Experiential learning in plant science
All Plant Sciences Majors are required to engage in at least one experiential learning opportunity while at Cornell. Most meet this requirement either through internships or research experience.
Internships provide opportunities for you to gain structured, supervised plant science experience working for an approved organization or lab while getting course credit.
Your internship experience should have the level of responsibility that allows you to develop new skills, knowledge and training that facilitate learning. At the same time, the internship should serve to heighten awareness of diversity by exposing you to different lifestyles, traditions, and perspectives that are found throughout the country and the world.
While you need not limit your internships to those offered by programs within Cornell, there are many worth considering, including those offered by:
- Cornell Botanic Gardens
- Cornell Orchards
- Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Dilmun Hill Student Farm
- Cornell Small Farms Program
Learn more, find internships at other organizations and businesses:
- CALS internship guidelines
- Plant Sciences Internships blog
- Seed Your Future horticulture internship listings
- Study abroad opportunities
- American Phytopathological Society (APS) internship listings
- Plantae summer research opportunities for undergraduates
Undergraduate research opportunities
One of the opportunities offered by Cornell that few other institutions can provide is to work side-by-side with world renown faculty on research. Most faculty at Cornell engage in research and welcome undergraduates into their lab.
Undergraduate researchers can earn credit for their experience, they may get paid to do research, and they often are listed as authors on scientific papers. Many Cornell faculty can trace their road to becoming a professor to a research experience they had as an undergraduate.
Student research projects can be like a “boot camp for the brain” that yields skills important in many professions. These skills include independent problem solving, project management, working collaboratively with other members of a project, and honing advanced written and oral communication skills that connect one’s own work with larger group and societal goals.
All Plant Sciences Majors are encouraged to engage in a research experience of some type at least once during their time at Cornell. The first step is simply to ask faculty if there are opportunities available. Although structured research programs are available, many opportunities are less formal and come through internships and word-of-mouth. Undergraduate researchers may even apply to graduate with honors.
- CALS Research Honors Program (including Plant Sciences)
- Summer Research Scholars Program at Cornell AgriTech, Geneva, NY
- CALS Student Research site
- Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease
- See also the SIPS faculty research areas and searchable SIPS Faculty and Senior Academics Directory
Plant Sciences Majors must complete PLSCI 4900: Reflection on PS Experience (1 credit, fall or spring) to satisfy the experiential learning requirement in the program.
Students may also enroll in these courses, but are not required to do so:
- PLSCI 2990 - Introduction to Research Methods in Plant Science
- PLSCI 4960 - Undergraduate Internship in Plant Sciences
- PLSCI 4990 - Independent Undergraduate Research in Plant Science
Questions? Contact us
Leah Cynara Cook
Plant Sciences Major Coordinator
Phone: (607) 255-1257
Email: lcc2 [at] cornell.edu
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: (607) 255-1778
Email: mpp3 [at] cornell.edu