Frequently Asked Questions about our PhD Program for both prospective students and current students.

Answers to frequently asked questions about our PhD program are listed here. The first set of questions addresses issues with the application process. The second set of questions applies to current students. 

Please see the How to Apply page in the PhD section of this site.

Please direct all inquiries regarding your application to the Graduate Field Coordinator, Allen Ward.

The Admissions Committee will only accept official scores sent directly to us by ETS. If ETS is unable to send us your test scores because these scores are out of date, then you must re-take the exam. Occasionally, official GRE scores take some time to match to applications; the Field will review applications prior to this matching, but may require official documentation as a condition of admission.

Regarding TOEFL: applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL exam unless they are specifically exempted. Exemptions are granted by Cornell University to students that have studied for two or more years, provided such study takes place at an approved college or university that (i) employs English as the main language of instruction; and, (ii) is located in a country where English is the native language. 

The PhD program in Statistics does not have minimum GRE or GPA requirements. Further, GRE scores are optional but not required. Cornell does have minimum TOEFL requirements (available at the Graduate School), and we cannot make exceptions to these. 

Cornell does not offer an MS degree in Statistics. If you are interested in a Masters degree in statistics from Cornell University, please apply to Cornell's MPS program in Applied Statistics.

Just one: the Department of Statistics and Data Science (DSDS). It is, however, composed of faculty affiliated with several different groups, including: Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Economics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, Natural Resources and Social Statistics.

Currently, Professor James Booth is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

While attendance is not currently tracked, students in the Field of Statistics are expected to attend the regular Wednesday statistics seminar. Going to seminars serves several purposes. First, seminars are a good place to meet the faculty and students, and to meet the many visitors to our department. Second, seminars report on current work and can provide you with ideas for new research. Third, seminars provide you with a benchmark for your progress in the program: your level of understanding should continually improve throughout your time at Cornell.

The Special Committee for each PhD student must contain at least three members. The membership of this committee must represent a certain combination of subjects and concentrations. The chair of the committee represents the major subject of Statistics, and a specific concentration within the subject of Statistics. Minimally, the remaining members must either represent:

  • Two minor subjects (see the graduate field listings and subjects listed within those fields)
  • One minor subject and a second concentration within the subject of Statistics.

Please read Cornell University Policy 1.3 on Graduate Assistantships; further questions should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students on J1 and F1 visas are allowed to work for 12 months during or following their graduate programs, on what is called "practical training"; off-campus summer internships are allowed, but count towards this quota. On-campus jobs, and off-campus internships that count towards course requirements, do not count towards practical training. Check with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to determine which departments offer courses that allow you to do a paid summer internship.