Other Concentration Areas

The MPS degree program in Integrative Plant Science allows for maximum flexibility in curriculum design and project work. With over thirty MPS faculty advisors who offer diverse areas of expertise, students can customize a curriculum that is relevant to individual passions, interests, and career goals, in areas such as: 

• Agronomy
• Field Crop Science
• Soil Science
• Environmental Information Systems
• Environmental Management
• Breeding of Horticultural Crops
• Horticultural Crop Management Systems
• Physiology and Ecology of Horticultural Crops
• Human-Plant Interactions

This flexibility allows students to think creatively about soil and plant-based solutions for some of the biggest challenges our world faces: healthy soil, food security, climate change, conservation of biodiversity, sustainable living and more.

Faculty advisors help students design an industry-relevant curriculum tailored to career goals. 

  • Sustainable agriculture: students interested in soil biogeochemistry and soil fertility management can develop a curriculum and problem-solving project focused on the management of natural ecosystems, soil carbon sequestration, nutrient recycling from wastes, and more. 
  • Food security: students can study disease resistance in crops and broader areas such as agroecology and food systems. 
  • Environmental Information Systems (EIS): includes evolving applications of digital agriculture such as tracking plant diseases and nutrition with sensor data. 

To explore potential areas of study, prospective students can read about Integrative Plant Science MPS faculty and Courses of Study

With access to world-renowned faculty, cutting edge techniques, laboratories and additional coursework in strategic thinking, communications and leadership, students expand their knowledge and prepare themselves for today’s data-informed workplace. The skillset developed can be applied to numerous emerging applications and careers. 

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 5000 or higher. 
    (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.

Next steps

Fall 2021 application deadline: February 1 (priority), March 15 (general)

two students working with hemp in greenhouse

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