Graduate Fellowships

Meet a Few of Our Students and Recent Graduates

Scott Golder, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, was interviewed on NPR and NBC News for his analysis of Twitter messages from 2.4 million people in 84 countries. His NSF-supported research looked at how seasonal variations in day length and sleep cycles affect people in similar ways across cultures.

Deondra Rose, a doctoral candidate in government, won the Dean's Prize for Distinguished Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences. She focuses on higher education policy and the effects of social policies on mass political participation.

Christopher Blackwood, a doctoral student in pharmacology, works with Cornell's Office of Minority Educational Affairs to hire undergraduate students to mentor in his lab. A recipient of the NIH's Kirschstein research award to promote diversity in health-related research, Blackwood's research focuses on new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that disproportionately affect minority communities.

read more →

What Are Graduate Fellowships?

Unlike undergraduates who receive need-based financial aid in the form of scholarships and loans to complement their own family contributions, graduate students receive merit-based aid packages that are awarded as part of an admissions offer to attract the very best students.  

While nearly all of our research Ph.D. students receive merit-based funding through some combination of graduate fellowships, teaching assistantships, and externally funded research assistantships, we are able to provide a Cornell University graduate fellowship to only 44% of entering Ph.D. students, with a one- or two-year funding commitment. 

However, many of our peers guarantee every student a first-year fellowship, and in some disciplines, at least three years of fellowship funding, thus providing an attractive lure to outstanding applicants. 

Continue reading...

Cornell's Strengths in Graduate Education

Top-ten programs—Many of our programs earn top-ten rankings from the National Research Council (NRC) Report and the annual U.S. News and World Reports, and all of our programs hone our student’s intellectual and creative leadership skills.

Unique, field system—Cross-disciplinary and integrative by design, Cornell’s system of graduate education is unique among our peers. Our fields of study cross traditional department and college boundaries, while our special-committee structure encourages students to choose members from nearly 1,800 graduate faculty.

Both the field and special-committee systems encourage faculty and students to make unlikely connections and to integrate ideas and disciplines to address current and emerging societal challenges such as:

  • Securing a sustainable future
  • Promoting health and curing disease
  • Responding to the opportunities and challenges of an increasingly interconnected global society
  • Securing the humanistic foundation of knowledge and ethics


Our Plan

Only a fraction of Cornell’s graduate students are funded through external sources of support, with the majority of graduate students receiving direct, merit-based aid from the university. 

Competition among peer institutions for the most talented students is intense, and every year we lose students to institutions that offer more comprehensive packages.

The Graduate School is committed to increasing its support for graduate students. We seek to:

  • Fund every first-year research Ph.D. student with a graduate fellowship
  • Match the duration of merit-based fellowship support offered by peer institutions
  • Provide attractive funding packages to encourage the best and most diverse students to accept an offer of admission to Cornell

Our Priorities

The university seeks to raise $88.8 million in endowed funds and $11.2 million in current use funds in support of graduate fellowships and professional school scholarships. Select opportunities include:

Annual Fund for Graduate Education:  Gifts of all sizes are welcome to assist in providing unrestricted support for graduate education.

Ezra Cornell Graduate Fellowship: $1,500,000 and up. This named fellowship honors Ezra Cornell's vision, determination, and financial commitment that "would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study." Fellowships may be designated to assist students in a field of study of your choice and will provide support to future generations of graduate students. The endowed fellowship covers a calendar-year stipend, full tuition for two semesters, and health insurance.

Graduate Research Mentor Fellowship: $1,500,000 and up. This innovative program trains outstanding Ph.D. students to effectively mentor undergraduate student researchers under the guidance of skilled faculty. Relationships between faculty, graduate, and undergraduate researchers will directly support Cornell's mission to develop the next generation of research professionals and faculty scholars.

Andrew Dickson White Graduate Fellowship: $1,000,000. This endowed fellowship honoring Andrew Dickson White, Cornell's first president, may be designated to assist students in a field of study of your choice.

Professor Barbara McClintock Graduate Fellowship: $500,000. Honoring Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock, this endowed fellowship may be designated to assist students in a field of study of your choice.

Toni Morrison Graduate Award: $250,000. This fellowship honors author Toni Morrison (MA in English, 1955), who won the Pulitzer Prize (1988) and Nobel Prize for Literature (1993). Fellowships may be designated to assist students in a field of study of your choice and will provide support to future generations of graduate students.

Hans Bethe Graduate Fellowship: $100,000. This fellowship honors the late Cornell Professor Hans Bethe, who was appointed to the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1935. He has been honored around the world, including the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1967, for his accomplishments in astrophysics and nuclear physics. Fellowships may be designated to assist students in a field of study of your choice and will provide support to future generations of graduate students.

Off-Campus Study Graduate Fellowship: Off campus fellowships cover the calendar year stipend, in absentia fees, and health insurance and allow students to conduct research anywhere around the globe. Minimum endowment: $650,000

Graduate Summer Fellowship: The summer fellowship provides a stipend for students, most of whom will continue with their research projects through the summer. Minimum endowment: $150,000


Communications Administration

Elizabeth N. Ellis
Director of Communications, Graduate School
Cornell University
125 Caldwell Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Barbara A. Knuth
Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Cornell University
501G Day Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853