Plant Sciences Major course requirements

Students who major in Plant Sciences must complete coursework for the college and program that includes: 

  • Completing approximately two years of “core” or foundational coursework, plus the required coursework in at least one concentration.
  • Developing an ePortfolio.
  • Engaging in an out-of-classroom experience related to the major.

Core coursework in biology, chemistry, statistics and plant biology should be completed as early as possible, and transfer students should complete most of these courses before matriculating at Cornell.

The current requirements are considered the minimum for a well-rounded foundation in plant science. Students interested in pursuing a scientific career or graduate education are encouraged to take biochemistry, calculus and physics as electives, over and above the core requirements.

Life sciences core (biology, chemistry, mathematics)

Plant Sciences majors must take at least one introductory biology course and one investigative lab course, at least one semester of general chemistry and another of organic chemistry, and a course in quantitative literacy.

These general requirements have been organized around three career tracks, below.

Note:

 

  • PS majors should not enroll in CHEM 2150: Honors General and Inorganic Chemistry!
  • Students interested in the pre-medicine and pre-pharmacy tracks need to consult closely with their advisors and pre-health counselors to ensure they are taking all of the appropriate courses in the correct sequence. For example, these two tracks require an additional organic chemistry class, CHEM 2510: Introduction to Experimental Organic Chemistry (2 cr), that is not required for the science track.

Life sciences core course requirements

Core subject Required intro courses Required secondary courses
Biology BIOG 1140 (4 cr) or PLHRT 1115 (3 cr) or BIOEE 1610 (3-4 cr) or BIOG 1440 (3 cr) or BIOMG 1350 (3 cr) or BIOEE 1780 (4-5 cr) PLSCI 1420 (3 cr)
Chemistry CHEM 1560 (4 cr) CHEM 1570 (3 cr)
  CHEM 2070 (4 cr) + CHEM 2080 (4 cr) CHEM 1570 (3 cr) or CHEM 3530 (3 cr) or CHEM 3570 (3 cr) + CHEM 3580 (3 cr)
Mathematics BTRY 3010/STSCI 2200 (4 cr) or ENTOM 3030 (3 cr) or STSCI 2150 (4 cr)  

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

Core subject Required intro courses Required secondary courses
Biology BIOG 1440 (3 cr) + BIOMG 1350 (3 cr) BIOG 1500 (2 cr)
Chemistry CHEM 2070 (4 cr) + CHEM 2080 (4 cr) CHEM 3530 (3 cr) or CHEM 3570 (3 cr) + CHEM 3580 (3 cr)
Mathematics STSCI 2150 (4 cr) or BTRY 3010/STSCI 2200 (4 cr)  MATH 1106 (3 cr) or MATH 1110 (4 cr)

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

Core subject Required intro courses Required secondary courses
Biology BIOG 1440 (3 cr) + BIOMG 1350 (3 cr) BIOG 1500 (2 cr)
Chemistry CHEM 2070 (4 cr) + CHEM 2080 (4 cr) CHEM 3530 (3 cr) or CHEM 3570 (3 cr) + CHEM 3580 (3 cr)
Mathematics STSCI 2150 (4 cr) or BTRY 3010/STSCI 2200 (4 cr)  MATH 1106 (3 cr) or MATH 1110 (4 cr)

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

Other requirements:

PS majors must take all of the courses listed below:

  1. PLSCI 1101: Plant Science and Systems (4 cr)
  2. PLSCI 1110: Explorations in the Plant Sciences (2 cr)       
    This course is required of all new PS students, including transfers.
  3. PLSCI 1420: Functional Plant Biology (3 cr)
  4. PLBRG 2250: Plant Genetics (4 cr) or BIOMG 2800: Genetics and Genomics Lectures (3 cr) + BIOMG 2801: Laboratory in Genetics & Genomics (2 cr)
  5. PLBIO 2410: Introductory Plant Diversity and Evolution (3 cr)
  6. PLBIO 2480: Vascular Plant Systematics (4 cr)
  7. PLBIO 3440: Evolutionary Plant Biology (3 cr)
  8. PLSCS 2600: Soil Science (4 cr)
  9. PLBIO 3420 + 3421: Plant Physiology, Lectures and Laboratory (5 cr)
  10. PLSCI 4460 + 4461: Plant Behavior and Biotic Interactions, Lecture and Laboratory (4 cr)

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

PLSCI 4900: Reflection on PS Experience (1 cr)

PS students must complete this course to satisfy the experiential learning requirement in the program.

If the experience occurs during the fall or spring semester, students may enroll for additional credit in PLSCI 2990, PLSCI 4960, or PLSCI 4990.

Learn more about experiential learning opportunities.

 

  1. PLSCI 4925: Plant Sciences Senior Portfolio (1 cr)
  2. PLSCI 4950: Senior Seminar in Plant Sciences (3 cr)

This course is required of all graduating PS students, including those who graduate early or in January/August. Note that it satisfies the oral expression requirement in CALS!

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

PS students will create an ePortfolio to track and highlight their learning in the program. PS students are expected to update their ePortfolio every semester they are enrolled in courses and to present it to their advisor to complete PLSCI 4925 before graduating. Introduction to the ePortfolio will be done in PLSCI 1110.

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

PS students must declare a concentration by the end of the first semester of their junior year. Concentrations are typically between 12-15 credits of additional coursework at the 3000-4000 level.

Current concentrations are:

  1. Ecology of Managed Landscapes (Ecology)
  2. Organic Agriculture (Organics)
  3. Plant Breeding & Genetics (Breeding)
  4. Plant Computational Biology (Big Data)
  5. Plant Evolution and Systematics (Evolution)
  6. Plant Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (Physiology)
  7. Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology (Plant Diseases)
  8. Plants and Human Health (Medicinal Plants)
  9. Public Garden Management (PGM)
  10. Soil Science (Soils)
  11. Sustainable Plant Production (Sustainability)
  12. Design Your Own Concentration (DYOC)

Visit the Concentration requirements page for specific requirements for each concentration.

Students wishing to design their own concentration should submit a petition by email to either the Program Coordinator or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Plant Sciences. This petition will be considered by the Plant Science Curriculum Committee.

Questions? Contact us

Leah Cynara Cook
Plant Sciences Major Coordinator
Phone: (607) 255-1257
Email: lcc2 [at] cornell.edu

Marvin Pritts
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: (607) 255-1778
Email: mpp3 [at] cornell.edu