Cornell University

Cornell University is a private, coeducational research university located in Ithaca, New York. Cornell is one of the eight Ivy League institutions–which are considered by many in academia and industry as some of the most prestigious, higher education institutions in the United States. The university was established by Andrew Dickson White (an historian and educator) and Ezra Cornell (a wealthy, American businessman) in 1865. The institution was originally founded as a comprehensive university that would provide education in all fields of study–an unconventional education model for the time.

Cornell offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through 7 undergraduate, academic colleges and 7 graduate studies divisions. In addition to its main campus in Ithaca, Cornell has branch campuses (medical learning centers) in New York City, New York and Education City, Qatar. Even though Cornell is a privately owned and operated institution, three of its undergraduate colleges are “statutory colleges” that receive a substantial amount of public financial support from the state legislature. The university is one of only two land grant universities in the state, and as such provides outreach programs in just about every county statewide.

Today, Cornell has nearly 250,000 alumni working and living throughout the world. Among its graduates are Rhodes Scholars (28), Nobel Laureates (41), Marshall Scholars (31) and many other accomplished businessmen, lawyers, politicians and community leaders. Total annual enrollment at Cornell is roughly 21,000 students (14,000 undergrad and 7,000 graduate) which come from across the United States and over 120 foreign countries.

Cornell University is recognized as one of only two universities in the United States (the other being Oregon State University) that are Sea Grant, Land Grant, Sun Grant and Space Grant higher education institutions.

Academics

While Cornell has nearly 7,000 graduate students, it has an undergraduate class nearly twice that size, and is still considered primarily an undergraduate school. Cornell is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been since early 1921. Cornell operates on a 3-semester year, with the first and last semesters being 4 months in duration and the middle semester lasting only 3 weeks. Fall semester begins in late August and ends in December. Spring semester starts in January and ends in May. The 3 week winter semester is held during the month of January.

Cornell is known for its long and distinguished academic history. It is a university of many firsts. It was the first university to grant journalism and veterinary medicine degrees. It was the first university to award doctoral degrees in electrical and industrial engineering. It was one of the pioneers in hotel administration, labor relations, Far Eastern languages, American studies and industrial education.

Rankings

As recent as 2012, Cornell acheived the rank of No.14 in QS World University Rankings, a highly respected annual university rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). The same year it achieved No.16 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, another highly respected annual world university rankings report published by the Times Higher Education (THE) (a British magazine). In the 2012 U.S. News & World Report National University rankings, Cornell is listed among the top ten universities in the nation. Cornell was named the “Hottest Ivy” in Newsweek‘s list of the top 25 Hot Schools in America. In 2011, the university was No.14 in a list of 300 “Best World Universities” put together by the Human Resources and Labor Review. It was listed as No.51 on a rankings report produced by Forbes magazine based solely on student criteria. According to just about every major publication that produces reputable, college rankings, Cornell is consistently recognized as one of the top universities in the world.

Many of its individual academic programs are also highly ranked. In 2013, Cornell’s Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree achieved the rank of No.1 undergraduate architecture program in the nation according to Architecture Daily (archdaily.com), Architectural Record and the journal DesignIntelligence. In fact, between 2000 and 2013 Cornell’s undergraduate architecture program has consistently ranked among the top three programs in the nation. Cornell’s Master of Landscape Architecture program ranked No.4 in the nation in both 2011 and 2012. The Sloan Program in Health Administration at Cornell University is also one of the university’s highest ranked programs; in 2011 it was ranked No.14 in the nation.

In 2012, Cornell’s undergraduate AACSB-accredited business school (Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management) achieved the rank of No.3 in Businessweek‘s list of top business schools in the United States. The same year it was ranked No. 10 by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell’s graduate business school, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, has been ranked among the top 10 MBA programs in the nation several times over the last decade by publications including Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report. Other top ranked departments at Cornell include the Weill Cornell Medical School, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Cornell Law School. Cornell’s law school has one of the top graduate placement rates in the nation. In 2005, it placed law students in the top 50 law firms in the United States, the 6th highest placement rate of any law school nationwide.

In 2008, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell’s graduate engineering program No.9 among all graduate engineering programs in the nation. Cornell’s undergraduate engineering program is also well-known for producing a large number of graduates that go on to earn Ph.D.’s in engineering or natural sciences, and has been ranked among the top undergraduate engineering programs in the United States. Even though Cornell is recognized as primarily an undergraduate university it ranks No.6 in the nation for the number of graduate programs that have ranked in the top ten nationally in their respective fields. Overall, Cornell’s doctoral programs ranked No.11 and its undergraduate programs ranked No.12 in the nation in 2012, according to the “Inside the Ivory Tower” survey produced by Foreign Policy magazine.

