The Fiber Science Program focuses on the study of fibrous materials and their use in a variety of conventional and non-conventional applications. Students become expert researchers in such areas as high-performance fibers and fiber-reinforced composites, detergency and surface chemistry, textile materials in geotechnical and biomedical applications, polymers for electronics and textile dye chemistry.  With the help of a special committee, each student in the field plans an individualized course of study linking their background and interests with the extensive educational resources of Cornell University. Core courses include:

  • FSAD 6160: Rheology of Solids: Dynamic Mechanical Analysis of Fibers & Polymers
  • FSAD 6200: Physical Properties of Fiber Forming Polymers and Fibers
  • FSAD 6400: Polymer & Fiber Characterization 
  • FSAD 6260: Advanced Textile Chemistry
  • FSAD 6460: NanoTechnology of Fibers and Textiles
  • FSAD 6860: Mechanics of Fibrous Assemblies and their Composites
  • FSAD 6660: Fiber Formation Theory and Practice

A written thesis is required for completion of all graduate degrees in Fiber Science & Apparel Design. Candidates for the Ph.D. require at least three years of full-time study beyond the master's degree. Candidates for the M.S. usually complete their degree requirements within two years.

Required minors

Two minor areas of study are required of Ph.D. students and one minor area is required of M.S. students. Often students select minors in the physical sciences, engineering, economics, marketing, computer science, communication or other fields within the graduate school. Students may select minors depending on their previous specializations; educational preparation in textiles, or polymer science and/or apparel; mathematics, chemistry, physics or economics.

Faculty research

The current research areas of faculty members include surface modification of high-performance fibers for composites, novel techniques for fiber and polymer morphology studies, protective clothing for agricultural, industrial, and medical workers, electrostatic technique for fiber spinning, fully degradable "green" composites, reinforcement of cement concrete by fibers, synthesis of biologically active biodegradable fibers, role of free radicals in degradation of biodegradable fibers, novel chemical synthesis of degradable polymers and fibers for tissue engineering and regeneration.

In addition to the faculty from HCD, fiber science is actively pursued by faculty from various departments, including chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, materials science and engineering and theoretical and applied mechanics.

Fiber Science is a STEM field, giving graduates an additional 24 months of OPT upon graduation.  For more information, contact the Office of Global Learning.

For a complete program description, see the graduate student handbook.

The fall admission deadline is December 15.  We do not admit for spring.  Graduate study applications are submitted directly to the Graduate School of Cornell University, which has jurisdiction over all graduate work and advanced academic degrees.  A complete application includes a statement of purpose, a personal statement, unofficial transcripts, and two (preferably three) letters of recommendation.  Please do not include copies of certificates, passports or other documents.  We will not review your application until it is fully complete, including TOEFL/IELTS test scores. No individual faculty member can offer you admission.  A graduate admissions committee will read your application when it is complete and make the decision. 

Please email the Graduate Field Assistant for pre-application information.

Application fee waivers are available in the application.

Admissions are based on evidence of potential capability for advanced study. Applicants for the Ph.D. must already hold a master's degree. We do not require the GRE.

International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. Minimum TOEFL scores are as follows: Writing 20, Listening 15, Reading 20, Speaking 26, as well as a minimum total score of 100. If ALL of these scores and the total are not met, applications will not be reviewed. The Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS.  

For more information, including waiver information, see the graduate school’s website:

Cornell University expects all applicants to complete their application materials without the use of paid agents, credentials services or other paid professional assistance. The use of such services violates university policy, and may lead to the rejection of application materials, the revocation of an admissions offer, cancellation of admission or involuntary withdrawal from the university.

Applicants who wish to specialize in fiber science, for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree, must have completed courses in calculus, physics and organic chemistry. Applicants for the PhD must already hold an MS in textile chemistry, textile science, polymer science, engineering, chemistry, physics, applied mathematics or a similar discipline. Applicants may be required to make up any deficiencies before admission or as part of the requirements for the degree.

Financial support, in the form of teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships or fellowships is offered with acceptance to Ph.D. students only. Full assistantships include tuition, fees and individual health insurance. Assistantships are offered for four academic years, mid-August through mid-May.  Continued funding is contingent upon acceptable academic performance constituting good standing in your graduate field and satisfactory fulfillment of any teaching or research responsibilities as defined by your assistantship supervisor.

The department does not provide financial support for master's students.