Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Integrative Plant Science
Learn about plant- and soil-based solutions for a changing world
Offered through the graduate field of Integrative Plant Science, the Master of Professional Studies in Agriculture and Life Sciences degree program is a specialized, one-year, course-based master's degree program. Areas of study cover a wide range of issues and advancements in plant and soil sciences, including: controlled environment agriculture, geospatial applications, soil health, hemp science, public garden leadership, and more. Students also have the opportunity to create an interdisciplinary approach that combines distinct areas of study.
A hallmark of the MPS program is the balanced portfolio of technical knowledge, analytical skills and professional development built into the curriculum. The mix of coursework and capstone project equips students with the skill set and knowledge necessary for careers in industry, government, or non-profit agencies.
Learn more about our world-class faculty.
Learn more about the exciting directions our graduates take.
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.
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 Master of Professional Studies 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.
- Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours related to the candidate's professional interest, as agreed upon with the faculty advisor.
(a) Twenty credit hours must be taken within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and at least 24 credits must be in courses numbered 4000 or higher. (Changing to 5000 or higher in Fall, 2021).
(b) A maximum of 6 of the required 30 credit hours may be earned through the student's problem-solving project (see third bullet).
(c) A maximum of 6 credit hours earned outside the program, at Cornell University or elsewhere, may be counted toward these requirements at the discretion of the student's faculty advisor. These credits must be appropriate to the subject of study and completed not more than five years before admission.
- Completion of a minimum of two semesters. One semester must be earned by carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours. In certain circumstances, the second semester credit may be earned by accumulating the remaining credit hours in the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University or through transfer of credit (see item c above).
- Satisfactory completion of a problem-solving project under the supervision of the faculty advisor. 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.
- A minimum grade point average of 2.5 (minimum of 18 credit hours with letter grades at Cornell).
- Completion of the degree within four years of admission. Some fields of study may have special requirements, so students should check with the field's director of graduate studies for specific details.
Students work with top-ranked faculty who are leaders in their field on an experiential project that fosters professional skill development through the creation of solutions to real-world problems.
Compare an MPS to an M.S. degree
MPS and M.S. programs both lead to graduate-level master’s degrees. Which is right for you? Here's how they compare:
|Final Project||Capstone project||Thesis|
|Length||Typically one year||Typically 2-3 years|
|Funding||Self-funded, usually with federal and/or private loans||Funded by the department with stipends and teaching assistantships|
|Ideal for||Individuals who want to pursue careers in industry, government or nonprofit agencies; some continue in research||Individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in research or academia|
Questions about Plant Science MPS? Contact us:
Plant Science MPS Program Coordinator
Phone: (607) 255-2131
Email: tln2 [at] cornell.edu
Plant Science MPS Program Director
Phone: (607) 255-1778
Email: mpp3 [at] cornell.edu