Cornell ORIE Ph.D. Open House

Welcome to Cornell University: Any person, any study.

Angela Zhou P H D candidate

Cornell offers a rich intellectual environment, with tremendous interdisciplinary flexibility, which is helpful for the mix of ORIE-relevant topics. Ithaca is a beautiful area that offers many natural wonders—Cayuga Lake, waterfalls, hiking trails, and wineries to name a few.

— Angela Zhou, Ph.D. candidate
Raul Astudillo Marban

Being a Ph.D. student at ORIE has been one of the most challenging experiences of my professional life, but it sure has also been the most rewarding. The academic and human excellence that I have experienced here has influenced me in ways that I never imagined before. I am very grateful to my peers, ORIE's staff, and, in particular, my Ph.D. advisor, Peter Frazier, for their support and for allowing me to be a part of such a dynamic and welcoming community.

— Raul Astudillo Marban, Ph.D. candidate
ORIE faculty and P H D students were instrumental in Cornell figuring out the fall and spring scheduling

Model makers: How engineers saved the fall, spring semesters

When faced with how to schedule classes during the pandemic, Cornell turned to its School of ORIE, where faculty and students live and breathe mathematical modeling, optimization, and analysis for data-driven decision-making.

Sean Sinclair P H D candidate

The faculty in the ORIE department are friendly and accessible. Through my Ph.D., I've had the opportunity to work with excellent colleagues, and the collaborative research experiences helped me expand my expertise. The uniquely interdisciplinary program helped me understand a wide variety of topics from optimization to statistics and probability.

— Sean Sinclair, Ph.D. candidate
Trang Tran, P H D student

For me, Cornell ORIE is a great warm family. Although the pandemic moved our classes online, it didn’t stop me from forming close friendships with ORIE people all around the world. Some ORIE professors even said that I could swing by their office any time and discuss any questions I might have. Here at Cornell, we are treated as colleagues rather than students.

— Trang Tran, Ph.D. student

Graduate Student Spotlights

Sean SinclairSean Sinclair

Sinclair has realized the truth of this at Cornell. “I look around the department and see how relevant so much of the work is,” he said. “COVID testing policies, classroom assignments, final exam schedules, ambulance deployment — these are all challenges people in ORIE are tackling.”

Pamela Badian-Pessot and OpalPamela Badian-Pessot

“I was not convinced I could get into Cornell, but several people at Smith (College) convinced me I should try. When I got in, it was an easy decision to come to Ithaca.”


Sam GutekunstSam Gutekunst

“It was so easy to decide to come to Cornell,especially after my visit. It was clear that people in the department liked each other and treated each other with respect. People’s doors are always open and they like to talk about ideas with any student—not just their advisees.”

More ORIE Spotlights

Welcome to Ithaca

Walks, wineries, waterfalls, and more! Learn more about the beautifully diverse city we call home.

Visit Ithaca website  |   The Finger Lakes Region  |   Welcome to Downtown Ithaca!  
Ithaca Named Best College Town for Livability (2019)  |   Ithaca Ranked #4 Most Arts-Vibrant Community in the U.S. (2020) 


Miaolan Xie

I love that everyone at Cornell is super friendly. I also liked the fact we can develop our interest in our first year. ORIE provides the flexibility of not tying the admission offer to a specific advisor. The area around Ithaca is gorgeous with plenty of state parks and natural scenery.

— Miaolan Xie, Ph.D. candidate
Chamsi Hssaine

What I appreciate most about ORIE is its blend of high-quality theoretical and applied research, as well as the collaborative nature of the department. Cornell's field system allows Ph.D. students to gain exposure to a wide range of disciplines outside of Operations Research, making the environment especially conducive to interdisciplinary work.

— Chamsi Hssaine, Ph.D. candidate

More information and Resources

Visit Cornell 

Seeing Is Believing Explore campus from anywhere (Video and virtual tour of Cornell University).

VIDEO: Cornell University: Glorious to View

Experience the beauty and energy of Cornell’s Ithaca campus in this video. Short version (3 minutes), below.

VIDEO: Cornell Engineering Breaks the Rules to Engineer a Better World

Cornell Links

For International Students

Cornell University Codes/Policies

Accessibility Services

We are firmly committed to providing an experience and environment that is equally welcoming, inviting, and user-friendly for all attendees.

Individuals who would like to request accessibility accommodations should provide these details in the registration form and contact us at

Please provide a detailed description of your needs that require any accessibility accommodations to participate in this event.

Cornell ORIE Ph.D. students FAQs

The following FAQs address questions that prospective graduate student candidates have raised about Cornell's Ph.D. program in Operations Research and Information Engineering. We are happy to respond by email to specific questions not covered in these FAQs and to engage in email dialogue where clarification is needed. These FAQs are informal listings; in the event of conflicts with official publications, those documents govern.

What is the typical length of the Ph.D. program?

Click to Open

The Ph.D. program normally requires four or five years of study and research.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Operations Research or Information Engineering (ORIE) for preparation of the Ph.D. program?

Click to Open

Ph.D. students should have a strong background in engineering, mathematics, computer science, mathematical economics or one of the physical sciences. An undergraduate calculus-based probability course is advisable and students should have some background in computing.

Can I have the application fee waived?

Click to Open

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.

Does ORIE offer an M.S. degree?

Click to Open

We do not offer an M.S. program. Students admitted directly to our Ph.D. program are awarded a Special Masters degree by recommendation of their Special Committee upon passing of the Admission to Candidacy exam, typically taken during the third year of study.We do offer an M.Eng. program (a non-research program). Please refer to that degree program for more information.

Should I contact Cornell faculty that I am interested in working with?

Click to Open

Some prospective applicants contact professors directly to inquire about research opportunities. Such contacts do not usually enhance the applicant's chances of admission, and research assistantships are generally not awarded to first-year Ph.D. students. Sending emails to multiple faculty members is particularly disadvantageous.

Do I need to be concerned with selecting an advisor?

Click to Open

No, temporary advisors are assigned to our incoming Ph.D. students. During their first year of study, they will have access to First Year Ph.D. Colloquiums to help them become familiarized with the faculty and their research areas. Many incoming students think that they are required to provide their own topic of research – that is not the case. All of our faculty members here are happy to provide and discuss available projects.

Is financial aid available to international students?

Click to Open

Yes, almost all students admitted to our Ph.D. program receive full financial aid in the form of a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship, and admissions are based solely on academic merit.

Can I transfer credit from another institution?

Click to Open

We do not accept transfer credit from other institutions for this program.

Where do students live?

Click to Open

Cornell has graduate student housing for individuals and for families. Campus Life provides the most up-to-date information about housing and residential programs and Ithaca-area resources. Many students live in private apartments or rooms at various distances from the campus, often sharing with roommates. A housing packet with information about Cornell and private housing opportunities is sent to applicants who accept admission.

Am I required to serve as a Teaching Assistant?

Click to Open

Incoming Ph.D. students who are not supported by fellowships are generally supported by teaching assistantships. All students are encouraged to serve as TAs. TA positions are also available for our summer courses. This is definitely an invaluable experience, especially for a possible academic career.