Courses of Study 2017-2018 
    Jan 28, 2022  
Courses of Study 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .


Kathryn J. Boor, dean

Max J. Pfeffer, executive associate dean

Beth A. Ahner, senior associate dean

Amy R. McCune, senior associate dean

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

Sharon L. Detzer, associate dean of alumni affairs and development

Samara Sit, assistant dean of communications

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

Sue Merkel, associate director of academic programs

Jan P. Nyrop, associate dean and director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, interim director of the New York State Agricultural Experimenta Station

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

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

Thomas R. Overton, associate director of cooperative extension

W. Ronnie Coffman, director of international programs

Sarah Davidson Evanega, senior 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 M. Suarez, associate dean of government affairs and community relations

Department Chairs/Directors

Animal science: Patricia A. Johnson, 149 Morrison Hall

Applied economics and management: Lynn Wooten, 210B Warren Hall

Biological and environmental engineering: John C. March, 104 Riley-Robb Hall

Biological statistics and computational biology: Martin Wells, 1190 Comstock Hall

Communication: Katherine A. McComas, 468 Mann Library Building

Development sociology: Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, 240B Warren Hall

Earth and atmospheric sciences: Richard Allmendinger, 2116 Snee Hall

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

Entomology: Bryan Danforth, 2130 Comstock Hall

Food science: Olga I. Padilla-Zakour, M10H Stocking Hall

Landscape architecture: Peter J. Trowbridge, 443 Kennedy Hall

Microbiology: John D. Helmann, 372 Wing Hall

Molecular biology and genetics: William Brown, 357 Biotechnology Bldg

Natural resources: Patrick J. Sullivan, 111B Fernow Hall

Neurobiology and behavior: TBD, Mudd Hall

Nutritional sciences, Division of: Patrick J. Stover, 127 Savage Hall

School of Integrative Plant Science: Chris Smart, 135A Plant Science Bldg.

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, International Study Opportunities, and the college Registrar). Although most of the student services are in the Office of Academic Programs, services are also provided by the Office of Undergraduate Biology and by various CALS 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. Chatter ( is an on-line resource designed to provide answers to student questions along with resources for their academic and career needs. All CALS students are encouraged to create their profile in Chatter and utilize this supportive tool. 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 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 serves as a college hub to assist and support inclusion and achievement of students of all backgrounds. This population is defined as students that come from backgrounds that have been historically under-represented. 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.

Additionally, 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: Shawna Alling, Jo-Lynn Buchanan, Jennifer DeRosa, Julia Franke, Laurie Gillespie, Torrey Jacobs, Ann LaFave, Laura Mlyniec-Beam, Vicki Parker, Lisa Ryan, Brandon Senior, Steve Shaum, Cindy Tartar, and and Nikki Wells.

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 7,000 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 Carla Crooker, Shawna Fulkerson, Aubrey Holbrook, Heather Marcotte, Pamela Tan and Erin Treat.


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

Cornell students participating in credit-bearing programs off Ithaca’s campus during the fall or spring semester who will earn Cornell or transfer credit upon completion.  Programs may include the CALS International Exchange Program, Cornell Abroad, Environmental Science with the Marine Biology Laboratory, SEA semester, Cornell in Rome, Cornell in Washington, or Urban Semester in New York City.


Home to the world’s largest collegiate library collection of agricultural and biological sciences volumes at Mann Library, The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) maintains other unique and outstanding facilities, including two teaching wineries, a biofuels research laboratory, a student run organic farm, a working orchard, maple research forests and world-class collections of plants, insects and vertebrates. 

While the Ag Quad is home to a number of CALS buildings—including the main administrative building, Roberts Hall, which houses the Dean’s Office, Undergraduate Admissions, and Student Services—the college conducts research in 194 buildings in and around Ithaca and in 543 other facilities statewide.

The Ag Quad is located on land that was once part of the Ezra Cornell family farm, so it is fitting that nestled amongst the classrooms, offices and labs are greenhouses, gardens, and research facilities. Newly renovated CALS facilities on campus include Fernow Hall, Stocking Hall, and Warren Hall.

The college’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, at the northern tip of Seneca Lake, is a 900-acre campus dedicated to all aspects of applied agricultural research. Additional CALS’ research and extension properties are located throughout New York, including Arnot Teaching and Research Forest, the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory, Willsboro Research Farm, and the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center.