The Milstein Program Experience

Is the Milstein Program for me?

As a student in the Milstein Program, you understand that you’ll need a diverse set of skills to tackle today’s most challenging issues. You might love studying philosophy, capital markets or Chinese, but you’re also fascinated with technology and data and can see the intersections between all of your interests. You are curious about the world, willing to take risks in your academic exploration and show leadership and a breadth of activities.

How it Works

  • Twenty-five students in each class in the College of Arts & Sciences will be accepted into the Milstein Program: the majority at the time of application to the freshman class and balance at the end of the freshman year. Students in the Milstein Program meet regularly for talks, workshops, and performances.
  • Milstein students choose amongst 40 majors in the College and pursue a broad and rigorous course of study in the liberal arts and sciences. Milstein Program students participate in workshops, project meetings and other special events during the academic year in Ithaca. They also have priority enrollment for other Milstein Program courses. New Milstein Program seminars are developed each year. 

Program Structure

Core components

Students in the Milstein Program take tailor-made courses; design their own collaborative, civic-minded project that unfolds over their junior year; select two elective courses; attend the summer program at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City; and present at the annual Milstein Expo. Students who fulfill these program requirements receive a certificate that recognizes them as College of Arts & Sciences Milstein Program Scholars. 

Milstein Core Courses

  • Milstein Advising Seminar is offered each fall and is an advising seminar for first-year Milstein Program scholars.

  • First-year Project is offered each spring. Students work on small team projects they choose or propose. The goal of this course is for students to collaborate as a cohort, learn to scope a project effectively, and stretch their skill sets.

  • Sophomore Seminar is offered each spring. This applied “methods” course focuses on iterative design, problem-seeking/problem finding, and innovation.

  • The Junior Year Project: Students undertake an original, collaborative research project focusing on the theme of innovation and change; partner with a local non-profit, institution, student or community group; work closely with another Milstein Program scholar; present their research at the end of their junior year. 


Offered each semester, this cross-disciplinary course designed for Milstein Program students offers world-class speakers, leading industry voices, and extraordinary Cornell alums to campus for public talks and conversations on tech and humanities themes as well as special immersive skills-based "short courses".

Learn more about MStudio

Milstein Elective Courses

Choose two courses from among this approved list, including Milstein Faculty Fellow seminars. These courses study the social, cultural, economic, environmental, physical and psychological impact of technology.

  • Electives may be taken at any time during the Milstein Program.

  • Students may petition to include other courses outside the approved list.

Milstein Elective Courses

Summer Program at Cornell Tech

An 8-week summer program in-residence at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City for Milstein Program students in the summer after their Sophomore year.

Summer Program at Cornell Tech

Unique opportunities for Milstein Program students

The Milstein Program offers regular speakers and professional development workshops.

Events page

Additionally, occasional Independent Study courses offer students the opportunity to build their technological skills (e.g. AR/VR Unity development). 

Milstien Program Class of '22 & '23

How to Apply

There are two points of entry into the Milstein Program – as high school seniors when applying to Cornell and current students in the spring of your first year. We welcome students from all A&S majors. Approximately one third of the Milstein cohort are from Computer Science and Information Science; the other half come broadly from the Humanities. 

Apply to the program as a high school senior
Apply to the program as a first-year student

Questions? Email:

Benefits for Students

  • A small cohort experience within the College, which fosters team building, collaborative learning and lifelong relationships
  • Milstein seminars designed especially for Milstein Program students
  • Student projects designed and developed by Milstein Program students
  • Mentoring from Milstein Program faculty fellows and faculty directors at the Ithaca and NYC campuses
  • Courses at the Cornell Ithaca campus designed especially for Milstein students
  • Workshops and activities at Cornell Tech designed especially for Milstein Program students and lodging at The House on Roosevelt Island
  • Access to ground-breaking speakers and ideas through a campus speaker series
  • Special activities and events for Milstein students, including a student-run mentorship program
  • Engaged learning opportunities in Ithaca and NYC based upon student-created projects 
  • Opportunities for research, internships and study abroad
  • Access to special equipment and software for project work including audio, video, podcasting and Virtual Reality equipment and software
  • Special events and activities for Milstein Program students, from BBQs and a ropes course to sessions on intergroup collaboration and public speaking

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out what current Milstein students are doing?

There are plenty of places where you can see Milstein students and what they're doing on and off campus. You can visit any of our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), check out our events, or take a look at our student projects

What kind of students are you looking for? 

We are looking for dedicated students who have excelled in a variety of subjects, have a passion for cross-disciplinary education, and who show leadership and a breadth of activities. 

What are the benefits of the program? 

Students will choose from among the 40 majors offered in the College of Arts & Sciences but they will also receive access to a special computer science and technology curriculum while in Ithaca. One summer will be spent at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, learning from leaders in the technology, industry and design spaces. A second summer is optional. 

Will I take special classes only for Milstein students? 

Yes, Milstein Program scholars participate in the "Milstein Workshop", the "design thinking" seminar their sophomore year, and can take advantage of the Milstein Studio course, all connecting them to emerging fields and new university projects. 

Where will I live during the summer at Cornell Tech? 

Milstein students will live together in The House at Cornell Tech, a dormitory on Roosevelt Island and the tallest and largest Passive House residential building in the world.

Can I do another job or internship while participating in the summer program? 

The summer program is a residential program in NYC and is designed to be an immersive, full-time program. As such, you will not have time to take on an additional job or internship while the summer program is in session. 

Do I have to participate in the summer program? Are there any alternatives to participation? 

As a Milstein student you are required to participate in one summer program. There is the opportunity to attend a second residential summer which is optional.