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Applicant Help and FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the Cornell Engineering Management Program. We are currently accepting applications for both our on-campus program and distance learning programs. To help you prepare your online application, please review the guidelines and tips below.

We also have a number of FAQs at the bottom of the page that address the most common questions we receive. We hope this information is helpful and we look forward to receiving your application!

Our Programs

The on-campus program is a full-time, residential Master of Engineering degree program in Ithaca, NY. Applicants do not need work experience to apply.

The distance learning program is a part-time, online Master of Engineering degree program for working professionals. Applicants need at least 2 years of work experience to apply.

Dates and Deadlines

  • On-campus Fall 2023 Deadline: February 1, 2023
  • Distance Learning Summer 2023 Deadline: May 31, 2023
  • Fellowship Deadline for both programs: February 1, 2023
  • Decisions for Fall 2023/Summer 2023: Rolling and typically 6 weeks after submitting a complete application. All decisions are made by mid-March.
  • Financial aid awards sent: mid-March

Application Materials
A complete application includes:

  • A Statement of Purpose
  • A Technical Writing Sample
  • Transcripts from each college or university previously attended (unofficial transcripts, official transcripts are needed prior to matriculation).
  • A combination of three letters of recommendation, professional and academic.
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores from international applicants. We do not accept the Duolingo test.
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering, mathematics, or science, conferred by an accredited college or university.
  • Application fee of $105. The program does not provide fee waivers.

Writing Sample Guidelines (Technical Writing Sample and Statement of Purpose)
We require a technical writing sample that demonstrates your ability to synthesize and communicate quantitative information. The writing sample should be no more than 5,000 words and can include figures. Acceptable documents include but are not limited to a technical analysis, project report, written review of technical material, an internal company report, white paper, published article, and project/report from a previous Engineering course. We do not accept PowerPoint presentations/slides. Ideally, the technical writing sample should have been written in the past 3 years. If you were a coauthor, provide an introductory paragraph that specifically highlights your role and contribution.

If you or your employer have concerns about confidential material, you can choose to redact portions of the document containing sensitive information or data. You can also write a brief critical review of the work in question that omits any confidential material or data. If portions of the document are removed, we respectfully request that the submission is coherent and still allows the Admissions Team to make an informed decision about the candidate.

If you do not have previous work that meets these guidelines, we recommend that you write a critical review of a published research paper in your field. These guidelines are intentionally flexible because applicants represent a diversity of STEM backgrounds. On the application itself, you will only be able to upload one file. Thus, if you include an introductory paragraph, you will want to splice it into the final document or pdf prior to uploading.

The technical writing sample is distinct from the Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose helps the admissions committee understand your academic objectives and determine if you are a good match for the program you are applying to. The goal of this document is to impress upon the admissions committee that you have solid background and experience, and that you have the potential to be successful in graduate study. The Statement of Purpose is also a place, if necessary, to address any blemishes, gaps, or weaknesses in your academic record. In these situations, be honest but brief. Focus on how you overcame obstacles, remained persistent in the pursuit of your goals and showed resilience. Share what you learned from the particular experience, and how it led you to become a better scholar or person.

We also recommend reviewing the statement of purpose guidelines from the Graduate School: Graduate School statement of purpose guidelines

Letters of Recommendation
References are a required part of the Graduate School application. Students must submit the names and contact information for their references directly on the application. References can be professional or academic. Those listed in the application receive an email with a link to an online form to complete the reference. Referees can upload or type directly into the text box provided.

We recommend contacting your references early. Letters of recommendation can be received up to 2 weeks after the application deadline, but a lack of letters in an otherwise complete application delays our admissions decision. We prefer letters on company letterhead, but if that is not possible, your recommenders can submit a standard letter.

Current Cornell students who are applying for the Early Admit program need only two letters of recommendation. Where the application asks for contact information for a third person, Early Admit students should add contact information with

The online application requires you to upload an unofficial copy of each official transcript. Official transcripts are required for admitted students who have accepted an offer of admission from Cornell.

Missing Materials
If we receive an incomplete application, we will follow up with you about any missing materials and give you an opportunity to send missing files to us via email. These will be added to your application by our admissions staff.

