PhD Admissions

If a PhD in applied economics and management (AEM) interests you and you’re considering taking the next step, we invite you to learn more about eligibility, the application and admission process, and what costs and local housing option to expect once you get here.

If you have questions, please contact


Incoming PhD applicants are required to have a thorough knowledge of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and quantitative methods. All applicants must have an excellent background in calculus, real analysis and linear algebra. Math classes, such as differential equations, mathematical probability and statistics, optimization, and stochastic differential equations are also good preparation for the PhD program.

In all of these classes, applicants should have a grade of B or better at the time of matriculation. Below are some specific requirements and recommendations.

MATH Courses: We require students to have completed courses in Real Analysis and Linear Algebra before starting at Cornell, and strongly recommend completing a course in differential calculus. Please note that classes taken as S/U are not sufficient. The Linear Algebra and Real Analysis courses must cover the topics listed here and here. If your transcript does list ‘Linear Algebra’ or ‘Real Analysis’ as courses, the admissions committee may request you provide the detailed syllabi of the courses (with English translations where appropriate) within which the linear algebra and real analysis were covered.

TOEFL/IELTS: We strongly recommend a TOEFL score of 26 and above in each of the four components (speaking, writing, reading and listening) with the IELTS equivalent being a minimum of 8 for each component. We also recommend foreign students (outside of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and English-speaking Canada) to submit their TOEFL/IELTS scores even if they have obtained a terminal degree from institutions located in the  US / Canada / Australia / New Zealand within the past five years.

Applicants who do not have this academic background will be ineligible for admission into the PhD program but might be considered for admission to the MS degree program.

TATA-Cornell Institute: Sometimes Fellowships for graduate study are available through the Tata-Cornell Institute. Applicants interested in research that aligns with the mission, and interested in funding through the Tata-Cornell Institute should clearly indicate their preference in the very first part of their Personal Statement.

Transfer to the AEM PhD Program: Students wishing to transfer into the AEM PhD program internally or externally must go through the regular admission process. Interested students are required to submit their application by mid-December for consideration for admission the following academic year (we do not admit students mid-year). Note also that we do not admit self-funded students.

How to Apply

Applications for the PhD in AEM are available online through the Cornell University Graduate School. Students must submit all of the following items to be considered for admission and financial support the subsequent fall term.

  • The Cornell University Graduate School application form
  • Statement of purpose explaining academic interest and relation to professional goals
  • BS or BA from an accredited university: Submit all undergraduate transcript(s) along with any graduate school transcripts. Upload all transcripts into the online application form. Students who are subsequently admitted and accept the offer of admission will be required to submit an official paper transcript prior to matriculation.
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons who can appraise the academic potential of the applicant
  • Results of the GRE examination (institution code = 2098). There are no minimum GRE score requirements; applicants you will be competing with for admission typically have 85 percent and above in each category. The AEM PhD Program will make the GRE optional for the 2021 admission cycle.  Students who do not submit GRE scores will not be disadvantaged and the admission committee will look for evidence of excellent academic preparation from other required application documents.
  • Results of the TOEFL or IELTS if required (institution code = 2098). Please see the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirement page for more details.

Application Deadlines

To ensure your application receives full consideration please submit your completed application by December 15 for the subsequent fall term.

We strongly encourage all applicants to submit their online application and supporting materials at least two weeks in advance of our deadline (December 15)  Late applications will not be accepted.

Costs, Financial Aid, and Housing

Tuition Rates

Please see the Graduate School’s Tuition Rates page.

Financial Aid

Two types of financial support for graduate students are available through Cornell: merit-based assistantships and fellowships and need-based loans. Prospective students, particularly international students, are also encouraged to apply for support from other national, international, industrial, foundation, and government sources.

The most common form of financial aid for Dyson School graduate students are assistantships in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship (TA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA). The Graduate School provides more information on assistantships and university and external fellowships.


University housing for single graduate students and those with families is available in residence halls and university-maintained apartments. Private, off-campus housing is also available. Information on university and non-university housing is automatically mailed to all applicants when they are accepted for admission to the Graduate School.