Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Apr 24, 2024  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree Programs

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) offers programs leading to the degrees bachelor of science (B.S.), master of science (M.S.), and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). Professional degrees include the master of professional studies (MPS), master of food science (MFS) and master of landscape architecture (MLA). Some registered professional licensing and certification programs are also available.

All curricula required for degrees in CALS are registered with the New York State Education Department.

Bachelor of Science Degree

Departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences foster study for the bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in over 20 major programs. To qualify for the degree, students must fulfill CALS Graduation Requirements established by the faculty of the College and administered through the Office of Academic Programs.

The college learning outcomes expected for all students to earn a B.S. degree are listed below:

  • Explain, evaluate, and effectively interpret factual claims, theories, and assumptions in the student’s discipline(s) (especially in one or more of the college’s priority areas of land grant–agricultural sciences, applied social sciences, environmental sciences, and/or life sciences) and more broadly in the sciences and humanities
  • Find, access, critically evaluate, and ethically use information
  • Integrate quantitative and qualitative information to reach defensible and creative conclusions
  • Communicate effectively through writing, speech, and visual information
  • Articulate the views of people with diverse perspectives
  • Demonstrate the capability to work both independently and in cooperation with others
  • Apply methods of sustainability to the analysis of one or more major challenges facing humans and the Earth’s resources. 

Undergraduate Majors

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers 23 undergraduate majors and more than 25 minors, many of which are cross-departmental to take advantage of the knowledge experience, and expertise of the faculty from several disciplines. Faculty identify a sequence of courses that constitute the requirements for each major.  In addition, all students must meet the minimum distribution requirements of the College. Courses of study are designed to provide systematic development of basic skills and concepts as well as critical thinking. Many majors provide the opportunity for students to concentrate in a particular focal area. The following units offer major fields of study for undergraduates. Students should consult with the faculty or staff coordinator regarding requirements and opportunities for concentrations in the major.

Additional Course Offering Areas:

*Agriculture and Life Sciences (ALS) courses are not associated with any departments, other than instructors from departments or the Center for Teaching Innovation. These courses have broad interest among students across the college.

Double Majors in CALS

Students are admitted into a single major. Completion of one major is required for graduation. Some students choose to complete more than one major. Completed majors are posted on the official transcript. Students are not allowed to continue their studies past their eighth (or equivalent) semester to complete additional majors or minors. Students interested in declaring a second major can find more information on the CALS website. Students who pursue a second major must choose a major within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Undergraduate Minors

Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences may pursue one or more minor fields of study offered by any department within Cornell University, subject to limitations placed by the department offering the minor or by the student’s major. A minor is not a requirement for graduation. To add a minor, contact the office or view the website of your desired minor to find out the process for adding the minor. Students are not allowed to continue their studies past their eighth (or equivalent) semester to complete additional minors. Minors offered by CALS are described along with the majors later in the CALS section of this catalog. Not all majors or departments offer minors. Minors available at the university can be found on Cornell University’s academics website.

Graduate and Professional Fields of Study

CALS offers research-centered (MS/PhD) advanced degrees in more than 30 fields of study and course-based professional master’s degrees in several key areas of specialization. While research-centered graduate degrees often lead to academic careers and scientific discovery, professional master’s degrees (MPS, MFS, MLA, and MEng) are designed to enhance careers in industry, government, and non-profit agencies. To learn more about graduate degree programs available, reference the listing below of current directors of graduate studies, and review degree programs administered by the CALS Office of Professional Programs and the Graduate School . General information on graduate study at Cornell University is available on the Graduate School’s website.

Master of Professional Studies (MPS) 

The MPS and MFS degree programs are specialized master’s programs designed especially for those who are interested in the growing complexity and diversity of systems and issues in the agricultural, life, social, and environmental sciences. The program offers challenging opportunities for those with appropriate skills, experience, and educational backgrounds. Individuals who have already embarked on professional careers and those who plan to continue education in their current fields or related ones often select this program.

The MPS and MFS programs emphasize breadth of training via course work rather than research experience. MPS and MFS degree candidates take the same courses as other graduate and professional students and complete a problem-solving capstone project, working with their faculty advisor. CALS offers a variety of areas of study tailored to each student’s professional graduate development objectives. The CALS MPS and MFS programs are typically completed in one academic year. For more information, visit the CALS Professional Master’s website.


A one-year, course-based master’s degree program that emphasizes professional development and intellectual investigation in the areas of agriculture, life sciences and global development.

  • Instruction Mode: In-Person, Ithaca, NY
  • Length of Program: Full-Time, 30 credits
  • Prerequisites: Students will have met most prerequisites by virtue of the requirements for admission.
  • Twenty credit hours must be taken within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and at least 30 credits must be in graduate-level courses numbered 5000 or higher.
  • Problem-solving project: A maximum of 6 of the required 30 credit hours may be earned through the student’s problem-solving project.
  • A maximum of 6 credit hours earned outside the program, at Cornell University or elsewhere, may be counted toward these requirements at the discretion of the student’s faculty advisor. These credits must be appropriate to the subject of study and completed not more than five years before admission.
  • One semester must be earned by carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours. In certain circumstances, the second semester credit may be earned by accumulating the remaining credit hours in the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University or through transfer of credit.
  • Additional requirements:              
    • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 (minimum of 18 credit hours with letter grades at Cornell).
    • Completion of the degree within four years of admission. Some fields of study may have special requirements, so students should check with the field’s director of graduate studies for specific details.

