Systems Ph.D. Admission

The application process is entirely online. Begin by going to the application page of the Graduate School website and creating an account. The online application is secure and can be immediately viewed by the Systems admissions committee upon submission. You can learn more about the application process and review additional guidelines on the Graduate School web site.

Admission Deadlines

January 15

Admission Requirements

Academic Statement of purpose

  • Your Academic Statement of Purpose should state your reasons for undertaking graduate work, as well as an explanation of your academic interests, including their relation to your undergraduate study and professional goals. Visit the Graduate School’s Academic Statement of Purpose Page for detailed instructions.

Research Degree Programs

  • Please use the Academic Statement of Purpose to describe (within 1,000 words) the substantive research questions you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies, and explain how our program would help you achieve your intellectual goals. Additionally, detail your academic background, intellectual interests and any training or research experience you have received that you believe has prepared you for our program. Within your statement, please also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own interests.

Academic Degree Programs

  • Please use the Academic Statement of Purpose to describe, within 1,000 words: (1) your academic interests, (2) your academic background, preparation and training, including any relevant professional experiences, (3) your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in this specific program, and (4) your professional goals.

Unofficial transcripts from each college or university previously attended.

  • Please note that there are only up to three fields for listing schools attended. If you attended more than three colleges or universities, you must upload those transcripts in the writing sample portion of the application.
  • If you have appropriate supplemental documents such as an undergraduate research paper, resume, awards, etc., upload them in the writing sample portion of the application.

Three letters of recommendation

  • Additional ones are allowed.
  • Recommenders may submit their letters online. Once an application is submitted, recommenders receive an automated email soliciting their letter (you will be prompted to provide their contact information before you submit your application).
  • Recommenders may also submit hard copies to the Systems office.

Official GRE general test scores

  • The GRE requirement is waived for AY 2023-24.

Official TOEFL scores

  • TOEFL is required from international applicants, unless they have previously studied for at least four years in an English-speaking country.
  • We require minimum scores for each section plus a minimum cumulative score:
    • Writing – 25 
    • Listening – 25
    • Reading – 25 
    • Speaking – 22
  • For further information on this requirement as well as exemptions, please visit the Graduate School website

Application fee of $105

  • Cornell University expects all applicants to complete their application materials without the use of paid agents, credentials services, or other paid professional assistance. The use of such services violates University policy, and may lead to the rejection of application materials, the revocation of an admissions offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University.
  • In cases of extreme financial need, please contact the Graduate Field Assistant and request for a fee waiver.

The Admissions Process

All applications are due January 15 for the upcoming fall semester. Systems does not admit students for the spring semesters. The admissions committee begins reviewing applications at the beginning of January and continues throughout February. Decisions about admissions (and any financial aid) are communicated to applicants until the end of March. All applicants are notified of their decision by email. Applicants offered admission will receive an admissions letter and a deadline as to when they need to inform Systems about their enrollment decisions (usually April 15). After a student responds that they will enroll at Cornell University, they are sent an I-20 form if applicable.

Any questions, material, or correspondence may to be sent to our office at, or at:

Systems Ph.D. Program
602 Frank H.T. Rhodes Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14583 USA