In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .
Agriculture is an exciting and dynamic field involving a wide range of disciplines across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Agricultural Sciences major trains students to be broad thinkers who are both scientifically skilled and knowledgeable about socioeconomic issues related to agriculture and the environment. This interdisciplinary program engages college-wide faculty, resources, and represents Cornell’s breadth of agricultural offerings. Post-undergraduate pathways are as diverse as the interests of the study body. From lawyers and teachers to all areas of business, research, and production farming—agriculture is a growing employment sector rich with opportunity.
The Agricultural Sciences program offers and encourages curriculum flexibility. Students have choices among focused course categories and work with their advisor to design a curriculum that best fits individual needs; all within the framework of a common core life science curriculum. Many students seek international courses or semester-long study experiences. The major encourages exploration and works with students to make that possible.
There is no one typical Agricultural Sciences student. Learners engage in interdisciplinary settings, are supported by a diverse group of peer ambassadors, and enjoy the major’s close-knit centralized structure. Support begins with a first-semester cohort course, and continues through the common internship requirement. The major places energy and resources in connection and post-graduate alumni engagement. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Agricultural Sciences major site.
Declaring the Major
- While there are no prerequisite courses before declaring the Agricultural Sciences major, students should have coursework experience in the life sciences.
- The major does not have any prerequisites for those matriculating as first-year students. However, general science coursework at the high school level, especially in biology and chemistry, will better prepare students for the life sciences coursework in this major.
- To discuss interests, goals, and requirements, prospective majors should contact the undergraduate major coordinator.
Requirements and Coursework
In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet the college graduation requirements .
As a diverse major, students with life science research, graduate study, or pre-health interests have the curriculum flexibility to expand their foundation with additional coursework.
The curriculum philosophy is flexibility within a common core of 11 foundational courses and a choice of five concentrations that allow for specialization. In addition, all students complete a non-credit bearing agriculturally related internship. First-year students are also required to take a cohort course their first fall semester. Courses are offered in person at Cornell’s Ithaca campus.
Within the core coursework, half of the course requirements have choices. The major requires a modest total of 47 minimum credits. Depending on choice courses in the core, the credit breakdown may range from 35 to 42 core credits. All concentrations require a minimum of 12 credits. Coursework for major requirements does not have a minimum grade. Core coursework is encouraged for letter grade (if available). Concentration coursework must be taken for letter grade credit.
Agricultural Sciences is a transfer-friendly major that recognizes external and internal transfer students have unique needs. Transfer students are individually supported. The major and the student’s advisor review and help plan a course of study prioritizing maximum course equivalency with optimal flexibility.
Core requirements are encouraged to be taken for letter grade. Advisor approval is required if a student would like to take a core requirement under the S/U grading option. A core course can NOT be double counted as a concentration course for Ag Sciences Major graduation requirements.
Core Requirements with Choices:
INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY – Minimum of six credits from the following list or equivalents:
Students should discuss biology options with their advisor depending on goals and interests, particularly those interested in research, graduate school, and pre-health studies.
CHEMISTRY – (choose one)
Two semesters of chemistry, including organic chemistry, recommended for students interested in research, graduate school, pre-health studies. Below are possible sequences.
MATHEMATICS – (choose one)
Seeking additional experience (e.g., grad school track)? After 2100-level or with AP Statistics credit, consider STSCI 3200 - Biological Statistics II OR ENTOM 3030 - Applied Statistics: Biological Experiments in Practice .
FOOD SCIENCE – (choose one)
COMMUNICATION and EDUCATION – (choose one)
INTRODUCTORY BUSINESS MANAGEMENT – (choose one)
GENETICS - (choose one)
ANIMAL SCIENCE - (choose one)
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE - (choose one)
- FDSC 3290 - International Agribusiness Study Trip
- ANSC 2550 - [Dairy Study Trip to Italy] , ANSC 2551 - [Dairy Study Trip to Italy II] , and ANSC 2552 - [Dairy Study Trip to Italy III]
- ANSC 3560 - [International Dairy Study Trip] , ANSC 3561 - [International Dairy Study Trip II] , and ANSC 3562 - [International Dairy Study Trip III]
- ANSC 4880 - Global Food, Energy, and Water Nexus – Engage the US, China, and India for Sustainable Future
- GDEV 3400 - [Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice]
- GDEV 4140 - Global Cropping Systems and Sustainable Development
Students will complete at least one of five concentrations for a minimum of 12 credits. Concentrations include:
- Animal Science
- Business Management and Policy
- Education and Society
- Organic Agriculture
- Sustainable Cropping Systems Management.
