Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Dec 02, 2022  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Agriculture and Rural Development

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .


 Course Offerings  

International Agriculture and Rural Development (IARD) is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students to critically examine and contribute toward solving some of society’s great challenges including food insecurity, poverty, and the need to increase agricultural productivity under conditions of climate change and a growing global population.   All students take a small core of foundational courses in the social sciences (economics and development sociology), biology, the applied agricultural sciences and natural resource management.  With the support and counsel of faculty advisors, students choose one of three concentrations within the major, typically by the end of the second year.  Those concentrations are 1) economics and development, 2) agriculture and food systems, and 3) environment and ecosystem management. 

The Development Sociology major will be welcoming its final class of first-year students in the Fall of 2021. We will be accepting sophomore transfers through the Spring of 2022 and junior transfers through the Fall of 2022. We encourage students interested in this program to explore the new Global Development major, which is accepting first-year students for Fall of 2022.


In addition to the college distribution requirements  (39 credits) and a set of “core” courses/experiences for the major (includes an international experience), students select from an extensive list of courses across many departments to develop a concentration.  This enables students to pursue in greater depth the special interests that emerged during their broadly interdisciplinary first year of study.  Also, strong concentrations help position students for admission to graduate degree programs should they choose to pursue further study.   Over the past decade, IARD graduates have gone on to competitive graduate programs in many different fields including the social sciences (especially applied economics and development sociology), a variety of agriculture-related specializations, international development studies, education, environmental studies, nutrition policy, and law. 

The IARD major requires an international experience of at least 8 weeks duration.  Certain types of study abroad or exchange programs will fulfill the requirement.  Increasingly, however, IARD majors are meeting the requirement through internships (both summer and during the regular academic term).  Students may choose from a set of pre-existing options or propose an individualized international experience.   The later would be developed in consultation with and must be approved by a faculty advisor.  Pre-internship orientation and post-internship discussion and writing activities are built into the program.  Currently, IARD internship opportunities exist in several countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and with a wide variety of organizations including NGOs, research institutions, international organizations, policy institutes, farms and businesses.   

Although not currently required, foreign language study is strongly encouraged.  Cornell offers high quality instruction in a large number of languages and many IARD students take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen an existing language or begin learning a new language.

For additional information see the department website

International Development Minor:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The minor in International Development Studies is no longer accepting new applicants effective fall 2021. Students admitted to the minor prior to August 2021 may still complete the minor. Students with an interest in integrating the study of sociology and global development into their undergraduate studies and who matriculate August 2021 or after are encouraged to meet with the Global Development Undergraduate coordinator to discuss other curricular and co-curricular options to meet their interests and goals.

Undergraduates enrolled in any CALS major other than IARD can pursue the International Development minor.  Administered by International Programs – CALS, the minor combines international development-related coursework and an overseas experience.  It is designed to be flexible so as to complement students’ studies across a wide variety of majors.      

Requirements for the minor:

In addition to fulfilling all of the requirements of any chosen major in CALS, students must complete the following requirements for the minor.

  • 15-18 credits (at least 5 courses) directly related to international development studies.  There are a great number of such courses spanning dozens of academic departments at Cornell.  Recognizing that any list of approved courses will be incomplete, we provide examples of courses that meet the spirit of the requirement and urge students to consult their faculty advisor and/or the advisor for the minor in IP-CALS, Dr. Terry Tucker (  For more information on courses and suggested seminars see the department website for information on the minor
  • One semester of an approved international development-related seminar.  The CIIFAD Seminar (IARD 6960 /AEM 6960 /PLSCS 6960 /NTRES 6960 ), is also highly recommended in addition. See the website for a link to suggested seminars.
  • An approved overseas experience, preferably in a developing country. This can be an internship, study abroad program, CALS exchange program or a faculty-led short course. 
  • Foreign language study is highly recommended but not required for the minor.

Contact information

For more information, or to make an appointment regarding the major, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for IARD and the International Development minor, Dr. Sarah Giroux, at or (607) 255-3811.