Deadline & Decision Information

Online Ph.D. application is available through the Graduate School starting September 1. The Information Science Ph.D. application deadline is December 1, 2021 for the Fall 2022 admission. No application materials will be accepted, and no submitted applications will be updated after the deadline. There are no Spring admissions. No preadmission application is required. Students should expect to hear, via email, of the decision on their application no later than mid-February. 

Apply

Requirements

To apply to the Information Science Ph.D. program, you must complete the online application through the Graduate School. No preadmission application is required. To complete the online application, you will need the following materials - including letters of recommendation - submitted on or before December 1, 2021:

  • All Transcripts from current and previous institutions.
  • Three letters of recommendation, which must be received by December 1, 2021.
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • A Personal Statement
  • International applicants will need an official TOEFL or IELTS score.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $105 is required at the time you submit the application unless you qualify or request a fee waiver. Information about fee waivers is located on the Graduate School’s website. You will also find a link to the fee waiver request form on the payment page of the online application. If you plan to request a fee waiver, be sure to plan ahead.  Fee waiver requests are reviewed and approved within 1-3 business days by the Graduate School. 

Optional Materials

The following are optional and are not required for admission into the Information Science Ph.D. program.


Cornell IS Student-Applicant Reading Program (SARP) - Open for Fall 2022 Admissions Cycle

This program is an initiative created by the Information Science Graduate Student Association (ISGSA), which is composed of elected IS graduate students. The goal of this program is to ensure qualified applicants from marginalized groups experience less barriers in the application process.

We welcome submissions from any prospective student who identifies with a marginalized group. We consider marginalized groups broadly, which may include, but is not limited to, categories like: race, class/income, sexuality, religion, (dis)ability, gender, or first-generation status*.

Please use this link to submit your materials for reviewhttps://forms.gle/pCVqqxkhH6LADFb17

Submission of materials opens October 4th, 2021 and closes November 20th, 2021. Feedback will be returned in approximately two weeks and at the latest November 24th, 2021.

This program comes at no cost to the applicant and support is provided by volunteers in the IS PhD program. This program matches prospective applicants’ draft application materials with current graduate students in the department who will offer their suggested revisions to improve prospective students' materials. Materials can include: statement of purpose, CV, and/or personal statement. Participation in this program is intended to support the application process but does not guarantee admission to the IS PhD program.

Participants will still need to submit their PhD application through the Graduate School official portal prior to the deadline (December 1, 2021) to be considered for the IS PhD program.
For any questions or clarifications about the Student-Applicant Reading Program, please contact ISGSA@cornell.edu
*broadly defined by being the first in one’s immediate family to attend and complete any level of college education

REQUIREMENTS OF ALL APPLICANTS

Transcripts

Your application should include complete and scanned transcripts of all previous college and university work, including any work done at Cornell. If you are submitting unofficial transcripts, the Graduate School will require that you submit official transcripts should you be accepted into the program. In this case, please make sure your transcript has your name, birthdate, and the name of the attended university.

Applicants should scan their transcripts and upload the documents into the on-line application themselves as part of the submission process. For students who are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission, an official paper transcript will be required prior to matriculation; students will be reminded of this requirement on the “response to offer of admission” form.

International Credentials

All transcripts or academic records must be official documents provided in the original language. If that language is not English, they must be accompanied by certified translations into English. If not issued by the college or university as original documents, they should be notarized, full-sized photocopies. They should include grades received in each subject each year, and the number of weeks and hours per week that each subject was studied. Courses must be described in detail. The general subject name (e.g., “mathematics”) is not sufficient. The particular subject (e.g., “differential equations,” “algebraic topology”) must be identified.

If you are admitted into the program and you accept our offer of admission, the Graduate School will require an official transcript. They will contact you directly about this requirement.

Grade point averages

If your school uses a GPA scale other than 0–4.0, just leave this field blank when submitting your application. If you feel you must, you may enter 0. We will review your transcript and will rate your performance on the grades you received, not the number you enter into this field.

Letters of Recommendation

Your application must include three letters of recommendation. The letters should be from professors who are familiar with your work and who can testify to your potential as a researcher in Information Science. Once you have submitted your application, a notification will be sent to your recommenders within 48 hours. These letters are a very important part of your application, and you should ensure that they are submitted into the electronic application system by December 1. We discourage mailed letters of recommendation as this delays the processing of your application.

Statement of Purpose

A successful statement of purpose will address the following topics:

  • Questions and Issues you're interested in exploring as a PhD student and why they matter to you;
  • How your research interests relate to the work of Faculty at Cornell;
  • Your ultimate goal in pursuing a PhD. 

Personal Statement

Through the Personal Statement, students are asked to address how their personal background and experiences influenced their decision to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, students are asked to provide insight on their potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and work productively and positively together.