Admissions

Out of the nearly 38,000 applications that Cornell received in 2012, it only accepted 6,100 students, an acceptance rate of just over 16%. Two years prior, Cornell’s acceptance rate was 19%, and the year before that 20%. Cornell is considered to be a selective university and has become more selective in recent years. About 90% of entering freshmen at Cornell were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Their average SAT scores were 720 in Math and 700 in Verbal. All Cornell applicants are required to submit all SAT scores (not a common requirement among U.S. universities). Students at Cornell come from almost every state in the nation, and over 120 foreign countries. Nearly 30% of Cornell’s undergraduate class is composed of minorities– who are provided special admissions consideration.

Cornell’s graduate school has an acceptance rate right around 21%: its law school 20%; its veterinary medicine school 11%; its business school (Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Full-time MBA program) 10%; and, its medical school (Weill Cornell Medical School) 4%.

Financial Aid

From its inception, Cornell has been dedicated to providing equal opportunity education for aspiring college students, regardless of financial status. Within ten years of its founding in 1865, Cornell began admitting both women and minorities, an uncommon practice for the time. It was also one of the first universities to provide students with financial assistance through student loan and work-study programs. As early as 1880 the school began offering need-based grants, and shortly thereafter scholarships.

In cooperation with other Ivy League institutions of the era, Cornell began to set standards for student financial aid policies, procedures and practices. In 2010, Cornell instituted a “matching” policy where it will match any financial aid incentives offered to any accepted applicant from any other top-notch school including Duke University, Stanford and MIT, if the student is trying to decide which institution to attend based on the financial aid package.

Recently, Cornell introduced a new financial aid policy, which replaces need-based student loans, for undergraduate students from families with incomes less than $75,000 a year, with scholarships that don’t have to be repaid. For students from families that make between $75-120k a year, need-based loans have been capped at $3,000 annually, and for families with incomes over $120,000, need-based loans are extended up to $7,500 a year. This new financial aid policy is costing Cornell an additional $14 million per year which is being financed by pulling funds from the university’s endowment and donations by wealthy donors. About 40% of Cornell’s entering freshman class qualify for need-based loans and scholarships. Currently, the average Cornell undergraduate student graduates with about $21,000 of debt.

International Education Offerings

As a higher education institution dedicated to international studies, Cornell offers its undergraduate students a comprehensive selection of programs with an international focus. These include majors and degrees in German Studies, French Studies, Jewish Studies, Latino Studies, African Studies, Romance Studies, Russian Literature, Near Eastern Studies and Far Eastern Studies. For more adventurous students, Cornell offers various study-abroad education programs at international locations throughout the world.

For students interested in pursuing a major in any of the Asian Studies (e.g., Southeast Asia, China and Asia-Pacific or South Asia) Cornell offers an excellent study-abroad program in Beijing, China through a cooperative agreement with Peking University. A similar agreement has been set up with Tsinghua University to exchange graduate students and faculty with Cornell’s College of Engineering, and another with Nanyang Technological University to exchange students with Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. Other exchanges have been established between Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and University of the Philippines-Los Banos and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Japan. One more noteworthy association exists between Cornell and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Together these two institutions offer a joint course on international consulting.

Through the Weill Cornell Medical College campus in Qatar, Cornell focuses on training doctors to assist in medical efforts and administration of health care services throughout the region. In cooperation with Stanford University and the countries of Israel and Jordan, Cornell has developed a comprehensive database of the living organisms and systems that exist on the border between these two countries. Through a partnership with Canada’s Queen’s University, Cornell now offers an innovative, state-of-the-art Executive MBA program that provides both on-campus and online learning options.

Cornell University is a strong proponent of the United Nations and is one of several members of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Association, which was developed for the sole purpose of aligning colleges, universities and research institutions with the United Nations.

Student Life at Cornell

While Cornell is well-known for its reputation as one of the top, academic undergraduate higher education institutions in the nation, it’s just as well known for its exceptional student life. Below we’ll address a few of the many facets (e.g. activities, housing, athletics, etc.) of student life at Cornell that sets the university apart from the competition.

