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Careers and Concentrations

scope workThe Cornell Plant Sciences major prepares students for careers or further study in areas related to research or teaching about plants, growing plants as food or fiber (field crops, vegetables, fruit or vineyards) or other purposes (turfgrass, ornamental plant production, urban horticulture), pest management, plant breeding, plant pathology and plant protection.

The major offers 11 different concentrations, each of which can lead you on the career path of your choice. So carefully consider your choice of concentration base on your career interests and goals.

Ecology of Managed Landscapes concentration (Ecology)

We focus on creating healthy urban landscapes that provide many valuable ecosystem services. Students will learn skills that will lead to careers in public garden management, municipal forestry, arboriculture, professional landscape management, landscape design and build, environmental landscape assessment and soils remediation, turfgrass management, and outreach education.  

Organic Agriculture (Organics)

Students in this concentration will learn about the philosophy and regulations involved with certified organic crop production and will learn practical ways of growing crops and managing pests using organic methods.

Plant Breeding & Genetics concentration (Breeding)

Students graduating with extra coursework in this concentration will be prepared to compete successfully for graduate study opportunities or to enter the job market directly.  

Plant Computational Biology concentration (Big Data)

Plant computational biologists analyze large datasets and devise computer modeling simulations for practical and research applications in academia, in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, in health science-related fields, and in governmental research institutions.  

Plant Evolution and Diversity concentration (Evolution)

An important component of this concentration is learning methodologies for measuring and studying biodiversity across large scales, both in geologic time and globally. This concentration prepares students to enter graduate school, and for careers in academia, in governmental, private and international organizations focused on biodiversity and conservation issues, major natural history museums, and in private and governmental research institutions.  

Plant Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology concentration (Physiology)

Coursework in Plant Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology focuses on the study of how plants function at the subcellular, cellular, and organismal levels. The concentration prepares students to enter graduate school and for careers in academia, in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, in health science-related fields, and in governmental research institutions.  

Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology concentration (Plant Diseases)

Students interested in plant diseases and their control, host-pathogen coevolution, microbial symbiosis, fungal biology and/or sustainable agriculture/biocontrol are good fits for this concentration. This concentration prepares students for careers related to disease and pest management, and for graduate study in plant pathology, mycology, and the biology of plant-microbe interactions. 

Plants and Human Health concentration (Medicinal Plants)

This concentration addresses the growing interest in the role of plants in various health-related sub-disciplines that study disease prevention and therapy. Furthermore, it fulfills the academic responsibility to educate future professionals in the health-care field on the importance of this relationship.  

Public Garden Management concentration (PGM)

A public garden is an institution that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education, research, conservation, and higher learning. Public gardens include botanic gardens, arboreta, conservatories, and historic estates.  Through this concentration, students will prepare for professional positions at public gardens, in programs as diverse as horticulture, education, natural areas management, conservation, and administration.

Soil Science concentration (Soils)

This concentration prepares students for work on agricultural and natural ecosystems by learning to identify, understand, and manage soils in agriculture and forestry in an environmentally responsible way. Graduates with soils training can choose from a range of excellent professional opportunities and challenging careers, including those with government agencies.  

Sustainable Plant Production concentration (Sustainability)

Intended to provide intensive working knowledge and hands-on experience in the commercial production of plants, including field, fruit, vegetable, nursery and greenhouse crops.  

Design Your Own Concentration concentration (DYOC)

If none of the above concentrations piques your interest for more in-depth study, you may petition the Plant Sciences Curriculum Committee to design your own concentration in Plant Sciences. The course and credit requirements for this concentration will be determined on a case-by-case basis.