Ph.D. Admissions


Please note: Admission decisions are not processed all at one time. A final decision will be sent via electronic mail.

Application Deadline:
Fall 2021 deadline: December 4, 2020

We do NOT offer admission any other time other than the fall.

Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering apply through the Cornell University Graduate School. Admission is then determined by faculty members in the applicant’s chosen field.

A completed online application includes:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE scores
  • Official TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • Résumé

No GRE scores will be required for the fall 2021 admission cycle.

Admissions Review Considering COVID-19 Disruption

Additional information may be submitted within the supplementary information section of the application.  We do not require a writing sample for the Ph.D. application.


Please note: When filling out the application, the Proposed Field of Study and Program Name is Chemical Engineering, Ph.D.

Follow the link to Cornell's online Graduate School Application.

The Cornell University Graduate School application must be submitted online. Information regarding current application fees and payment options can be found at the Graduate School website:

Financial Aid and Tuition

Substantial financial aid is available to outstanding Ph.D. applicants. All students admitted to the ChemE Ph.D. program receive full financial aid in the form of a full tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance, either from a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship. Full stipends are given for nine months; additional summer support is usually available.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is based solely on academic merit. Financial need plays no role in the admission procedure. Completed applications and all accompanying online materials received by December 1 will be automatically considered for financial aid. A separate financial aid application is not needed

Statement of Purpose

This should describe your objectives in pursuing the Ph.D. degree program in chemical engineering.


Please include an up-to-date résumé where requested in the on-line application.


Please upload within the on-line application a copy of a transcript from each college or university you have attended. Please do not send transcripts through the postal mail. Hard copies of official transcripts will be requested for admitted students only.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for application to the Ph.D. program. At least two letters from academic contacts are preferred. Any letters from professional references should specifically describe your accomplishments. Electronic recommendation requests are generated in the process of submitting the online application.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GRE is required. We do not accept GMAT results. A subject test (preferably in mathematics, engineering, or computer science) is encouraged, but not required. Official scores from the testing service must be reported, and admission cannot be finalized until received. University Code is 2098 for score reporting.


Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL or the IELTS and (for the TOEFL) have the official score reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived if the applicant meets at least one of these criteria:

1) is a native citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada (except Quebec). (NOTE: Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, or Singapore are NOT exempt from the TOEFL requirement).

2) studied in full-time status for at least two academic years within the last five 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.


Admission to Cornell is not possible without having at least the minimum score in each category as set by the Cornell University Graduate School, and there are no exceptions to this rule. TOEFL University code is 2098. Minimum scores allowable for admission:

  • Writing 20
  • Listening 15
  • Reading 20
  • Speaking 22


The Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS. Please email for information about how to send your scores.

GRE/ GPA Minimum Requirements

The College of Engineering, of which we are a part, sets a minimum grade point average of 2.7 for admission. Our admissions committee takes a holistic view of applications therefore there is no minimum GPA or GRE.

Advisor Selection Process

Students will not choose an advisor until they arrive at Cornell. All M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to attend a series of faculty presentations where they will learn about their individual research. Students are then encouraged to meet with faculty they are interested in and attend group meetings. In early October, once faculty have presented, students will submit a form with their top rankings. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) then begins the process of matching students and faculty members.