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Admissions and Financial Support


Bradfield and Emerson halls

Prospective students must meet the Graduate School's general admission requirements and must also be acceptable to the Field of Soil and Crop Sciences. An applicant for admission to the Graduate School should hold a baccalaureate degree granted by a faculty or university of recognized standing or have completed a degree or diploma program equivalent to the baccalaureate degree program at Cornell; have adequate preparation for graduate study in the chosen Field; and present evidence of promise in advanced study and research. Students from United States colleges and universities who meet these criteria are usually in the top third of their graduating classes. Foreign students must also meet English competency requirements. View the criteria for admission to the Soil and Crop Sciences M.S. and Ph.D. Programs.

Applications for admission will not be acted upon unless prospective students supply the following:

  • A fully completed online application through the Cornell University Graduate School.
  • Payment of a non refundable application fee of $95.
  • Complete transcripts of all previous college or university work, including work done at Cornell.
  • Two, and preferably three, letters of recommendation from instructors or professional scientists acquainted with the applicant's work in the major area of study. If the applicant has been out of school for some time, recommendations from those familiar with his or her professional performance might be acceptable; applicants who wish to submit recommendations of this type should consult the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Daniel Buckley,

Applicants may indicate a second-choice Field in the space provided on the application form. The form will be processed by the first-choice Field (Soil and Crop Sciences) and will be forwarded to the second-choice Field only if the decision is negative.

Financial Support

Bradfield Hall

Admission to the Graduate School is an academic decision and includes the award of financial support. Students may obtain support in several ways. The section of Soil and Crop Sciences may provide teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships. Faculty members with external (non department) sources of funding may also have the resources to support a graduate research assistant. A few outstanding students may receive fellowship awards through the Graduate School.

There are three kinds of assistantships: teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and graduate research assistantships.

Assistantship include remission of tuition and fees, but generally do not include summer support. The Graduate School has very limited summer support funding available, although most summer support, if provided, is available through faculty research projects. Applicants requesting financial aid from the Graduate School are automatically considered for assistantship support by the section of Soil and Crop Sciences.

A limited number of awards of other kinds - including traineeships, payment of tuition and fees, hourly employment, and fellowships - may be made by or through the section of Soil and Crop Sciences. The Graduate School has a very limited number of fellowships available, and occasionally provides Fields with some funding for fellowships, but it is highly competitive and awards are difficult to obtain. Various international, national, and philanthropic agencies also support graduate students.

Students applying to our PhD program are eligible to compete for a prestigious Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) that has the theme of Food Systems and Poverty Reduction. This IGERT, managed by Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, provides 2 years of generous financial support to successful candidates and offers supplementary training for students in the first 1-2 years of their doctoral program. Selected students learn to integrate concepts and methods from across food system-related disciplines by undertaking supplementary coursework and participating in a unique, 6 month field research experience in Africa. This highly competitive, National Science Foundation program can only provide financial support to US citizens or permanent residents. For more information, please visit the program website at

Prospective students from abroad should seek information about similar opportunities from the appropriate offices within their own countries before they apply to Cornell. Visa regulations now require students from outside the United States to identify sources and amounts of financial support sufficient to cover necessary expenses. Under no conditions should the long and costly process of graduate study be undertaken on the assumption that the either the department or Cornell University will somehow furnish the necessary funds after the student arrives.

Candidates who plan to begin their programs in the fall must submit an online application to the Graduate School - including transcripts and letters of recommendation - by the preceding December 1. Although admission to graduate school can be in either the fall or spring semester, most students begin in the fall, and more financial aid is available then.