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FAQs

Is it necessary to be accepted by a faculty member in his or her lab?

Students apply to the Field of Biological and Environmental Engineering and specify in the application the faculty member(s) they would like to work with.  Applicants are encouraged to contact the  faculty prior to submitting their application.

Is funding included in all offers?

BEE offers full financial support for their M.S. and Ph.D. students, including tuition, stipend, and health insurance to all students accepted into the program. Support may be through Research Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships. Applications are sometimes declined from otherwise very qualified students because the student’s interests are not a good match for our research programs. We encourage perspective students to visit our faculty websites and to contact perspective faculty members for more information. Contact the director of graduate studies, Peter Hess for general information. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for full or partial funding from appropriate funding agencies (NSF GRFP, DoD NDSEG, DOE SCGF and others).

Is there funding for international students?

Yes, international M.S. and Ph.D. students accepted into our program may also be offered full funding. Some funding sources, however, may only be used for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exams (GREs)?

All applicants must take the GREs with the exception of Cornell undergraduates who are applying to the MEng program. This test is the only standard metric we have for comparing all applicants.  The required minimum GRE scores are: Verbal 140, Quantitative 154, Analytical 3.  GRE subject tests are not required. 

Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

All applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL. Only 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 set strict minimum scores for admission. Applicants must meet or exceed the minimum for each of the categories on the internet-based test (iBT):

Writing: 20
Listening: 15
Reading: 20
Speaking: 22

Applicants must receive an overall band score of 7.0 or higher for the IELTS exam.

Can I apply to be admitted for the Spring semester instead of in August?

Yes, but the majority of our M.S and Ph.D. admissions—and funding—follow an annual cycle, with applications due December 1 for students to begin their studies in August. The availability of funding at other times of the year is more constrained. However, beginning studies in the spring or summer is possible and decided on a case by case basis.

Can I send unofficial test scores or transcripts to make the application deadline?

Yes, we will accept unofficial transcripts uploaded to your application. If admitted to the program, students must send official transcripts before matriculation. You can submit unofficial test scores, but you you must also send official test scores to be uploaded to your application.

The application fee for Cornell University is $105. What if I cannot afford this fee?

In cases of extreme financial need, the Graduate School will consider a request for a fee waiver. A letter of request for a waiver and documentation of need, such as a letter from a college financial aid office, must be sent to the Graduate School. E-mail must be sent to Janine Brace at jmb20@cornell.edu