A singular sense of purpose. A unique sense of community.
What makes the Cornell CALS experience different from any other college experience? Our location in Ithaca, NY, our public service mission, and our remarkably collaborative academic environment. And then, of course, there's our ice cream. Our rich, creamy premium ice cream—handcrafted in our own dairy from our own milk. Discover for yourself what makes Cornell CALS different.
Location, location, location
Look, we get it. Ithaca can seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere. And it kinda is, but it kinda isn’t—and that’s what keeps Ithaca consistently in the ranks of the top 10 best college towns in America.
Located in upstate New York and nestled up against the south end of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca is surrounded by more than 150 "gorges" waterfalls and over 28,000 acres of state forest ready for hiking, biking, skiing and exploring. And it's not just great scenery Ithaca is known for, but great scenes: local music, fantastic festivals and delicious eats. (We may be geographically isolated, but we're not culturally desolate.)
Our location is key to the Cornell experience: our relatively rural setting provides a distraction-free environment that encourages focus and space for contemplation. But, more importantly, geographic boundaries create tight community bonds, turning friends into family. With over 20,000 students from all 50 states and over 120 nations, your Cornell family can be as vast or as intimate as you want to make it and these connections will last far beyond your time on the hill.
Competitive, yet considerate
As an Ivy League, tier 1 research institution, it's no surprise that our academic programming is rigorous and challenging, and that every course of study has its own exacting internal standards.
What may be surprising? We're a community genuinely committed to student success, personal and professional.
Even before first-years step on campus, we pair them with an adviser. Rockstar faculty teach many of our introductory courses. (Seriously.) And the majority of our classes have 20 or fewer students. Plus, the flexibility of our curriculum allows undergrads to take advantage of everything Cornell has to offer.
Academically rigorous, our programs encourage intellectual exploration and vigorous cross-pollination of ideas, while also providing the support needed for each individual to excel.
After all, at Cornell CALS, we’re serious about changing lives for the better, but we never take ourselves too seriously.
Our expectations, your preparation
- Explain, evaluate, and effectively interpret claims, theories and assumptions in your discipline(s) 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
- Respectfully and insightfully articulate the views of people with diverse perspectives
- Work both independently and in cooperation with others
- Apply concepts of sustainability to the analysis of one or more major challenges facing people and the Earth’s resources.
We put the 'ag' in Ivy League
Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the in the Ivy League, and we're very proud of that.
Our agriculture roots date back to Cornell University's establishment under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. This act not only opened institutes of higher education to the common person, providing both a classical and practical education in the but also it created a contract between university and society, ensuring that discovery would be purposeful and serve the public good. The act required Land-Grant institutions to perform research and engage in outreach, or extension, so that surrounding communities could inform research as much as research could inform the communities.
As society's needs changed, so too did the "professions of life." In 1971, “Life Sciences” was officially added to the name of the college. What hasn't changed? Our dedication to the spirit and ideals of the Land-Grant act. CALS remains at the core of the university’s mission to enhance the lives, and livelihoods, of the people of New York state and all around the world.
So what's it actually like?
Are you still wondering what it's actually like to be a Cornell CALS student? We asked current CALS students to share some advice for the incoming Class. Take a look.
Academically driven and gifted, but what do Cornell CALS students do outside of the classroom? At Cornell, students are encouraged to get involved in campus and community life--here in Ithaca and around the world.
Way off campus:
We openly share valuable knowledge. Often through email.
Sign up for more insights, discoveries and solutions.