"The gorges, the waterfalls. To me the campus is a metaphor for the never-ending processes of evolution, of transformation. Novelty is always around the corner." Steven Strogatz, the Jacob Gould Schulman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University
Welcome to the nexus
Any person, any study As a student in Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences, you will live at the center of an academic community that is constantly generating new ideas. You will learn from excellent teachers who will challenge you to expand your imagination, while you sharpen your critical and creative responses to all encounters. And you will join a group of impressive, independent and diverse thinkers, who will help you forge your own path to discovery and transformation. The College embodies Ezra Cornell’s founding vision where
“any person can find instruction in any study.”
“At Cornell, I’ve learned to challenge assumptions that are usually taken for granted. Rather than accepting things as they are and working from there, it’s usually better to ask why they are that way in the first place.”
Hazel Guardado ‘16, Anthropology, Miami, FL
“A liberal arts education at Cornell emphasizes the importance of taking courses in a wide breadth of fields, including history, culture, science, psychology and geography. I spent semesters developing websites for an info science class alongside learning about chimpanzees and the origins of politics.”
Haewon Hwang '17, Information Science, Albany, NY
Bring your passion, or find one here.
“Cornell brings so many bright students together that you are bound to learn something from others if you are willing. You will stumble into new interests like I did with computer science when I took an introductory course out of a whim. Over the years, Cornell has slowly shaped me into an individual with stronger beliefs and with a lot more interests.”
Our students are motivated, inspired and sincere. Always intellectually curious, their interests are often divergent. They are searching not only for a successful and meaningful career, but also for a life well lived. If you have these qualities, you are likely to thrive here because you will live at the center of a world-class research university, where you will work collaboratively with faculty and other students to understand the toughest questions and take on the world’s greatest challenges.
George Agyeman-Badu ’17, Biological Sciences, Accra, Ghana
Our Distinctive Features
Top 3 reasons why students choose Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences: 1 Breadth of academic programs 2 Career prospects 3 Research opportunities
“…as an English major who has also completed a rigorous pre-medical curriculum, my appreciation for Ezra Cornell’s famed words has only grown; this institution encouraged me to pursue my passions – even if they seemed somewhat contradictory – and for that I will always be grateful.“
Elizabeth McKenzie Klein ‘16,
Uncommon diversity Students from across the university take classes in Arts & Sciences, which means you are exposed to an uncommonly diverse student body with wildly varying perspectives that will enrich your learning in astounding ways.
Access to all of Cornell In addition to the 2,000 courses offered in Arts & Sciences, our students also enjoy access to nearly 2,000 additional courses in the six professional and applied colleges and schools at Cornell University.
English (with a pre-med curriculum), McLean, VA
Brilliant teachers Unlike other Ivies, all
faculty in our College teach undergraduates. Our brightest scholars and researchers also happen to be great teachers.
Collaborative by nature When we say we collaborate, we mean it. A long established culture of interdisciplinary collaboration within the college creates endless opportunities to learn from faculty and peers.
Wise, yet hip We are internationally renowned with a modern edge – the oldest and largest college at Cornell, but also the youngest and smallest liberal arts
college in the Ivy League – we are elite, but unpretentious.
Engaged learning As the only Ivy League global research university with a land grant mission, opportunities for study abroad, undergraduate research, and service learning are part of the Cornell tradition. Our professors also have a reputation for teaching in innovative ways — many incorporate active learning styles of teaching in the classroom — enabling students to reach their fullest potential.
Majors & Minors
Design your education. Dive deep into your field of choice, or sample what intrigues you. As an Arts & Sciences student, you have until the end of your sophomore year to declare your major. Two-thirds of your curriculum can be taken outside your major.
