Through the SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell offers accredited undergraduate business degree programs in applied economics and management and hotel administration, as well as world-renowned business-related programs. The College also offers nine minors intended for students majoring in subject areas other than business, to gain exposure to business concepts, frameworks and methods. Because the choices are so broad, students are encouraged to explore the offerings carefully to identify the program that best matches their business career goals. (Graduate study is available in the Johnson Graduate School of Management as well as both undergraduate Schools.)
Applied Economics and Management The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (AEM) offers a broad, flexible curriculum that reflects its analytical, applied economics approach. Students choose among 11 concentrations: finance, marketing, strategy, accounting, entrepreneurship, agribusiness management, food industry management, business analytics, environmental, energy and resource economics, international trade and development, and applied economics. The Dyson Business Minor for Engineers (DBME) is specifically tailored to the educational and career needs of engineering students. The Dyson Business Minor for Life Sciences major (DBMLS) offers business concepts in the context of nonprofit, research, pre-med, pre-dental and pre-vet fields. The Applied Economics and Management (AEM) minors offer specializations in Applied Economics; Environmental, Energy and Resource Economics; Food and Agricultural Business; and International Trade and Development (dyson.cornell.edu).
Hotel Administration The Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration offers the world’s premier hospitality management program. Its rigorous core business curriculum includes courses in finance and accounting; real estate development; facilities management; planning and design; food and beverage management; marketing, tourism, and strategy; analytics; information systems; operations; managerial and organizational behavior; human resource management; managerial communication; and law. The school also offers the undergraduate minor in real estate that is available to any Cornell undergraduate. The Statler Hotel gives students the opportunity to apply what they learn in a real-world business and its Practice Credit requirement further ensures a balance between theory and practical experience (sha.cornell.edu).
Arts and Sciences Many of the liberal arts majors offered by the College of Arts and Sciences provide students with a background for a successful business career. In particular are majors in economics, mathematics, sociology, and psychology. Economics focuses on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services; monetary systems; and economic theories. Students interested in the human dimensions of business can choose sociology or psychology. Mathematics majors can choose concentrations in computer science, operations research, statistics, or economics to prepare for careers in areas such as actuarial science or finance (as.cornell.edu).
Engineering Many of today’s business executives hold engineering degrees. Each of the College of Engineering’s 13 majors prepares students for business careers. Operations research and engineering, and information science, systems and technology are the most business-oriented engineering majors that prepare graduates for careers in areas such as investment banking and process engineering. Engineering students can take a business-oriented engineering minor in areas such as industrial systems and information technology, and operations research and management science. A business minor for engineering majors is also offered by the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (www.engineering.cornell.edu).
Human Ecology The College of Human Ecology offers three business-oriented majors. The fashion design management concentration in the fiber science and apparel design major prepares students for such careers in the fashion industry as a retail executive or merchandise buyer. Students majoring in design and environmental analysis can prepare for careers as facility planners and workplace strategists in consulting and real estate firms and large corporations. The policy analysis and management major focuses on analyzing problems in the public domain, ranging from the processes of making, implementing, and evaluating government policies to the ethical evaluation of contemporary social problems. The Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) minor in the College of Human Ecology builds on a rigorous interdisciplinary focus to describe and analyze public policy problems, particularly in the areas of health policy, regulatory policy, and social policy (www.human.cornell.edu).
Industrial and Labor Relations The School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) focuses on the study of people and policies in the workplace. Students learn how individuals, groups and organizations address workplace issues affecting businesses, society, the economy and international affairs. ILR’s curriculum balances structure and flexibility. Foundation courses provide a comprehensive view of the historical, legal, management and economic issues that define and influence workers and the workplace (www.ilr.cornell.edu).
Cornell Career Services The central office of Cornell Career services provides a range of resources and guidance for students interested in business-related careers. Visit the Career Development Toolkit for modules on Pre-Grad preparation and specific business industries (e.g., Consulting, Finance, Entrepreneurship) including how to access specialty preparation resources such as Management Consulted.
Continuing Education and Summer Sessions The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions offers a wide variety of opportunities for business studies and professional development, ranging from precollege programs to executive education. Summer College’s three-week precollege programs, The Business World and Hotel Operations Management, acquaint high school students with the principles of business management. For college students, Campus-to-Career programs such as the Cornell University Prelaw Program and Internship in New York City and Cornell in Washington Summer Program pair internship opportunities with courses taught by distinguished experts. College graduates interested in health care may apply for the Cornell/Division of Nutritional Sciences Post-Baccalaureate Program in Health Studies. For business professionals, seminars and trainings such as the Administrative Management Institute, the Cornell University Viticulture and Enology Experience, and the Institute for Internet Culture, Policy, and Law provide opportunities to hone skills, increase effectiveness, stay abreast of changes in the work world, and network with colleagues (www.sce.cornell.edu).
