Program Overview

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About the Department

As one of the nation's most distinguished Chemistry departments, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (C&CB) has been home to four Nobel Prize winners, was the founding institution for the Journal of Physical Chemistry (J. Phys. Chem.), and has been consistently ranked as a Top 10 Chemistry graduate program by U.S. News & World Report.

Cornell is unique among our peer institutions because of its field structure, which provides students with the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the interdisciplinary research efforts across the university. At Cornell, all applications to the C&CB graduate program are actually made to the Field of Chemistry & Chemical Biology. As such, all students that are accepted into this Field are eligible to join research groups led by any Field Faculty, which includes all C&CB Faculty as well as a number of extra-departmental C&CB Field Faculty, such as Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Human Ecology, Materials Science & Engineering, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular Biology & Genetics, and Nutritional Sciences. Cornell is also unique as the only Ivy League institution that is comprised of both private (endowed) and public (statutory) colleges. Our department resides in the College of Arts & Sciences, which is one of the private (endowed) colleges located on the main campus in Ithaca, NY.

Graduate students enrolled in the Field of C&CB select a major research concentration in one of the following subfields: Analytical, Bioinorganic, Bioorganic, Biophysical, Chemical Biology, Inorganic, Materials, Nuclear, Organic, Organometallic, Physical, Polymer, or Theoretical. Students each choose a special committee consisting of their research advisor and two additional Cornell faculty members to oversee their graduate studies.

Research Areas and Facilities

Our department offers in-depth programs of study across all of the major chemical disciplines (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, and Theoretical) as well as recent high-interest areas such as Nanotechnology/Materials, Polymer Chemistry, and Chemical Biology.

Our students also play key roles in several multidisciplinary research teams led by C&CB faculty, such as the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) and Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2). With the opportunity to explore the scenic Finger Lakes region surrounding Cornell, our students enjoy a truly unique experience that comes from attending a world-class Ivy league research institution set in the culturally rich but intimate Ithaca community.

Students in our graduate programs have access to several cutting-edge research facilities located on the Cornell campus, including (but not limited to) the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing (CAC), Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF), Institute for Biotechnology | Biotechnology Resource Center (BRC) | Center for Advanced Technology (CAT), Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC), Nanobiotechnology Center (NBTC), and National Biomedical Center for AdvanCed Electron Spin Resonance Technology (ACERT).

How to Apply

Students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. or M.S. degrees in C&CB should apply directly to the Field of Chemistry & Chemical Biology through the Graduate School at Cornell University. The Cornell University Graduate School website provides information about general requirements, financial aid, and specific prerequisites for international students. Please visit the following links for further details regarding the C&CB graduate program as well as the application form (which includes a course record form).

Application Deadlines

Ph.D. Program: Review of applications to the Ph.D. program will begin on the first Monday in December each year for admission into the program beginning in the following August. Although applications received after this date will be reviewed, late applicants may be at a disadvantage for admission into the program.

M.S. Program: Review of applications to the M.S. program will begin on January 1 and continue until June 15, for admission into the program beginning in August.

There are no spring admissions to either one of the C&CB graduate programs.

Supplemental Materials

Any additional documentation that you think would enhance your application, such as publications or awards, should be sent directly to:

Graduate Studies Office
Cornell University
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
103 Baker Laboratory
Ithaca, NY 14853-1301

International Students

International students who receive an offer of admission to the Ph.D. program must pass the International Teaching Assistant Language Assessment (ILA), an interview administered through the Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). If the ILA shows that an applicant requires more formal training in English, a course in English as a Second Language (ESL) must be completed during the first semester of matriculation. Additional resources for international students can also be found through the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) at CTE.

All international Ph.D. students must also participate in the three-week Teaching Assistant Training Program (TATP) hosted by the department and demonstrate proficiency in both speaking and understanding English. Any student with English language skills that are deemed insufficient to carry out Teaching Assistant duties (i.e., teaching recitation and/or laboratory courses to Cornell University students) may lose financial support and be terminated from the Ph.D. graduate program.

Contact Information

Graduate Studies Office 
Cornell University
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
103 Baker Laboratory
Ithaca, NY 14853-1301
(607) 255-4139

Graduate Program Coordinator
Pat Hine
103 Baker Laboratory
(607) 255-4139

M.S. Graduate Program Director
Prof. David B. Zax
G36 Baker Laboratory
(607) 255-3646

Director of Graduate Studies
Prof. H. Floyd Davis
260B S.T. Olin Laboratory
(607) 255-0014