For consideration for nomination for a Graduate School Diversity Fellowship, students must also use the Personal Statement to indicate how one or more of the following identities and/or experiences apply to them:

  • First-generation college student (neither parent/guardian having completed a baccalaureate degree)
  • Member of ethnic and/or racial groups historically excluded from and underrepresented in graduate education – Black, Indigenous (Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Native Pacific Islanders, other Indigenous peoples) and/or Latina/o/x
  • McNair or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Scholar (the Graduate School will verify an applicant’s status as a McNair Scholar or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow while pursuing a baccalaureate degree at a U.S. institution)
  • Other identities and/or experiences historically underrepresented and/or marginalized within graduate education including but not limited to the following:
    • Those who manage a disability
    • Being of a gender and/or sexual orientation identity historically underrepresented in your field of study
    • Those who identify as a military veteran
    • Holding DACA, TPS, refugee, or asylee status
    • Those who have experienced housing and/or food insecurity
    • Single parents

For International Students

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

International applicants must demonstrate competency in the English language. You must have your official scores sent by Educational Testing Services to Cornell before our application deadline. Scores should be sent to Institutional Code 2098, the department code is not required.

Internet-based Test (iBT) version of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Each section (writing: 20, Listening: 15, Reading: 20, Speaking: 22) has its own minimum score as noted. Applicant scores must meet the minimums set by the Graduate school. A cumulative score is NOT the correct measure and is NOT sufficient for an offer of admission. In some cases, international students who are admitted will be required to take a remedial course in English.

​IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System)

The Ph.D. program requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS Academic exam. 

  • When you register for the exam, you may select up to 5 institutions to which you would like to have your scores sent. Cornell University has multiple IELTS accounts so please be sure to select Cornell University Graduate Admissions when registering for your IELTS test date.
  • You may also submit a request to your test center to have additional score reports sent to institutions not originally listed on your test registration form. Scores must be sent electronically (e-delivery) to the Cornell University Graduate Admissions, Caldwell Hall e-download account. E-delivery may also be referred to as an e-TRF by your test center.
  • We do not accept paper IELTS Academic test report forms.

Exceptions:

The English language proficiency requirement is waived if the applicant meets at least one of the criteria below.  There is no separate form needed for the waiver:

  • is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada (except Quebec). Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. are not exempt from the requirement.
  • at the time you enroll at Cornell, you will have 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. Even if English was the language of instruction at your school, if you did not study in one of these countries you are not exempt from the requirement. You must submit a transcript that shows you attended college in one of the approved locations, and that your academic program was at least two years in length.

Optional Application Materials

This will be required for those interested in being nominated for a Diversity Fellowship

  • Your Personal Statement should provide the admissions committee with a sense of you as a whole person, and you should use it to describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, it should provide insight on your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and innovate productively and positively together.
  • Your Personal Statement provides you with an opportunity to share experiences that provide insights on how your personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate your ability to be both persistent and resilient, especially when navigating challenging circumstances. It also gives you an opportunity to provide examples of how you engage with others and have facilitated and/or participated in productive collaborative endeavors. Additionally, it provides you with an opportunity to provide context around any perceived gaps or weaknesses in your academic record.
  • Content in the Personal Statement should complement rather than duplicate the content contained within the Research Statement of Purpose, which should focus explicitly on your academic interests, previous research experience, and intended area of research during your graduate studies.

Resume, Writing Samples, and Portfolio 

Additional materials such as resume, writing samples, and portfilio are not required but may be submitted if you feel this will enhance your application. 

General Information

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The department of Information Science does not require or accept the GRE test. 

Faculty Research Interests

For a list of faculty in the field of Information Science and their concentrations, please see our Faculty section of the website. Please feel free to contact specific Faculty to discuss in more detail their research interests. 

Please direct other inquiries to: Graduate Program Coordinator Barbara Woske at bae2@cornell.edu.

Campus Locations: Ithaca and Cornell Tech

Though we have two campuses, each PhD student's location is determined by the location of their advisor (Chairperson). When applying to the PhD program, applicants may indicate a campus preference, but ultimately the advisor's location determines which campus the PhD student will be based. Further, all applicants will be evaluated by the Field as a whole regardless of their intended location. There is no requirement for students working with Cornell Tech faculty to complete a residency period in Ithaca, or vice-versa. 

Once a student is admitted and if they consider changing their advisor, students should keep in mind that the change could mean a move to either the Ithaca or New York City campus, depending on where the advisor is based. 

If a student is interested in spending an entire semester or longer at the opposite campus than where their advisor is located; they must have a faculty person who will be their point of contact in residence at the opposite campus.  It is the responsibility of the student and their current advisor to identify the point of contact faculty person.  Students are not allowed to change campus location until permission has been given by the Director or Graduate Studies.  Students should discuss this move far in advance with their current advisor, Barbara Woske, Graduate Field Assistant, and the DGS.  Students should not assume permission will be granted.  Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.  The student’s advisor is responsible for funding the student even if the student is temporarily residing at the opposite campus. 

Funding

Admission into the doctoral program in the Field of Information Science is based purely
on academic merit. 