Majors Africana studies American studies Anthropology Archaeology Asian studies Astronomy Biological sciences Biology & society China & Asia-Pacific studies Classics (Greek & Latin) Chemistry & chemical biology College Scholar Program Comparative literature Computer science Economics English Feminist, gender, & sexuality studies French German studies Government History History of art Independent major Information science Italian Linguistics Mathematics Music Near Eastern studies Performing & media arts Philosophy Physics Psychology Religious studies Science & technology studies Science of Earth systems Sociology Spanish Statistical science
Minors In addition to majors, you can pursue minors in: Africana studies Anthropology Archaeology Asian American studies Astronomy Biological sciences China & Asia-Pacific studies
Classical civilization Classics Cognitive science Computer science Computing in the arts Creative writing Crime, prisons, education & justice Dance East Asian studies English Feminist, gender, & sexuality studies Film French Game design History History of art History of capitalism Inequality studies Information science International relations Italian Jewish studies Latin American studies Latina/o studies Law & society Lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender studies Linguistics Mathematics Medieval studies Minority, indigenous, & third world studies Music Near Eastern studies Performing & media arts Philosophy Physics Portuguese & Brazilian studies Psychology Public Policy Religious studies Russian Science & technology studies Science of Earth systems South Asian studies Southeast Asian studies Spanish Theatre Viking studies Visual studies
Enhance your learning. Study Abroad
College Scholars Our College Scholar Program selects exceptional first-semester sophomores interested in designing their own courses of study. Recent scholars have focused their senior projects on the chemistry of art preservation, behavioral finance and the stock market, sex and gender in Latin America and the philosophy of math.
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program encourages underrepresented groups and others committed to eradicating racial disparities to pursue doctoral degrees and academic careers. Fellows work closely with a faculty mentor to develop a scholarly paper in their field and receive stipends and loan repayments upon completion of their PhD.
“Many of the schools I was considering would’ve required that I give up either music or science in my academic pursuits, but here at Cornell through the College Scholar Program I was able to pursue both extensively. I tell people all the time that my best prep for organic chemistry was my music theory courses. The way you have to think and recognize patterns in both disciplines is very similar.”
Julia Klein ’16, College Scholar, Rye Brook, NY
The College encourages study abroad programs that provide a greater understanding of the world’s peoples, cultures, economies and environments, and prepare graduates for the challenges of international citizenship in the 21st century. Study abroad is open to every student in every major who meets the college requirements and has a strong academic goal.
“My global health field study in Kenchanahalli, India was an important part of my Cornell experience. It helped me understand how I wanted to mesh public health and medicine in the future. This experience helped me grow and gave me a new perspective that was really important in shaping my worldview.”
Ankur Srivastava '16, Biology & Society, Essex Junction, VT
Engaged and Service Learning Numerous classes and organizations offer you the opportunity to leave your comfort zone and grow as a human being and as a scholar, including Cornell in Washington, the Cornell Prison Education program, The Nilgiris Field Learning Center and the Shoals Marine Laboratory.
“My family has really instilled in me the value of hard work and of pushing through when things seem impossible. I want to focus my life on giving back to others, to create a collaborative system where we can solve issues together.”
Jocelyn Vega ’17, whose thesis project for Mellon-Mays focuses on the social impacts of immigration policies, Sociology & Government, Chicago, IL
Research and Independent Study
Curiosity moves the world. The body of research, scholarship and creative works emerging from the College of Arts & Sciences is vast, but contains one common thread — ALL of our research is curiosity-based. This model of inquiry confers intellectual flexibility, a precursor for innovation, creativity and discovery. Dive deeply into a topic of your choice. Write a book, choreograph a dance, synthesize organometallic compounds or collect beetles in Chile, working side by side with a faculty supervisor. As a student, you will be treated as a collaborator in the pursuit of knowledge, with access to some of the finest research and educational facilities in the world.
“I worked on a research team that was responsible for the creation of the Tompkins County Energy Plan, setting out the county’s longterm climate and energy policy goals. My experience working on this project gave me first-hand insights into how local communities establish and evolve their energy policies. Our team’s plan was enacted into law by Tompkins County.”
