Courses of Study 2020-2021 
    Jun 09, 2023  
Courses of Study 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduation Requirements

In the Graduate School 

Research Degrees

The Graduate School’s degree requirements are kept to a minimum in order to give the graduate fields, and for research students, the Special Committee the freedom to determine appropriate degree requirements and to define a program of study best suited to the student’s particular goals.

The Graduate School requires full-time graduate students to be enrolled in 12 credits each academic semester and 6 credits for summer. To simplify compliance with this this requirement, all research doctoral and masters graduate students are automatically enrolled in GRAD 9010 – Graduate-Level Research, GRAD 9011 – Doctoral Dissertation Research, or GRAD 9012 – Master’s Thesis Research for 12 credits each academic semester. Students requiring registration during the summer can enroll through self-service in GRAD 9016 Summer Graduate-Level Research.

A close working relationship between the student and faculty members is essential to the graduate program at Cornell. For research degrees, the student is guided by, and works with, at least two or three members of the graduate faculty chosen by the student to represent his or her major and minor subjects on the special committee. The major subject representative is the chair of the special committee, who usually has the primary responsibility for directing the student’s thesis or dissertation research.

For the Ph.D., M.A., and M.S. degree programs there are several requirements imposed by the Graduate School, including:

  • Maintaining registration status
  • Formation of a Special Committee
  • Completion of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training
  • Completion of an annual Student Progress Review (SPR)
  • Timely completion of A, M, and/or B Exams
  • Submission of an approved dissertation or thesis

The graduate fields and special committees may set additional requirements. Please check with the individual field for more specific field-related information.

Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 6 semesters of registration. Master’s students must complete a minimum of 2 semesters of registration.

Professional Degrees

To see a complete list of requirements for each professional degree, please follow the links on the Degree Programs page .