Courses of Study 2023-2024 
    Mar 04, 2024  
Courses of Study 2023-2024

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.

Although the Graduate School does not set specific course requirements for earning a degree, credit toward a graduate degree shall be earned only through work designed expressly for graduate students (courses at the 5000-level or above). Graduate students may enroll in 1000 to 4000-level courses but these shall not count towards the degree requirement. Full-time graduate students are required to enroll in at least 12 credits per semester.

All research doctoral and master’s 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. The credit hours for Graduate School research courses will be automatically adjusted after the drop deadline of the semester to bring total credits to 12, based on other course enrollments.​ Students requiring registration during the summer must enroll 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 view degree requirements for each professional degree, please see the Graduate School fields of study webpage.