The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences provides leadership and/or actively supports three multi-disciplinary and multi-departmental undergraduate majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Agricultural Sciences, Plant Science and Science of Natural and Environmental Systems. There are several concentrations or specializations within the three majors that help define the ways you can develop your central skills:
Concentrations: Crop Production and Management, Sustainable Agriculture
Concentrations: Agronomy, Crop Science, Plant Protection
Environmental Science and Sustainability (ESS)
Environmental Science and Sustainability
Concentrations: Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology, Environmental Policy and Governance, Environmental and Resource Economics, Biogeochemical Sciences, An individualized concentration that is student-designed
College Major Fields
Students associated with the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences also study in the following major fields of our college:
- Interdisciplinary Studies (with a specialization in Sustainable Agriculture)
- International Agriculture and Rural Development
The philosophy of education at Cornell emphasizes a highly flexible curriculum. This is enhanced in these concentrations by allowing broad experience and coursework in many disciplines for the widest array of career opportunities. The Agronomy and Crop Production and Management related concentrations are centered around a sound understanding of crop production and soil management but allows sufficient flexibility to add further training in business, communication, or international agricultural development, to mention a few options. It is also the core of new careers in crop management consulting that are designed to tie environmental protection to traditional farming practices. It is a good place to begin for those interested in helping farmers or in farming themselves. It can also provide a relatively broad yet sufficiently basic perspective to support careers in related fields like environmental law and population/food issues.
Minor in Soil Science or Crop Management
The Department also offers the opportunity for a student in any major to complete a minor in Soil Science or Crop management.
Soil Science applies physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology to the study of key environmental phenomena. It is fundamental to improving environmental management, including conservation and management of soil and water quality.
Crop Management places special emphasis on plant biology. Some of the goals of crop scientists include overcoming environmental stresses (such as drought, cold, and weeds) and the development of pest control methods that do not damage the ecosystem.
Professional certification is available for these concentrations, but many undergraduate students prefer to keep their options open and not to become too specialized at the Bachelor's Degree level. The courses you will take are selected by you in consultation with your academic advisor. A good starting point for planning an individual curriculum is the list of courses required for national certification in the various majors.