Courses of Study 2013-2014 
    Jul 20, 2024  
Courses of Study 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .

College Focus

From our undergraduate business school to programs in communication, development sociology, landscape architecture, and other fields, CALS goes beyond the traditional definition of an agricultural school. And yet, with initiatives in food, animal, plant, and biological sciences, CALS clearly illustrates the relevance of agricultural research in creating a world that can support its inhabitants. Because of this diverse portfolio, CALS is regarded as the best college of its kind in the nation.

Through our curriculum and experiential opportunities, CALS develops leadership ability, civic responsibility, and curiosity in its students. Through our research, CALS makes invaluable contributions to an ever-increasing knowledge base. Through Cornell Cooperative Extension and other outreach mechanisms, we serve the public directly, sharing knowledge and improving lives around the world. In all facets of our mission, CALS honors the past, is engaged in the present, and helps shape the future.


Kathryn J. Boor, dean

Max J. Pfeffer, senior associate dean

Jan P. Nyrop, senior associate dean

Margaret H. Ferguson, associate dean for finance and administrative services

Margaret Ann Bollmeier, associate dean of alumni affairs and development

Elizabeth A. Braun, assistant dean of communications

Donald R. Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs

Michael P. Hoffmann, associate dean and director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

Margaret E. Smith Einarson, associate director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

Christopher B. Watkins, associate dean and director of cooperative extension

TBA, associate director of cooperative extension

W. Ronnie Coffman, director of international programs

Sarah Davidson Evanega, senior associate director of international programs

Peter Hobbs, associate director of international programs

Terry W. Tucker, associate director of international programs, and director of agricultural education outreach

Ralph Christy, director of Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development

Julie C. Suarez, assistant dean of government affairs and community relations

Department Chairs/Directors

Animal science: Patricia A. Johnson, 149 Morrison Hall

Applied economics and management: Christopher B. Barrett, 210B Warren Hall

Biological and environmental engineering: Beth A. Ahner, 104 Riley-Robb Hall

Biological statistics and computational biology: James Booth, 1172 Comstock Hall

Communication: Katherine A. McComas, 339 Kennedy Hall

Crop and soil sciences: Timothy L. Setter, 235 Emerson Hall

Development sociology: Philip D. McMichael, Academic Surge A, Room 113

Earth and atmospheric sciences: Larry D. Brown, 2116 Snee Hall

Ecology and evolutionary biology: Amy R. McCune, E249 Corson Hall

Entomology: Laura C. Harrington, 2130 Comstock Hall; Gregory M. Loeb, associate chair, 2136 Comstock Hall

Food science: Dennis D. Miller, 251 Stocking Hall; Olga I. Padilla-Zakour, associate chair, Box 15 Kennedy Hall

Horticulture: Marvin P. Pritts, 134A Plant Science Bldg.; Susan K. Brown, associate chair, Box 15 Kennedy Hall

Landscape architecture: Peter J. Trowbridge, 443 Kennedy Hall

Microbiology: John D. Helmann, 372 Wing Hall

Molecular biology and genetics: Eric E. Alani, 107A Biotechnology Bldg.; Tim C. Huffaker, associate chair, 365 Biotech Bldg.

Natural resources: Daniel J. Decker, 111B Fernow Hall

Neurobiology and behavior: Thomas D. Seeley, W363A Mudd Hall; Joseph R. Fetcho, associate chair, W103 Mudd Hall

Nutritional sciences: Patrick J. Stover, 127 Savage Hall

Plant biology: William L. Crepet, 412B Mann Library

Plant breeding and genetics: Mark E. Sorrells, 241 Emerson Hall

Plant pathology and plant-microbe biology: William E. Fry, 334 Plant Science Bldg.; Wayne F. Wilcox, associate chair, Box 15 Kennedy Hall

Office of Academic Programs

Student Services

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) provides a variety of services for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The hub of these services is the Office of Academic Programs on the first floor in Roberts Hall, including the director, associate director, the Admissions Office, and the Student Services Office (Career Development, Advising and Diversity Programs, Study Abroad and Other International Opportunities, and the college Registrar). Although most of the student services are in the Office of Academic Programs, services also are located across the college in the Office of Undergraduate Biology and in various departments. Faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences consider advising to be an important and integral part of the undergraduate program. Each student enrolled in the college is assigned to a faculty advisor in his or her major field of study for assistance and guidance in developing a program of study and enhancing the student’s academic experience ultimately leading to successful graduation.

The Student Services Office is an integral part of a student’s undergraduate career as the staff work closely with a student from orientation to graduation and beyond. The office coordinates the faculty advising program, supports underrepresented students, serves as the college’s central undergraduate advising office, coordinates the college international exchange programs, provides career development and job search assistance, and offers consultation and support for personal and academic issues, including the college petitions process. There are several staff available to assist students in understanding college/university policies as well as to provide an extra network of support and referral throughout a student’s undergraduate career.

The Student Services Office continues to serve as a college hub to assist and support underrepresented students. This population is defined as encompassing, but not limited to, all African American, Latin American, Asian American, and Native American students. Additionally, the office is charged with monitoring and programming for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). EOP is a state-supported program intended to assist New York State students who meet economic and academic criteria set by the college, NYS Opportunities Office, and New York State Board of Regents.

