Non-Degree Admissions

Cornell welcomes a limited number of visiting non-degree graduate students to the Ithaca campus each year to conduct research with a faculty host or take specific in-person courses.

Maximum Enrollment

Non-degree graduate students are limited to a maximum enrollment of two semesters and may not enroll in a degree-granting program at Cornell without formally applying and being approved for admission.


Non-degree graduate students enrolled during a regular semester are required to pay tuition. In some cases, a tuition waiver or fellowship may be available from the host field. There is no tuition charge for the summer if the student is not enrolled in courses. Learn more about tuition costs

Health Insurance

Like degree-seeking students, non-degree graduate students are automatically enrolled in Cornell’s Student Health Plan (SHP). If a student has coverage through another health insurance plan that is comparable to the SHP, they may file a written appeal with the Office of Student Health Benefits. Note: In most cases, international students are required to purchase SHP. Learn more about student health benefits.

Admissions Requirements

  • Education Credentials: All non-degree students enrolled in the Graduate School must possess education credentials equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or be pursuing graduate-level studies at their home institution (if applicable). On the application form, applicants should describe their postsecondary education history and provide applicable transcripts and diplomas. Learn more about international degree equivalencies.
  • English Proficiency: All non-degree graduate applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency even if they will not be taking classes or supervising students. See Cornell’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Unlike degree-seeking applicants, non-degree applicants may submit recently-expired scores or copies of a paper score report.

Financial Resources

All international graduate students must provide evidence of adequate financial resources to obtain student visa documents. These resources should be sufficient to cover the costs of attendance, including living expenses, for the duration of their stay at Cornell. Learn more about the costs of attendance.

The Application

  • The hosting graduate field will need to supply each non-degree graduate applicant a single-use “Application Key” code, which can be obtained from the Graduate School.
  • Next, the applicant should complete our abbreviated “Quick Application.”
  • After the applicant has applied, the graduate field will review and admit the applicant and send an offer letter—just like for degree-seeking applicants. A sample Non-Degree Admit Letter available to fields upon request.
  • Admitted non-degree graduate students should respond to their offer of admission online.
  • After accepting the offer, international non-degree graduate students will receive instructions for requesting student visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019)

Upon Arrival

When they arrive on campus, non-degree graduate students MUST do the following:

  • Contact field of study or host department as soon as possible.
  • Visit the Graduate School’s Student Services Office in 172 Caldwell Hall for information about registration procedures. In order to comply with U.S. immigration law, international students must be registered with the university within 30 days of the I-20 or DS-2019 start date.
  • If international, check in with International Services: Office of Global Learning online. This is also a U.S. immigration requirement.
  • Call the IT Service Desk to activate their NetID, if applicable: 607-255-5500.
  • Visit the University Registrar’s office in B7 Day Hall to obtain a student ID card & update their local campus address.
  • Visit the University Bursar’s office in 260 Day Hall to pay any outstanding balance & sign the Bursar Disclosure Statement (mandatory to complete registration).

Prior to Departure

At least one week before leaving Cornell, non-degree graduate students should:

  • Contact field of study or host department to confirm planned departure date.
  • Visit the Graduate School’s Student Services Office in 172 Caldwell Hall for withdrawal procedures.
  • Visit the University Bursar’s office in 260 Day Hall to pay any outstanding balance.