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CALS is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and following steps the university is taking to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community. As part of this action, the majority of CALS offices are currently on remote work plans. Review all college communications and available resources for students, faculty and staff.

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Graduate Field of Plant Biology

Evolve our understanding of a constantly evolving field

    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":

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

    Students pursue advanced study leading to two different degrees:

    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
    • Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Plant Biotechnology

    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    For an overview of the coursework, please visit the PhD graduate curriculum page.

    Graduate Research Areas

    Graduate students can study topics in a wide range of research areas as listed below.

    • Cell and Organelle Biology
    • Development and Cell Signaling
    • Genetics and Epigenetics
    • Physiology and Metabolism
    • Plant-Environment Interaction
    • System Biology and Modeling
    • Systematics, Evolution, and Diversity

    Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Plant Biotechnology

    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.

    • Learn more about the CALS Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program specialization in Plant Biotechnology.

    Graduate Student Career Trajectories

    Cornell graduates continue to be instrumental in the field of plant sciences, and recent graduates have been highly successful in obtaining academic or equivalent professional positions. They can be found across the United States and the world, holding positions at leading universities, botanical gardens, in public policy, and in industry.

    Gloved hand testing items in a lab setting.


    Faculty Members

    Currently, 47 faculty members are affiliated with the Plant Biology Graduate Field.