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Majors and Minors

Cornell University Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences Cornell University

College of Arts and Sciences, Liberal Arts at Cornell University

Choosing Majors and Minors

The College of Arts and Sciences offers 40 majors, 55 minors, and more than 40 foreign languages. Students of this college have a great deal of flexibility and choice when creating their path of study.

Questions about majors


Africana Studies

The Africana Studies undergraduate program takes an interdisciplinary approach through the focal areas of history, literature, social sciences and African languages such as Swahili, Yoruba or Zulu. Students will explore the global migrations throughout the Americas, Africa and the African Caribbean, and reconstruction of the African peoples and diasporas, as well as patterns of linkages to the ... read more.

Statue of liberty

American Studies

The program provides a rigorous yet flexible interdisciplinary study of the diverse populations and cultures in the United States, with students able to take courses from more than forty faculty members drawn from across the humanities and social sciences. Beyond core courses in history, literature and politics, students choose an area of concentration such as visual studies, cultural studies, ... read more.



Undergraduate majors study complex social and cultural systems through three subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology. Topics ranging from identity politics and globalization to prehistory and human evolution are offered and focus on every major geographical region in the world. Graduate courses address a range of theoretical issues, including ... read more.



Through its interdisciplinary approach, the Archaeology Program provides exposure to a broad range of cultures and the methods of uncovering and interpreting them. Courses cover classical archaeology, Near Eastern studies, and archaeology of the Americas and Africa. Students gain hands-on experience through lab-based courses in zooarchaeology, dendrochronology, geophysical field methods, and in ... read more.

Asian American Studies

The Asian American Studies Program is a university-wide, inter- and multi-disciplinary academic program housed administratively within the College of Arts and Sciences. Its aim is to promote teaching, research, and educational activities related to Asians in the Americas and to serve as a resource to campus and regional communities. The program’s undergraduate courses, offered within the ... read more.

Asian art

Asian Studies

A major in Asian Studies is rewarding because the growing global importance of Asia means increasing career opportunities in law, business, government, journalism, arts and education. Requirements include completion of two years of Asian language or equivalent demonstrated proficiency and 30 additional credits. Students select courses in the areas of literature and linguistics, religion, and ... read more.

The Andromeda Galaxy


The astronomy major provides in-depth knowledge and education about the nature of the universe, relying heavily on preparation in physics and mathematics. Nearly all majors become involved in research projects in their junior and senior years. Faculty and students played major roles in the early days of space exploration and Cornell astronomers continue a heavy involvement in NASA missions, ... read more.

Atmospheric Science

The undergraduate Atmospheric Science curriculum is designed with two goals in mind. The basic curriculum meets the guidelines of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the requirements for employment in meteorology with the National Weather Service (NWS) and a variety of consulting and professional meteorological services. A minor is a secondary area of interest that often complements ... read more.


Biological Sciences

With a biology faculty of more than 300 and novel opportunities for undergraduates to jump into topflight research projects, Cornell has one of the best undergraduate biology programs in the country. Biology majors come from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

You'll choose a program of study from the following areas: animal physiology, ... read more.

DNA code

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 ... read more.

chemistry and chemical biology

Chemistry and Chemical Biology

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology offers two undergraduate degree routes. The standard major provides a comprehensive background for those who plan to go to graduate school in chemistry or a related subject. The alternative major is a flexible program with a core of chemistry courses and lots of room for a personalized plan or double major in areas such as biology, computer ... read more.


China and Asia-Pacific Studies

Cornell's unique new undergraduate major in China and Asia - Pacific Studies (CAPS) is designed to train future leaders who are 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 externships in Washington, D.C. and Beijing respectively, the unique and ... read more.

Classical Civilization

The Minor in Classical Civilization consists of six coherent Classics courses, excluding 1000-level courses. It does not include a language requirement.
The Department of Classics also offers a Minor in Classics

Since Classics comprises a diverse group of subjects, each minor is offered in four different tracks:

  Classical Literature
  Ancient History (with emphasis on ... read more.



The number of faculty and generally small class size ensure that students in Classics work closely with individual professors in their areas of expertise. Classics majors study the culture of ancient Greece and Rome through programs in the ancient languages, literature, archaeology, history, history of art, linguistics and philosophy. Most Classics majors find their studies excellent ... read more.

