The Department of Human Development graduate program trains researchers and prepares students for research and teaching careers in academic life, work in government agencies, and careers as researchers on projects carried out in a variety of public and private sectors. Please note that we do not offer training in counseling psychology, marriage counseling or family therapy.

For more information on the department view the Field of Study Guide - Human Development. The Faculty listing found in the Field of Study Guide for Human Development, paired with this more extensive information on Human Development Research will serve to clarify our faculty research strengths.

Apply for graduate study in Human Development at the Cornell University Graduate School. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Recognizing the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for student learning, faculty teaching, and academic performance assessment, the Cornell University Graduate School asserts these principles.

Human Development is reopening the application system for our one year MA program with intent to matriculate in fall 2020. All are welcome to apply however, priority will be given to current, graduating Cornell seniors who are interested in attending a graduate program at Cornell in fall 2020.

  • Applications for fall of 2020 opened August 15, 2019 and have been extended to June 15, 2020.
  • Because of delays in visa processing due to Covid-19, international MA applicants can only be considered for a fall 2020 start date if they are currently enrolled at a U.S. educational institution (Cornell or other) and do not plan to travel internationally over the summer.
  • Applications for spring of 2021 will open July 1, 2020 and close October 15, 2020.

Applicants to the Graduate Program are sometimes confused about whether to apply to the Department of Human Development or to another department (often Psychology). This is typically because there are two entities at the Graduate level,  Departments and Fields, and a member of one department might be a member of more than one graduate Field.  If the faculty member with whom you would like to work is a member of the Department of Human Development, then that is the department to which you should apply--even if that faculty member is also a member of the Graduate Field of Psychology (or Sociology, etc.)  If you want to work with a professor who is in the Graduate Field of Human Development but who is in a different department, then you should apply to the department of which the professor is a member.  A faculty member's department membership should trump their field membership when you decide where to apply.  This list indicates which faculty members in our graduate field are also in the Department of Human Development, and which are in other departments.

Based on continued satisfactory progress, the Field of Human Development provides 5 years full financial support for graduate students in the Ph.D. track. This support can be in the form of research or teaching assistantships or fellowships awarded by either the university or the college. Students whose admission applications are completed by December 1, and who request financial support, are automatically considered for college or university fellowships.
Please note: We are unable to offer financial support to students in the one-year master’s program.

All international applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking a TOEFL or a IELTS test. This is a firm Cornell Graduate School requirement. If your scores are near or at the minimum, there is a lower probability you will be admitted. Please use 2098 as the institutional code to have your scores sent to us.

No, an interview is not a required part of the admissions process. If you wish, you may visit the university at your convenience. If you'd like to schedule appointments to speak with faculty members, please contact them directly via e-mail or phone. Students who are short listed for admission to the Ph.D program are invited to come to Cornell in early March. You will be notified if this applies to you.

Admission to the PhD program in Human Development is based on academic merit and fit with the research strengths of the HD faculty. Those with a background in the social sciences and in research methods and statistics are encouraged to apply by December 1st for fall admission.

  • Supporting materials:
    We ask for a statement of purpose, writing sample, and resume so we can learn more about you and your interest in our program.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
    Although a minimum of three recommendation letters are required, students are welcome to submit additional ones.
  • GRE Scores:
    One of several criteria for selection of students is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In Fall 2020, the General Test is encouraged but not required. To have your scores reported to the field, please use 2098 for the institutional code.
  • Human Development Graduate Field of Study  offers complete details.

Apply for graduate study in Human Development through the Graduate School of Cornell University, which has jurisdiction over all graduate work and advanced academic degrees.

As a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, Cornell University may not consider an acceptance (of admission and/or support) from a student to be binding until after April 15th. Since early acceptance of an offer from a university is not binding on the student, most offers of financial support are made by early March, but we can continue to make offers of financial support through April 15. 

Invitations for our annual hosting weekend are typically made by late January. The first round of acceptances will be made after the hosting weekend. Thereafter, decisions continue on a rolling basis until April 15th.

Ms Marianne Arcangeli
HD Graduate Field Office
G421C, MVR Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853