MPS FAQs

What are the required TOEFL and IELTS scores? Can I be exempt?

Required TOEFL scores are assigned and reviewed by the Cornell Graduate School.  Currently the minimum TOEFL scores of the Internet-Based Test (iBT) version are:

  • 15 Listening
  • 22 Speaking
  • 20 Reading
  • 20 Writing

These scores are required for the application by the Cornell Graduate School. However if you have studied in the U.S. continuously for 2 years, the Graduate School can waive your TOEFL requirement. Living in the U.S. only does not apply to this exception. As for IELTS, Cornell Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher. For more information (including eligibility for exemption from the TOEFL exam), please refer to the Cornell Graduate School

I am an international student who has been studying at a U.S. university. Do I still need a TOEFL score?

As an international student, you would be required to have studied full-time for at least 2 academic years at an English-speaking University during the last five years. More information for exemptions to the TOEFL can be found on the Graduate School website.

How many letters of recommendation are required for the application? How do I send them?

Up to 3 letters of recommendation may be uploaded with the application; 2 of which are required and must be academic. The third, optional letter of recommendation can be academic or professional. All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted online.

Is my background education acceptable for the program?

The program is intended for students with a quantitatively-oriented Bachelor's degree in the agricultural, biological, computer, engineering, mathematical, physical, social, or statistical sciences. Our application is open to any major as long as students meet the minimum mathematical background necessary to keep up with course work. These are:  two semesters of calculus, one semester of elementary non-calculus based statistics, a course in matrix algebra, and familiarity with standard computing tools (e.g., spreadsheets). However, space in the MPS program is limited and preference is given to applicants with more than the minimal mathematical background.

The length of time to complete the MPS program depends on a student’s preparation.  Most of our students have more extensive preparation for applied statistics and complete the MPS program in two semesters.  However, with only the minimum background needed for admission you may need to take three or, more likely, four semesters to complete the degree, taking prerequisites (e.g., additional calculus) in the first year. 

What is your GRE cut-off score?

The Department of Statistical Science does not have cut-offs for GRE scores, even though they are still required. Your application is made up of many other parts (recommendations, transcript, etc.) that are reviewed before a decision is made.  We advise you to concentrate on making the whole application as strong as possible rather than concentrating on just one part of it.

Do I need to enter department code to send my GRE scores? What if I input the wrong department code?

As long as you have entered GRE institutional code for Cornell University (2098), you are not required to enter the specific department code. The Cornell system will eventually redirect your score to the right department. However, we suggest that you use 0704 as the department code for applying to the MPS program. If you used 0705, your application will be redirected to us as well.

Can I use scores from other exams such as GMAT?

Unfortunately we do not accept GMAT scores as these are intended for business schools. If you wish to submit your GMAT scores you may add a scan as supplement on the application site. We still require GRE scores.

MPS or PhD?

The MPS is intended for persons who want a short-term (1 year) Master's degree so as to go into business, industry, or government statistical work. At Cornell, if you want to go on for a PhD after the MPS you must apply as a new student to the PhD program; you would be considered as part of the pool of PhD applicants and, if admitted, you might be able to apply some of your MPS coursework but there is no guarantee. The PhD program in Statistics at Cornell enrolls about 4-6 students per year; the MPS, about 50 students per year.

The target time for completion of the PhD program is between 3 and 5 years; the actual time to completion varies by student.

What is your class demographic?

Officially, there are no calculated demographics of the MPS classes. However, most of our students are international students with the majority coming from China. The MPS program enrolls between 40-50 students each year from various backgrounds.

Do I need to document transcripts from other universities I’ve attended?

All transcripts are required for the application. If you have taken courses at another university, regardless of whether or not the credits were transferred to your current university, the Department of Statistical Science requires that you scan the former transcript to your application online as it is the only way to see the grades received for the courses taken. You do not need to send a hard copy of the transcripts until after acceptance.

Technical application issues

Please contact Collegenet.

What is the fall application deadline? Is there a spring application deadline?

The application deadline is February 1st.

Spring admission is limited to Cornell undergraduates.  If you wish to apply for the spring semester, you should send an email to the program director, indicating that your application is for the Spring term. For questions, contact the Director of the MPS Program, Professor David Ruppert or Associate Director of the MPS program, Dr. Xiaolong Yang.

Does the MPS Statistics program qualify as a STEM program?

This program qualifies as a STEM program making international students potentially eligible for a total of 29 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) if all of the extension requirements are met.

Can you please tell me if I am qualified to apply/ a good candidate?

Unfortunately we do not pre-screen students. Only complete applications are reviewed.

Application status (after review)

If you do not see the Decision links on the application website, your current application status is either “Hold” or “Reject.” A “Hold” status means that you were not admitted in the first round of application review and that your application may be reviewed again if we still have space later. The application system does not have an option to reflect the “Hold” status. However, a “Reject” status will be posted on the application website soon.  We will also inform you of your application status via email as the admission process moves forward.