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Criteria for Admission

Admission to the M.S./Ph.D. Programs

Applicants who request admission to the Field of Soil and Crop Sciences for study leading to an M.S. or M.S./Ph.D., or Ph.D. degrees will be evaluated on several broad criteria:

1. Subject areas studied at the undergraduate level. Students with prior preparation in Soils and Crops will normally be well prepared for graduate work in crop science and soil science. Applicants with undergraduate majors in basic sciences such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, or biology, or with extensive training in these subjects, will also be well prepared. Students with backgrounds other than these are encouraged to apply, but if they are accepted their graduate programs will include appropriate preparatory coursework.

2. Grade point average (G.P.A.). Applicants should have maintained at least a B average (3.0 grade point on a 4.0 scale) at the baccalaureate level. Students with a lower G.P.A. are seldom admitted unless their test scores, more recent grades, letters of recommendation, or experience indicate that the G.P.A. does not adequately reflect their ability or potential.

3. Graduate Record Examinations (G.R.E.). All United States applicants must take the G.R.E. Students from other countries where English is the native language are encouraged to take the examination if they wish to be considered for Graduate School fellowships.

4. English competency. Applicants whose native language is not English must provide proof of competency in the English language. Learn more about the Graduate School English language requirement.

Applicants whose native language is not English should be aware that meeting Graduate School entrance language requirements does not necessarily guarantee that they will initially be able to perform satisfactorily; continued instruction in English may be helpful.

5. Letters of recommendation. Federal legislation mandates that enrolled students must be given access to their letters of recommendation. Applicants who wish to waive this right of access should check the appropriate statement on the recommendation forms. If forms are not available, applicants may indicate that they want to waive the right of access by submitting the following written statement to the recommender: "I hereby waive my right of access, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C.A. Par. 123g(a)(1), to this letter of recommendation in regard to my application for admission to the Cornell University Graduate School. I understand that this letter will be used by the Graduate School in its procedures relative to admission and fellowships." The statement must be dated and signed by the applicant, and it should be attached to the letter of recommendation.

6. Statement of goals. At the time of application, students supply a short essay on their application forms stating their program goals and their purposes for pursuing a graduate degree. Applicants' backgrounds and goals should be compatible with department goals and resources, and their statements should describe how their interests relate to the programs offered by the Field of Soil and Crop Sciences.

7. Faculty supervisor. For an applicant to be approved by the Field admissions committee, at least one faculty member must be willing to serve as chair of the student's special committee or as a temporary adviser, pending selection of a major professor. This faculty member usually becomes the major professor, particularly if he or she is supplying financial aid to the student through a research program. Students should not delay the selection of a major professor beyond one semester of graduate work.

Admission to the PhD Program

Students who apply for entrance to department Ph.D. programs will be judged essentially upon the same criteria as students who apply for M.S. programs, but special attention will be paid to the prospective Ph.D. student's depth of research experience. Though most applicants with the B.S. degree will be admitted to M.S. or M.S./Ph.D. programs, those B.S. applicants who have a particularly strong background in research can be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program at the discretion of the admissions committee. Prospective Ph.D. students who have M.S. degrees in areas other than crop or soil science and who wish to be accepted into the Ph.D. program should contact a faculty member in the Field of Soil and Crop Sciences to discuss programs of interest.

Important Message from the University regarding the application process: 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.