Entrepreneurship at Cornell This university-wide program is open to all Cornell students interested in eventually starting their own businesses or working for venture capital firms. Entrepreneurship-related courses are offered by all seven of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges and schools as well as by the Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Cornell Law School (eship.cornell.edu).
International Programs Several additional programs allow business students to focus on a particular geographic area. Majors and minors are offered by the College of Arts and Sciences in Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, German Studies, European Studies, Asian American Studies, China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Asian Studies, East Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and Africana Studies. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a major in international agriculture and rural development.
Law schools do not prescribe any undergraduate degree program, nor do they require any specific courses as pre-requisites. This allows an aspiring pre-law student considerable latitude to explore legal careers and to prepare for law school in ways that best serve their individual goals. Whatever the path, each pre-law student should incorporate two essential guidelines into their planning: first, they should pursue a course of study in which they are genuinely interested; and second, they should seek out and make good use of opportunities to develop social awareness, critical analysis, and the ability to express themselves clearly and effectively—skills essential to the study and practice of law.
When developing a course of study, it is important to recognize that law touches nearly every part of our public and private lives. Indeed, we might better consider the practice of law as a means of engaging with something, rather than an end unto itself, in which case any subject could prove relevant. Pre-law students are encouraged to pursue the subjects that they find most compelling, not only because genuine interest will lead to greater engagement, but also because doing so can provide a great foundation for future legal work. A student pursuing coursework in business or economics, for example, would arrive at law school with excellent context for corporate law work. A student in the physical or life sciences would be well positioned for the tech and health law fields (indeed, such a background is required for the patent law field). And someone pursuing fine or performing arts would find that to be directly relevant to the field of entertainment law, where they would work closely with artistic professionals and media companies.
At the same time, the choice of a major need not determine a student’s destiny in the law. Every field of study provides training in vital communication and analytical skills that can be applied to law school, and intentional use of elective coursework and extracurricular activities can amount to a very well-rounded education.
Cornell undergraduates have access to an accelerated path to law school via Cornell Law’s 3+3 Program, which they may apply for in the junior year. At the time of entry, they must have completed 108 of the 120 credits required for the bachelor’s degree and completed all major and college requirements. Students considering applying to this program should consult with their college pre-law advisor or the university pre-law advisor early in their sophomore year to discuss eligibility and application requirements.
For information on additional preparation, including work experience and necessary examinations, students are strongly encouraged to meet with a Cornell Pre-Law Advisor and to consult the Pre-Law module on the Career Development Toolkit.
Pre-medical and Pre-health Study
Medical, dental, and other health professional schools, while not requiring or recommending any particular major course of study, do require that particular undergraduate prerequisite courses be completed. These courses usually include general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, biochemistry, mathematics, and physics. Some medical schools do not accept AP credit. One or two semesters of writing-intensive courses (or two semesters of first-year writing seminar) may also be required. Other useful courses include upper-level biology, such as genetics, microbiology, anatomy, or physiology.
No particular major is best for those considering medical, dental, or other health professions, and students are therefore encouraged to pursue their own intellectual interests. Students are more likely to succeed at and benefit from subjects that interest and stimulate them, and there is no evidence that medical or other health professional schools give special consideration to any particular undergraduate training beyond completion of the required prerequisite courses. In the past, most successful Cornell applicants to medical, dental, and other health professional schools have come from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Ecology, and Engineering. Even students from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and the Schools of Hotel Administration and ILR have gained admission to medical or health professional schools. The appropriate choice depends to a great extent on the student’s other interests.
Cornell offers many advising resources to support students who are interested in the health professions.
There is no specific pre-veterinary program at Cornell, and students interested in veterinary medicine as a career should select a major for study that fits their interests while at the same time meeting the entrance requirements for veterinary colleges as listed below. Many pre-veterinary students at Cornell are enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which offers several applied science majors, including animal science, which can lead to related careers if the student does not go to veterinary medical school. Some enter other divisions of the university, especially the College of Arts and Sciences, because of secondary interests or the desire for a broad liberal arts curriculum.
The college-level prerequisite courses for admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell are a full year each of English composition/writing-intensive courses, biology or zoology with labs, physics with labs, and general chemistry with labs; and a semester each of organic chemistry, biochemistry (4 semester credits), and advanced life sciences (see Veterinary College Admissions website for list of courses). These requirements will vary at other veterinary medical schools.
For information on additional preparation, including work experience and necessary examinations, students may consult the College of Veterinary Medicine website, the Health Professions Advising Center, and enroll in the Pre-Vet Planning Canvas site.