Professional Degree Requirements


Two D.M.A.s are offered by the graduate field of music: one in composition and the other in performance practice. The D.M.A. blends scholarship with artistic work. As part of the D.M.A. thesis in composition, students are required to complete a single composition or a portfolio of totaling at least twenty minutes’ duration. The D.M.A. in performance practice is a specialized advanced degree designed for professional caliber performers who wish to combine the performance of specific repertories with research, teaching, and writing about those repertories. At present, the D.M.A. in performance practice is offered in keyboard music of the 17th-21st centuries and in choral conducting. For the D.M.A. in performance practice, students must appear in at least one formal concert each semester in residence.


The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program, a professional degree usually completed in one year, offers advanced training in 15 engineering fields. The curriculum is practice-oriented, designed to assist engineers in development of their professional careers and to provide the technical expertise needed in business, government, and industry. Cornell’s undergraduate engineering curriculum emphasizes basic math and science. The Master of Engineering curriculum builds on those skills but focuses more intently on practice and design. The M.Eng. degree typically requires a design project rather than thesis research. The M.Eng. is offered in the following fields:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering (Engineering Management)
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Engineering Management
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Operations Research and Information Engineering
  • Systems Engineering


Cornell offers M.F.A. degrees in art and in English, both of which are two-year degrees.

  • M.F.A.s in art prepare a written thesis, present a thesis exhibition of the studio work completed during residency, and give an oral defense of the written thesis and exhibition. During the final spring semester, gallery space is provided for a solo thesis exhibition in Ithaca as well as a group exhibition at the AAP NYC center in Chelsea. The curriculum is flexible to accommodate the needs of individual students and enable students to take advantage of Cornell’s vast opportunities. Students may enroll in introductory or advanced courses in any field of study offered at the university. Students complete a minimum of 15 credits each term, including nine credits in required studio work and three credits in a required graduate art seminar. All students work independently with a committee comprised of art faculty with an option to include faculty from non-art disciplines. At least 12 credits must be earned outside the Department of Art during the four-term residency. In addition, students must complete 18 credits in the history of art during the course of their graduate and/or undergraduate study.
  • The M.F.A. in English offers concentrations in either poetry or fiction. Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take six additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, comparative literature, literature in the modern or classical languages, or cultural studies (typically two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year). First year students receive practical training by working as editorial assistants for Epoch, a periodical of prose and poetry published by the creative writing staff of the department. The most significant requirement of the M.F.A. degree is the completion of a book-length manuscript: a collection of poems, short stories, or a novel.


The M.P.S. is typically a one-year coursework-based degree that prepares students for leadership in their chosen professional field. The M.P.S. typically culminates in a student project. Cornell offers a variety of M.P.S. degrees in the following fields: 

  • Agriculture and Life Science
    • Animal Science
    • Biological and Environmental Engineering
    • Food Science and Technology
    • Horticulture
    • Natural Resources
    • Plant Biology
    • Plant Breeding
    • Soil and Crop Sciences
  • Applied Economics and Management
  • Applied Statistics
  • Global Development
  • Human Ecology
    • Apparel Design
    • Nutrition
  • Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Information Science
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Management
  • Real Estate
  • Veterinary Medical Sciences

M.H.A. (Health Administration)

The M.H.A., offered through the Sloan Program in Policy Analysis and Management, is a two-year degree that prepares future leaders in health management with the knowledge and skills in management, health care organization, policy, and public health to manage health care organizations and promote quality, access, efficiency, and innovation in health care delivery and financing. The program curriculum combines rigorous coursework with a robust practical training component which includes a required summer internship, colloquia bringing industry experts to campus, an annual off-campus intersession program field trip to meet industry leaders, and a second-year capstone project.

E.M.H.A. (Executive Master of Health Administration)

The E.M.H.A., offered through the Sloan Program in Health Administration, is an 18-month degree that for professionals in the health field through instructor-led online courses and on-campus intensive sessions. A cohort model designed for working professionals, students learn 80% online, with two week-long sessions on Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, NY and one weekend session in New York City.

M.P.A. (Public Administration)

The M.P.A. offered through CIPA is a two-year program. The M.P.A. program presents a basic structure for graduate study, but CIPA Fellows are the primary designers of their educational and career trajectories while at Cornell. When entering the program, each Fellow is provided a core faculty advisor based on the student’s area of interest. Fellows work closely with their respective advisors to design individualized courses of study. After deciding upon a concentration, Fellows will choose a thesis or professional project advisor, whose role it is to guide them in the development of their final paper.

M.M.H. (Hospitality Management)

The Master of Management in Hospitality (M.M.H.) degree is an intensive 12-month, three-semester program beginning in May each year. Like a M.B.A., the M.M.H. prepares students to be theory-based, action-oriented leaders of executive management teams and entrepreneurial ventures. M.M.H. graduates are entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, developers, analysts, consultants, corporate directors, and managers of hotels, resorts, and spas. 

M.I.L.R. (Industrial & Labor Relations)

The two-year Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (M.I.L.R.) degree program provides a broad-based foundation with a specific, intense focus on the interaction between people and organizations in the workplace. The M.I.L.R. is the top degree program in the area of human resources and labor relations. There’s a strong general business component to courses, but the emphasis is on the interrelationship between people and the workplace, whether that’s a small service business, a not-for-profit museum, a large and influential labor union, or a Fortune 200 corporation.

M.L.A. (Three-year degree in Landscape Architecture)

Landscape Architecture offers two M.L.A. degrees. The three-year degree is the professional degree for the field. Central to the graduate curriculum is the design studio which focuses on conceptual and applied design. The studio format entails lecture, demonstration, one-on-one instruction, and group discourse. Rather than espousing a single design philosophy, the department presents numerous perspectives on design, imparted through the studio course sequence. Small class sizes allow for discussion among faculty and students. The graduate curriculum culminates with a thesis or capstone studio. Thesis students, with the guidance of the Thesis Committee, may choose from a variety of options for their research, including a special project, design, or aspect of theory applied to a project. The capstone studio option features a comprehensive design project. A studio book, submitted to the department, is required for this option.

M.R.P. (City & Regional Planning)

The M.R.P. is a two-year degree featuring a core curriculum that provides each student with a foundation in planning and spatial theory, economics, and the tools of planning analysis — both qualitative and quantitative. The core devotes particular consideration to voice, participation, and politics. It includes subjects in law and international institutions, as well as workshops in that test theory in practice. M.R.P. students participate in intensive collaborative workshops; summer internships with government agencies, research institutions, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S. and abroad; and internships in Europe with international institutions affiliated with the Cornell in Rome program. Students can further tailor their course of study through the second-year independent exit project.