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International Students

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English Language Proficiency Requirement

All international applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting official test scores from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS.


TOEFL iBT Version

The Systems Engineering program requires an overall minimum score of 105. This is addition to the minimum sub-scores for each element of the TOEFL iBT as outlined by the Graduate School:

  • Writing: 20/30
  • Listening: 15/30
  • Reading: 20/30
  • Speaking: 22/30

Additional info regarding the TOEFL:

  • The TOEFL score must be dated within two (2) years of the time the application is reviewed by Cornell. (Photocopies of TOEFL score reports will not be accepted; official scores must be submitted to Cornell from ETS.)
  • If you receive your test results and any sub-score does not meet the requirement, you should make arrangements to retake the test as you will not be considered for admission to Cornell University unless you are able to meet or exceed each of the four individual scores.
  • Students should submit all required tests well in advance of the application. Please note that we cannot confirm receipt of test scores until the student has submitted an online application.


  • Applicants must receive an Overall Band Score of 7.5 or higher


The English Language Proficiency requirement may be waived if the applicant meets at least one of these criteria:

  • Is a native 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 TOEFL requirement.
  • Have studied in full-time status for at least two (2) academic years within the last five (5) 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.

The above polices are determined by the Cornell Graduate School and may be viewed here. All graduate fields at Cornell University are required to adhere to them.