Student Activities and Organizations

Cornell has approximately 900 official student organizations and clubs, which include everything from fencing to jousting to singing to competitive chess to politics to video gaming (and everything in-between). Cornell’s extensive selection of student run organizations and clubs are financed by student fees, membership fees, academic departments, the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly and the Student Assembly. Together these latter two groups have an annual budget of just over $3 million. In addition to student organizations, the Student Assembly and Graduate Assembly provide financial assistance to an on-campus student theater and concert commission.

Some of the more popular student organizations on campus include the International Affairs Society, the Cornell Catholic Community, the Big Red Marching Band and the Cornell University Glee Club. Each year Cornell’s International Affairs Society hosts a Model United Nations Conference on-campus for roughly 500 politically minded, high school students, and also sends over one hundred of its own students to Model United Nations conferences held at colleges and universities across the United States. The Cornell Catholic Community organization is the largest Catholic organization at the university. Another similar student organization is the Cornell United Religious Work group which pulls in students from varied and diverse religious backgrounds, faiths, denominations and traditions. One of Cornell’s most popular music groups is the Big Red Marching Band, which is by no means Cornell’s only music group. Cornell is home to what seems like a never-ending list of music groups and organizations, including; a classical music group, jazz music group, reggae music group, ethnic styles music group, and more. The Cornell University Glee Club, a sixty-member chorus of male singers, holds the record for being Cornell’s oldest student organization. Cornell is one of the few Ivy League universities to sponsor several secret honor societies (e.g., Quill and Dagger, Sphinx Head, etc.), some of which date back over 120 years. One of Cornell’s student groups, a think-tank, was established specifically to think of ways to improve life on campus for students.

General Information

Admission Office
410 Thurston Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850-2488
(607) 255-5241
Fax: (607) 255-0659
admissions@cornell.edu
Contact: Jason Locke
Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Main Address
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-2000
www.cornell.edu
Size
Total undergrads: 13,846
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 3,139
Degree-seeking undergrads: 13,772
Graduate enrollment: 5,497

Setting
Rural setting
Large town (10,000 – 49,999)
Residential campus
Degrees offered:
Bachelor’s
Master’s
Doctoral
First Professional

Tuition & Fees

Estimated Expenses for Academic Year 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
Tuition and fees $34,781 $36,504 $37,954 $39,666 +4.51%
Books and Supplies $720 $740 $760 $780 +2.63%
Living Arrangement – On Campus
Room and Board $11,190 $11,640 $12,160 $12,650 +4.03%
Other $1,460 $1,500 $1,540 $1,580 +2.60%
Living Arrangement – Off Campus
Room and Board $11,190 $11,640 $12,160 $12,650 +4.03%
Other $1,460 $1,500 $1,540 $1,580 +2.60%
Total Expenses 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
In-state On Campus $48,151 $50,384 $52,414 $54,676 +4.32%
In-state Off Campus $48,151 $50,384 $52,414 $54,676 +4.32%
In-state with Family $35,501 $37,244 $38,714 $40,446 +4.47%
Average Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Tuition for In-state Students $29,500
In-state Student Fees $76
Tuition for Out-of-state Students $29,500
Out-of-state Fees $76

Financial Aid

Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students
Type of Aid Students Percent Amount Average Per Student
All students financial aid 1,708 54%
Grant or scholarship aid 1,552 49% $37,468,274 $24,142
• Federal grants 351 11% $2,222,458 $6,332
• Pell grants 344 11% $1,177,927 $3,424
• Other federal grants 337 11% $1,044,531 $3,099
State/local government grant or scholarships 513 16% $1,205,403 $2,350
Institutional grants or scholarships 1,379 44% $34,040,413 $24,685
Student loan aid 797 25% $4,987,620 $6,258
• Federal student loans 732 23% $2,751,274 $3,759
• Other student loans 244 8% $2,236,346 $9,165

