Majors & Minors

Design your education

With 40 majors, 55 minors and more than 40 foreign languages, The College offers uncommon academic diversity. Since 2/3 of your curriculum is taken outside of your major, you will have the opportunity to explore many interests and design your own path of study.

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Government

As a government major, you’ll learn how to think and write rigorously and creatively about issues of public life. You’ll have the choice of courses in four subfields: American politics (the political behavior, policies and institutions of the U.S.), comparative politics (the institutions and political processes of other nations), political theory and philosophy (normative theories of politics and history of political thought) and international relations (transactions between states, international organizations and transnational actors).

Sample Courses

  • Sex, Power and Politics
  • Issues Behind the News
  • Racial and Ethnic Politics
  • Secession, Intervention and Just-War Theory

Students went on to

  • Study law at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Be an analyst at Barclays Capital
  • Serve on the U.S. Supreme Court

Linguistics

As a linguistics major, you’ll explore the fascinating phenomenon of human language. Through your coursework you’ll learn how language is structured, acquired and used in social interactions. You’ll also learn how language changes over time or how it can be modeled computationally. Coursework for the major includes foundation and core courses, leaving you the flexibility to develop programs of study that focus on your areas of special interest. Linguistics combines well with language study and related fields such as philosophy, psychology, computer science and anthropology.

Sample Courses

  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Language and Society
  • Language and Law
  • Native American Languages

Students went on to

  • Study neurolinguistics at Harvard
  • Work as a speech pathologist and clinical instructor
  • Be a research scientist at Google

Spanish

As a Spanish major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore in-depth the languages, literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. You’ll be invited to engage with topics as various as medieval sin and modern film, novels from early modern Spain (most famously, Don Quixote) and from modern Latin America. You’ll also be encouraged to study abroad and to reflect critically upon the diversity that characterizes the Hispanic tradition.

Sample Courses

  • Early Iberian Survey
  • Perspectives on the Caribbean
  • Spanish Cinema: 1975-The Present
  • The Forgotten and the Damned: An Alternative History of Latin American Literature

Students went on to

  • Work for the Peace Corps
  • Be a business coordinator for the Latino Economic Development Corporation
  • Be an independent international arbitrator and mediator

Near Eastern Studies

As a Near Eastern studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire language skills as well as familiarity with the history, cultures, literatures and religions of the Near East/Middle East from antiquity to the modern day. You’ll become acquainted broadly with the region – which extends from Turkey east through Iran and Afghanistan, south through the Arabian Pennisula to Yemen and across north Africa from Egypt to Morocco — and its cultures and be able to study a particular subfield in depth. Special focus is given to the ancient east Mediterranean and Mesopotamian regions and to the Levant and Egypt.

Sample Courses

  • Holy War, Crusade and Jihad
  • Education of Princes: Medieval Advice Literature of Rulership and Counsel
  • Women in the Modern Middle East
  • Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Students went on to

  • Pursue Middle Eastern studies at Harvard
  • Work as a corporate lawyer
  • Be an award-winning poet and translator

Comparative Literature

As a comparative literature major, you’ll gain a critical and historical perspective on world literature and cultures, with the choice of two tracks. If you want to emphasize literature in your course work, take the comparative literary studies track; if you’re interested in studying literature and theory by integrating rigorous work in film, video or other arts and media, take the literary, visual and media studies track. The major’s broad range of courses provides a critical and historical perspective on world literature and cultures.

Sample Courses

  • Narratives of Travel, Migration and Exile
  • The Tragic Theater
  • Martial Arts Film and Literature: Globalization from the East
  • Thinking Surrealisms

Students went on to

  • Study veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Be a production editor at Random House
  • Be international projects coordinator at the Joslin Diabetes Center

Archaeology

As an archaeology major, you’ll benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to a broad range of cultures, with courses in classical archaeology and art, Near Eastern studies, and the archaeology of Eurasia, the Americas and Africa. You’ll gain hands-on experience through lab-based courses in zooarchaeology, ceramics, dendrochronology and in the material cultures of Native Americans and Euro-Americans, and will have opportunities for fieldwork both in the U.S. and abroad. The Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS) is one of the leading archaeology groupings in the U.S. and offers one of the few majors in archaeology in the country.