Students often have space and flexibility to complete more than one concentration and may double-count any concentration course towards a minor or double major from across the university. For example, business concentration coursework may be used to satisfy both Ag Sciences major requirements, while also counting towards one of nine business minors in the SC Johnson College of Business. Even students who transfer with limited residence time enjoy room for unrestricted course choices.
Optional concentration by petition: Students may pursue the Climate Change Minor in substitution for a concentration. A petition coordinated with Ag Sciences Coordinator and faculty advisor must be initiated by the end of the first semester, junior year. The minor is 18 credits, and the full minor must be completed.
Concentration coursework must be taken letter grade (unless the course is offered as S/U grading only).
Animal Science Concentration Requirements
Concentration courses may not overlap with any core courses.
List One- (choose two)
List Two- (choose two)
Business Management and Policy Concentration Requirements
This concentration offers two tracks. Students may not mix and match between tracks.
Track one: Business Management
Financial Accounting (choose one)
Finance (choose one)
Marketing (choose one)
Elective (choose three additional credits)
Track two: Policy Analysis
Applied Economics (choose one)
Policy Issues and Communication (choose one)
Policy Analysis (choose six additional credits)
Education and Society Concentration Requirements
This broad concentration serves the diverse needs of students interested in the social aspects of agriculture ranging from classroom teaching and non-formal education to social justice, world health, and science communication. Students may select one of the minors listed below and must complete a minimum of 12 credits towards that minor. Mixing coursework from more than one minor is not permitted. While only 12 credits are required to satisfy this concentration, students are strongly encouraged to complete all requirements and earn the minor in its entirety (most minors range from 15-18 credits).
Organic Agriculture Concentration Requirements
Elective Courses (choose one)
Sustainable Cropping Systems Management Concentration Requirements
Choose a minimum of two credits in each of the four categories below. Total of 12 credits are required and at least six credits must be 3000-level or above.
Students who take two or more courses from this pest management list pursuing crop production and management are exempt from taking the core course, PLSCS 4440.
Students gain practical experience through an agriculturally related internship of at least six weeks of full-time effort that aligns with individual goals. From the onset of studies, students are supported in career exploration, learning tools and resources for conducting a job search. Abundant opportunities are available in every facet of agriculture each year and students approach their internship search with the same flexibility and creativity as with course planning. The process involves a learning agreement and career development support. Rising interns and returning interns share interests and advice in an annual fall social to support exploration. All students are encouraged to use the Ag Sciences major’s growing network of alumni connections and strengthen coursework experiences with professional development, such as conference attendance.
Learning Outcomes for Agricultural Sciences Majors:
Upon completion of the Agricultural Sciences major, students will be able to:
- Write and speak clearly, deliver information effectively, and think critically about complex food, agriculture, and natural resource issues.
- Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge and competency with the fundamental science and production of plant and animal systems.
- Demonstrate depth of competency in one or more agricultural disciplines (concentrations).
- Develop and apply sustainable and productive solutions that address the complex, multidisciplinary nature of food and agriculture challenges both domestically and globally.
As a college-wide interdisciplinary major, students, faculty, and courses represent the world-class diversity and strength of Cornell’s agricultural facilities. All students gain hands-on experience through course field trips and labs at numerous campus area farms. Examples of the breath of possible opportunities include visit and engagement in research activities with Cornell Agritech, the Animal Science units, grape growing and winemaking through the Viticulture and Enology facilities, exploration in some of the world’s preeminent resources for the study of Entomology, as well as the Food Science labs and processing plant.
T. Bauerle, R. Bezner Kerr, J. Brady, K. Cox, A. DiTommaso, L. Drinkwater, Q. Ketterings, W. Knoblauch, J. Losey, N. Mattson, M. Mazourek, A. McDonald, W. Miller, T. Overton, G. Peck, J. Perry, M. Pritts, S. Reiners, B. Rickard, F. Rossi, J. Russell-Anelli, M. Ryan, T. Schmit, J. Thies, M. Van Amburgh, H. van Es, C. Wolf