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Master of Science (MS) Degree

In this program, students with baccalaureate degrees receive postgraduate training and experience in a major and a minor discipline and develop research competence under the close supervision of a member of the faculty. For some, the MS degree is a terminal degree, which prepares the candidate for a position in industry, agribusiness, extension, teaching or research; for most, it is the prelude to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program. Some of the study requirements of the MS program follow:

  • Supervised by special committee of three professors selected by the candidate, at least one of whom must not be a member of the Department of Animal Science.
  • Requires one major and one minor subject.
  • Requires a minimum of two residence units (usually one year), but most students receiving financial support need two years for this degree.
  • No residence credit from another university can be transferred for this degree.
  • A research thesis is required.
  • The final examination is an oral defense of the thesis conducted by the special committee.
  • The candidate is expected, as part of training, to assist in teaching undergraduate courses.

Master of Professional Studies in Agriculture and Life Sciences (MPS) Degree

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program is a course-based, non-thesis, one-year master’s degree program that emphasizes professional development and intellectual investigation. The MPS degree program is ideal for career-focused individuals who are interested in broadening their expertise and expanding their professional versatility through coursework and a hands-on capstone project. 

The Master of Professional Studies has two main components to complete the 30-credit degree requirement:

  • Coursework: Candidates 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, candidates have the opportunity to take courses across Cornell.
  • Capstone project: Instead of a thesis or research project, MPS students work to solve a real-world problem through a capstone project during their final semester. 

Areas of specialization include: 

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Science
  • Physiology of Reproduction
  • Animal Genetics
  • Animal Genomics
  • Dairy Business Management (production or leadership focus)

Request more information about the MPS degree program.  

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree

This program, which emphasizes training for independent research, is aimed at development of competent scientists who have mastered one subject, have adequate knowledge of related subjects, and have demonstrated their ability to plan, undertake, complete, and interpret research. Most graduates of this program assume positions in universities, industry, or government. Some of the study requirements of the PhD program follow:

  • Supervised by special committee of four professors selected by the candidate, at least one of whom must not be a member of the Department of Animal Science.
  • Requires one major and two minor subjects.
  • Requires a minimum of six residence units (semesters). Transfer of residence credit may be allowed, but the candidate must spend at least two of the last four terms (ordinarily the last two) in consecutive session at Cornell. Most students who begin with a baccalaureate degree require five years to complete requirements for the PhD degree.
  • A research thesis must be approved by all members of the special committee.
  • Examinations vary somewhat among fields but in all cases include oral Admission to Candidacy and final (thesis) examinations.
  • The candidate is expected, as part of training, to assist in teaching undergraduate courses.