Sample Courses

  • Archaeology of North American Indians
  • Art and Archaeology in the Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Drinking Through the Ages: Intoxicating Beverages in Near Eastern and World History
  • Across the Seas: Contacts Between the Americas and the Old World before Columbus

Students went on to

  • Study archaeology at Cambridge
  • Be a park ranger for the National Park Service
  • Be vice president and general counsel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Dance

With a minor in dance, you’ll engage with the fundamental practices of doing, making and thinking about dance. You can take courses that explore choreography and courses that study dance as an historical and cultural behavior, as well as more familiar dance technique courses.

Music

As a music major, you’ll carry the study of music to an advanced level through the integration of performance, history, music theory and composition. Whether oriented toward eventual graduate or professional work in music or a more general approach, you can choose among courses from medieval chant to hip-hop, from classical-era European music to the musics of Latin America and Africa, from electroacoustic music to musical systems from around the globe. We also offer opportunities for performers through individual instruction in piano, violin, voice, percussion and other instruments, as well as through participation in our diverse instrumental ensembles.

Sample Courses

  • Hip Hop from a Global Perspective
  • Thinking with Music
  • Bach and Handel
  • Computers in Music Performance

Students went on to

  • Attend law school at the University of Chicago
  • Be design principal for Studio Gang Architects
  • Be director of choral music at the University of Virginia

Chemistry & Chemical Biology

As a chemistry and chemical biology major, you’ll learn logical thinking and creative problem solving and can either dive deep following a traditional curriculum or pursue a flexible program that may be ideal for those with alternative career goals. The department’s research areas include inorganic, materials, organic, analytical and physical chemistry, as well as chemical biology.

Sample Courses

  • Entrepreneurship in Chemical Enterprise
  • Introduction to Quantum Chemistry
  • Information Literacy for the Physical Scientist
  • Chemistry of Natural Products: Combinatorial Chemistry

Students went on to

  • Study medicine at Georgetown University
  • Be a financial analyst at CITI
  • Win a Nobel Prize in chemistry

College Scholar

As a college scholar major, you’ll design your own interdisciplinary major and pursue a course of study that cannot be found in an established major. You’ll be able to pursue a particular type of problem, issue or singular aspect of a larger field on which you can focus. That "crux" may be multidisciplinary in its nature or narrow within its discipline: you can explore subjects with a broader integration of related disciplines than most students would attempt, develop a narrow aspect of an interdisciplinary field or pursue a subject in which you are unusually advanced.

Sample Courses

  • Take your pick

Students went on to

  • Study history of medicine at Johns Hopkins University
  • Teach astronomy at Cornell
  • Serve as Chief Executive Officer for the Clinton Global Initiative

European Studies

With a minor in European studies, you’ll pursue interdisciplinary studies in contemporary European politics, society, history and culture. You’ll be encouraged to participate in the activities of the Cornell Institute for European Studies and be provided with unique access to programming on Europe, funding for research abroad and faculty with research and teaching interests on Europe.

Religious Studies

As a religious studies major, you’ll take an interdisciplinary approach to the academic study of religion, drawing upon humanities and social scientific disciplines and situating religious traditions within historically and theoretically critical contexts. You won’t be asked to adhere to nor explain away particular religious stances; instead, you’ll develop the intellectual tools to understand how normative claims about religious beliefs and practices are implicated in constructing and contesting various social identities, and how these claims help shape historical events.

Sample Courses

  • Black Religious Traditions: Sacred and Secular
  • Sound, Silence and the Sacred
  • Religion and Environmental Sustainability
  • Heavens, Hells and Purgatories

Students went on to

  • Study medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Work as a human rights lawyer
  • Serve as minister of a Unitarian Universalist Church

Asian American Studies

With a minor in Asian American studies, you’ll examine the histories and experiences, identities, social and community formations, politics and contemporary concerns of people of Asian ancestry in the U.S. and other parts of the Americas.

Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies

As a feminist, gender and sexuality studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to study a wide range of fields from the perspectives of feminist and LGBTQIA critical analysis, in a global context and with the purpose of promoting social justice. You’ll use the skills you learn in these classes to engage with such disciplines as anthropology, performing and media arts, English literature, Africana studies, comparative literature, Romance studies, music, Asian studies, industrial and labor relations (ILR), science and technology studies, sociology, government, history, history of art and many more.