All Ph.D. students in Information Science are fully supported during the academic year
as long as they remain in good academic standing. Support from Cornell includes
tuition, health insurance, and stipend. Support is available in the form of teaching
assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. Summer support is not
guaranteed, but most of our students find outside internships for the summer period. If
funding is awarded by the advisor, this would pay an additional stipend. Summer is not
an academic semester, so there is no tuition support for the summer. Students who
wish to enroll in a summer session course must pay the summer session tuition
themselves.

Students located at the NYC Tech Campus

Students who are in residence at our NYC Tech Campus are paid a higher stipend in order to offset the higher cost of living in the city. Teaching Assistantship (TA) or Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) and Fellowships cover full tuition, student insurance and pay a stipend for nine months.

Teaching Assistantships

Each TA is assigned to a course and is tasked with helping the course instructor. The average time commitment is 15 hours per week. TA assignments typically involve grading homework, holding office hours, preparing assignments, or teaching recitations. Students who TA for the semester should make arrangements to arrive back to campus at least one week prior to the start of the semester.  For Fall TAs, this would be no later than August 22; for the Spring term, this would be no later than January 15. If students are expecting to TA for the following semester, they should make sure their summer/winter internships or other commitments end in time to return to campus earlier. 

TA assignments for Ithaca-based courses are assigned by the Director of Graduate Studies; and the Graduate Field Assistant at the Ithaca campus. TA assignments for the Tech Campus are assigned by the Student Service Assistant at the Tech Campus.

Research Assistantships

A GRA is given to a student whose research interests coincide with a sponsored research project. Typically, the work of a Graduate Research Assistant is an integral part of the student’s dissertation research. The faculty member in charge (your advisor) of the project grants a GRA. GRAs working 12 hours per week on the grant project but may work an additional 8 hours.

Cornell Fellowships

The Graduate School awards several one- and two-year Cornell fellowships to incoming graduate students. Your application for admission automatically serves as the fellowship application. However, your application and all supporting credentials must be received by December 1 in order to be considered for a Cornell Fellowship.

External Fellowships

Applicants are also encouraged to apply for external fellowships. Below is a sample listing of fellowships that our IS students may be eligible for. These fellowships are highly prestigious, and they free the student of the responsibilities of an assistantship. Whenever possible, the department helps students in the fellowship application process. In some instances, the department must nominate the applicant. The department will put a call out for nominations for these fellowships throughout the year. Students are also encouraged to look for fellowship opportunities and alert their advisor if they would like to be nominated for one.

Some of the outside fellowships that our students have been awarded include:

  • IBM – This fellowship is open for continuing students. The department nominates the candidates for this fellowship.
  • Facebook – This fellowship is open for continuing students. The department nominates the candidates for this fellowship.
  • Google – This fellowship is open for continuing students. The department nominates the candidates for this fellowship.
  • Microsoft – This fellowship is open for continuing students. The department nominates the candidates for this fellowship.

1 st year PhD Student Reimbursement for a Computer Purchase

All new to Cornell first year Information Science PhD students are allowed a
reimbursement for up to $1,500 USD towards the purchase of a laptop computer. This is
a one-time reimbursement and cannot be used towards any other expenses. Students
are eligible to request a reimbursement only after they have matriculated, registered and
enrolled in classes, which is typically at the end of August. Students have up to one year
from the response deadline of April 15 to purchase a laptop computer and request a
reimbursement. After this date the reimbursement offer is voided.

If the computer equipment total is less than $1,500 you will not be given the balance,
and for equipment that is over $1,500 you will be responsible for the amount over the
$1,500 cap. All equipment must be purchased at one time, and the receipt(s) submitted
all together. Receipts must be in English.  

For reference, our students in the past have received a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch
Bar. Specifications can be viewed here. This is just a suggestion on the type of laptop
you may want to consider purchasing. Students should consult with their advisors if
they have doubts on what specifications will be needed to support their research.
We expect students to use this money to purchase equipment such as the items listed
below:

  • Laptop computer
  • Desktop computer
  • iPad Pro
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Web Cam
  • Monitor for a computer
  • External Hard Drive

Items that we will not reimburse for are listed below, but this is not limited to this list. 
Again, please contact us if you are unsure before purchasing anything. 

  • Parts to build your own computer
  • Warranties
  • Service
  • Replacement of a stolen or broken piece of technology
  • Service contracts (e.g., AppleCare)
  • Headphones

A receipt with the total cost of the approved equipment and the laptop policy form needs
to be submitted to Terry Horgan, tmh233@cornell.edu, and the receipt(s) must be in
English.

Note:  Students who are currently enrolled in a PhD program at Cornell and are admitted through the Change of Program petition process are not eligible for this reimbursement.  Students should work with their advisor for any equipment purchases that are needed. 

If you are interested in applying, please contact Graduate Program Coordinator, Barbara Woske, by email – bae2@cornell.edu