Ph.D. Requirements in ORIE

Cornell ORIE Ph.D. Application Support Form for Underrepresented Students

This program is administered by current graduate student volunteers and will provide feedback for Ph.D. applications of students from underrepresented backgrounds (URMs - including women, racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families) that wish to apply to Cornell University's ORIE Ph.D. program.

Please fill out the application support form providing as much information as possible if you intend to apply to the Ph.D. program. 


Application Fee Waiver

In cases of extreme financial need, the Cornell 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 submitted to the Graduate School's student service representative prior to submitting the application.

The Cornell Graduate School is pleased to offer application fee waivers to qualified participants of programs designed to provide educational and/or career support to students from historically underrepresented identities. Fee waivers are available to participants of several pipeline programs.


Notice to the applicants affected by Covid-19 restrictions and disruptions

Recent GRE scores are normally required for all applicants to the PhD program in Operations Research at Cornell University. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions and disruptions in place in many parts of the world, some of the applicants might find it difficult to take a GRE test by the time the applications are due. While we still encourage the applicants for Fall 2021 admission to take the test, if possible, during this admission cycle we will consider applications without recent GRE scores. If you cannot take a GRE test due to the Covid-19 restrictions and disruptions, please include in your application a statement explaining why taking a test in a timely manner is difficult or impossible for you, and your application will be considered. If Covid-19 restrictions have affected your academic performance and application portfolio in some other significant way we encourage you to include a short summary statement with your application.

Admissions Review Considering COVID-19 Disruptions

Cornell's Graduate School has issued a statement of Admission Review with regard to COVID-19 disruptions during Spring 2020. Any questions regarding ORIE PhD Admissions should be directed to


Deadline for Fall admission to the Ph.D. Program is January 5 of that same year. We do not process admissions for the spring semester.  PLEASE NOTE:  Admission decisions for the fall semester are processed from February 1 through April 15, and will be sent via electronic mail as soon as the decisions are made.  Decisions are not processed all at one time.

Financial Aid

Substantial financial aid is available to outstanding Ph.D. applicants. Almost all students admitted to the ORIE Ph.D. program receive full financial aid in the form of a full tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance, either from a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship. Full stipends are given for nine months; additional summer support is usually available.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is based solely on academic merit. Financial need plays no role in the admission procedure. Completed applications and all accompanying online materials received by January 5 will be automatically considered for financial aid. A separate financial aid application is not needed. 

Graduate School Application

Students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. in Operations Research and Information Engineering apply online through the Cornell University Graduate School. Admission is then determined by faculty members in the Field of Operations Research. The application fee is $105; 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 must be submitted to the Cornell University Graduate School prior to applying.

A completed online application includes: statement of purpose, transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, official GRE scores, and official TOEFL scores (if applicable). Resumes and additional attachments may be submitted within the supplementary information section of the application.

Please note that when you are filling out the application for Ph.D., the Proposed Degree Program is Operations Research (Ph.D.), and the Major Subjects or Concentrations for Ph.D. students are: Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Applied Probability and Statistics, or Mathematical Programming. We do not have an approved concentration in Financial Engineering for the Ph.D. program. However, we do have faculty specializing in that area that students can work with.

Statement of Purpose

This should describe your objectives in pursuing the Ph.D. degree program in ORIE.


Please upload within the online application a copy of a transcript from each college or university you have attended. Please do not send transcripts through the postal mail. Hard copies of official transcripts will be requested for admitted students only.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for application to the Ph.D. Letters from academic contacts are preferred, but if necessary one letter can be from a business contact, specifically describing your accomplishments. Electronic recommendation requests are generated within the process of submitting the online application.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GREs are required. We do not accept GMAT results. A subject test (preferably in mathematics, engineering, or computer science) is encouraged, but not required. Official scores from the testing service must be reported, and admission cannot be finalized until received. University Code is 2098 for score reporting.

Average GPA and GRE scores of recent admits to the Ph.D. program:

  • Undergraduate overall GPA = 3.90/4.00
  • GRE verbal = 162
  • GRE quantitative = 168
  • GRE analytical = 4.28


Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL or the IELTS and (for the TOEFL) have the official score reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the TOEFL. To submit IELTS scores, please contact the Graduate School at

The TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived if the applicant meets at least one of these criteria:

  1. is a native citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada (except Quebec). (NOTE: Applicants who are citizens of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, or Singapore are NOT exempt from the TOEFL requirement).
  2. 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. You must submit a transcript that shows you have attended college in one of these approved locations.

TOEFL NOTE: Admission to Cornell is not possible without having at least the minimum score in each category as set by the Cornell University Graduate School, and there are no exceptions to this rule.  Minimum scores allowable for admission:  Writing 20, Listening 15, Reading 20, Speaking 22.  In addition, the School of ORIE requires a minimum total TOEFL score of 100.  TOEFL University code is 2098; department/school code is 67 or 69, but is not needed.

IELTS NOTE: The Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS. Please e mail for information about how to send your scores. At this time, ORIE does not have a department specific minimum requirement different from the one set by the Graduate School.