Sample Courses

  • Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theatre and the Politics of Performance
  • Food, Gender, Culture
  • Intersection of Feminist Theory and Practice: Migrant Families in Detention
  • Sexual Politics of Religion

Students went on to

  • Study medical humanities in graduate school
  • Work in community organizing, with a focus on social justice
  • Be a distinguished professor of women’s and gender studies

American Studies

As an American studies major, you’ll study in an interdisciplinary program, exploring themes, trends and patterns that characterize the American past and present. You’ll use multiple perspectives and methodologies, learn to synthesize knowledge and develop the critical thinking skills needed for rigorous, complex analysis. You will also have the flexibility to define your own area of concentration, such as visual studies, cultural studies, race and ethnicity, legal and constitutional studies, the American environment, American capitalism or class and social structure.

Sample Courses

  • American Capitalism
  • Popular Culture in the United States, 1950 to the Present
  • Photography and the American Dream
  • U.S. Immigration Narratives

Students went on to

  • Study law at the University of Chicago
  • Teach in the Baltimore City Public Schools system
  • Be vice president and director of marketing at Random House

Southeast Asian Studies

With a minor in Asian studies, you can focus on East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia. Your courses can include the study of language, literature, religion and culture in the Department of Asian Studies, as well as courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, sociology and economics offered in other departments.

Cognitive Science

With a minor in cognitive science, you’ll study disciplines concerned with the fundamental capacities of the mind, such as perception, memory, reasoning, language, the organization of motor action and their neural correlates. This interdisciplinary study encompasses departments in the College of Arts & Sciences such as computer science, economics, linguistics, mathematics, neurobiology and behavior, philosophy, psychology and sociology; disciplines in the colleges of Engineering, Human Ecology and Agriculture and Life Sciences; and the Information Science Program and Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Creative Writing

With a minor in creative writing, you’ll take five courses in creative writing, literature and cultural studies. You can concentrate in a single genre (fiction or poetry), or freely study both.

Human Biology

With a minor in human biology, you’ll take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the human organism and gain an understanding of evolutionary processes that explain our biological variation through space and time. (Human biology is a curriculum of study for majors in various departments and colleges.)

Psychology

As a psychology major, you’ll gain familiarity with current knowledge about the important determinants of human behavior and with the methods used to expand that knowledge, while developing critical thinking skills. You can choose to concentrate in behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; perception, cognition and development; or social and personality psychology.

Sample Courses

  • Biopsychology of Learning and Memory
  • Intuitive Judgment
  • Human Perception: Applications to Computer Graphics, Art and Visual Display
  • Evolution of Language

Students went on to

  • Study psychology at Harvard
  • Be an analyst at Deutsche Bank
  • Be CEO of an international food corporation

Astronomy

As an astronomy major, you’ll gain in-depth knowledge about the nature of the universe, with thorough preparation in physics and mathematics. Like nearly all majors, there are opportunities to engage in research projects in your junior and senior years — faculty and students have played major roles in space exploration, including a heavy involvement in NASA missions such as the Mars Rovers.

Sample Courses

  • From New Worlds to Black Holes
  • Planets, Exoplanets and the Origin of Life
  • Galaxies Across Cosmic Time
  • Physics of Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars

Students went on to

  • Study astronomy at Caltech
  • Do software development at Microsoft
  • Serve as chair of a California university physics department

Statistical Science

As a statistical science major, you’ll take an interdisciplinary academic approach to the study of empirical quantitative reasoning in its scientific and social context, through three themes: mathematical, computational and applied statistics. You’ll learn how statistical inference and probabilistic modeling are central to all of the pure and applied sciences today, as well as how pervasive statistical thinking and quantitative reasoning have become in culture, economy, law, government and science, dramatically changing the way people view the world.

Sample Courses

  • Statistical Data Mining
  • Applied Linear Models
  • Computational Statistics
  • Biological Statistics

Students went on to

  • Study genetics at Stanford University
  • Be a financial analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Work as a cloud solutions engineer at IBM

Classics

As a Classics major, you can immerse yourself in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome through four different tracks (Classics, Greek, Latin, Classical Civilization) taking programs in ancient languages, literature, history, archaeology, history of art, science, linguistics and philosophy. Classics majors work closely with individual professors in their areas of expertise, often in small classes, and have many opportunities for independent research and travel. The rigorous analytical training characteristic of a Classics degree helps to develop skills that are valued in a wide variety of careers, as well as giving students a firm foundation for understanding the history of Western culture.

