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

Field of Study

Natural Resources and the Environment

Program Description

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Natural Resources and the Environment is a one-year, STEM-designated, course-based master’s degree program ideal for career-focused students interested in issues and advancements in environmental management, conservation biology, sustainable systems, water resource management, forest ecology, and more.  

Although 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. The MPS degree is a one-year, course-based program, designed to impact knowledge and skills in a given area of concentration. Instead of a thesis or research project, MPS students complete a capstone project which allows them to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical manner. 

A hallmark of the MPS program is the balanced portfolio of technical knowledge, analytical skills, and professional development built into the curriculum, designed to equip students with the skill set and knowledge necessary for careers in industry, government, or non-profit agencies.

The Natural Resources and the Environment program has two main components:

  • Coursework (24-28 credit hours): 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 (2-6 credit hours): With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students work on solving a real-world problem.

Contact Information

Phone: 607-255-2215

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 Admission: March 31 (priority deadline); May 31 (general deadline): 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
  4. Submit 3 letters of recommendation
  5. Submit a Statement of Purpose
  6. Submit a Personal Statement
  7. All applicants must meet the Graduate School minimum requirements including the English Language Proficiency Requirement
  8. The GRE general test is not required or accepted

Learning Outcomes

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