The application system for Fall 2024 will open September 15, 2023. Please note this program does not have a Spring admission.

We encourage all applicants who are interested in the Computational Biology PhD Program to complete their application, including three letters of recommendation,  transcripts, resume, and statement of purpose, by DECEMBER 1ST.

Admission into the doctoral program in the field of Computational Biology is based purely on academic merit and research experience. Financial need plays no role in the admission procedure.  All Ph.D. students who are admitted are fully funded as long as they remain in good academic standing. Support from Cornell includes tuition, stipend, and health insurance. Support is available in the form of teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, and fellowships. You can find more information on costs and funding here.

Cornell University expects all applicants to complete their application materials without the use of paid agents, credentials services, or other paid professional assistance. The use of such services violates University policy, and may lead to the rejection of application materials, the revocation of an admissions offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University.

Application and Admissions Process

Application Information

The deadline for admission to the fall semester is December 1st.

The application process is entirely online. Begin by going to the Application page of the Graduate School web site and creating an account. The online application is secure and can be immediately viewed by Systems admissions committee upon submission. You can learn more about the application process and review additional guidelines on the Graduate School web site.

It is strongly recommended that you identify a Field member or members with interests closely matching your own and correspond with them regarding their program and their potential for taking on new graduate students prior to application.

There is no formula that guarantees the admission of an applicant. We will carefully evaluate all of the required components of your application---transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose (note, GRE scores are no longer required). In reviewing your transcript, we tend to look for the following:

  • A coherent body of course work with a grade average in the A- to A+ range.
  • Adequate mathematical background including freshman and sophomore calculus and at least two other courses (e.g., linear algebra, abstract algebra, analysis, statistics).
  • Basic background in computer science and/or biology.
  • Research experience in relevant areas.

It is important to stress that these are only guidelines and not a rigid policy. An applicant whose record is weaker in some respect may be admitted if strength is revealed in some other respect.

You will be required to upload an accurate unofficial transcript for each school you have attended. It is not necessary to include official transcripts unless you are offered admission.

Note to international students: for those whose native language is not English, Cornell policy requires a set minimum for TOEFL or IELTS Exams (speaking 22, reading 20, listening 15, writing 20). All TOEFL/IELTS scores are to be submitted by December 1st (no exceptions) in order for applications to be considered for review. This requirement may be waived if the applicant meets the exception criteria.

Questions regarding the administrative aspects of the Computational Biology program or about graduate study and life at Cornell in general should be addressed to the Graduate Field Assistant, jf633 [at] (Joshua Fontanez)skp5 [at] (.)

For questions that relate to research, email inquiries should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies for Comp Bio, messer [at] (Philipp Messer).

Admissions Process

All applications are due December 1st for the upcoming fall semester. The Comp Bio PhD Program does not admit students for the spring semester. The admissions committee begins reviewing applications in mid-December and continues through to the end of December. Interview invitations are sent in early January. The interview open house is held in mid February. Decisions about admissions are communicated to applicants in early March. Applicants are required to submit decisions in systems by April 15.

On-campus Recruitment Weekend

Top-ranked domestic (US) applicants being considered for an admission offer are typically invited to campus for an interview. Recruitment interviews and interactions are an important part of the admission process. If an applicant is unable to attend the recruitment weekend, alternate arrangements can be made. We are unable to offer on-site interview invitations to foreign applicants residing outside the U.S., however we do arrange for remote interviews via Skype or other forms of remote communication.

The Field of Computational Biology Recruitment Day, date to be determined. During your visit you can expect to have many opportunities to talk with faculty and current graduate students, explore facilities and campus life.