The Master of Professional Studies (Human Ecology) program is intended for professionals who need further academic training but whose career goals are not oriented to research and teaching at an advanced level. Often, this degree is appropriate for persons who want a one-year Master’s degree. Typically, these individuals are successful professionally but feel they need further concentrated study to increase their usefulness on the job. Their study program in the MPS (Human Ecology) program would include course work primarily focused on a subject or problem area related to their professional career. The applicant's professional accomplishments and motivation should provide evidence that he or she will benefit from and successfully complete graduate work for the MPS (Human Ecology).

To be eligible for the MPS (Human Ecology) program, the applicant must have a bachelor's degree and have demonstrated competency in a professional field related to human ecology. To meet admission standards of the Cornell Graduate School, the applicant must show evidence of intellectual and personal development as measured by his or her undergraduate record, the Graduate Record Examination or other appropriate tests, and recommendations, as well as evidence of professional accomplishments. Professional performance and potential are weighed heavily in evaluating the applicant for admission.

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.

The student must complete 30 course hours related to his or her professional interests as agreed upon in consultation with the Special Committee.

  • Twenty of these course hours must be within the College of Human Ecology.  
  • At least 24 of the 30 credits must be in courses numbered 400 or higher.
  • Up to 6 of the 30 hours of required credit may be earned in connection with the problem-solving project.
  • No more than 6 of the 30 course hours may be in courses that are graded S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory).
  • No more than 6 of the 30 course hours may be earned outside the program (in non-affiliated graduate fields at Cornell University or at other universities).

Acceptance of these courses is at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies for the respective field of the College of Human Ecology upon the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies for the respective graduate field affiliated with the College of Human Ecology. These transfer credits must be appropriate to the subject of the chosen field of study and must have been completed no more than five years prior to admission to the program.

The student must successfully complete a problem-solving project approved in advance by the Special Committee and pertinent to the subject matter of the field of concentration.  The project may be one of the following:

  • The execution of a professional action program designed under the guidance of the Special Committee
  • the development of a professional plan of attack on a pertinent problem
  • the development of professional materials suited to the student's interests
  • the development and execution of research appropriate to the profession.
  • The written project report must be approved by the Special Committee.
  • The student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5.

The complete program description is available here.

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 apparel design for an MPS may be asked to submit a portfolio.  For those whose research will be in applied design areas, a portfolio is required. Other research areas may not require a portfolio. Portfolios should contain whatever you feel is necessary to show your work. and need to be fewer than 10 MB to upload to your application. 

The department does not provide financial support for the master of professional studies.