All Degrees and Programs

Program Completions for Most Recent Year BA/BS MA/MS PhD AA/AS CERT
Total of All Education Programs 3965 1922 774 5
Agriculture 414 24 33
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations
Agricultural and Horticultural Plant Breeding 2 9
Agricultural Animal Breeding
Agricultural Business and Management
Agricultural Economics 241 9 3
Agronomy and Crop Science 2 4
Animal Sciences 125 4 2
Food Science 14 3 12
Horticultural Science
International Agriculture 11
Ornamental Horticulture 4 3
Plant Sciences 18
Viticulture and Enology 5
Architecture and Related Services 174 103 5
Architectural History and Criticism 3 1
Architecture 102 44
Architecture and Related Services, Other
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning 32 34 4
Environmental Design/Architecture 24 4
Landscape Architecture 16 18
Area, Gender, Cultural, Ethnic, and Group Studies 80 16 3
African-American/Black Studies 4 6
American/United States Studies/Civilization 20
Asian Studies/Civilization 34 5
East Asian Studies
Gay/Lesbian Studies 5
German Studies 2 5 2
Near and Middle Eastern Studies 15 1
Biology and Biomedical Sciences 469 8 87
Animal Genetics 1 10
Animal Physiology 3
Biochemistry 2 9
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other 106
Biology and Biological Sciences, General 342
Biometry/Biometrics 12
Biophysics 4
Botany/Plant Biology 8
Computational Biology 3
Ecology 1 9
Entomology 9 5
Environmental Toxicology 3
Evolutionary Biology 7
Immunology 3
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology 2 8
Molecular Biology 3
Neuroscience 7
Pharmacology 1
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology 2 4
Zoology/Animal Biology
Business, Administration, Management, Marketing, etc. 474 630 10 5
Business Administration and Management 473 5
Hotel/Motel Administration/Management 241 67 2
Labor and Industrial Relations 233 67 3 5
Real Estate 23
Communication and Journalism Programs 88 4 4
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 88 4 4
Computing and Information Sciences 127 103 21
Computer and Information Sciences 15
Computer Science 93 103 19
Information Technology 19 2
Education 1 22 3
Agricultural Teacher Education 1
Biology Teacher Education 3
Chemistry Teacher Education
Education 19 3
Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics Teacher Education
Mathematics Teacher Education
Physics Teacher Education
Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education
Engineering 671 520 105
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering 21 2
Agricultural Engineering 80 13 11
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 81 9
Chemical Engineering 85 35 17
Civil Engineering 65 48 5
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 100 106 25
Engineering Mechanics 1 2
Engineering Physics/Applied Physics 45 11 16
Engineering 24
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering 17
Materials Engineering 27 20 9
Mechanical Engineering 134 59 3
Nuclear Engineering
Operations Research 94 85 6
Systems Engineering 40
Engineering Technology 45
Engineering/Industrial Management 45
English Language, Composition and Literature/Letters 79 25 12
Creative Writing 8
English Language and Literature 79 17 12
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 82 23 27
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 9 5
Comparative Literature 10 5 7
East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 2 4
French Language and Literature 19
German Language and Literature 2
Italian Language and Literature 9
Linguistics 9 2 6
Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 14 5
Russian Language and Literature 4
Spanish Language and Literature 20
Health Services and Allied Health Sciences 17 98
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 17
Pre-medicine/Pre-medical Studies
Veterinary Medicine 87
Veterinary Sciences/Veterinary Clinical Sciences 11
History 83 9 5
History and Philosophy Of Science and Technology
History 83 9 5
Human Services 64 71 3
Community Organization and Advocacy 3 3
Public Administration 68
Public Policy Analysis 64
Legal and Law Studies 80 194
American/U.S. Law/Legal Studies/Jurisprudence 80 1
Law 193
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 26
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 26
Mathematics and Statistics 71 52 19
Applied Mathematics 4 7
Mathematics 71 12 9
Statistics 36 3
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies 90 15 9
Historic Preservation and Conservation 8
Medieval and Renaissance Studies 3 3
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 31
Nutrition Sciences 55 6
Science, Technology and Society 4 4
Natural Resources and Conservation 57 8 5
Natural Resource Economics
Natural Resources/Conservation 57 8 5
Personal and Culinary Services
Institutional Food Workers
Physical Sciences 122 76 65
Astronomy 3 9 3
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology 18 1 1
Chemistry 54 25 31
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other 21
Geology and Earth Science 1 3 5
Physics 25 38 25
Psychology 84 1 6
Developmental and Child Psychology 2
Psychology 84 1 4
Social Sciences 466 50 48
Anthropology 19 12 7
Archaeology 8
Development Economics and International Development 7
Economics 236 12 21
Political Science and Government 141 12 12
Social Sciences, Other 3
Sociology 62 7 5
Visual and Performing Arts 115 14 12
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 15 1 2
Dance 4
Drama and Dramatics/Theater Arts 11 1 1
Fiber, Textile and Weaving Arts 33 5 3
Film/Cinema/Video Studies 14
Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other
Fine/Studio Arts 28 3
Music Theory and Composition
Music 10 1 3
Musicology and Ethnomusicology 3 3
Work and Family Studies 128 6
Foods, Nutrition, and Wellness Studies
Housing and Human Environments 4
Human Development and Family Studies 128 2
Above data represent first majors only.
(-) Indicates that program is not offered at this award level.

