application fee); statement of purpose; complete transcripts from all institutions attended; GRE or GMAT Test scores; TOEFL Scores from international applicants*; a resume or CV, and 2 letters of recommendation from a college or university faculty member acquainted with applicant's academic work (academic references are preferred but professional references will be accepted). 

*International graduate students are admitted with the same criteria as US citizens, including the results of the aptitude tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). All international applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting official test scores from a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam.

4. Special Graduate Committee and Advisors

B.S. students are assigned faculty advisors to guide their degree program. M.S. students choose their Special Graduate Committee Chairperson based on the focus of their interest and research. The student also chooses a minor member for the Committee, who will represent a minor concentration and cannot represent the same ILR department as your committee chair. M.S. students are required to have a full special committee established prior to the end of their second semester. We encourage you to put your special committee together as soon as possible as you are expected to write and defend your thesis in one year.

5. Residency Requirements: Registration Units

The Graduate Faculty requires 2 registration units for the M.S. degree. Master's degree students may not count study in other graduate schools toward the registration unit requirement.

6. Course Requirements

During the senior year of the B.S. program students will enroll in courses which will prepare them to do thesis research. The fifth year features the M.S. thesis research, writing and defense. (In some cases the research takes more than one year to complete). There is no specific number of credit hours required for the M.S. degree but the Graduate School requires 2 registration units, which is 2 semesters of full-time, satisfactory graduate level work. A student's special committee is the sole judge of whether the student can efficiently prepare to fulfill degree requirements through formal or informal participation in courses. The graduate faculty does not differentiate between undergraduate and graduate courses, nor does it regulate the type or number of courses that a graduate student should take.

7. Grades

Students are required to maintain a strong academic average (GPA 3.5), during their undergraduate program, as evidence of ability to work at the Master's level. Once in the M.S. program, the student's Special Graduate Committee reviews his/her degree progress and determines if warning or action is needed.

8. Language Requirements

There are no language requirements for M.S. degree candidates to graduate, however, international applicants must submit official TOEFL test scores to qualify for admission to the program.

9. Teaching Requirements

There is no teaching requirement for students in this degree program.

10. Thesis/Dissertation

The award of all research degrees is contingent upon the completion and submission of a bound thesis or dissertation constituting an original contribution to knowledge. As the M.S. is primarily a research oriented degree, student are required to submit a fully formed research thesis. As a means of improving thesis form and of assuring uniform thesis style, the Graduate School has regulations concerning the preparation of theses. After the degree is awarded, rights to publication of the thesis, dissertation, or related material belong to the author. The graduate is expected to acknowledge in the publication that the thesis or dissertation on which the publication was based was accepted by the graduate faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. One copy of the thesis becomes an official record of the University, held in the University Library.

11. Examinations

The Cornell Graduate Faculty requires the Final Examination for the Master's Degree.A master’s student takes the final exam upon completion of all requirements for the degree but no earlier than one month before completion of the minimum registration unit requirement. This oral exam covers the topic of the master's thesis.

A candidate for the M.S. must submit a complete draft of the thesis to all members of the special committee at least 6 weeks before the Final Examination, unless the special committee modifies this requirement. Students submit a complete readable copy of their thesis to the ILR Library 15 days prior to the final examination making it available for Faculty perusal. At least 5 business days before a Final Examination, a student must give each member of the special committee a final typed copy of the thesis or dissertation, complete in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval. 

  • The Final Examination may not be scheduled until the candidate has accumulated two units of registration.
  • Announcement of the Final Examination is sent to the ILR Graduate Field Faculty.
  • The Chairman of the Special Committee should make every effort to secure the presence of Graduate Faculty members who are not members of the candidate's Special Committee to be present at the examination.
  • Determination of pass or fail rests exclusively with members of the Special Committee, but Graduate Faculty visitors who disagree with the Committee's conclusion may so inform the Dean of the Graduate School and request a review of the case in question.
  • For a student to pass the examination, all members of the Committee must approve.

12. Recommendations for the Degree

Submission of the final approved and bound thesis to the Graduate School signifies the student has satisfactorily completed the degree requirements. The graduate faculty meets to vote on degrees in August, January, and May, immediately following the degree deadlines. The graduate faculty recommends degrees for all students who have fulfilled the academic requirements. A majority vote suffices for granting a degree.