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Plant Sciences Major at Cornell University
Majoring in Plant Sciences will help you make a difference in the world. Plant science expertise is needed to address many of our most challenging problems:
  • Producing enough food for a growing world population.
  • Breeding plants to tolerate the heat- and drought-stress of climate change.
  • Developing sustainable cropping practices to produce healthful and nutritious food.
  • Investigating new methods to fight disease.
  • Learning the fundamentals of how plants grow and develop.
  • Transforming sterile urban environments into vibrant microcosms of nature.

Read more.


Esther Pullen ('04) shares how the major helped prepare
her for a career where she can make a difference.
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Future students Current students
Hear more from students, alumni and faculty: Courses you'll take:

There is no single Plant Sciences Department. Instead, five cooperating departments provide courses that are key to the Plant Sciences Major:

Admissions: Transfer students:

Many Plant Science majors transfer to CALS from other institutions. CALS has agreements with many in-state and out-of-state institutions. CALS gives priority to students from articulation schools who meet all of the transfer requirements and demonstrate a true interest in Plant Sciences. Find out more.

Students can still transfer from a college that does not have a formal agreement with CALS. Not all credits may transfer, however. Transfer credits are determined by the admissions office. Transfer credits for the major are determined by your advisor. Up to 60 out of 120 required credits can transfer to Cornell from other institutions.

Other programs:
Planning info:

Plant Sciences concentrations:

Before the beginning of their junior year, Plant Sciences majors who matriculated as freshmen or sophomores declare an intended concentration (or an intention to complete requirements for a CALS minor in a field of study outside of the Plant Sciences).

The five concentrations are:

  • Plant Genetics and Breeding
  • Sustainable Plant Production and Landscape Management
  • Evolution, Systematics, and Ecology
  • Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology
  • Plants and Human Health

Read more about the concentrations and their requirements.

Plant science courses by department:

There is no single Plant Sciences Department. Instead, five cooperating departments provide courses that are key to the Plant Sciences Major:

Career opportunities: Clubs and activities:dilmun hill on youtube

Undergrad research opportunities:

undergrad researchOne of the opportunities offered by Cornell that few other institutions can provide is to work side-by-side with world renown faculty on research. Most faculty at Cornell engage in research and will welcome undergraduates into their lab.

Undergraduate researchers can earn credit for their experience, they may get paid to do research, and they often are listed as authors on scientific papers. Many Cornell faculty can trace their road to becoming a professor to a research experience they had as an undergraduate.

All Plant Science Majors are encouraged to engage in a research experience of some type at least once during their time at Cornell. The first step is simply to ask faculty if there are opportunities available. Although structured research programs are available, many opportunities are less formal and come through internships and word-of-mouth. Undergraduate researchers may even apply to graduate with honors.

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