• What are you looking for in applications to the Ph.D. program in PAM?

    Successful applicants to our program demonstrate a record of academic excellence and potential to conduct high-impact, policy-relevant research. We support applicants from diverse academic, social, and professional backgrounds. It helps to have prior training in the social sciences, either through coursework or research experiences. 

  • Do I need to have a faculty member agree to sponsor my application or provide financial support as a condition of admission? 

    No. In PAM, we offer 5 years of funding to all students who are admitted to the program, and this funding is not tied to work with specific faculty. You do not need to have a specific faculty member agree to support your application to be admitted. It is a good idea to discuss how your research interests overlap with the areas of research strength in PAM in your Personal Statement, however. 

  • Do I need a Master’s degree to apply?


  • Can I submit application materials after the Jan 15th deadline?

    We can only consider applications that are complete by the Jan 15th deadline. Please reach out to your letter writers well in advance of this deadline, to give them adequate time to write and upload your letters.

  • What are you looking for in the Statement of Purpose? 

    The Statement of Purpose is a central part of the application. The Graduate School provides excellent guidelines for writing a successful one. In PAM, we are particularly interested in your academic, professional, and personal experiences that motivate your interest in policy-relevant research, your potential to pursue high-quality independent research, and your fit with the areas of substantive and methodological strength in our program. 

  • What GRE score/GPA should I have to be a competitive applicant? 

    PAM does not have required minimum GRE scores, and GRE scores are considered as only part of a broader, holistic review of a candidate’s application. We do look at coursework and grades as indicators of academic potential; if you have experienced challenges that have influenced your academic record you can feel free to discuss them in your Statement of Purpose. 

  • Can I apply to both the PAM Ph.D. and the Economics or Sociology Ph.D. programs? 

    You may only apply to one graduate program at a time. You can, however, list a 2nd choice field for consideration should your application be rejected from your 1st choice field. PAM works closely with the Economics and Sociology Ph.D. programs, and students have access to many of the faculty, coursework, and intellectual environments of both PAM and the disciplinary departments regardless of the degree program.  

  • What opportunities and resources are there for applicants from backgrounds that are underrepresented in graduate programs? 

    Cornell and PAM welcome students from all backgrounds and take active steps to support students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in academia. The Graduate School offers fellowship programs and a comprehensive set of professional, mentoring, and social programming to support students personal wellbeing and professional growth. Students in PAM are actively involved in many of these programs. You can learn more about these offerings here

  • I have never been to upstate NY or Ithaca before. What is it like? 

    Ithaca offers a spectacular natural setting, affordable living, and a world-class university. Please see here for more information about Ithaca, housing, and local amenities! Admitted students are also typically hosted by current students during Visit Day, providing an authentic window into graduate student life.  

  • What careers to graduates of the PAM Ph.D. pursue?

    Graduates of the PAM Ph.D. program pursue a variety of career paths in both academic and in the public and private sectors. Please see here for a list of our student placements.