Resources and Support

There are many resources for financial, academic, and non-academic assistance at Cornell.  Below we point you to some additional resources and also encourage you to consult with the “EAS Grad Students Guide” written by EAS graduate students:

This handbook does not discuss financial aid, which often takes the form of Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, or Fellowships. These are usually arranged through the department, advisor, or fellowship sponsor and are described in your offer letter upon admission and/or in the appointment letter you receive each semester or for the summer.  Note that summer support is usually not guaranteed and so you should discuss the options for summer support as soon as possible with your advisor.  Details about the responsibilities associated with these positions are described in the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty ( and Cornell University Policy 1.3: Graduate Student Assistantships (  

For any academic issues, your advisor and Special Committee are the natural first place to turn. Advisors can be surprisingly helpful and understanding, and the rest of the Committee can be very valuable for providing other perspectives. The Director of Graduate Studies and the Student Programs Coordinator are always available as well, including in situations where you may not want to approach your advisor. You should feel free to approach any faculty in EAS about other concerns, including the Department Chair. Finally, should those avenues not work for you, the Graduate School has a variety of people devoted to student academic support, depending on the nature of concerns. You should be aware that in many situations, there will communication between advisor, DGS, and Graduate School regardless of who you approach and usually it is best to start with your advisor.

Throughout your time at Cornell, you should find workshops that will aid in your professional development to learn skills that will help you become more successful in whatever career your pursue.  First-year students should enroll in the year-long series of workshops for professional development as EAS 6920 – learn how to write a scientific paper or proposal, how to give and receive mentoring, time management, etc.  This class is open to all graduate students. As a first-year student, check out the series of seminars offered by the graduate school about making the transition to graduate school: The graduate school offers many other workshops: To improve your teaching abilities there are workshops through the Center for Teaching Innovation: Cornell Career services offers a range of opportunities to provide advice on advancing your skills and career:

The graduate school has a page listing student perks and discounts, including information on fitness and wellness, emergency funds, transportation, computing, etc.:

Cornell also provides excellent support for a wide variety of non-academic issues which affect graduate students. The Office of Student Life at the Graduate School is a source of support and advocacy for graduate students and also serves as a coordinating hub of services that facilitate the student life experience at Cornell. You can find additional information on the Office of Graduate Student Life at

You can find additional information on resources for graduate students, both academic and non-academic, especially for mental health support at

As a member of the Cornell community, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Campus Code of Conduct: and the policy on Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct through Cornell University Policy 6.4:  

Anyone who directly witnesses or experiences bias activity (or finds evidence of or hears about past bias activity) on the Cornell campus or in an area that impacts the Cornell community should intervene in the moment as appropriate (e.g., contact Campus Police at 911, if a crime is in progress, or interrupt the behavior in as much as the observer feels skilled and safe). A report of the incident should be made as soon as possible:

There are many opportunities to meet other students in our program and across campus.  The department hosts regular social events (fall welcome party, winter holiday party, etc.) and other events are organized by graduate students (like Snee Tea).  Also, the Snee Graduate Organization offers regular meeting and events to meet students in the department.  A list of clubs and organizations available for graduate students is available here:

The department maintains an internal webpage (intranet) with some additional information about travel reimbursement and travel leave (special forms are required for international travel), travel funds, policies for safe and respectful behavior for off-campus activities, and more:  The most recent version of this handbook will be posted there, but please keep a copy of the version you received upon arrival, because this is the version you will follow during your time at Cornell.

Every year, the department seeks nominations (including self-nominations) for outstanding graduate student awards.  The exact details vary a little from year to year, so look for details to come out via email each April.  The Bryan Isacks Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2007 by the late Timothy Gubbels (Ph.D.’93 Geological Sciences) in honor of Professor Bryan Isacks to recognize a graduate student who is highly effective as a teaching assistant and who possesses the following characteristics: 1) is collaborative; 2) has expeditionary zeal; 3) has moxie (definition: energy, pep, courage, determination, know-how); 4) has brio (definition: enthusiastic vigor, vivacity, verve). The Estwing award is given to the student nominated as the “most outstanding graduate student and The Estwing Company provides the winner with an Estwing Rock Pick which is engraved with the recipient’s name.  The Meyer Bender ’29 and Stephen Bender ’58 Memorial Scholarship in Geological Sciences is awarded based on nominations given the following two criteria: 1. “Dedication to academia – to strive toward the highest of academic honors in Graduate Geology.” Both the quality and the diversity of the nominee’s academic record will be considered.  2. “Dedication to the human aspects of life – to communicate with ones fellow [human] with sharpness of mind; succinctly; with clarity; yet sensitive to human needs.” Qualities of leadership, service to the department, community, university and to fellow students in all forms will be taken into account.