New Student Fellowships
Explore fellowship opportunities available to incoming students:
Approximately 20 percent of our doctoral students studying on campus receive Cornell University Fellowships (referred to as Cornell Fellowships or Sage Fellowships depending on the field of study). These fellowships typically include full tuition, a nine-month stipend, and Cornell individual student health insurance. A summer stipend may also be provided to students.
How to apply: Cornell University Fellowships are awarded at the time of admission; continuing students are ineligible to apply. Prospective students apply for fellowships on the admissions application. To be considered for a university fellowship, respond “yes” to the question on the admissions application asking if you wish to be considered for university assistantships and fellowships.
Award process: The graduate field to which you are applying will consider your eligibility for fellowships based on your application; no additional information is required.
Notification: Admitted Ph.D. students will be notified of any fellowship awards as part of the admissions offer.
The Cornell Fellowships provide one semester or one academic year of funding, including stipend, tuition, and individual health insurance. This award is taken in the first year, unless otherwise noted by your field.
These fellowships may be awarded to U.S. students, permanent residents, or international students.
The Sage Fellowships are two-year fellowships—first year and then dissertation year—with four summers of funding. These include stipend, tuition, and individual health insurance. Sage fellowships cannot be stacked with another fellowship in the same academic year.
- Students in the arts and humanities and certain humanistic social sciences are awarded four summers of funding with the stipulation that they actively pursue their scholarship over the summer and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Students will be eligible for the first and second summers of funding only if they file with the Graduate School by May 1 of that year an academic plan describing the anticipated summer academic activities and outcomes.
- To be eligible for second-summer funding, a student must have assembled the Special Committee before the end of the third semester of registration, as required in the Code of Legislation (and must file an academic plan by May 1, as above).
- Students will be eligible for third-summer funding only if they have passed the A exam or have filed an exam scheduling form by May 1 of that year that indicates they are scheduled to attempt the A-exam prior to the start of their seventh semester of enrollment, as required in the Code of Legislation, and if they have filed with the Graduate School by May 1 an academic plan describing anticipated summer academic activities and outcomes.
- Students will be eligible for fourth-summer funding only after passing the A exam, and only by application. A student must submit an application to the Graduate School for fourth summer of support by May 1 of that year, describing the scholarly work completed with the third summer of support and stating the academic objectives to be undertaken during the fourth summer. Graduate School staff will review the applications.
- The dissertation-year fellowship will be available only to students who have passed the A exam. In addition, students seeking the dissertation-year fellowship must have written and submitted an external fellowship or grant proposal before the dissertation-year fellowship is awarded, to encourage all students to pursue external funding. (In exceptional cases for which there may be no logical external funding organization to which it would be appropriate to write a proposal, the student may write a proposal for an internal Cornell award such as a Graduate School or Einaudi travel grant or may petition for permission to complete an alternative professionalization activity.)
- No portion of the dissertation-year fellowship may be used by the student later than the twelfth semester of enrollment, unless the student had secured external funding in an earlier term, in which case one or two semesters of dissertation-year fellowship may be used after the twelfth semester corresponding with the length of external funding (one semester if one semester external funding had been secured, or two semesters if at least two semesters of external funding had been secured). Exceptions to this requirement will be considered on an individual basis and should be directed to the Graduate School Associate Dean for Administration.
There are several graduate school recruitment fellowships in support of diversity for incoming students, including:
- SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowship—for recruitment of new research degree students in graduate fields within contract colleges
- Deans Excellence Fellowship — for recruitment of new research degree students
- Deans McNair and McNair SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowships — for recruitment of new research degree students who were McNair Scholars at their undergraduate institutions
- Deans Mellon Mays and Mellon Mays SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowships — for recruitment of new research degree students who were Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at their undergraduate institutions
Recruitment fellowships designed to advance the Graduate School’s commitment to access, equity, and inclusion and to enhance the diversity of Cornell’s graduate student population are available on a competitive basis to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and students holding DACA status applying for Fall admission. Students who wish to be considered for these fellowships must submit a supplemental diversity essay with their application materials. Students awarded a fellowship in support of diversity will be recognized as Graduate School Dean’s Scholars and will be invited to participate in community and professional activities sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and its partners. Students awarded a fellowship may receive a standard offer of admission and subsequently be offered this competitive fellowship in lieu of a standard funding offer.
Success in graduate education requires significant persistence and resilience. Therefore, applicants are asked to use their supplemental essay to address how their personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate their ability to be both persistent and resilient especially when navigating challenging circumstances. The supplemental essay should detail how one or more of the following criteria applies to the applicant:
- First-generation college student
- Member of an ethnic or racial group historically underrepresented in graduate education (Black/African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Native Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx)
- McNair or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Scholar (the Graduate School will verify an applicant’s status as a McNair Scholar or Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow while pursuing a baccalaureate degree at a U.S. institution)
- Experiences overcoming significant challenges in their path toward graduate school. Examples include but are not limited to
How to apply:
- Prospective students apply for fellowships in support of diversity through the Graduate School admissions application.
- To be considered, applicants must respond “yes” to the question on the admissions application asking if they wish to be considered for university assistantships and fellowships, including diversity fellowships. Applicants must also submit a supplemental essay that addresses the provided essay prompt and how the above criteria apply to them.
- The Director of Graduate Studies for the graduate field to which the applicant is applying must submit a letter of nomination and a mentoring plan to the Graduate School for consideration by the Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Students from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, or Bulgaria are eligible to apply for this fellowship established by Thanks to Scandinavia in gratitude for the humanity and bravery of the people throughout Scandinavia and Bulgaria who protected persons of the Jewish faith during and after World War II. The fellowship includes a nine-month stipend, full tuition, and Cornell individual student health insurance. To request consideration for this fellowship, please notify your graduate field of your eligibility and request that they nominate you to the Graduate School prior to the fellowship deadline of February 15.