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Master of Professional Studies (MPS)

Maximize your learning and advance your career potential with a one-year master's program at Cornell CALS.

Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program is an accredited, course-based, one-year master’s degree program that emphasizes professional development and intellectual investigation in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, and global development.

The MPS degree prepares students for the unique challenges of the 21st-century workplace through in-depth exploration of relevant knowledge and skill set refinement. Each MPS program is characterized by specialized course-based instruction led by our world-class faculty. This master’s degree broadens expertise and expands professional versatility to produce the next generation of innovative leaders.

Program Description

The MPS degree program at Cornell CALS is ideal for career-focused students interested in the thorough study of issues and advancements in the fields of life, social, and environmental sciences and agriculture.

Though similar to a Master of Science (MS) degree in its academic rigor, the MPS degree differs from a traditional MS degree in its structure and focus. An MS is research based, with students building a thesis over the course of two or three years. In contrast, the MPS degree is a one-year, course-based program where students study the intricacies and in-depth questions of their field of study. Instead of a thesis or research project, MPS students complete a capstone project during their final semester. To understand this difference in greater detail, please visit our FAQ page.

At Cornell CALS, our MPS program spans multiple fields of study within the realm of agriculture and life sciences, including animal science, food science, global development, horticulture, plant and soil science, biological and environmental engineering, and more. Explore our list of subjects to discover the full breadth of our MPS program.

MPS Program Structure

The Master of Professional Studies year long program has two main components:

  • Coursework: Students work with a faculty advisor to map out their individualized course of study based on their areas of interest. The majority of courses (20 credits) will be within CALS; however, students have the opportunity to take courses across Cornell.
  • Capstone project: With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students work on solving a real-world problem.

Development of Career Skills

Students in the MPS program participate in an engaged learning series designed to promote professional development and facilitate students’ career transitions after graduation. Workshops cover a wide array of topics related to career skill set development, including resume building, personal narrative development, mock interviews, effective team leadership, plus industry and Cornell Alumni networking events.

Career Opportunities for MPS Degree Program Graduates

The Master of Professional Studies is a versatile and effective resume builder that can open doors to a wide range of opportunities across diverse fields. Our 1,700 Cornell CALS MPS alumni have held positions around the globe in organizations, institutions, and businesses large and small.

Examples of careers our graduates find: 

  • Agricultural Consultant
  • Commercial Grower
  • Dairy Manager
  • Data Analyst
  • Environmental Specialist
  • Extension Educator
  • Food Safety Engineer
  • Geospatial Information Systems Specialist
  • Greenhouse Manager
  • Horticulturist
  • Landscape Designer
  • National Parks Administrator
  • Operations Manager
  • Plant Manager
  • Policy Advisor
  • Program Coordinator
  • Product Development Manager
  • Public Garden Director
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Research and Development Associate
  • Research Lab Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Vineyard Manager
  • Winemaker

The flexible curriculum, rigorous academic standards, and thorough career development support found in the MPS program prepare graduates to take on challenging leadership roles in their fields of interest.

Prepare for the 21st-Century Workplace with a One Year Master’s Program

Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers the MPS degree for students focused on preparing for the next stage of their careers. This one-year, course-based program can build the resume and technical expertise needed to secure the leadership positions of the future. Request more information today.