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.


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 completed online application includes: statement of purpose, transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, and official TOEFL scores (if applicable). Optional personal statements, 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.

Academic Statement of Purpose

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

Personal Statement

This statement should describe how your background and experiences influenced your decision and ability to pursue a graduate degree. Click here for details.


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. 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)

We do not require GREs. You will not be able to report scores as part of the application process and we ask that you refrain from listing any scores on your resume or other application materials.

TOEFL/IELTS Requirements

For admissions purposes, Cornell University Graduate School does not require IELTS or TOEFL scores from applicants who meet one of the following standing exemptions. However, applicants admitted to research degrees may still need to complete the English Language Assessment before being a TA.

  1. Speak English as a first language and are a citizen or permanent resident of a country where English is an official language. Applicants who meet this exemption are automatically approved to serve as a TA without an individual English Language Assessment.

  2. At the time of enrollment at Cornell, will have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants who meet this exemption will need to complete the English Language Assessment and may be offered an individual support plan.

  3. At the time of enrollment at Cornell, will have earned the international equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university in a country where English is an official language, and where English is the language of instruction. (The medium of instruction must be indicated on the transcript or easily verified on the institution’s website.) Applicants who meet this exemption will need to complete the English Language Assessment and may be offered an individual support plan.

  4. At the time of enrollment at Cornell, will have studied and/or worked full-time for at least 2 consecutive years within the last 10 years in a country where English is an official and widely spoken language. (This experience must be noted on a transcript and/or described on a resume or CV. We will accept a combination of study and work—e.g., an applicant who completed a 1-year master’s degree in the U.S. followed by 1 year of OPT. If you are or were a student, English must be the language of instruction for your studies.) Applicants who meet this exemption will need to complete the English Language Assessment and may be offered an individual support plan.

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, 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.

TOEFL/IELTS Submission

  • 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 ask your test center to send additional score reports 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. Paper TRFs (Test Report Form) are not accepted.

  • Your IELTS Academic scores must be valid as of your program’s application deadline (scores are valid for 2 years after your test date).

  • Have scores delivered electronically to Cornell University Graduate School, Institution code 2098. Department codes are not needed;  if ETS requires you to select a department code, you may choose code 99 “undecided.”

  • Your TOEFL scores must be valid as of your program’s application deadline (scores are valid for 2 years after your test date).

  • If you have taken the TOEFL iBT more than once within the last 2 years, have ETS send us your most recent score report. ETS will automatically include your MyBest scores along with the traditional scores from your selected test date. If your most recent scores do not meet the Graduate School’s minimum sub-score requirements, but your MyBest scores do, let the Graduate School and your proposed field of study know that you would like us to consider your MyBest scores. Please note: while the Graduate School accepts MyBest scores, individual graduate fields may not accept them.