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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the application deadline?
    • Applications must be completed by June 1 for consideration for the fall semester (September start) and December 1 for the spring semester (January start). Please follow the application guidelines, as some requirements (e.g., time line, supplemental essays) differ from what is listed in the general application instructions from the Graduate School. Please contact the MPS program office (212-340-2808 or mpsnyc@cornell.edu) with any questions about the admissions process.
  • Is there any way to waive the GRE/GMAT requirement?
    • For applicants with more than five years of relevant work experience, the GRE/GMAT is welcomed, but not required. We understand “relevant” quite broadly, that is, your background does not necessarily need to be in a field typically associated with the ILR School. If you are unsure whether you need to submit test scores, you may call Sara Edwards in the MPS program office (212-340-2808) to discuss your work background.

      The GRE/GMAT is required of applicants with less than five years of work experience. If you do not intend to submit test scores with your application, please be sure your work history is clearly outlined in your resume or CV, especially if it is close to the five-year minimum.

      More information on our application requirements is available here. General information on the GRE/GMAT is available at www.ets.org.
  • I took the GRE/GMAT more than five years ago. Do I have to retake the test?
    • You may submit scores from an exam taken more than five years ago, but please be sure you are able to provide an official copy of your test scores.
  • I took the LSAT. Can I use those scores in lieu of the GRE/GMAT?
    • We do not accept LSAT scores in lieu of the GRE/GMAT. If you have less than five years of work experience, you will need to take either the GRE or the GMAT. Information on both exams is available at www.ets.org.
  • How many new students are accepted each semester? How big are the classes?
    • While the number admitted each semester can vary, the MPS program is small by design, generally maintaining a class size between 20 and 25 students.
  • I believe my experience/interests/goals are closely linked to the substance of the MPS/NYC curriculum, but I’m not sure I fit the typical MPS student profile. Will this hurt my chances of being accepted into the program?
    • No! There is no “typical” MPS student profile, and we are always interested to see the unique perspective each incoming student brings to the program. One of the strengths of the MPS program is that our students reflect our interdisciplinary curriculum and bring to the classroom a broad range of experience and areas of specialized knowledge. It is this exchange of ideas that is the keystone of the MPS program; it is what allows everyone in the classroom—students and faculty alike—to gain a richer understanding of the multifaceted and ever-evolving world of work.
  • I am working part time/am not currently employed. Am I eligible to apply for the MPS program?
    • Yes. While the MPS program is designed to accommodate the demands of a full-time work schedule, concurrent employment is not required.
  • I see that the MPS is described as a part-time program. Is it possible to accelerate and finish in one year?
    • The New York City-based MPS program is only offered as a part-time program. Information on full-time study on the Ithaca campus is available here.
  • I started a graduate program at another University. Can I transfer some of those credits toward the MPS degree?
    • We do not accept transfer credits toward the MPS degree. Many of our students already hold advanced degrees or have earned graduate-level credits elsewhere, but earning the MPS degree requires completion of the full 30-credit program.
  • I’ve been working for a number of years. Will I be given any credit for life experience?
    • We do not award credit for life experience. Most MPS students come to the program with significant work experience, but earning the MPS degree requires completion of the full 30-credit program.
  • I’ve taken statistics classes in the past. Can I place out of the summer session?
    • All MPS students are required to take the summer-session statistics course. If you have taken statistics in the past, the two-week class can provide an opportunity to refresh your skills and gain exposure to newer developments in statistical software.
  • What is an MPS degree? Would I earn a Master’s degree or a certificate?
    • The Master of Professional Studies in Industrial and Labor Relations is a Master’s degree awarded by Cornell University. Students are admitted to, and registered with, the Cornell Graduate School through the same processes as Cornell’s full-time graduate students in residence on the main campus in Ithaca.
  • Are the professors who teach in this program full-time Cornell faculty?
    • Yes. MPS program faculty are full-time Cornell professors who travel from the Ithaca campus to teach our Saturday classes. Leading practitioners, as well as non-ILR faculty, are sometimes invited to lead class sessions as guest lecturers, but each course is developed and taught by the same faculty who teach full-time undergraduate and graduate students on the main campus.
  • Most Cornell degree programs are located in Ithaca, NY. Is the MPS a distance-learning program? Can I attend lectures via the internet?
    • The MPS Program is the only graduate degree program currently offered by the ILR School away from the main Cornell campus, but it is not a distance-learning program. The MPS Program is designed to promote interaction with both faculty and fellow students in a small classroom setting, creating an atmosphere conducive to discussion and debate, and students are expected to attend classes in person.
  • I work full time. Will I be able to keep up with the workload?
    • The MPS program is designed for working professionals and is meant to complement, not get in the way of, a full work life. While undertaking any serious course of study requires a commitment of both time and energy, nearly all of our students are employed full time throughout their studies, while also managing to balance various family and personal obligations.
  • I’m fairly established in my career, but I am considering some changes. Will I get any help with career counseling or placement as a student and graduate of this program?
    • Yes. MPS students have access to all ILR-specific and university-wide career services, both during the program and after graduation. Resources for students and alumni include access to exclusive job postings, career counseling, and extensive networking opportunities within the broader ILR and Cornell communities.
  • Is there any financial aid available for this program?
    • Cornell is not able to offer grants or fellowships for MPS students as this type of university funding is reserved for full-time students. There is a partial scholarship available to employees of the City of New York through the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program. Students are encouraged to seek their own funding through outside sources, and many employers offer some form of tuition benefit. Enough credits are carried each semester to be eligible for student loans.
  • I’d have to travel some distance to get to Manhattan. What time on Saturday do the classes start?
    • Classes start at 10am. Our central location at 16 E. 34th St. is convenient to Grand Central, Penn Station, Port Authority, and the 6,Q,W,N,R,F and V subway lines, making classes easily reachable by subway, bus, or commuter train.
  • Is attendance at the summer sessions required? Will I be able to work while I’m there?
    • Attendance is required at the summer sessions on the Ithaca campus as the courses offered are an integral part of the MPS core curriculum. Students attend one two-week session each summer (in late June) for two consecutive summers. There are no regular Saturday classes held during the rest of the summer.

      While students should expect to devote a significant part of each day to class and study, many students do continue to keep up with work-related activities and maintain contact with their offices.
  • I like the idea of spending two weeks in Ithaca during the summer, but I have kids. Is there any way for them to come with me?
    • Some students do bring their kids—even the whole family—to Ithaca during the summer session. Individual arrangements need to be made, but we can offer suggestions for finding day camps and other activities, as well as childcare.

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