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José F. Martínez
FAQ on Admission to Cornell ECE/CS and
Working in my Research Group

I always try to accommodate Cornell graduate and undergraduate students that may have questions about doing research work with me, applying to graduate school, etc. Feel free to drop by during office hours unannounced, or send me email (but it may take me a bit to get back to you).

If you are not a Cornell student, please be aware that I (and many other professors) receive a lot of unsolicited email from external students about admission to Cornell ECE/CS, or about the possibility of working with me, and in most such cases I choose not to respond. I have crafted for your benefit some standard answers to frequently asked questions (heavily inspired by Krste Asanović's own FAQ page, further evidence that this is a pervasive phenomenon).

I am planning to apply to Cornell ECE/CS. Can I do my thesis under your supervision?

Decisions on admission to Cornell ECE/CS are not made by individual faculty, but by an admissions committee in each case. Admitted students then discuss options with faculty.

I am considering applying to Cornell ECE/CS next Fall. What are my chances?

Admission to graduate school at Cornell is highly competitive. ECE and CS each receives around 1,500 applications each year, which compete for a handful of open slots. I cannot possibly give you a fair assessment of what your actual chances are in the year you apply.

The best judge of your chances are the faculty at your own institution, who should hopefully know you well and can compare you with other students from your institution who were successful in gaining admission to Cornell or peer institutions. If in doubt, apply (which everyone recognizes incurs some expenses).

Almost all our applicants have exceptional course grades and GRE scores, and so these are rarely a factor in admissions. Typically, very important elements of a successful application to Cornell ECE/CS are strong letters of recommendation from people that can judge your potential well, and to a lesser extent, a mature, focused, and well-written statement of purpose. Applicants that can document prior research experience (publications, recommendation letters from research advisers, etc.) can also increase their chances significantly.

Can I do a Summer internship in your research group?

I do not generally take on Summer interns, except in some cases where I already have a working relationship with you or your adviser.

Thanks for all the info, but I still would like to email you about working in your research group...

Ok, if you've read this much and you strongly think you'd make a great match for my research group, feel free to email me. Make sure the subject line reads "Undeterred prospective student." I cannot guarantee a response, but I will do my best.