Cornell University Profile and Rankings


Cornell University Profile - Official SealCornell University is one of the eight Ivy League Universities. It is located in Ithaca, New York, and as their school song says, they are “high above Cayuga’s waters.” Cayuga refers to Lake Cayuga, one of New York’s Finger Lakes, and this location makes Cornell’s campus quite scenic, although very cold in the Winter!


Unlike most universities, Cornell is a mixture of state and public schools. Some of the colleges that make up Cornell are actually considered public colleges. Others are considered private. Even though this may sound like a theoretical difference, actually it has real-world impact on students – with the public programs qualifying for a considerably lower tuition for in-state residents.


How did this happen? It has to do with the founding of the university in 1865 – as the Civil War ended in the United States. Initially Cornell was created by the State of New York as a public land-grant university. So, for example, its colleges of Agriculture and Human Ecology are public universities and in-state students qualify for a lower tuition. Other colleges at Cornell are private, and their tuition is quite high, just like other private colleges in the Northeast. For example, its colleges of Arts & Sciences and Engineering are private, and have the higher tuition rate.


For many, the campus life at Cornell revolves around fraternities and sororities. The on-campus housing is limited, so after Freshman year, many students either move off campus or into one of the numerous fraternity or sorority houses.


Cornell has ranked high in a number of the RealRank ranking criteria, and has the greatest academic breadth of all the Ivy League universities. Unlike the other Ivies, Cornell has robust programs for hospitality management, Industrial and Labor Relations, Human Ecology and Agricultural Science. The rankings in which the university has appeared can be found at the end of this profile.


The Basics

Location Ithaca, New York
Official Website Cornell
Nickname Big Red
School Colors Red, White & Grey
Athletic Conference Ivy League

RealRank Ranking Categories

Reputation Platinum
Renown Platinum
Diversity Success NI
Sports Renown NI
Tuition Profile Some programs Public, others Private. For the Public programs, Mid-range cost for in-state residents. For all others, high cost.
Endowment Platinum
Alumni Engagement Bronze

Key: Platinum: Elite Class; Gold: Very good; Silver: Successful, with room to improve;

Bronze: Mid to low range; NI: Needs improvement.


Academic Profile

Academic Range Well-Rounded
Professional Schools:
Architecture Yes
Business Yes
Dental No
Engineering Yes
Law Yes
Medical No (Off-campus in New York City)
Nursing No (Off-campus in New York City)
Core Science Breadth Yes
Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities Breadth Yes
Human Sciences / Education Yes
Public Health / Urban Policy Yes

Renowned Alumni

So you graduated from a university, but have you made your mark on the world? Here are a few of the notable alumni of Cornell that you may have heard of:

  • Willis Carrier – Invented air conditioners, and founded Carrier air conditioner brand.
  • Ann Coulter – Author and political commentator.
  • Art Gensler – Founder of Gensler Architects.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg – United States Supreme Court Justice.
  • Gabrielle Giffords – Congresswoman from Arizona and terrorist attack survivor.
  • Leroy Grumman – Founder of Grumman Aerospace Corp.
  • Václav Klaus – Prime Minister and President of the Czech Republic.
  • Irwin M. Jacobs – Co-Founder of Qualcomm and pioneer of CDMA technology.
  • Bill Maher – Late night TV host and comedian.
  • Henry Morgenthau, Jr. – U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Did not graduate).
  • Toni Morrison (Chloe Anthony Wofford “Toni” Morrison) – Poet.
  • Bill Nye – The television “science guy.”
  • Keith Olberman – TV political and sports commentator.
  • Frank W. Olin – Founder of Olin Corp. and benefactor of the major library on the Cornell campus, named Olin Library.
  • Christopher Reeve – Actor, Producer and spinal cord injury survivor. Most famous role was Superman.
  • Robert Toll – Co-founder of Toll Brothers home builders.
  • Kurt Vonnegut – Best selling author, of novels such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions. (Did not graduate due to World War II).
  • Paul Wolfowitz – Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank.

Who else would you add to this list?


Most Popular Majors

The most popular majors at Cornell U. include the following, in decreasing order of popularity. This ordering may change slightly from year-to-year.

  1. Business/Marketing
  2. Engineering
  3. Biology
  4. Agriculture
  5. Computer and Information Sciences
  6. Social Sciences.



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