Program Admissions

The MS/PhD program at ILR is very selective, with 5-10% of applicants accepted. Applications are accepted once a year, for a fall matriculation. Students apply through the Graduate School. Instructions for the application can be found on the Graduate School website.

Many applicants have an undergraduate or Master’s degree in the social sciences (e.g., anthropology, economics, government, history, psychology or sociology), although this is not a prerequisite.

The Graduate Admissions Committee, composed of representatives from each of the areas of academic specialization within the ILR School and the Director of Graduate Studies, makes admissions decisions for the MS/PhD program. These decisions reflect consideration of both applicants’ academic record (grades and standardized test scores), and whether applicants’ academic interests, as expressed in their statement of purpose, can be pursued effectively at ILR, given the interests of faculty members.

Application Requirements

  • Transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample - Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a writing sample. Applicants who have already completed a Master's degree may submit a copy of their Master's thesis.
  • GRE or GMAT Scores - The GRE/GMAT is required for consideration of admission. There is no defined GRE or GMAT score performance requirement. For GRE exams, please send scores to Cornell University Graduate School Code # 2098. Department codes are not used for matching scores to applications; if ETS requires you to select a department code, you may choose “undecided” or “not listed”.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores - The Graduate School does have requirements for performance on TOEFL or IETLS scores for non-native English-speaking applicants.

More information can be found at Cornell's Graduate School website:

Financial Support

Admitted students receive full funding (tuition, stipend, and health insurance) for up to five years by serving as teaching or research assistants to the faculty. MS/PhD students are still responsible for the student activity fee, for finding their own housing, and working out additional costs of living expenses beyond what the stipend provides. There may be opportunities for advanced PhD candidates to teach their own class, under faculty supervision, before they graduate.