Ph.D. Program Application Details

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


Mastery of the material required for an undergraduate major in mathematics, including a rigorous course in advanced calculus and real variable theory that will serve as an introduction to measure theory and courses in linear algebra and modern abstract algebra at an advanced level. Applicants should also have some familiarity with applications of advanced calculus. Most successful applicants score 700 or above on their GRE subject test.

Application Guidelines

Complete the application online at and upload the following by January 4:

  • a statement of purpose,
  • three letters of recommendation,
  • 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 for the general test and subject test in mathematics and TOEFL scores (if applicable, details given below) must be received by the Graduate School by January 4.

For more information about Cornell's application process, visit

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 — Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL 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.

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.


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.

Admission Decisions

Admission decisions are typically made in mid-February. 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 Foundations or other sources. However, most are supported by Teaching Assistantships, which pay $24,104 for 10–15 hours per week in 2014–2015. Duties may be (i) grading for advanced courses, (ii) giving recitation sections, or (iii) teaching a section of calculus. Assignments to courses are made by the Director of Teaching Assistant Programs, Maria Terrell, but are based on the students' requests.

Summer Aid

It is our intention to make summer support available to all students who would like to remain in Ithaca during the summer. For students who have completed three years of graduate school, this will typically be in the form of a research assistantship paid for by a professor's grant or by the graduate school. First and second year students will, in general, hold teaching assistant jobs in Summer Session courses. We also encourage students to apply for other forms of summer support that enhance their graduate education.

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.