Graduate Application Process

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How to Apply

Deadline:  December 1

Identify a Faculty Sponsor
The vast majority of successful applicants to the Field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology have identified a potential major professor long before the applications are due. Identify a faculty member with whom you're interested in working and send them an email initiating a dialogue regarding your interests and background. You can find a list of Field Faculty here.

Graduate School Application
Students who wish to apply for graduate study at Cornell must do so online at the Graduate School page. The deadline to submit the application and all supporting materials is December 1.

The online application to the Field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology will specifically ask for the following two statements.  Please follow the instructions carefully in regards to content and length.

Statement of Purpose
Please submit a statement of purpose that states your reasons for undertaking graduate work and explains your academic interests, including their relation to your undergraduate study and professional goals. In addition, describe any research experience you have had that is relevant to your proposed graduate study at Cornell. Limit your statement of purpose to 750 words

Supplemental Statement - Research Interests
Please give us a brief description (500 words or fewer) of what kind(s) of research questions you might like to explore as a graduate student. Please remember that this is in no way a contract for what you would do as a student at Cornell. It is intended to give us an indication of where your research interests are headed and a glimpse of how you would approach research in ecology or evolutionary biology.

You must upload a scanned copy of your transcript(s) from each college or university previously attended. If your college was outside the United States, please include an English summary of your transcript if it is not in English. If it is against an institution's policy to send transcripts to you, the transcripts can be mailed by the school directly to the Field at the address below.

Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation must be submitted from people who are likely to comment on your academic aptitude and research abilities. You will indicate who they are and their contact information when you complete the application. They will be contacted automatically and provided with instructions on how to submit their recommendation letter online.

GRE Scores
GRE scores are not required and are not considered in the admissions process and in fellowship considerations.

TOEFL Scores
Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL and have the official score reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Only students who have studied full-time for two or more years at a college or university where English is the language of instruction located in a country where English is the native language are exempt from the TOEFL.

Codes to Request TOEFL Scores be Sent to Cornell:

  • Institutional Code: 2098
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Code: 30

Admissions Process
An Admissions Committee, consisting of the Director of Graduate Studies and 3-4 additional faculty, review all applications and expressions of interests from faulty. Usually 15-20 students are invited to attend a Prospective Graduate Student Weekend in early February. The Field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and faculty hosts will defray all or most travel costs.

The purpose of the Prospective Graduate Weekend is to provide applicants with a chance to see the program and meet faculty and current graduate students, and for us to meet you. You will have the opportunity to talk to faculty and graduate students in both formal and informal settings. To get the full experience of life in the department, students invited to the weekend are strongly advised to attend, as opposed to visiting individually at other times.

Following the weekend, the Admissions Committee, with input from faculty and students, makes decisions on acceptances. Usually 8-10 students are admitted each year from a pool of about 125-150 applicants.

If you have any questions about application procedures or your application status, contact the Graduate Field Assistant, Patty Jordan. If you have questions about the overall graduate program, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Monica Geber.

Department Address:
Graduate Field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Cornell University
E235 Corson Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853