Admissions & Application Details

Mathematics Ph.D. Program

The Graduate Field of Mathematics will not admit doctoral students for Fall 2024. Our Program is bigger than its typical steady-state size: strong recruiting has caused a modest increase, while COVID-impact has lengthened the typical time-to-Ph.D. We are committed to providing enhanced funding to our current students. We will resume regular admissions next year for students to matriculate in Fall 2025. 

The graduate program in Mathematics leads only to the Ph.D. degree. Students are not accepted for an M.S. degree. The Ph.D. program overview can be found here

Prerequisites

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 :

  • 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. Click for more information.

  • Three letters of recommendation. Additional letters are allowed. 

  • Transcripts (either official or unofficial) from the institution at which you are currently enrolled and/or from any institution from which you have received or will receive a degree. All transcripts must be combined into one PDF document and uploaded. 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. Paper copies will be accepted only if the first two options are not available to you. If you are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission, we will require a formal and official paper transcript prior to matriculation.

GRE scores will not be considered.

Find more information about Cornell's application process here.

Requests for Application Fee Waivers should be sent to the Cornell Graduate School. Click here for more 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.

TOEFL Requirement

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required for international students whose native language is not English. Only students who have studied full time for two or more years at a college or university located in a country where English is the native language and where English is the language of instruction are exempt from the TOEFL at the time of application. More information on language requirements.

The minimum TOEFL requirements are as follows: IBT test (replaced CBT) after September 1, 2009:

20 Writing
15 Listening
20 Reading
22 Speaking

All four scores must be reported. Applicants will not be considered if any minimum score is not met.

IELTS

The Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Scores must be delivered electronically through the IELTS E-Delivery service to the Cornell University Graduate Admissions e-download account. E-delivery may also be referred to as an e-TRF by your test center.

Admission Decisions

Applications are evaluated by the math graduate admissions committee, which consists of about a dozen faculty. The first round of admission decisions are 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.  Under the rules of the Council of Graduate Schools, students have until April 15 to make their decisions.

Financial Aid

Everyone who applies for admission to the graduate program in mathematics is automatically considered for financial aid. For many years the field has been able to provide financial support — through a teaching assistantship, fellowship, or graduate research assistantship — to every graduate student who is making satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree, and it expects to continue this practice.

Some of our students have fellowships from the National Science Foundation or other sources. However, most are supported by Teaching Assistantships, which pay $32,494 for 15 hours per week in 2023–2024. 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

We will provide summer support to any graduate student who is interested. Summer support for summer 2025 is expected to be about $6,500.

Applied Mathematics

We accept applications from students interested in Applied Mathematics. Note that Cornell University has a separate Ph.D. program in Applied Mathematics and students can apply to both programs.

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

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