With a minor in classics, you’ll conduct your own odyssey through the ancient Mediterranean world by taking any five coherent classics courses (above 1000-level) from one of four different tracks, acquiring proficiency in either Greek or Latin along the way:

  • Classical literature
  • Ancient history (with emphasis on either Greek or Roman)
  • Ancient philosophy
  • Classical art and archaeology

Sample Courses

  • Greek Mythology
  • Introduction to Ancient Medicine
  • Magic and Witchcraft in the Greco-Roman World
  • Theater, Sport and Spectacle

Students went on to

  • Study classics at Princeton University
  • Be a professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center
  • Be chief financial officer of a Manhattan investment company

Sociology

As a sociology major, you’ll focus on basic science while diving deeply into public and educational policies, investigating topics such as gender, racial and income inequality, as well as drug use, economic development and organizational practices. You’ll develop fundamental insight and understanding of sociological issues as well as advanced research skills in quantitative and qualitative methods.

Sample Courses

  • Networks and Health
  • Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
  • American Society through Film
  • Controversies about Inequality

Students went on to

  • Study public health at Johns Hopkins University
  • Become an editorial assistant at Hearst Corporation
  • Be chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group

Medieval Studies

With a minor in medieval studies, you’ll enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the artistic and material relics of the Middle Ages. You can choose among a wide array of subjects spanning more than a thousand years of languages and cultures—from Old and Middle English literature to Byzantine monuments; from Viking studies to Andalusian architecture; from Chinese intellectual history to Islamic legal history. You can explore how many of our current challenges in the fields of law, human rights, attitudes toward power, authority, gender relations and sexual mores derive from how such issues were formulated a millennium ago.

History of Art

As a history of art major, you’ll be able to study areas traditionally central to the discipline such as ancient, medieval and Renaissance art, and the integration of recent fields of theory and research to the study of global visual culture. You can explore the history of cultural interactions as manifested in visual culture both inside and outside the West from antiquity to the present, furthering your understanding of the discipline of art history, its roots, its methodologies, as well as its historical and critical connections with other disciplines.

Sample Courses

  • Looking for Love: Visual and Literary Cultures of Love in the Medieval Mediterranean 1100-1400
  • Studies in Modern Art
  • Exhibiting Cultures: Museums, Monuments, Representation and Display

Students went on to

  • Study art business at Sotheby's Institute of Art
  • Work as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan
  • Be chief curator at the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Atmospheric Science

With a minor in atmospheric science, you’ll study a curriculum that meets the guidelines of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the requirements for employment in meteorology with any U.S. government agency, such as the National Weather Service (NWS) and a variety of consulting and professional meteorological services.

German Studies

As a German studies major, you’ll gain proficiency in reading, speaking and writing German, become acquainted with the culture of German-speaking countries and develop skills in reading, analyzing and discussing German texts in relevant disciplines. You can choose between two tracks: the German literature/culture track emphasizes literature, though you can also pursue individual interests in courses on film, visual culture, performing arts, music, political history and women's studies that have a substantial German component. The German Area Studies track is a more broadly defined sequence that includes work in related disciplines.

Sample Courses

  • German Life Style Going Digital
  • Changing Worlds: Migration, Minorities and German Literature
  • Scenes of the Crime: German Mystery and Detective Fiction
  • German in Business Culture

Students went on to

  • Study law at Columbia University
  • Work in public health at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
  • Be a German professor at a liberal arts college

Game Design

With a minor in game design, you can pursue your interest in game design as an extension of your major studies and of your future academic and professional careers. The core of the minor is Intro to Computer Game Architecture, followed by either Advanced Computer Game Architecture or Analytics-driven Game Design, with four additional courses that can range from Graphics and Art, the Psychology of Gaming, to Human-Computer Interaction.

Visual Studies

With a visual studies minor, you’ll pursue an interdisciplinary approach to visual art, media (including digital works), performance and perception. You’ll study with faculty from disciplines throughout the college, including history of art, film, literary studies, psychology, theatre and more.

Classical Civilization

With a minor in classical civilization, you’ll uncover the mysteries of ancient Greece and Rome. You’ll have the choice of any six classics courses (above 1000-level), which chart a coherent path through our offerings in ancient literature (in translation), history, philosophy, art history and archaeology. This minor does not include a language requirement.

