Courses of Study 2017-2018 
    Sep 25, 2020  
Courses of Study 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .

Course Offerings  

The Soil and Crop Sciences Section provides courses, advising, and curriculum planning for several CALS undergraduate programs, including Agricultural Sciences , Environmental and Sustainability Sciences  (formally Science of Natural and Environmental Systems), International Agriculture and Rural Development , and Plant Sciences . Students interested in soil and crop sciences are able to major in one of these programs to tailor their coursework according to their desired specialty. The section offers coursework in crop science, soil science and environmental information science that address the need for environmentally sustainable agricultural systems to produce food for a burgeoning world population. Coursework on nutrient and carbon fluxes in ecosystems addresses methods to improve nutrient use efficiency, improve soil health, and solve greenhouse-gas issues. Courses introduce students to productive and sustainable land use practices on regional, national, and international scales, and to remote sensing and geographic information sciences.  Main thematic areas focus on food production systems, sustainable agroecosystem management, and linkages between agriculture and environmental change. 

The Agricultural Sciences  major is an interdisciplinary program for students wishing to pursue a broad-based education in agriculture to prepare for careers that require a scientific and integrative understanding of agriculture and food systems. Students can concentrate in one or more areas, including Animal Science, Business, Education and Communication, Crop Production and Management, and Sustainable Agriculture. The Plant Sciences  major provides the opportunity to gain depth of understanding in the biology of plant systems, such as crop-weed competition, approaches toward genetic improvement of crops, and crop responses to environmental stresses. Students in the International Agriculture and Rural Development  major who take the Agricultural and Food Systems concentration gain an understanding of crop production in tropical systems and also economic and sociological issues in emerging nations. The Environmental and Sustainability Sciences  (formally Science of Natural and Environmental Systems) major offers a biogeochemical science concentration that addresses the interface of environmental science and human systems involved in environmental management.


T. L. Setter, chair (235 Emerson Hall, (607) 255-5459); D. H. Buckley, J. H. Cherney, A. DiTommaso, G. W. Fick, P. Hobbs, M. Laba, J. Lauren, J. Lehmann, C. E. Martinez, M. B. McBride, J. M. Russell-Anelli, M. R. Ryan, S. Smith, Y. Sun, J. E. Thies, H. M. van Es, O. Vatamaniuk


A minor in crop management is available for students with any major at Cornell University. The minor enables students with majors in fields such as applied economics and management, biological and environmental engineering, communication, ESS, IARD and development sociology to gain technical and scientific knowledge for careers in areas such as food production systems, environmental hydrology, evaluating effects of climate change on food security, and policy related to agricultural sustainability. Requirements: a total of 12 credits beyond those required of a student’s major from the following areas: 1) at least 3 credits of crop science (PLSCS 2110 , PLSCS 4050 , PLSCS 4130 , PLSCS 4140 ), 2) at least 3 credits of plant protection/pest management (PLSCS 3150 , PLSCS 4440 , ENTOM 3410 , PLPPM 3010 ), and at least 3 credits of soil science (PLSCS 2600 , PLSCS 3210 , PLSCS 3650 , ANSC 4120 , PLSCS 4660 , PLSCS 4720 ). Equivalent transferred courses can be substituted. For students with majors such as Agricultural Sciences and Plant Sciences, addition of this minor helps prepare them for the Certified Crop Advisor examination, which provides an important credential for jobs in agriculture and environmental management.

A minor in soil science 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. The soil science minor is available to students with any major at Cornell University; transfer credit can be used to meet requirements. Graduates with soils training can choose from a range of excellent professional opportunities and challenging careers, including those with government agencies. The minor requires 15 credits, with at least two courses (minimum 7 credits) in soil science, and at least one course (minimum 3 credits) in environmental information sciences. Students qualify for the Civil Service classification as Soil Scientist (GS-0470) if they take an additional 12 credits in biological, physical, and earth sciences. Civil Service classification as Soil Conservationist (GS-0457) is achieved with the minor plus 12 credits in natural resources and agriculture and 3 credits in applied plant science.

Students wishing to pursue either the crop management or soil science minor should contact the undergraduate advisor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, Professor Antonio DiTommaso (