Program overview

The Soil Science concentration within the Integrative Plant Science MPS focuses on a range of topics such as soil as a medium for crop production; soil, carbon and nutrient interactions; soil ecology; soil contaminants and remediation; soil and water cycles; and overall soil health.

Soil science brings together the basic disciplines of biology, physics and chemistry to discover fundamental principles and put them in the service of management solutions. Soil is a foundational resource that sustains all terrestrial life and contributes to food production, climate change and water resources. Soil sustainability is essential to human civilization and soil management decisions cause major changes to our biosphere.

Students learn about both agricultural and environmental challenges, and their work may include field and laboratory activities, as well as data analytics and digital solutions.

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).

soil samples showing range of colors

Meet some of our Soil Science faculty

Faculty spotlight

Jonathan Russell-Anelli

Jonathan studies the spatial distribution and variability of urban soil characteristics including investigations of the scale and distribution of contaminants in relation to soil forming factors and processes.  He works in partnership with the USDA/National Resource Conservation Service’s National Cooperative Soil Survey program in New York State to map and interpret soil properties for multiple uses and users.

jonathan-russell-anelli-teaching-in-soil-pit
taryn bauerle
Taryn Bauerle

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Taryn Bauerle
Woody plant root biology and physiological ecology
Water stress
Root herbivory
Daniel Buckley
Dan Buckley

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Professor

Microbiology

Dan Buckley
Microbial diversity
Bacterial population structure in soils
Antonio DiTommaso
Antonio (Toni) DiTommaso

Professor and Section Head

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Antonio (Toni) DiTommaso
Weed ecology and biological weed management
Invasive plant species
Climate change impacts on weed performance and distributions
Deborah Grantham
Deborah Grantham

Senior Extension Associate and Director Northeastern IPM Center

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Deborah Grantham
Natural resources and the environment
Watershed education
Soil hyperspectral reflectance
Peter Hobbs
Peter Hobbs

Adjunct Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Peter Hobbs
International agriculture
Tropical cropping systems
Agroforestry
Johannes Lehmann
Johannes Lehmann

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Professor

Department of Global Development

Johannes Lehmann
Soil biogeochemistry, fertility management, organic matter, and carbon and nutrient cycling from wastes
Soil carbon sequestration and biochar systems
Sustainable agriculture in the tropics
louis longchamps
Louis Longchamps

Assistant Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Louis Longchamps
  • ll928 [at] cornell.edu
Farm data management
Farmer-centric on-farm experimentation
Precision agriculture
Carmen Enid Martinez
Carmen Enid Martinez

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Carmen Enid Martinez
Soil biogeochemistry
Nutrient and mineral cycling
Soil organic matter
man in apple orchard
Gregory Peck

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Gregory Peck
Tree fruit and hard cider
Organic agriculture and soil health
Climate change
Jonathan Russell-Anelli
Jonathan Russell-Anelli

Senior Lecturer / Senior Extension Associate

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Jonathan Russell-Anelli
Urban Soils: Dynamic Soil Properties, Soil Survey & Soil Inventory
Circular Economies: Carbon, Bionutrient & Waste Cycling
Soil Healthy: Contaminants & Sustainable Food Production
Janice Thies
Janice Thies

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Janice Thies
Soil ecology
Soil biology quality assessment and remediation
International agriculture
Harold van Es
Harold van Es

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Harold van Es
Soil health
Precision nitrogen management (Adapt-N)
Digital agriculture
Dominic Woolf
Dominic Woolf

Senior Research Associate

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Dominic Woolf
  • dw433 [at] cornell.edu
Soil carbon sequestration and climate-smart agriculture
Sustainable landscape management, agroforestry reforestration and restoration of degraded land
Biochar

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)