Program Overview

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Agriculture and Life Sciences focus area in Viticulture pertains to the science, production, and study of grapes. In this focus area, students are exposed to every aspect of grape growing and wine making. 

Cornell is home to one of the top viticulture and enology programs in the world and is internationally recognized for its expertise in breeding table, juice and wine grapes adapted to cool climate growing regions. Our scientists have been transforming how grapes are bred and grown, as well as how wine is crafted, which has helped the New York grape and wine industries to flourish. Our ideal location in New York's Finger Lakes region is home to nearly 10,000 acres of vineyards.

The Viticulture Focus Area emphasizes knowledge development and hands-on experience. 

Focus Area details

Careers in viticulture include: Winemaker, Vineyard Manager, Viticulturist, Enologist, Vineyard Ranch Manager, Project Manager, Teaching/Research and entrepreneurial opportunities in the wine business.

To learn more about these courses,  visit the Courses of Study website.

Coursework is specifically designed to meet the needs of each student. A minimum of 30 credit hours related to the candidate's professional interest is required to graduate.  The student and their faculty advisor decide on a plan of study. Here are some of the classes that are available; there are several more from which to choose:

Integrative Plant Science Core:

Required:

 

  • PLSCI 5500 Let Your Life Speak: Selfhood, Community, Change
  • ALS 5900 Master of Professional Studies Project Development
  • ALS 5910 Master of Professional Studies Project Completion

Recommended:

  • ALS 5211 Career Readiness: Engaged Learning for CALS Professional Master’s Students
  • LEAD 5100 Leadership Skills for Graduate Students

Viticulture Courses (recommended):

  • PLSCI 5940 Skills for Public Engagement
  • VIEN 5200 Grape Pest Management
  • VIEN 5204 Principles and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wine (Lecture)
  • VIEN 5205 Growing Grapes and Making Wines Graduate Laboratory
  • VIEN 5330 The Science of Grapevines
  • VIEN 5400 Wines and Grapes: Composition and Analysis
  • VIEN 5460 Advanced Viticulture Topics
  • VIEN 5500 Winemaking Theory and Practice I
  • VIEN 5610 Fall Vineyard Practicum
  • VIEN 5700 Winemaking Theory and Practice II

The ideal candidate will demonstrate a passion for viticulture, competency in undergraduate science coursework, and interest in applying knowledge gained in a professional career.

 

Admission requirements include:

  • Online application through Cornell Graduate School
  • Bachelor’s degree in scientific field
  • For non-science background, at least 15 credit hours of introductory college-level science courses, including general chemistry, general biology, and corresponding labs
  • Current résumé or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL/IELTS for international applicants, per Graduate School guidelines
  • Prior wine industry experience is highly recommended

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 application deadlines: February 1 (priority), March 15 (general)

Class learning techniques to quantify leaf cover in vineyard

Faculty spotlight

Justine Vanden Heuvel

One of the nation’s leaders in viticulture, Justine's research focuses on optimizing wine grape production using computational tools, determining how ecophysiological factors affect grape flavors and aromas, and enhancing economic and environmental sustainability of winegrape production. Her holistic approach to viticulture provides students with a hands-on, immersive experience.

Justine Vanden Heuvel holding drone in vineyard

Meet some of our Viticulture Focus Area faculty

jason londo
Jason Londo

Adjunct associate professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Cornell AgriTech

Jason Londo
Grape stress physiology, genetics and genomics
Russell Moss
Russell Moss

Lecturer

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Russell Moss
  • jrm587 [at] cornell.edu
Viticulture
Bruce Reisch
Bruce Reisch

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Cornell AgriTech

Bruce Reisch
Grape breeding and genomics
Molecular genetic mapping
Marker-assisted selection
Justine Vanden Heuvel
Justine Vanden Heuvel

Professor and Horticulture Section Chair

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

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