Prospective Students

Please note: Applications are only being accepted for the concentration of “Cellular and Molecular Toxicology.” The field is not currently accepting applications for the concentrations of “Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry” or “Nutritional and Food Toxicology.”


Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Field of Environmental Toxicology at Cornell University. The Graduate Field of Environmental Toxicology is a very broad interdisciplinary program that has been training students since 1960 and granting graduate degrees since 1981. Our program leads to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with a major concentration in one of three areas, plus a fourth minor concentration option:

  • cellular and molecular toxicology (PhD program administered through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program)
  • ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry – concentration not accepting applications for Fall 2016
  • food and nutritional toxicology – concentration not accepting applications for Fall 2016
  • risk assessment, management and public policy (minor)

Applications from students with various majors are welcomed including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science and toxicology. Cornell University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer. Applications from minority students are encouraged. Prospective students should have a background in chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, and biology. Some preparation in physiology, genetics, histology, and physics is also appropriate. Deficiencies in some areas will not preclude admission. Applications are evaluated by a variety of criteria, including the following:

  1. Academic performance.
  2. Competence in the English language. Applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have received a degree from a university in the U.S. or another country where   English is the common language. The minimum acceptable score is 600 for original paper based test; 250 for computer based test; and a total of 105 for the new testing method which began in 2005.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical and advanced) taken within the last five years. The subject test in biology or chemistry is recommended but not required.
  4. Letters of reference (2 or more).

The deadline for receipt of applications is December 1. Upon receipt, your application will be reviewed by our admissions committee. Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants found admissible to our graduate field will be notified by a letter from the director of graduate studies and invited to attend an open house weekend in early March to get acquainted with the program, interview with faculty and identify a thesis advisor. A student matriculates only after a thesis advisor is chosen and funding is arranged. Students admitted into the program are assured 5 years of tuition and stipend support.

This support comes from a variety of sources including:

  1. Training grants for U.S. nationals
  2. Research grants for research assistantships
  3. Teaching assistantships
  4. Graduate School fellowships
  5. Environmental Toxicology Endowment stipends
  6. Students applying to our PhD program are eligible to compete for a prestigious Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) that has the theme of Food Systems and Poverty Reduction. This IGERT, managed by Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, provides 2 years of generous financial support to successful candidates and offers supplementary training for students in the first 1-2 years of their doctoral program. By undertaking supplementary coursework and participating in a unique 6 month field research experience in Africa, selected students learn to work as members of interdisciplinary teams and to integrate concepts and methods from across food system-related disciplines in both the natural and social sciences. This highly competitive, National Science Foundation program can only provide financial support to US citizens or permanent residents. For more information, please visit the program website at .

International students should be aware that some governments provide funds for graduate work to their citizens or can help you to apply for the funds from an International Agency.

To apply please visit the Cornell Graduate School web site at Your application is submitted on-line to the Graduate School. Please feel free to contact us by phone at 607-255-2539 or email at with any questions.

Andrew Yen, Professor of Pathology
Director of Graduate Studies in Environmental Toxicology

Andrea Elmore
Graduate Field Assistant