Program Overview

The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) concentration within the Integrative Plant Science MPS focuses on one of the fastest growing areas of agriculture, is an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture. This innovative method of growing plants focuses on key production benefits, such as:

  • High plant quality
  • Predictable crop timing
  • Consistently available quantity
  • Limited environmental impact

CEA techniques demand sound knowledge of chemistry, horticulture, engineering, plant physiology, plant pathology, computers and entomology. The CEA Concentration for the MPS degree program is focused on the development of specific skills to understand:

  • Lighting
  • Hydroponic production
  • Pest control
  • Horticultural aspects of production

MPS Degree Requirements

The CALS 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. Students earning the MPS in Integrative Plant Science complete 30 credits of graduate level courses (5000+), with at least 20 of these credits earned through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, and at least 18 of these credits taken for letter grade. (Note that physical education courses and language courses do not count towards degree.)

The Integrative Plant Science Master of Professional Studies program is a STEM-designated degree with coursework requirements that differ slightly from other MPS programs at Cornell. 

Specific course requirements of the Integrative Plant Science MPS Degree are as follows:

  • Core Courses (13 credits minimum):
    • Professional Development (5 – 9 credits)
    • Quantitative Literacy (2 – 6 credits)
    • Capstone Project (2 – 6 credits)
  • Concentration Courses (12 credits minimum):
    • Courses specific to your concentration
  • Elective Courses (5 credits minimum)
    • Graduate level course you choose in consultation with your advisor.

Note: 2.5 GPA required for graduation.

Here are some of the courses you can take to fulfill the field core requirements. Courses are not necessarily offered every semester or every year. Refer to the Courses of Study website for details.

Professional Development: 5-9 credits

  • PLSCI 5050 Cultivating Community through Self-discovery and Skill Development (2 credits)
  • PADM 5431 Fundraising, Grantmaking, and Lobbying (1.5 credits)
  • NCC 5540 Managing and Leading Organizations (3 credits)
  • NBA 5690 Management Consulting Essentials (1.5 credits)
  • NBA 5670 Management Writing (1.5 credits) 
  • NBA 5640 The Business of Entrepreneurship (3 credits) 
  • NBA 5380 The Business Idea Factory (1.5 credits)
  • NBA 5150 Leadership Theory & Practice (3 credits)
  • NBA 5070 Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers (3 credits) 
  • ILRHR 6640 HR Research for Executive Decision-Making (3 credits) 
  • HADM 6130 Entrepreneurial Management (3 credits) 
  • GDEV 6820 Community Organizing and Development (3 credits) 
  • COMM 5660 Science Communication Workshop (1 credits) 
  • ALS 5211 Career Readiness: Engaged Learning for CALS Professional Master’s Students (1 credit)
  • AEM 6145 Business and Management Fundamentals for STEM Graduate Students (1.5 credits) 
  • AEM 5700 MPS Management Communication (1.5 credits)
  • AEM 5110 Design and Innovation (3 credits) 

Quantitative Literacy: 2-6 credits

  • STSCI 5200 Biological Stats 1 (4 credits) 
  • STSCI 5150 Introductory Statistics for Biology (4 credits) 
  • STSCI 5120 Intro to R Programming (2 credits)
  • SOC 6310 Qualitative Research Methods for Studying Science, Technology, and Medicine (3 credits)
  • SOC 6010 Statistics for Sociological Research (4 credits)
  • PUBPOL 6040 Qualitative, Survey, and Mixed Method Approaches to Policy Research (3 credits)
  • ILRST 6100 Statistical Methods I (4 credits)
  • GOVT 6019 Introduction to Probability and Applied Statistics (4 credits)
  • GDEV 6190 Quantitative Research Methods (4 credits)
  • ENTOM 6060 Applied Statistics: Biological Experiments in Practice (4 credits)
  • DEA 6560 Research Methods in Social Sciences (4 credits)
  • CRP 6201 Research Design and Qualitative Methods (3 credits) 
  • COMM 6820 Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits) 
  • CEE 5980 Decision Framing and Analytics (3 credits) 
  • BTRY 6010 Statistical Methods I (4 credits) 
  • BTRY 5090 Theory of Statistics (4 credits) 
  • BTRY 5010 Biological Statistics I (4 credits)
  • AEM 5605 Predictive Analytics for Business Strategy (2 credits) 
  • AEM 5510 Environmental Economics (3 credits) 
  • AEM 5225 Systems and Analytics in Accounting (3 credits) 

Capstone Project Courses: 2-6 credits

  • ALS 5900 Master of Professional Studies Project Development (1-5 credits)
  • ALS 5910 Master of Professional Studies Project Completion (1 credit)

Required Course:

  • PLSCI 5025 Hydroponic Food Crop Production and Management (4 credits)
    In addition to the required course, a minimum of 8 credit must be taken from the secondary course listing.

Secondary Courses: 8 credit minimum 

  • PLSCI 6550 Postharvest Biology of Horticultural Crops (3 credits)
  • PLSCI 6420 Mineral Nutrition: From Plants to Humans (3 credits)
  • PLSCI 6095 Practicum in Plant Breeding (1-3 credits, variable. credits)
  • PLSCI 6080 Methods of Plant Breeding Lab (2 credits)
  • PLSCI 6070 Nutritional Quality Improvement of Food Crops (2 credits)
  • PLSCI 6020 Plant Propagation (3 credits)
  • PLSCI 5420 Plant Physiology (3 credits)
  • PLSCI 5190 Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry (3 credits)
  • PLSCI 5045 Chemistry and Pharmacology of Cannabis (1 credits)
  • PLSCI 5030 Hemp Breeding and Genetics (1 credits)
  • PLSCI 5015 Hemp Production Systems (2 credits)
  • PLSCI 5010 Biology and Management of Plant Diseases (4 credits)

Refer to the Courses of Study website for details.

Next steps

Deadline to apply: January 15*

*For regular Fall Semester start. Late applications may be accepted under exceptional circumstances.  Contact Tara Reed for more information: tln2 [at] (tln2[at]cornell[dot]edu).

Hydroponic lettuce with roots dangling from support.

Meet some of our CEA faculty

Faculty spotlight

Neil Mattson

One of the nation’s leaders in CEA, Neil's research focuses on how environmental factors and cultural practices affect physiology, development, and biochemical characteristics of greenhouse crops, lighting systems, and energy efficiency. He is particularly interested in how water quality, nutrient availability, temperature, light, and abiotic stress conditions affect crop physiology. This fits well with Neil’s goal of providing producers with relevant, research-based information for the production of high quality CEA crops.

CEA expert neil mattson in greenhouse with experimental magenta lights
neil mattson
Neil Mattson


School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Neil Mattson
Greenhouse horticulture
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)
Greenhouse lighting and systems engineering
Bill Miller
Bill Miller


School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Bill Miller
Flower bulbs and floriculture
Greenhouse and nursery crops
Physiology and post-harvest management

Questions about Integrative Plant Science MPS? Contact us:

Bill Miller
Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Field of Integrative Plant Science (IPS)
Phone: (607) 255-1799
Email: wbm8 [at] (wbm8[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Tara Reed
Program Coordinator
Graduate Field of Integrative Plant Science (IPS)
Phone: (607) 255-2131
Email: sips-mps [at] (sips-mps[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Marvin Pritts
Student Experience Coordinator
Graduate Field of Integrative Plant Science (IPS)
Phone: (607) 255-1778
Email: mpp3 [at] (mpp3[at]cornell[dot]edu)