All applicants are considered for merit-based funding through the College of Engineering. Approximately 12% of incoming students receive partial merit-based funding. The Lester B. Knight or McMullen Diversity Fellowship require supplemental essays. Please review the “Tuition and Scholarships” page for either the On-Campus or Online Learning program for additional information and guidelines.


You ask, we answer! Here are our most common questions as the application deadline approaches. We have additional FAQs available on our website. The Graduate School addresses even more common questions on their searchable FAQ page.  

Do you offer application waivers?

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There are no application fee waivers for the Engineering Management M.Eng. degree program, as it is a self-funded graduate degree program.

Do I qualify for the program?

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Please review our admissions pages for the program you are applying for. We often receive this question from people with non-engineering or non-technical backgrounds. Our strength as a program is broadening and deepening technical skills and you must have a STEM background that includes coursework in Calc 1, Calc 2, Calc 3, Differential Equations, and a physics-based probability and statistics course. We do not accept candidates with 3-year Bachelor’s degrees.

My test scores will not be sent before the February 1, 2023 deadline. What should I do?

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We will accept official scores until February 28. However, please note that the application itself must be submitted by the February 1st deadline date. Scores should be sent to Cornell’s Institution code 2098.

Do you accept Duolingo or the TOEFL/IELTS home test?

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COVID-19 has disrupted the ability of applicants in countries worldwide to take in-person English language proficiency exams. Both IELTS and ETS are providing at-home testing solutions in most countries. If a safe in-person option is not available for you, you may submit results from the IELTS Indicator, TOEFL iBT Home Edition, or the TOEFL ITP Plus for China. We are not accepting any other English Language Proficiency exams at this time (e.g. Pearson, Duolingo DET, etc.).

My recommender(s) will not be able to submit letters by February 1. What should I do?

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We can accept letters after the deadline, but please encourage them to submit as soon as possible. We will begin to review applications on a rolling basis in early January.

My recommender(s) did not get an email from Cornell to submit a letter. What should I do?

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The email to your recommenders should come from the email address If it is not in their spam folder, please have your letter writers email a letter directly to with the subject line “Recommendation Letter for YOUR NAME.” Once your application is in the system as submitted, we will be able to upload a letter on our side. Be sure to submit the rest of your application by the February 1 deadline.

Are there funding opportunities for international students?

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International students are eligible for the Knight Fellowship and merit-based graderships. We are a professional program with a limited number of partial scholarships. Most students are self-funded.

How do I apply for the Knight Scholarship?

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A supplemental essay is required for the Knight Scholarship and can be included in your application as long as it’s uploaded prior to submitting the application. Anyone wishing to be considered after submitting their application but prior to the February 1st deadline, can email their essay directly to with the subject line “Fellowship Essay for YOUR NAME.”

I need to make a change or upload a document to my submitted application. What should I do?

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Email the change or attachment to with the subject line “Change to Application for YOUR NAME.”

Do my scores/GPA qualify me for the program?

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We cannot evaluate your candidacy before you officially apply. If you meet the College of Engineering minimum GPA of 2.7 out of 4.0 and have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, you are eligible to apply.

More information about minimum English language proficiency scores is available here.

What is the admissions team looking for?

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We evaluate candidates on multiple measures and applications are reviewed by several members of the admissions team (including faculty). Select candidates are interviewed prior to a final decision. Students will be invited to interview by email.

I am a current Cornell student and I have questions about Early Admit. Who should I talk to?

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Please email the Engineering Management Program Coordinator, Diana Peppin, to schedule a meeting. 

When can I expect a decision?

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In general, decisions will be made within 6 weeks of the application deadline once all application materials (including test scores and letters of recommendation) are received. We will begin interviewing candidates who meet minimum requirements in mid-January over the web-conferencing platform, Zoom. If you are selected for an interview, more details will follow.

When I log in to the application system, my application says “pending” or “in progress,” but I already submitted all of my materials.

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As test scores are matched up between systems it can take up to 2 weeks for scores to be added to your application. If an application is incomplete when it becomes available to us for review, we will reach out to you.