Agriculture and Life Sciences (Natural Resources) M.P.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Natural Resources and the Environment

Program Description

The MPS degree program at Cornell CALS is ideal for career-focused students interested in the thorough study of issues and advancements in the fields of life, social, and environmental sciences and agriculture.

Though similar to a Master of Science (MS) degree in its academic rigor, the MPS degree differs from a traditional MS degree in its structure and focus. An MS 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.

At Cornell CALS, our MPS program spans multiple fields of study within the realm of agriculture and life sciences, including animal science, food science, global development, horticulture, plant and soil science, biological and environmental engineering, and more.

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.

Learn more about natural resources M.P.S..

While students have the opportunity to customize their own course of study with their faculty advisor, the field offers several areas of specialization for MPS degree candidates. Each of these areas include a suggested curriculum of core and elective courses that fulfill the requirements of the MPS in Agriculture and Life Sciences degree while placing particular emphasis in an area of specialization. Specializations include: water resource management and social analysis and environmental decision making.


Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-2809

111D Fernow Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • applied ecology
  • community-based natural resources management
  • conservation biology
  • fishery and aquatic science
  • policy and institutional analysis
  • program development and evaluation
  • quantitative ecology
  • risk analysis and management
  • social analysis & environmental decision making (minor) (minor)
  • water resource management (minor) (minor)
  • wildlife science


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, March 15: applications received after the application deadline will be considered if space is available

Requirements Summary:

  1. Complete Cornell’s Online Graduate School Application. Get started by setting up an ApplyWeb account.  Once you have an account, you can go to the online application to begin the process.
  2. Submit unofficial copies of your college and university transcripts. An official paper transcript is required for all admitted students.
  3. Submit your résumé or CV and letters of recommendation. Most graduate fields require 2-3 letters of recommendation. 
  4. All applicants must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement. Cornell does not accept PTE Academic scores or any other alternatives.
  5. Submit a Statement of Purpose. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills
  • Specialized Subject Matter Competence
  • Writing Skills
  • Group Work, Management and Leadership Skills
  • Communication and Presentation Skills