Admissions & Application Details

Mathematics Ph.D. Program

The graduate program in Mathematics leads only to the Ph.D. degree. Students are not accepted for an M.S. degree. We are planning changes to the milestones in the math graduate program; the new milestones will be posted in early 2025. The Ph.D. program overview can be found here


Applicants must demonstrate mastery of the material required for an undergraduate major in mathematics.

We welcome applications from and admit students with various mathematics backgrounds.

Application Guidelines

All Field applications are processed through the Cornell Graduate School's  application online : the applications usually open in September. The Mathematics field will close admissions for Fall 2025 on December 15th. 

  • A statement of purpose in which you describe your experiences and goals in mathematics. This essay is a great way to draw the attention of the admissions committee to your accomplishments. Click for more information.

  • A personal statement, which provides the admissions committee with a sense of you as a whole person. This statement should describe how your background and experiences influenced your decision and ability to pursue a graduate degree. Click for more information.

  • Three letters of recommendation. Additional letters are allowed. 

  • Transcripts are required for every college or university you have attended. Combine multiple pages from the same institution into one file. If it is against an institution's policy to send official transcripts to you, please request an unofficial copy for yourself and scan that document. If you are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission, we will require a formal and official electronic transcript prior to matriculation. Click for more information. 

GRE Math Subject: Required 600 or above. 

Find more information about Cornell's application process here.

Requests for  an application fee waivers can be requested through the payment page of the online application form.  Click here for more eligibility information.

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.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency.  There are 3 ways this may be done:

  1. Submit Scores – Provide official IELTS Academic or TOEFL iBT test scores that meet the Graduate School’s minimums.
  2. Request a Standing Exemption in your application for admission – On the first page of the application form, you will attest that you meet one of the standing exemptions outlined below. Provide documentation if required.
  3. Request a Special Exemption – In exceptional cases, applicants may ask for a special exemption. Guidelines and the request process are outlined on the Graduate School’s website.

Students in doctoral degrees or research master’s degree programs (MA, MS, MFA) who are appointed as teaching assistants (TAs) must demonstrate a higher level of English proficiency. Students who have not met the higher threshold will be supported through Cornell’s International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) in the Center for Teaching Innovation.

More information on the English language requirements can be found online. 


Admission Decisions

Applications are evaluated by the math graduate admissions committee, which consists of about a dozen faculty. The first round of admission decisions is made in mid-February. We typically continue to consider applications and make offers until April 15. Your application is being considered by the graduate admissions committee until you receive a rejection letter or until 8 pm on April 15th, whichever comes first. Cornell University abides by the Council of Graduate Schools’ Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants. As such, admitted students have until April 15 to respond to an offer of admission.

Financial Aid

Every Graduate student who is making satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree in mathematics, receives full financial support - through a combination of teaching assistantships, internal or external fellowships, or graduate research assistantships.  See Graduate Student Assistantship and Fellowship Stipend Rates

Some of our students have fellowships from the National Science Foundation or other sources. However, most are supported by Teaching Assistantships.  Duties may be (i) grading for mathematics courses, (ii) giving recitation sections, or (iii) teaching a section of calculus. Assignments to courses are made by the Director of Teaching Assistant Programs, Lecturer Marie MacDonald, but are based on the students' requests.

Summer Aid

Our financial support package typically includes a summer stipend. 

Applied Mathematics

We accept applications from students interested in Applied Mathematics. However, please note that Cornell University has a separate Ph.D. program in Applied Mathematics and applicants may only apply to one program for a given term. 

Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of Cornell University to actively support equality of educational and employment opportunity regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or handicap.

Contact Information

Admissions and application details for the Mathematics PhD program can be found here and at the Cornell Graduate School's admissions website. General questions can be directed to the Graduate Field Coordinator Elly O'Brien