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Admissions Requirements

Admissions Review Considering COVID-19 Disruptions

Recognizing the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for student learning, faculty teaching, and academic performance assessment, the Cornell University Graduate School asserts the following principles:

Admissions committees and offices for graduate and professional programs in the Graduate School will take into account the significant disruptions and challenges associated with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when reviewing applicants’ academic transcripts and other application materials as part of these programs’ ongoing practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. 

As admissions bodies review applications in future admissions cycles, we will respect decisions made by individual students and/or by their academic institutions with regard to the enrollment in or adoption of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Pass/No Record, Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail and other similar grading options during the pandemic disruptions.  Applicants are invited to describe their individual experiences during the pandemic to provide context to inform the application review process.  We strive to form future graduate student cohorts composed of intellectually strong, diverse, and resilient individuals who will make the most of their graduate education opportunities at Cornell University.

Questions about this statement may be directed to gradadmissions@cornell.edu.


Admission to the Ph.D. program in the Graduate Field of Communication at Cornell University is highly competitive. The Graduate Admissions Committee considers several factors for admission to the graduate program, and all applicants must meet the general admission requirements of the Cornell University Graduate School. Once admitted, all students are fully funded by the Department for five years through assistantships and/or fellowships, provided suitable progress is being made toward completing the degree.

Please review the left sidebar for important information, including the Admissions FAQ, current Ph.D. Program Manual, and our recent Ph.D. placements.

Application to the program is via the Graduate School's online application.
The application for Fall 2021 will be live in August 2020.

Please note Communication applications are accepted only for the Fall term. The application deadline is December 1, 2020, by which all application materials must be submitted (including GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores). Letters of recommendation are due by December 15, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please visit the Graduate School's website for information about the application fee and waiver process.

If you are currently employed at Cornell University and would like to complete the degree through the Employee Degree Program (EDP), please see the EDP admissions instructions here.

Application Requirements

(Please upload all requested materials into the application; hard copies of your materials will not be accepted)

We are currently updating admissions guidelines for the upcoming admissions cycle. Please check back later for an update. Thanks!

Check your application status here. Joanna will update the checklist as she reviews applications in December.