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See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

Graduate Field of Plant Biology

Uncovering fundamental principles of plant biology and evolution

Cornell's Graduate Studies in Plant Biology are at the cutting edge of basic and translational plant research and offer top-ranked, interdisciplinary Ph.D. training. Students are tackling some of today’s toughest challenges; from a single strand of DNA to the global scale, plant biologists have contributions to make in genetics, medicine, climate change, agriculture and many other exciting and important areas.

Graduate Field of Plant Biology

World-renowned Cornell scientists with diverse interests and strengths are recruiting and teaching the next generation of plant scientists. Currently, 47 faculty members are affiliated with the Plant Biology Graduate Field. Given the breadth of faculty research, students choose from a variety of research areas and concentrations.

Historically, the Field of Plant Biology has been divided into nine "concentrations". Applicants must indicate a preference for one of these concentrations upon application but this selection does not commit you to a particular research area.

  • Cytology
  • Paleobotany
  • Plant Biochemistry
  • Plant Cell Biology
  • Plant Ecology
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Plant Morphology, Anatomy, and Biomechanics
  • Plant Physiology
  • Systematic Botany

Bailey Hortorium is one of many resources available to graduate students in Plant biology. The Hortorium is a major center for plant systematics, with a mission encompassing ethnobotany, paleobotany, biodiversity studies, and pharmaceutical studies of tropical plants.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Students in the PhD program typically do 6-8 week laboratory rotations before deciding on a research lab. They enroll in a set of core courses supplemented with selective courses tailored to students’ research interest. The weekly student seminar series is based on student thesis research with each student presenting once per year.

Master of Professional Studies (MPS)

The CALS Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program specialization in Plant Biotechnology features coursework and hands-on laboratory work focused on the practice of plant biotechnology, designed to equip students with knowledge and tools to adapt and use plants for specific needs or opportunities. Some of the MPS specializations may be attractive options for students interested in plant biology.