Application Requirements

The deadline for fall admission is December 1; there is no spring admission. We encourage applicants who are interested in the program to complete their application and have all credentials, including letters of recommendation uploaded before this deadline if possible. The application is available online.

Applicants will be required to supply the following items:

  • Statement of Purpose (included in the application) that describes how your previous academic coursework and research experiences have prepared you for success in the Cornell Biophysics graduate program. In what specific ways will matriculation to our program support your scientific interests and long-term professional goals?
  • Current transcripts for all colleges attended should be uploaded into the application (Note: Official transcripts are not required at time of application).
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English language competency: This is a Graduate School/University requirement and may only be waived under very specific circumstances, which are listed on the Cornell Graduate School website. Applicants should self-report their scores in the application if possible; these scores can be used for evaluation prior to the official scores being received.  No offer of admission can be made without official scores.
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS test are required for applicants whose native language is not English. This is a university requirement and the Graduate School has set minimum scores for each section of the test: Reading – 20; Writing – 20; Listening – 15; Speaking – 22. To be considered for admission, an applicant must receive at least the minimum score on each individual section of the test. Official scores should be sent from ETS to Cornell University, university code #2098 (department code is not required).
    • Those taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test must score 7.0 or higher. 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.

Note:  The GRE requirement has been waived for the 2022-23 admissions cycle.

Application Fee Waivers:  The Cornell Graduate School will consider requests for fee-waivers for applicants who are experiencing financial hardship and also applicants who have participated in specific pipeline programs.  More information on application fee waivers can be found on the application fee portion of the Graduate School web site.  Please note:  the Field of Biophysics does not issue fee waivers.

All applicants should be aware that the Field includes a current graduate student representative on the Admissions Committee.  Although this should in no way affect the information included in your application, we want to provide transparency with regard to our admissions process by informing you that your application will be reviewed by a select group of faculty and graduate students.  All members of the Admissions Committee are instructed to respect your privacy and FERPA rights with regard to the information it contains.  (Please note:  if you ask to be considered for Diversity Fellowship opportunities, your supplemental essay will not be visible to the entire committee; only the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), the Chair of the Committee and the Graduate Field Assistants (GFAs) will have access to it in order to consider you for nomination for these funds).

Recruitment Events:  Top-ranked applicants being considered for an admissions offer are typically invited to campus to interview. Recruitment interviews and interactions are an important part of our admissions process.  Should an invited applicant be unable to attend one of our Recruitment Weekends, they will be invited to interview with faculty via Skype.

Diversity and Inclusion

Cornell University and the Graduate School are committed to providing an inclusive environment for all Cornell students.  The Field of Biophysics strongly supports this mission and, as a result, our graduate student community is a vibrant and diverse one. Biophysics students come from all areas of the globe and all walks of life. We are committed to the equality of educational opportunity and success for all students. The Field actively seeks individuals from underrepresented ethnic groups and participate in many programs on campus to recruit and retain under-represented minorities and diversity students (including first-generation college students).

Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Field of Biophysics has established a partnership with the Cornell University Student Disability Services Office. Any student who is invited to our recruitment events and requires special accommodations to participate should contact the GFAs to request necessary arrangements.

Admission Decision Timeline

The Biophysics Admissions Committee is made up of faculty and graduate students.  The Committee will meet shortly after the December 1 deadline to evaluate completed applications. A select number of applicants will be invited to interview at our on-campus Recruitment events. Invitations are extended in December to applicants residing in the US.  International applicants being considered for admission will be offered Skype interviews.  Admissions decisions are made by mid-to-late March, once all interviews have taken place.