Latin American Studies

With a minor in Latin American studies, you’ll explore issues and topics pertaining to Latin America with courses from various fields of study including music, politics, economics, feminist studies, archeology, theatre, art history, language, literature, architecture, agriculture, science and history.

Climate Change

With a minor in climate change, you’ll have the opportunity to explore climate change from varied disciplinary perspectives, while getting a firm grounding in the basic physical, ecological and social science as well as its interactions with history, philosophy and the arts. Based in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences affiliated with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, the minor is available to all Cornell undergraduates.

Law & Society

With a minor in law and society, you’ll have an opportunity for focused study of the interaction between law and society, from an interdisciplinary perspective predominantly rooted in the social sciences and humanities: anthropology, comparative literature, economics, government, history, philosophy, psychology, science and technology studies and sociology.

South Asian Studies

With a minor in Asian studies, you can focus on East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia. Your courses can include the study of language, literature, religion and culture in the Department of Asian Studies, as well as courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, sociology and economics offered in other departments.

Philosophy

As a philosophy major, you can choose among courses in epistemology, metaphysics, history of philosophy, logic, ethics, social and political philosophy, Continental philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, aesthetics and philosophy of science. You’ll participate each year in events that range from informal reading groups and workshops to formal conferences and large public lectures by visiting philosophers. The Sage School's small classes and collegial atmosphere support vibrant philosophical exchange among undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and visiting philosophers.

Sample Courses

  • Ethics of Eating
  • Knowledge and Reality
  • Minds and Machines
  • Ethics and Healthcare

Students went on to

  • Study philosophy at Oxford University
  • Be a research assistant at Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Win a Pulitzer Prize as foreign correspondent for The New York Times

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies

With a minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender (LGBT) studies, you’ll study sexuality and its importance to the organization of social relations, political formations, expressive behavior and aesthetic categories. You’ll focus on the representations and lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered subjects, even as these subjects remain stubbornly and productively difficult to define once and for all. LGBT Studies is an interdisciplinary program, and it is likewise open to a variety of perspectives on the stability of the constituent identity categories at its center.

Italian

As an Italian major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore in-depth the language, literature and culture of that part of the world, only recently united into a single nation, where Dante wrote his Comedy, Saint Francis roamed the Umbrian hills and directors like Pasolini and Fellini redefined the relationship between cinema and realism. You’ll be encouraged to immerse yourself in Italian literary and cultural history and to question many of the stereotypes that continue to circulate, in America but also in Italy, about that very history.

Sample Courses

  • Languages/Literatures/Identities
  • The Cinematic Eye of Italy
  • Saint Francis
  • Vogliamo Tutto! The Italian 1970s

Students went on to

  • Study clinical psychology in graduate school
  • Work in the wine industry in Italy
  • Found and serve as CEO of a college preparatory service

Inequality Studies

With a minor in inequality studies, you’ll study the causes and consequences of inequality in income, wealth, political power, health, life expectancy, autonomy, happiness, security, social networks and other life conditions. You'll also learn how inequalities by race, ethnicity, gender, social class and family background are evolving in the U.S., in other advanced industrialized societies and in the developing world. The minor can be tailored to fit your specific topical interests and career goals. (The institutional home for the minor is the Center for the Study of Inequality.)

Biology & Society

The Biology & Society major is an interdisciplinary major that allows students to combine the study of the biological sciences with courses that explore the social and ethical aspects of modern biology. In addition to gaining a foundation in biology, students in the major acquire background in the social dimensions of modern biology and in the biological dimensions of contemporary social issues. The major is open to students in three colleges: Arts & Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences and Human Ecology.

The major is suitable for students seeking careers in law, medicine, public health, public policy, business, research and academia.

Sample Courses

  • Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
  • Introduction to the History of Medicine
  • Ethics and Environment
  • Plagues and People

Students went on to

  • Study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Be an artist at Cirque du Soleil
  • Manage retail initiatives at the largest health care services company in the U.S.

East Asian Studies

With a minor in Asian studies, you can focus on East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia. Your courses can include the study of language, literature, religion and culture in the Department of Asian Studies, as well as courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, sociology and economics offered in other departments.