In addition to the MPS and MFS degree programs, CALS administers the one-year, 30-credit Master of Engineering degree program in the graduate field of Biological and Environmental Engineering. Details may be found on the BEE website.

For Cornell undergraduates, an Early Admit (EA) option is available in all MPS, MFS and BEE M.Eng programs. For qualifying undergraduates, the Early Admit option provides the opportunity for advanced students to begin graduate coursework during the final semester of undergraduate study. Contact the CALS Office of Professional Programs for more information and an EA application form.

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

The intention of this accredited, license qualifying curriculum is the teaching of the theoretical underpinnings of the field of landscape architecture while building the necessary skills for practicing this challenging profession.  The program consist of design studios, courses in technical and computer skills, and the development of a concentration focused on the student’s personal area of interest. Individuals holding an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture or architecture or having unique employment experience may also apply for the MLA degree. Additional details are available on the CALS Landscape Architecture website.

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA), First Professional


The intent of the MLA degree program is to provide the foundational, historical, theoretical, technical, and skills-based grounding of the field of Landscape Architecture. The core of the degree program is the design studio that introduces students to fundamental design methodologies. Students are asked to pursue and develop their design process and learn about research methodologies. The First Professional six-semester MLA degree is accredited by NYSED and LAAB and is a first professional landscape architectural license-qualifying degree intended for those students who do not hold a first professional degree in Landscape Architecture or Architecture. Typical pre-professional baccalaureate degrees include: Bachelor of Landscape Studies, Bachelor of Environmental Design, Bachelor of Design, or Bachelor of Architectural Studies.

  • Instruction Mode: In-Person, Ithaca, NY
  • Length of Program: Full-Time, 90 credits, 6 semesters
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA), Post Professional


The intent of the MLA degree program is to provide the foundational, historical, theoretical, technical, and skills-based grounding of the field of Landscape Architecture. The core of the degree program is the design studio that introduces students to fundamental design methodologies. Students are asked to pursue and develop their design process and learn about research methodologies. The Post Professional four-semester MLA degree is intended for those students who hold a United States or Canadian accredited first professional degree in Landscape Architecture or Architecture, including BLA, BSLA, or BArch degrees.

  • Instruction Mode: In-Person, Ithaca, NY
  • Length of Program: Full-Time, 60 credits, 4 semesters

Dual Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning

The dual degree in Regional Planning (MRP) and Landscape Architecture (MLA) prepares students for work in areas such as physical planning, environmental analysis, community development, and urban design — skills which are highly sought after in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Concurrent degree candidates may earn two distinct and independent graduate degrees from both colleges and must satisfy all requirements for both degrees. The dual degree offering is limited to participants in the 90-credit (first professional) MLA program. For further information about the Dual Master of Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture, visit the City and Regional Planning website.


Directors of Graduate Studies

Agriculture and life sciences [M.P.S. (agr.)]: Office of Professional Programs, 212 Kennedy Hall,

Animal science: Patricia Johnson, 247 Morrison Hall,

Applied economics and management: PhD: Arnab Basu, 441 Warren Hall, MS: Calum Turvey, 450A Warren Hall, MPS: Aija Leiponen, 351C Warren Hall,

Atmospheric sciences: Toby Ault, 1104A Bradfield Hall,

Biochemistry, molecular, and cell biology: Chris Fromme, 457 Weill Hall,

Biological and environmental engineering: Peter Hess, 202 Riley-Robb Hall,

Biophysics: Toshi Kawati, C4-151 Veterinary Medical Center,

Communication: Jeff Niederdeppe, 476 Mann Library,

Computational biology: Amy Williams, 102G Weill Hall,

Development sociology: John Sipple, 251C Warren Hall,

Ecology and evolutionary biology: Monica Geber, E413 Corson Hall,

Entomology: Jennifer Thaler, 4138 Comstock Hall,

Environmental toxicology: Andrew Yen, T4-008 Vet Research Tower,

Food science and technology: Sam Nugen, 241 Stocking Hall,

Genetics, genomics and development: Andrew Grimson, 445 Biotechnology Bldg.,

Global development [M.P.S.]: Terry Tucker, 201 Fernow Hall,

Horticulture: Thomas Björkman, 205 Hedrick Hall,

Integrative Plant Science [M.P.S. only]: Marvin Pritts, 134A Plant Science Building,

International agriculture and rural development [M.P.S. (agr.)]: Terry Tucker, B75 Mann Library,; Maricelis Acevedo, B75 Mann Library,

International development: Terry Tucker, B75 Mann Library,

Landscape architecture [M.L.A.]: Josh Cerra, 444 Kennedy Hall,

Microbiology: Joseph Peters, 175A Wing Hall,

Natural resources and the environment: Marianne Krasny, 221 Fernow Hall,

Neurobiology and behavior: Mike Webster, W307 Mudd Hall,

Nutritional sciences: Barbara Strupp, 217 Weill Hall & 102 Savage Hall,

Plant biology: Michael Scanlon, 140 Emerson Hall,

Plant breeding and genetics: Jean-Luc Jannink, 248 Emerson Hall,

Plant pathology and plant-microbe biology: Adam Bogdanove, 360 Plant Science Bldg.,

Soil and crop sciences: Olena Vatamaniuk, 608 Bradfield Hall,

Statistics and data science: James Booth, 1172 Comstock Hall,