Program overview

The Plant Breeding concentration within the Integrative Plant Science MPS emphasizes the genetic improvement of plants for the benefit of society by using scientific procedures such as genetics, statistics, genomic selection, and cultivar development. Tools such as applied breeding and genetics, molecular mapping, molecular mapping, genetic engineering, quantitative genetics, gene isolation, molecular genomics and biology, plant tissue culture, and other analytical systems are used to produce new or improved genetically modified plants.  These new crops possess desirable characteristics in flower color, growth rate, size of harvested products, flavor, and resistance to diseases and pests.

 

 

CALS MPS program details

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 Integrative Plant Science MPS program is STEM-designated degree program.)

Though similar to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in its academic rigor, the MPS degree differs from a traditional M.S. degree in its structure and focus. An M.S. 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.

MPS students are part of a community of diverse students and faculty who share common goals, connecting research and practice to solve complex problems. 

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.

 

Field of Integrative Plant Science MPS Degree Requirements: 

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.)

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

  • Core Courses (13 credits required):
    • Professional Development (5 – 9 credits)
    • Quantitative Literacy (2 – 6 credits)
    • Capstone Project (2 – 6 credits)
  • Concentration Courses (12 credits required):
    • Courses specific to your concentration
  • Elective Courses (5 credits required)

This project may be an action program, the development of a plan to address a pertinent problem, the development of materials or methodology suited to the student's situation, or the development and execution of research appropriate to the profession. A formal project report must be submitted to and approved by the candidate's faculty advisor. 

Browse recent projects.

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] cornell.edu (tln2[at]cornell[dot]edu).

plant breeder examining hemp plants in greenhouse

Meet some of our Plant Breeding faculty

Faculty spotlight

Mark Bridgen

Bridgen is an ornamental plant breeder, leader in the floriculture industry and director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center. His approach involves a balance of basic and applied research. He has expertise in new plant development and breeding, plant cell and tissue culture, and in vitro plant breeding, including somaclonal and gametoclonal variation, embryo culture, somatic embryogenesis, mutation breeding, meristem culture for the production of pathogen free plants, and micropropagation. 

Faculty spotlight

Mark Bridgen

Bridgen is an ornamental plant breeder, leader in the floriculture industry and director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center. His approach involves a balance of basic and applied research. He has expertise in new plant development and breeding, plant cell and tissue culture, and in vitro plant breeding, including somaclonal and gametoclonal variation, embryo culture, somatic embryogenesis, mutation breeding, meristem culture for the production of pathogen free plants, and micropropagation. 

mark bridgen with flowering plant in greenhouse
mark bridgen with flowering plant in greenhouse
Mark Bridgen
Mark Bridgen

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Mark Bridgen
Ornamental plant breeding
Cell and tissue culture
Greenhouse floriculture
Susheng Gan
Susheng Gan

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Biology Section

Susheng Gan
Plant senescence
Dimensional control of gene expression
Maria Gandolfo
Maria Alejandra Gandolfo Nixon

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Biology Section

Maria Alejandra Gandolfo Nixon
Paleobotany
Diversification and evolution of angiosperms
Plant anatomy
Michel Gore stands in a corn field.
Michael Gore

Professor and Section Head

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Michael Gore
Quantitative genetics and genomics
High-throughput phenotyping tools
Nutritional genomics
Michelle Heck
Michelle Heck

Adjunct Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

Michelle Heck
  • mlc68 [at] cornell.edu
Molecular interactions among plant pathogens, insect vectors, and plant hosts
jason londo headshot black t shirt
Jason Londo

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Cornell AgriTech

Jason Londo
Fruit crop stress physiology and adaptation
Graft physiology and phenotypic plasticity
Comparative genetics and genomics
virginia moore
Virginia Moore

Assistant Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Virginia Moore
  • vm377 [at] cornell.edu
Breeding for sustainable cropping systems
Cover crops, intercropping, polycultures, organic farming systems
Legumes, forages, alfalfa, hemp
Rebecca Nelson
Rebecca Nelson

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

Professor

Department of Global Development

Rebecca Nelson
Circular bionutrient economy and enhancing wellbeing in peri-urban areas through waste valorization
Agroecology and supporting student leadership toward sustainability
Participatory research and extension
Wojtek Pawlowski
Wojtek Pawlowski

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Biology Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Wojtek Pawlowski
Meiotic recombination
Advanced microscopy methods
Recombination and genome rearrangements in new polyploids
Lawrence Smart
Larry Smart

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Larry Smart
Breeding and genomics
Industrial hemp
Willow bioenergy crops
Joyce Van Eck
Joyce Van Eck

Adjunct Assistant Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Joyce Van Eck
  • jv27 [at] cornell.edu
Biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement
Disease resistance
Nutritional quality
Justine Vanden Heuvel
Justine Vanden Heuvel

Professor and Section Head

Horticulture Section

School of Integrative Plant Science

Justine Vanden Heuvel
  • justine [at] cornell.edu
Sustainable viticulture production
Ecophysiological factors and their impact on fruit and wine composition
Computational tools for vineyard management

Questions about Integrative Plant Science MPS? Contact us:

Dan Buckley
Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Field of Integrative Plant Science (IPS)
Phone: (607) 255-1716
Email: dhb28 [at] cornell.edu (dhb28[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Tara Reed
Program Coordinator
Graduate Field of Integrative Plant Science (IPS)
Phone: (607) 255-2131
Email: tln2 [at] cornell.edu (tln2[at]cornell[dot]edu)

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