Admissions Information

Application Fee
College has an application fee: Yes
Regular application fee: $70
Online application fee: $70
Enrollment Rates
Average Percent applicants admitted: 21%
Percent of students who return for sophomore year: 96%
Admissions Considerations
Secondary school GPA: Required
Secondary school rank: Recommended
Secondary school record: Required
Recommendations: Required
Admission test scores (SAT/ACT): Required
College-prep program completed: Recommended
TOEFL: Required

Undergraduate Admissions Fall 2011
Number of Applicants: 36,380
Percent Admitted: 18%
Percented Admitted Who Enrolled: 51%
Test Scores: Fall 2011

SAT Critical Reading
  • 630 (25th Percentile)
  • 730 (75th Percentile)
SAT Math
  • 670 (25th Percentile)
  • 770 (75th Percentile)
ACT Composite
  • 29 (25th Percentile)
  • 33 (75th Percentile)

Enrollment Statistics


Undergraduate Attendance Status


Undergraduate Student Gender

Undergraduate Student Age


Undergraduate Student Residence

Graduate Attendance Status



Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity


Retention and Graduation Rates


Retention Rates for First-Time Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees


Overall Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates for Students

Graduation Rates for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Gender for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees



Undergraduate Majors

Agriculture & Related Sciences
Agribusiness Operations B
Agricultural Business B
Agriculture – General B
Agronomy/Crop Science B
Animal Sciences B
Food Science B
Horticulture Science B
Horticulture, Ornamental B
International Agriculture B
Pest Management B
Plant Sciences B

Architecture & Related Programs
Architecture B
City/Community/Regional Planning B
Landscape Architecture B

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies
African-American Studies B
American Studies B
Asian Studies B
Gay/Lesbian Studies B
German Studies B
Near/Middle Eastern Studies B
Russian/Slavic Area Studies B
Women’s Studies B

Arts, Visual & Performing
Art History/Criticism/Conservation B
Dance B
Drama/Theater Arts B
Fiber/Textile/Weaving Arts B
Film Studies B
Fine/Studio Arts B
Music – General B
Theater Design/Stagecraft B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Animal Genetics B
Animal Physiology B
Bacteriology B
Biochemistry B
Biology B
Biometrics B
Ecology B
Entomology B
Plant Pathology B

Business, Management, & Marketing
Hotel/Motel Management B
Labor/Personnel Relations B
Restaurant/Food Services Management B

Communications & Journalism
Communications/Rhetoric B

Computer & Information Sciences
Computer Science B
Information Technology B

Education
Agricultural Education B
Biology Teacher Education B
Chemistry Teacher Education B
Education – General B
Family/Consumer Sciences – Education B
Mathematics Education B
Physics Teacher Education B
Science Teacher Education B

Engineering
Agricultural Engineering B
Chemical Engineering B
Civil Engineering B
Electrical/Communications Engineering B
Engineering – General B
Engineering Physics B
Environmental Engineering B
Materials Engineering B
Mechanical Engineering B
Operations Research B

English Language & Literature
English Language & Literature – General B

Family & Consumer Sciences
Consumer Economics B
Family/Consumer Sciences – General B
Foods/Nutrition Studies B
Human Development/Family Studies B

Foreign Language & Literature
Classics B
Comparative Literature B
French B
German B
Italian B
Linguistics B
Russian B
Spanish B

Health Professions & Clinical Sciences
Premedicine B

History
History – General B

Liberal Arts & Sciences
Liberal Arts & Sciences B

Mathematics
Mathematics – General B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
Neuroscience B
Science, Technology & Society B

Natural Resources & Conservation
Natural Resource Economics B
Natural Resources & Conservation – General B

Philosophy & Religion
Philosophy B
Religion/Religious Studies B

Physical Sciences
Astronomy B
Atmospheric Sciences B
Chemistry B
Geology B
Physics B

Psychology
Psychology – General B

Public Administration & Services
Community Organization/Advocacy B
Public Administration B
Public Policy Analysis B

Social Sciences
Anthropology B
Archaeology B
Economics B
Political Science/Government B
Social Sciences – General B
Sociology B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:
    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor’s degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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