We confront the most urgent and complex challenges facing people and the planet.

By uniting critical scholarship and practice at the intersections of agricultural, environmental, life, and social sciences, we advance a more equitable, sustainable, and food-secure world for all. Side-by-side with our diverse network of global and community partners, we engage in education with impact and create a flourishing world now and for future generations.

With a focus on education with impact, our transdisciplinary approach emphasizes real-world engagement on a global scale — with communities in New York State, across the United States, and around the world. Our dynamic learning atmosphere and academic culture goes beyond purely technical work to provide a balance of skill-building and analytical coursework toward transformative solutions.

60+

Faculty and academic staff

200+

Undergraduate students

70+

Graduate students

A multidisciplinary approach

The world is complex. But we believe understanding is possible.

Wellbeing and inclusion

“A World that Leaves No One Behind”

Studying the causes, manifestations and consequences of poverty and inequality in the global political economy, the histories and legacies of development projects, and alternative models to promote wellbeing

Environmental sustainability

“A Greener World and Greener Economies”

Addressing strategies to mitigate or reverse the effects of climate change, helping people and communities adapt to new environmental realities, and researching the social and political dimensions of human-environment interactions

Food and nutritional security

“Sustainable and Sustaining Food Systems”

Identifying pathways to sustainable food systems while investigating the social and political dynamics of these systems across the cycle from cultivation to distribution, consumption, and recycling

On the international stage

A woman with glasses on the top of her head sits at a desk in an office
Engaged research

54+

Visiting scientists & fellows

from over 20 countries

Land acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State and the United States of America. 

We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

Making a sustainable impact

Recent insights, news and events in the Department of Global Development

Aerial view of earth

News

Target CO2 and non-carbon pollutants to slow climate change
Mitigation strategies must target carbon dioxide alongside other largely neglected climate pollutants in order to stay below catastrophic climate tipping points.
  • Department of Global Development
  • Climate Change
  • Environment
bread loaves

Field Note

As Community Food Systems minors, students engage with community-based organizations to gain rich, hands-on experiences in the food system. This is a story about Hannah Rudt ‘23’s reinvigorating connection to the food system during the Covid-19...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Food
The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem classroom

Field Note

As Community Food Systems minors, students engage with community-based organizations to gain rich, hands-on experiences in the food system. This narrative is a reflection of Hannah Rudt ‘23’s practicum experience with The Boys and Girls Club of...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Food