Aaron Benedict '16, College Scholar, Syracuse, NY
Plan for success... however you define it. “I used my history major as a selling point. I’m intellectually curious, I know a lot about global policy and economics, I’m able to do strong analysis and research and I can write a 40-page paper at the drop of a hat.”
Jaz Nsubuga ’11, Manager of integrated marketing, MTV
Your liberal arts education will help you understand the foundations of knowledge, inquiry and creativity and prepare you for this era of rapid social, technological, economic and environmental change. After graduation, you could go on to a prestigious graduate program, pursue an advanced professional degree or go directly into a challenging and rewarding career.
Class of 2016 Outcomes After graduation, 61 percent of the members of the Class of 2016 entered the workforce, 27 percent went on to graduate school and others volunteered or took time off to write, pursue artistic ventures or explore the world.
What will you do with your liberal arts degree? The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few examples of what graduates of Arts & Sciences have gone on to become . . .
Foreign service officer at the U.S. State Department Software developer at Microsoft Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for the New York Times Supreme Court justice Nobel-prize winning author, physicist, chemist CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative Deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency Editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books Co-founder of Pandora Software engineer at Google Tony-award winning director and playwright Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group CEO of Fannie Mae
Top Employment Sectors Financial Services Education Law Consulting & Professional Practice Communications & Media Technology Nonprofits Government Medicine
We are a community.
Arts & Sciences by the Class Size 33% 1–10 students
43% 11–20 students
16% Arts & Sciences by the numbers:
over 100 students
Undergraduate A&S courses offered each year
“The sheer range and diversity of academic and extracurricular opportunities at Cornell might seem like an amusing perk or prerogative to some. To me, it represents a world of unimaginable resources which I never thought I would have access to. I came to Cornell with the intention of exploring as many new things as I possibly could, and that has been my main extracurricular activity.”
Anjum Malik '16, Anthropology & Archaeology, Islamabad, Pakistan
Number of new courses for 2016
Professional faculty teaching undergraduates
Professional faculty advising undergraduates
Students each faculty member advises on average
As a Cornell student, you soon realize that you are in a special place. Our location, our diverse student body and our reputation for collaboration creates a community where everyone can find an activity, organization or lab where you feel right at home.
“Ithaca is Gorges” (That’s not a typo. It’s our town motto.)
We are learning for life. “Cornell was a space where my interests in music, service and research have really imprinted themselves upon my identity. My interactions with other people, different beliefs, interests and ideologies made me realize the beauty of a space that was a mosaic of beliefs and interests rather than a mass of colorless uniformity.
"The ability to go out and tackle a challenge in spite of your fears of failure might just be one of the best skills you can acquire. I still have toremind myself often of this advice, but I can guarantee that those who embrace it will enjoy a truly enriched experience at Cornell and beyond!"
Colin Budd '16, Abby Maranga '16,
Information Science & Fine Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
Biology & Society, Beacon, NY
“As a member of the Cornell Speech and Debate Society, the experience of thinking hard about controversial issues – sometimes even arguing for the side you personally feel uncomfortable with – taught me to approach every opinion with caution and respect and without prejudicial preconceptions.”
“As a sophomore, I worked with the facilities staff to create a program that implemented composting in residence halls. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that I have had through environmental organizations and I feel as though I was able to create dialogue and institute real change on campus.”
Christie Abel '16,
Mathematics & Philosophy, Wuxi, China
Science & Technology Studies & Sociology, Newtown Square, PA
Become an A&S student
Ready to start your journey?
Undergraduate Financial Aid
If you are searching for a community of scholars who will broaden your worldview, welcome your ideas, and challenge you to think otherwise, we hope you will explore the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University.
The best way to know if Arts & Sciences is the right fit for you is to visit the campus and see for yourself. Plan your visit today.
Our need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid philosophy reflects Ezra Cornell’s founding vision of access to education and creates an egalitarian environment for learning, unconstrained by a family’s ability to pay. Apply for financial aid today.
Undergraduate Admissions admissions.cornell.edu Apply to the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University today.
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