Milstein Program

Shaping the future.

Milstein
Program in Technology & Humanity

Ever wondered how big data can be used to curb childhood-obesity? Do you want to use super-computers to decipher ancient texts? Are you looking for an opportunity to be at the nexus of technology and humanity?

The Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity combines a superb liberal arts education in Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences with cutting-edge programs and courses for undergraduates at Cornell Tech, Cornell's new  graduate campus in New York City on Roosevelt Island.

Its goal is to cultivate innovative and creative leaders across a broad spectrum of fields—leaders who are both tech-savvy and steeped in humanistic values. The Milstein Program builds upon the College of Arts & Sciences' long tradition of encouraging students to pursue the disciplines they love most—even if they might initially seem to be worlds apart.

Merging two College Experiences

Students in the Milstein Program will spend their academic years at our Ithaca campus, pursuing a broad and rigorous course of study in the liberal arts and sciences, and participating in all the opportunities and activities afforded to undergraduates at Cornell. Two summers will be spent living and learning at Cornell Tech in New York City, with access to leading thinkers and practitioners in technology, industry and design, and all that the city offers.

"The new Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity will provide not only a foundation for students to develop the technical, intellectual and organizational skills they need to drive progress in the digital age, but also a context and ethical framework that will equip them to shape society for the better."

- Cornell President Martha E. Pollack

Like the rest of their peers at Cornell, Milstein Program students will have the opportunity to spend time abroad during the junior year and to pursue summertime activities and internships during those summers not spent at Cornell Tech.

Picture of speaker panel
Watch this panel discussion, "Building Bridges Between Ithaca and Cornell Tech," which took place during Trustee-Council Annual Meeting/Homecoming weekend in 2017 and highlights the partnerships between our campuses in Ithaca and New York City. The event was moderated by President Martha E. Pollack and featured the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell Tech and the Faculty of Computing and Information Science.

The vision for the program came from Howard Milstein '73 and Michael Milstein '11, both A&S graduates, who collaborated with Gretchen Ritter '83, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Dan Huttenlocher, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean of Cornell Tech. The program was launched in 2017 with a $20 million gift from the Milstein family.

Applicants interested in being considered for the Milstein Program can contact the Arts and Sciences Admissions Office.

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Milstein Program FAQs

How many Milstein program students will be selected each year?

25 from each class, for a total of 100 students in the program when it reaches full capacity.

What kind of students are you looking for?

Milstein students will come from a broad array of majors, but with a common interest in integrating their studies with technology and the digital world. We are looking for dedicated scholars who have excelled in a variety of subjects, have strong math skills, and who show leadership and a breadth of activities.

How will participants be selected?

Applications will be reviewed by admissions deans, as well as a committee of faculty.

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. Two summers will be spent at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, learning from leaders in the technology, industry and design spaces.

Will I take special classes only for Milstein students?

Yes, Milstein students will take advantage of customized introductory and capstone courses, connecting them to emerging fields and new university projects.

Will there be other undergraduates studying at Cornell Tech?

For now, this is the only formal program that connects undergraduates at the Ithaca campus to the resources of Cornell Tech, which focuses on graduate study.

What if I'm not sure of my major?

Most students declare their major at the end of their sophomore year and the college encourages you to use your first two years to explore the possibilities. All first-years start as undecided/undeclared students.

Where will I live during the summers 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.

Students walking through stone arch on fall day

"The Milstein Program will make its way not just into the humanities, but into thinking about science and technology in relation to other questions of values and ethics and images and design, all of which are fundamental questions about the relationship between the digital environment and our collective future."

–Amy Villarejo
Milstein Program Director

Learn more about the vision for the program.