MS/PhD Field of Plant Breeding

Genetic improvement of crop plants for the benefit of society

Graduate study in Cornell's Integrative School of Plant Science is organized into five Graduate Fields providing unparalleled opportunities to connect disciplines, creatively solve problems, and integrate complex systems, preparing graduates for diverse careers and futures as leaders in science and society.

Students specializing in Plant Breeding and Genetics are prepared with a solid foundation of coursework and participate in cutting-edge research to improve cultivated plant species though the application of genetics and related sciences. Graduates of this program are ready for many exciting opportunities, including careers in industry, research, agricultural extension, international programs, and the public sector.

Most of the faculty advisors in the Field of Plant Breeding are affiliated with the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Graduate Field Concentrations

The MS/PhD Graduate Field of Plant Breeding has two concentrations:

Plant Breeding: Development of plant materials for greater yield, disease resistance, climate resilience, and quality

Plant Genetics: Molecular genetic studies to identify important genes, compare genomes, assess diversity, and develop bioinformatic tools

woman kneeling beside plants


Contact Us

Alicia Caswell
Graduate Field Coordinator
231 Emerson Hall
Phone: 607-255-3267
Email: amd33 [at] cornell.edu

Jean-Luc Jannink
Director of Graduate Studies
258 Emerson Hall
Email: jj332 [at] cornell.edu

What's happening in Plant Breeding?

Learn more about research, education, and outreach in the Field of Plant Breeding

Smiling woman holds apple.

News

Cornell apple breeder named National Academy of Inventors fellow
Brown leads the oldest apple breeding program in the United States, located at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her work supports the state’s robust apple industry — valued at $262...
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Horticulture Section
Two farmers holding produce in a greenhouse

News

Harvest of generosity
As hunger rose in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Rick and Laura Pedersen responded by sharing the bounty of their farm with their local food bank in upstate New York. “It’s distressing to think about that many people in our community...
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
Illustration of the world with icons and lines connecting continents

News

Borlaug Global Rust Initiative story map documents dozen years of impact
An international community of hunger fighters called the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) joined forces starting in 2005 to confront climate change and diseases that threatened wheat — one of the world’s most important crops. For 15 years...
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
a field of malting barley growing

News

Cornell-bred malting barley has a name: Excelsior Gold
Formerly called CU-31, the barley got its name as a result of a contest co-hosted this fall by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Richard Ball, commissioner of Ag and...
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
A hand touches cassava stacked in basket

News

Next generation cassava varieties approved for release in Nigeria
Five new cassava varieties developed with support from NextGen Cassava have been approved for release in Nigeria. These next generation varieties deliver promising options for smallholder farmers in resisting cassava diseases and marketing their...
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics Section