Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I transfer credits to count toward my MPS degree?

Yes. A maximum of six credits may be transferred in but these cannot be credits used to satisfy the requirements for a different degree program. That is, you can't simply take credits from your undergraduate transcript and count them toward Cornell's MPS. You may, however, request credit for courses taken at Cornell or another institution that did not lead to a degree.

2. What funding is available for MPS students?

Unfortunately, we have very limited funding for the program. Students are supported by their governments or employers or they are self-funded.
The program awards a Teaching Assistantship to one student. This award covers tuition and provides a stipend. The TA position requires an average of 15 hours of work per week during the academic year. The TA helps with an undergraduate course in the fall and with the MPS program throughout the academic year.  

The program also awards one Coverdell Fellowship to a returned Peace Corps Volunteer. This award covers tuition. It may be awarded to a single student or divided among as many as four students. 

Students interested in learning a South Asian or Southeast Asian language have also applied for and received Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships from the South Asia Program (SAP) or the Southeast Asia Program (SEAP). These fellowships require students to take language and area studies courses and they provide funding toward tuition (equivalent to roughly half the cost of tuition) as well as a stipend.


3. How do I apply for the Coverdell Fellowship or for the Teaching Assistantship?  

There is no separate application process for the Coverdell Fellowship or the Teaching Assistantship. All admitted RPCVs will be considered for the Coverdell Fellowship and all admitted students will be considered for the TAship. Decisions will be made in early April.  


4. Can I work while enrolled in the program? 

Yes. Full-time students may work up to 20 hours per week. 


5. Does the program accept letters of recommendation via email?

Yes. Recommendation letters are accepted via email (please send them to the Graduate Field Assistant) as long as they are on letterhead and signed. All letters of recommendation submitted as part of the application package should appear on letterhead and include a signature..


6. May I submit a copy of my TOEFL/IELTS scores during the application process? 

Yes. Self-reported TOEFL/IELTS scores are accepted as part of the application. 
However, you will need to provide an official copy of your test scores before beginning the program. You should contact your TOEFL/IELTS test center and request that they submit your results to the Cornell University Graduate School. The Graduate School sets the requirements for minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores. The program cannot make exceptions to these minimum requirements. 


7. How do I request a waiver for the application fee?   

The Graduate School handles all requests for application fee waivers. Please consult their website for information about fee waiver eligibility and how to apply


8. Can I apply for matriculation in the winter/spring (January) semester?

No. We accept students into the program in the fall semester only. In rare cases, such as cases involving delayed visas, we will make exceptions to this policy.


9. Is this a STEM designated program?

No. The MPS in Global Development is not a STEM designated program


10. Where do graduates of the MPS program find employment? 

The program has a vast network of alumnae working in organizations around the world. Many of our graduates work in development agencies or NGOs, and some find work in the private sector.  


11. What are "registration units?"

A registration unit is one semester of full-time study. Cornell requires MPS students to complete at least two semesters of full-time study, or the equivalent.  


12. How are advisors assigned or selected? 

MPS students are required to have an academic advisor. Students choose an advisor from a list provided by the program. Ideally, advisors are selected early in the fall semester but must be named by the end of October. Until the advisor is selected, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) will act as your temporary advisor.


13. Can I change my advisor?

Yes. Changes of advisors are permitted and must be made online via your student center account.


14. What if my desired advisor is not a member of the field of Global Development?

Discuss the situation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). It is sometimes possible for MPS students to work with faculty who are not members of the field. 


15. When should I contact a potential advisor? 

We encourage students to wait until they have been accepted into the program to communicate with potential advisors, and we encourage students to wait until they arrive on campus to finalize their advisor selections.  


16. Do I have to take the courses listed for the specializations on the program website?  

No. The courses we list on the website are simply illustrations or examples of what students with these general interests have taken in the past. All students work with an academic advisor to tailor a curriculum to suits their needs and interests. The program has no required courses other than the MPS Seminar.