Career development offers a variety of helpful services to all students and alumni of the college including self-assessment, career exploration, decision making, and transition to employment or further study. An active on-campus recruiting program brings more than 100 employers to campus each year to interview students for full-time and summer jobs. Additionally, the office provides information on hundreds of internships. Services are designed to assist students and alumni with those activities and to help them develop the career planning and job search skills they will find useful as their career paths progress and change.

The Student Services office is responsible for coordinating new student orientation, award ceremonies, commencement activities, on-campus recruiting, and the activities of Ho-Nun-De-Kah, the college’s honor society. The Office is located in 140 Roberts Hall. Staff members include: Jo-Lynn Buchanan, Geva Dimanche, Jennifer DeRosa, Laurie Gillespie, Torrey Jacobs, Rebecca Joffrey, Ann LaFave, Shawna Lockwood, Vicki Parker, Christine Potter, Lisa Ryan, Steve Shaum, Catherine Thompson, Pamela Torelli, and Natalie Vaynberg.

Admissions Office

The CALS Admissions Office is responsible for admitting and enrolling a talented and diverse class of students each year. The process and outcome reflects and supports the college mission and meets college and institutional enrollment goals. This includes freshman, transfer, and intra-university transfer student processes. The office hosts on- and off-campus information sessions for prospective students, evaluates and makes decisions on more than 6,500 applications each year, and coordinates events for admitted students. The Admissions Office staff advises and supports the CALS Ambassador program. The office is located in 177 Roberts Hall. Staff members include Susan Denton, Geva Dimanche, Heather Marcotte, Jeri Nyrop, Pamela Tan, and Victoria Watts.


Undergraduate enrollment is approximately 3,500. Each year about 900 students graduate, while 650 freshmen and 275 new transfer students enroll. College faculty members serve as chairs of the Special Committees of roughly 1,000 graduate students.


A significant factor taken into consideration by the CALS admissions committee is how well a student’s academic interests relate to the mission of the college. Applicants for admission to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will choose from more than 20 major fields of study. As a part of the application process, applicants write about their academic interests and articulate how those interests blend into CALS programs, contributing to the mission of the college. Majors fall within these broad areas: life sciences, environmental sciences, social sciences, and agriculture and food. Appropriateness for the college must also align with high academic achievement. While approximately 50 percent of CALS students come from New York State, about 50 percent come from other parts of the United States or abroad. Slightly more than half of the undergraduates are women.

The CALS Admissions Office is in 177 Roberts Hall, (607) 255-2036;; e-mail:

Transfer Students

All accepted transfer credit must be from an accredited college or university. Transfer credit is awarded based on review of official transcripts. Additional course information may be required. A maximum of 60 non-Cornell credits may be transferred.

Approximately 30 percent of CALS undergraduate students are transfers who have completed part of their collegiate work at community colleges or two- and four-year institutions. Detailed information on transfer admission is available on the CALS Admissions website.

Transferring within Cornell (Internal Transfer)

A Cornell student in good standing may apply for direct-internal university transfer to pursue an academic program unavailable in his or her current Cornell college. Guidelines are available on the CALS Admissions website. The procedure involves attending an information session (if applying to AEM), meeting with a faculty member in the proposed area of study, and submitting an application and essay.

Consideration is given to students who have demonstrated an interest in their proposed new field of study by taking appropriate prerequisite courses. Academic achievement is also considered. Students are encouraged to spend two semesters in their home college before applying. In certain cases where a direct transfer is not possible, a student may be sponsored by CALS through the Office of Internal Transfer for one semester of study before entering the college. During this internal transfer semester, the student must achieve a predetermined grade point average and take approved courses to assure acceptance. Students who are unsure of their interests can consult with the director of internal transfer. More information can be found at:

Special Students

A limited number of non-degree candidates who want to take courses in the college are admitted each year. Applicants should complete the Transfer Common Application including the Cornell Supplement to indicate the special/visiting student intentions and courses. For more information and guidelines, students should utilize the CALS Admissions website.

Off-Campus Students

Programs in which students study off campus but enroll for Cornell credit include SEA semester, Semester in Environmental Science with the Marine Biology Laboratory, field study in Human Ecology or Industrial and Labor Relations, CALS Exchange, Capital Semester, Cornell in Rome, Cornell in Washington, and IPM internship.


The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is located on the upper campus on land that was once part of the Ezra Cornell family farm.

Buildings around the area commonly known as the Ag Quad house classrooms, offices, and laboratories. Flanking them are greenhouses, gardens, and research facilities. Nearby orchards, barns, field plots, forests, ponds, and streams extend as far as the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest in Van Etten and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

Roberts Hall serves as headquarters for the administrative units, including offices of the deans and directors of academic programs, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Included in the Office of Academic Programs are the director and associate director, the Admissions Office, and the Student Services Office.

Mann Library, with its extensive collections of materials in the agricultural and life sciences, is at the east end of the Ag Quad. Public computer facilities are available in Mann Library.