Computer Science

As a computer science major, you’ll learn algorithmic ways of thinking and study the elements of computing and information technology such as system design, problem specification, programming, and the modeling, analysis and evaluation of complex systems. You’ll also learn the many applications of computing in science, engineering and business, and have the opportunity to take classes and do research in such areas as artificial intelligence, robotics, computational logic, computer architecture, computer graphics, computer vision, computing systems, databases and digital libraries, machine learning, natural language processing, networks, programming languages and compilation, scientific computing, security and theory of computation.

Sample Courses

  • Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture
  • Machine Learning
  • Cloud Computing
  • Algorithmic Game Theory

Students went on to

  • Study entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon
  • Be a software engineer at Google
  • Co-found Pandora

Physics

As a physics major, you’ll develop analytical and problem solving skills while being able to customize your studies. You’ll take a common core set of courses and can then choose a concentration that complements the core, such as physics, or an interdisciplinary concentration such as chemical physics, geophysics, astrophysics, biophysics, applied math, philosophy of science, computer science, etc. The combination of biology/chemistry as a concentration is appropriate if you’re pre-med; you can also create an individualized concentration with courses in physics-related economics, history, law or business.

Sample Courses

  • Physics of Musical Sound
  • Introduction to Special Relativity
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Geometric Concepts in Physics

Students went on to

  • Be a teaching assistant at Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Become a financial analyst at Ernst and Young
  • Win a Nobel Prize in physics

Film

With a minor in film, you’ll gain a fundamental understanding of the formal, industrial, aesthetic and political aspects of cinema and media from the 19th century to the present. You can focus on national cinemas, genres or modes (narrative cinema, for example) or critical issues (such as digital platforms or global media); you may also pursue some work in film and digital media production, including animation and screenwriting.

French

As a French major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore in-depth the languages, literatures and cultures of France and the Francophone world. Whether you’re studying Haiti or Montaigne, classical theater or contemporary sexuality, you’ll have the chance to become a flexible and articulate interpreter of texts and ideas. You’ll be encouraged to study abroad and to make connections, wherever you are, across the boundaries of language, discourse, nation and time.

Sample Courses

  • Introduction to French and Francophone Literature and Culture
  • Versions of Versailles
  • Monsters A-X (Aristotle-X-Files)
  • On Paying Attention

Students went on to

  • Study French linguistics at Penn State
  • Work for a major investment bank as an analyst
  • Be president of a major foundation that helps economically disadvantaged youth

Mathematics

As a mathematics major, you can focus on the study of the theoretical aspects of mathematics or explore applications to other fields. You can choose one of seven different concentrations and take a rich variety of courses in analysis, algebra, analysis, topology, geometry, probability, statistics and logic to tailor a program that meets your individual needs and interests.

Sample Courses

  • Statistical Theory and Application in the Real World
  • Prove It!
  • Introduction to Number Theory
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

Students went on to

  • Study genetics at Stanford University
  • Be an oil exploration research scientist at Schlumberger-Doll
  • Be a professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge

Theatre

With a minor in theatre, you can focus on areas that interest you within the theory and practice of live performance: acting and directing for stage production; theatre history, theory and criticism; and theatre design and technologies.

Information Science

As an information science major, you’ll examine information systems in their social, cultural, economic, historical, legal and political contexts. Although computer science is an important part of the program, the emphasis is on systems and their use, rather than on the technologies that underlie them.

Sample Courses

  • Health & Computation
  • Information Ethics, Law and Policy
  • Data-Driven Web Applications
  • Human Robot Interaction – Research & Design

Students went on to

  • Study information technology at New York University
  • Be a user experience designer at Workday
  • Be a product manager at EBay

Economics

As an economics major, you can take a broad range of courses in such fields as economic theory, econometrics, money and banking, international economics, economic history, growth and development and industrial organization. You can also study the new field of behavioral economics, which attempts to improve economic analyses by incorporating insights from psychology, and take a new seminar that facilitates collaboration among economists and psychologists and draws students into faculty research.

Sample Courses

  • Financial Economics
  • Economics and the Law
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Economics of Collective Bargaining

Students went on to

  • Study law at a top law school
  • Be an investment banking analyst at Barclays
  • Be an economics professor at Harvard

Anthropology

As an anthropology major, you’ll study the complex social and cultural relationships that define human communities and learn how to conduct engaged, collaborative, field-based research. You’ll be able to investigate topics ranging from identity politics and globalization to the origins of agriculture and the rise of empires. The settings you’ll explore can take you from the lowland rain forest of ancient Mesoamerica to the mountains of the Himalayas, from prisons in Latin America to a synagogue on New York City’s Lower East Side, from medical research centers in Tanzania to the colonial era Finger Lakes. 

