Application Details

The department of Biological and Environmental Engineering seeks highly motivated applicants with excellent academic records. Each applicant's potential for successful graduate study is judged by the Graduate Coordinating Committee, made up of faculty members from the Field. We receive more applications than we have space or funding to accommodate; therefore, we must turn away some very qualified candidates.

Review the following sections for more information:

  • Criteria
  • Application Form and fee
  • Deadline
  • Application details
  • Contact

Criteria

We use several criteria to judge applications, including, but not limited to:
Interests and motivation: The application requires a one- or two-page statement of purpose describing the applicant's reasons for undertaking graduate work as well as an explanation of academic interests, including how they relate to undergraduate study and professional goals.

Related work and/or research experience: Training in a work or research environment can be valuable experience for undertaking graduate studies. Applicants should include a summary of such experience in the statement of purpose.

Prior academic training and record: Applicants to the Ph.D. or M.S. programs must have a baccalaureate degree (bachelor's degree) in an area of engineering, physical science, or biological science with a strong preparation in mathematics and physics.  They should have introductory-level knowledge of biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology,  organic chemistry, physics, statistics, and computer programming plus a working knowledge of calculus and differential equations.  Course work or experience in Biological or Environmental Engineering is desirable but is not required. 

GRE scores: GRE scores are required of PhD and MS applicants.  GRE scores are required of all MEng and MPS applicants with the exception of Cornell undergraduates.  Most successful applicants score above the 80 percentile, verbal and quantitative combined, and 4.5 or higher on the writing/analytical parts of the on the GRE aptitude tests.

TOEFL scores (for international applicants): High proficiency in the English language is essential for admission to our graduate program. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL exam. Students who have studied full-time for two or more years at a college or university in a country in which English is the native language and where English is the language of instruction are exempt from the TOEFL. The Graduate School has strict minimum scores for admission. Applicants must meet or exceed the minimum on the Internet-based test - Writing: 20; Listening: 15; Reading: 20; Speaking: 22. The minimum scores for the computer-based test and paper tests are 230 and 550, respectively. The Graduate School is now accepting IELTS scores. Applicants must receive an overall band score of 7.0 or higher.

Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from faculty members or employers who can assess the applicant's academic potential for a graduate program are required.

Interviews: Depending on the time frame and individual situations, prior to acceptance, we will conduct phone interviews with promising applicants to better assess their interests and compatibility with our department as well as his or her communication skills. Successful applicants will be invited to visit the Ithaca campus (at the Field's expense in many cases) to meet with faculty, staff, and students during our spring BEE Research Symposium.  This is an opportunity for us to get to know you, but even more importantly for you to get to know us.  For applicants for whom visiting Cornell is impractical, we will possibly conduct additional phone/Skype interviews.

Application form and fee

The Graduate School uses an online application; complete instructions for the application may be found at the Graduate School application web site. The secure online form is easy to use, and applications are received immediately. The application fee is USD $80.

Deadline

While the BEE graduate field has a rolling admission policy, in order to be included in the regular cycle for the Fall semester, PhD and MS applications are due by December 1.

Early application is strongly encouraged. To be considered for Cornell Graduate Fellowships, Cornell BEE Academic Fellowships, and other University-sponsored fellowships, applicants must submit their materials by the December 1 deadline.

Applications for Spring admission are considered on a case by case basis. Inquiries may be made to the Graduate Field for more information.

Below is an approximate timetable with key steps in the application and admissions process for the regular admissions cycle for PhD and MS Applicants, and for MEng Applicants:

Date Event  (For PhD, MS and MPS Applicants)
December 1 All application materials received by the Graduate School
Mid-December Review of applications by the BEE Graduate Coordinating Committee
Early-February Select applicants visit Ithaca during the BEE Research Symposium
Mid-March Notification of acceptance and offers of financial support
April 15 Applicants accept or reject offers
3rd week of August Accepted students arrive on campus for orientation and start of Fall semester.

Below is an approximate timetable with key steps in the application and admissions process for the regular admissions cycle:

Date Event  (For MEng Applicants)
Feb 1 All application materials received by the Graduate School
OR
Cornell students who are within one to eight credits of completing their engineering baccalaureate degree may apply to the MEng program as early admit students. The early admit application must be made in the semester prior to the last undergraduate term.
Additional information on the MEng program can be found here.
Early-March Review of applications by the BEE Graduate Coordinating Committee
Early-March Notification of acceptance
April 15 Applicants accept or reject offers
3rd week of August Accepted students arrive on campus for orientation and start of Fall semester.


Application Details

Statement of purpose: The statement of purpose is submitted online following the instructions for the online application. It is not necessary to send a hard copy to the Field.

Letters of recommendation: Letters can be submitted online following the instructions for the online application. If unable to submit online, recommenders may choose to send a copy via e-mail to the Field:
Brenda Marchewka, Graduate Field Assistant
Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering
207 Riley Robb Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-5701
USA
Email: bls19@cornell.edu

GRE: GRE scores are sent directly to the Graduate School. The institutional code for Cornell University is 2098.

TOEFL: TOEFL exams must be taken no more than two years before the application is submitted. Scores are sent directly to the Graduate School. The institutional code for Cornell University is 2098; the department code is no longer required.

Official transcripts: Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate studies (if applicable) should be scanned and uploaded into the online application as part of the submission process. For students who are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission, a formal paper transcript will be required prior to matriculation.

Please note that the Graduate School will not accept official materials sent by e-mail or fax; these are discouraged by the Field as well.

Contact

Questions? At any time, questions about the application process may be directed to:

Brenda Marchewka
Graduate Field Assistant
bls19@cornell.edu
Phone: 607-255-2173

Professor Peter Hess
Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Field of Biological and Environmental Engineering
peter.hess@cornell.edu
Phone: 607-255-2495
Fax: 607-255-4449