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Agricultural Sciences Major

Changing how the world grows

Agriculture is at the center of a rapidly changing and growing world, and the challenges we face are some of the most important. Cornell's Agricultural Sciences Major gives you the flexibility to tailor your studies to meet your unique goals with concentrations in Animal Science, Business Management and Policy, Education and Society, Organic Agriculture and Sustainable Cropping Systems Management. Develop your leadership skills and get practical, hand-on experience, while you explore the dynamics of agricultural systems and related environmental and socio-economic issues.

You’ll be ready to pursue a variety of careers, including food production and marketing, agricultural education in secondary schools, organic farming, Cooperative Extension and crop consultation.

Major in Agricultural Sciences

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Our Agricultural Sciences program offers a flexible, interdisciplinary major that prepares students to tackle important challenges, from improving their family farms to pursuing careers in policy, education, research or agricultural business.

With CALS’ individualized approach to Agricultural Sciences, there is no “typical student.” You can join students with multi-faceted interests who will become the leaders and innovators of a constantly changing industry.   

The Agricultural Sciences interdisciplinary undergraduate major is for students wishing to pursue a general education in agriculture to prepare for careers that require a scientific and integrated understanding of agriculture and food systems. Students learn about agricultural sustainability from multiple perspectives by taking a wide breadth of core coursework, complemented by one of our concentrations.

Experiential and hands-on learning are foundations of the program. All students are required to complete an internship for credit under the supervision of qualified professionals and faculty.

This structure allows students to respond quickly to the fast-paced changes occurring in agriculture today.

CALS seeks students who maintain a rigorous high school curriculum and demonstrate an outstanding record of academic achievement. Admissions requirements include:

  • 4 Units of English

  • 4 Units of Mathematics (including pre-calculus)

  • 3 Units of Science (biology and chemistry)

  • Also recommended: statistics

  • Agriculture courses are also strongly encouraged

All students are required to take core courses in sustainable agriculture, soil science, crop science, horticulture, business management, international agriculture and integrated pest management, and to gain practical experience by completing an internship. You and your advisor will use the extensive list of course options to design the rest of your schedule.

For a list of requirements for this major, please visit the Agricultural Sciences program page

PLSCS 1900 – Sustainable Agriculture: Food, Farming and the Future

Introduction to agronomy and agroecology and an exploration of environmental, economic and social factors that influence agriculture. Students participate in interactive discussions about food systems and food security. Labs include field trips to a variety of field crop, vegetable and dairy farms and experiential activities designed to enhance understanding of important themes in sustainable agriculture, including multifunctionality and resilience.

AEM 3020 – Farm Business Management

Intensive study of planning, directing, organizing and controlling a farm business, with emphasis on the tools of managerial analysis and decision making. Topics include financial statements, business analysis, budgeting and acquisition, organization, and management of capital, labor, land, buildings and machinery.

ENTOM/PLSCS 4440 – Integrated Pest Management

Lectures integrate the principles of pest control, ecology and economics in the management of pests across multiple systems. Labs consist of exercises to reinforce concepts presented in lecture and demonstrate pest monitoring techniques and the application of computer technology to management problems.

  • Animal Science
  • Business Management and Policy
  • Education and Society
  • Organic Agriculture
  • Sustainable Cropping Systems Management

•    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.

•     Demonstrate leadership in agriculture and natural resources.

Transfer Student Admissions

Gain foundational knowledge across agricultural disciplines as well as more intense study and hands-on experience in one of several concentrations: animal science; business management and policy; education and society; organic agriculture; sustainable cropping systems management.

Academic Record Required:

  • Strong academic record at the college level. Competitive applicants have at least a 3.0 (B) average.
  • CALS Required Coursework should be completed or in-progress with a “B” or better before applying.
  • The most competitive applicants are full-time students who have met the GPA and course requirements.

(Or transfers with two full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application):


(Or transfers with four full-time college semesters of study (post-high school) completed or in progress at time of application).


  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
  • One full academic year of Introductory Biology with labs
  • Statistics
  • General (Inorganic) Chemistry I with lab

Strongly Encouraged (Not Required):

  • Courses that meet the CALS social science and humanities requirements in Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, Knowledge, Cognition and Moral Reasoning, Literature and the Arts, Social and Behavioral Analysis and Foreign Language.

Careers in Agricultural Science

Two people pick spinach

Agriculture Business

  • Marketing specialist
  • Dairy nutrition sales and consulting
  • Crop consultant
  • District sales manager
  • Chief innovation officer
  • Director of training and development
  • Financial loan officer
  • Associate produce buyer
  • Marketing project coordinator
  • Management trainee


  • Teach for America teacher
  • Science teacher
  • Secondary school farm manager


  • Sustainability and energy fellow
  • Energy project technician
  • Soil scientist


  • Herd health assistant
  • Field manager
  • Crop operations manager
  • Dairy farm manager
  • Food safety manager
  • Poultry farm manager
  • Livestock operations manager
  • Greenhouse manager
  • Agronomist
  • Assistant grower
  • Organic farming certification specialist


  • Research assistant
  • Trials manager
  • Field technician
  • Plant breeding technician


  • Equine dentist
  • NYS Department of Ag & Markets fellow

Explore your opportunities

A CALS education goes beyond the classroom and gives students frequent opportunities to apply what they learn in real-world settings.