Sample Courses

  • Medicine, Culture and Society
  • The Rise and Fall of "Civilization"
  • Cultural Diversity and Contemporary Issues
  • Myth, Ritual and Symbol

Students went on to

  • Be a museum educator at Plimoth Plantation
  • Do provenance research at the Denver Art Museum
  • Be senior vice president of corporate affairs at Genzyme

Jewish Studies

With a Jewish studies minor, you’ll study the world of Jewish culture — one of the major crossroads of civilization and history — from the perspective of multiple disciplines. Jewish studies courses cover topics including Semitic languages and Hebrew bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; European and Middle Eastern Jewish history from the ancient period through the 20th century; dynamics of migration, diaspora and community; the figure of the Jew in modern politics and literature; and Holocaust studies.

Asian Studies

As an Asian studies major, you will learn about the languages and literatures, religions, societies and cultures of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, with courses in most of the disciplines of the social sciences and the humanities.

Sample Courses

  • Contemporary Chinese Popular Culture
  • Islam in Asia
  • Indian Meditational Texts
  • Vietnamese History

Students went on to

  • Study medicine
  • Be a foreign service officer in the government
  • Be a CEO of an international firm

Science of Earth Systems

As a science of earth systems (SES) major, you’ll pursue an interdisciplinary, unique course of study that incorporates the fundamentals of earth science with the emergence of a new and more complete approach, encompassing all components of the earth system — air, life, rock and water — to gain a new and more comprehensive understanding of the world as we know it. You can choose to focus on a disciplinary specialty such as geophysics or tectonics, or develop the broad expertise needed to understand the interactions between the diverse elements of earth and life in the past, present and future.

Sample Courses

  • Introductory Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Modeling
  • Humans and Climate Change

Students went on to

  • Study geophysics at Columbia University
  • Be a research assistant at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Be deputy director of the Department of the Interior

Computing in the Arts

With a minor in computing in the arts, you’ll have the opportunity to use computers to realize works of art, to study the perception of artistic phenomena and to think about new, computer-influenced paradigms and metaphors for the experiences of making and appreciating art. This interdisciplinary minor includes course offerings from the arts, social sciences, humanities and the physical sciences. You can choose from six tracks: computer science, dance, film, music, art and psychology.

Minority, Indigenous & Third World Studies

With a minor in minority, indigenous and third world studies, you’ll learn how the literatures of U.S. minority groups and third world (especially postcolonial) societies share and reflect similar histories of imperial conquest, slavery and colonial rule. You’ll think about literature and culture in a global context, analyzing imaginative responses to history, politics and ideology in a wide range of courses that explore African American, Asian American, American Indian, U.S. Latino/a, South Asian, Pacific, Caribbean and African literatures, as well as other sub-fields in colonial/postcolonial, diaspora and cultural studies.

Africana Studies

As an Africana studies major, you’ll have the chance to explore the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world and previous eras in the fields of literature, history, philosophy, international relations, cultural studies, music, and the visual arts.

Sample Courses

  • Black Queer Studies
  • Africa, Humanitarianism, and Postcolonial Sensibilities
  • Women in Hip Hop
  • The African Diaspora: Theories and Texts

Students went on to

  • Be a Rhodes Scholar
  • Be a Law Professor at Harvard
  • Be a Financial Adviser at Morgan Stanley

Portuguese & Brazilian Studies

With a Portuguese and Brazilian studies minor, you’ll gain a linguistic and cultural understanding of Brazil, including recent cultural, political, economic and social trends, as well as familiarity with cinema, music, literature, issues of race, class, and gender, and twentieth-century Brazilian history.

English

As an English major, you’ll be trained in the rigors and pleasures of critical thinking, close reading and lucid writing. Through writing workshops and literature courses in a wide range of periods, genres and traditions, you’ll explore the powers of narrative, image and the written word to illuminate the complexities of human experience.

Sample Courses

  • Shakespeare and the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Literature as Moral Inquiry
  • Medieval Romance: Voyage to the Otherworld
  • Africa Writes Back

Students went on to

  • Study creative writing at Columbia University
  • Work as a development officer at the Museum of Modern Art
  • Win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism with the New York Times

Russian

With a minor in Russian through the Department of Comparative Literature, you can explore Russian language, literature and culture. Translate your interest in politics, books, history or foreign travel (or your Russian heritage) into a broad and satisfying academic program that will introduce you to new ideas and new people across centuries and across campus.

History

As a history major, you’ll be able to take advantage of the department’s particular strengths in ancient, medieval and modern European history; American, Latin American and Asian history; as well as in a unique history of science program. In addition to a wide range of introductory and advanced courses that will help train you in critical thinking, superior organization and good writing skills, you can engage in independent research for credit.

Sample Courses

  • History of Law
  • Refugees
  • History of Exploration: Land, Sea and Space
  • Energy in History

Students went on to

  • Study law at Columbia University
  • Be a consultant at Ernst and Young
  • Be deputy advisor for public safety and justice in the Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico

Science & Technology Studies

As a science & technology studies major, you’ll explore the social and cultural aspects of science and technology and be encouraged to ask informed and penetrating questions about the social forces that shape science and technology, the limits of scientific authority and the role of technology in modern life.

Sample Courses

  • What is Science
  • Science in the American Polity, 1960 to Now
  • Gender and Technology
  • Communication, Environment, Science & Health

Students went on to

  • Study intellectual property law at George Washington Law School
  • Work for IBM as a business consultant
  • Manage digital instruction and learning at WGBH/Boston

Performing & Media Arts

As a performing and media arts major, you’ll benefit from the synergies between the study and practice of theatre and live performance, cinema/media and/or dance. Whether you’re an actor/director, a filmmaker, a scholar-critic, a choreographer or a designer, you’ll be able to take many possible combinations of courses depending on your interest in history/theory/criticism, creative authorship, design or embodied performance and more.

Sample Courses

  • Dance Improvisation or Technology and the Moving Body
  • Screening Cosa Nostra: The Mafia and the Movies from Scarface to The Sopranos
  • Staging Dissent: Theater and Social Change
  • Introduction to African-American Cinema

Students went on to

  • Work as a production assistant on Broadway
  • Produce films for HBO
  • Star in the "Superman" movie

International Relations

With an international relations minor, you’ll be able to take advantage of the vast resources available across colleges and departments for studying the politics, economics, history, languages and cultures of the countries and regions of the world, adding a global and cross-cultural dimension to your major studies. This interdisciplinary program, offered through the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, is open to undergraduates enrolled in any of the seven Cornell undergraduate colleges.

Biological Sciences

As a biological sciences major, you’ll have novel opportunities to jump into engaging research projects. With more than 300 faculty, our undergraduate program, jointly run by the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is one of the most highly regarded in the country. You can choose a concentration from multiple areas, including animal physiology; biochemistry; computational biology; ecology and evolutionary biology; general biology; genetics, genomics and development; human nutrition; insect biology; marine biology; microbiology; molecular and cell biology; neurobiology and behavior; plant biology; and systematics and biotic diversity.

Sample Courses

  • Human Microbes and Health
  • Marine Ecosystem Sustainability
  • Hormones and Behavior
  • Stem Cell Biology

Students went on to

  • Study medicine at Stanford University
  • Be an editor at Natural History Magazine
  • Be CEO of a biotech company

Latina/o Studies

With a Latina/o studies minor, you’ll be able to explore historical and contemporary issues in diverse U.S. Latino communities, including political and labor participation, immigration, education, language, literature and creative expression. Faculty members from history, sociology, anthropology, literature, language, government, performance studies and more, give you an opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary field of study of Latina/os in the U.S., with an emphasis on a transnational and comparative perspective.

China & Asia-Pacific Studies

As a China and Asia-Pacific studies (CAPS) major, you’ll be trained as a future leader, equipped to address the inevitable challenges and negotiate the delicate complexities in U.S.-China relations. With four years of intensive Chinese language training and two semesters of internships in Washington, D.C. and Beijing respectively, you’ll be part of a new, ambitious program with unprecedented pre-professional training mapped onto a solid Cornell liberal arts education.

Sample Courses

  • China Under Revolution and Reform
  • China's Changing Politics, Economy and Society
  • Chinese Perspectives on Global Affairs
  • U.S.-China Relations

Students went on to

  • Study at the London School of Economics
  • Become a foreign service officer at the U.S. State Department
  • Lead a corporate team at Amazon.com