Climate Change

The Climate Change minor gives undergraduates 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 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the minor is available to all Cornell undergraduates.

... read more.

Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science comprises a number of disciplines that are linked by a major concern with fundamental capacities of the mind, such as perception, memory, reasoning, language, the organization of motor action, and their neural correlates. In the College of Arts and Sciences these disciplines are represented in the departments of Computer Science, Economics, Linguistics, Mathematics, ... read more.

Stack of books

Comparative Literature

Two tracks are offered for majors in comparative literature. Comparative Literary Studies is designed for students who wish to place greater emphasis on literature in their course work. Literary, Visual, and Media Studies is designed for students who wish to pursue their study of literature and theory by integrating rigorous work in film, video or other arts and media. The broad range of ... read more.


Computer Science

The computer science curriculum covers both the theory of algorithms and computing and their many applications in science, engineering, and business. Students learn algorithmic ways of thinking and study the elements of computing and information technology such as system design, problem specification, programming, system analysis and evaluation and complex modeling. Research areas include ... read more.

Computing in the Arts

The computer plays a role in almost every aspect of human life, and its influence and potential now extend routinely not only to technical and commercial pursuits but also into the realms of the imaginative and the aesthetic. The Computing in the Arts minor offers students opportunities to use computers to realize works of art, to study the perception of artistic phenomena, and ... read more.

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing minor consists of five required courses, ranging from classes in creative, narrative, and verse writing, to literature and cultural studies. Students may choose to concentrate in a single genre (fiction or poetry), or may freely study both.

... read more.


The Dance Minor is designed to be flexible yet ensure that students grapple with the fundamental practices of doing, making, and thinking dance. Included in the curriculum are courses that explore choreographing dance and studying dance as a historical and cultural behavior, as well as more familiar dance technique courses.

... read more.

East Asian Studies

The Department of Asian Studies offers minors for East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia designed for undergraduates with an intellectual and/or career interest in one of these three areas of Asia. These minors can be fulfilled by the study of language, literature, religion, and culture in the Department of Asian Studies as well as by courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, ... read more.



The department offers 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. Economics majors have enjoyed an excellent record in job placement, going on to careers in banking, accounting, financial services, and management. Others have pursued successful careers ... read more.



Cornell's English majors are trained in the rigors and pleasures of critical analysis, close reading, and lucid writing. Through writing workshops and a vast historical and geographical range of literature courses, students explore the values and problems of human experience and culture via narrative, image, and the written word. The Honors Program challenges majors to produce a critical ... read more.

European Studies

The minor provides a coherent structure for students with an interest in interdisciplinary study in the field of European studies which will complement their major in a traditional department. Completed registration forms should be submitted to the Cornell Institute for European Studies in 120 Uris Hall. A copy of the transcript should be included.

The European Studies Minor has three ... read more.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGSS) offers an undergraduate major and minor. Majors frequently pursue dual majors in other departments; FGSS complements the study of a wide variety of fields, including law, medicine, social analysis, art, psychology, literature, film and media, and human development. Students take courses in the study of intersecting structures of oppression including ... read more.


The Film Minor provides students with a fundamental understanding of the formal, industrial, aesthetic, political, spiritual, and rhetorical aspects of cinema and media from the 19th century to the present. Through elective courses in cinema and media, students may focus on national cinemas, genres or modes (narrative cinema, for example, or personal film), or critical issues (such as ... read more.



Students are exposed to a wide range of research areas, periods, critical methods and theoretical frameworks: from textual analysis and cultural studies, to psychoanalytic and critical social theory to the study of genre, gender, and sexuality; from early historic periods to recent transatlantic trends. Undergraduate students in the French Studies Program can choose to major in French cultural ... read more.

German studies

German Studies

German Studies majors can choose between two tracks. The German literature/culture track emphasizes literature, though majors 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 ... read more.



The study of government has one major purpose: to teach how to think and write rigorously and creatively about issues of public life. The department divides the field of government into four subfields: American politics the political behavior, policies and institutions of the United States), comparative politics (the institutions and political processes of other nations), political theory and ... read more.

Roosevelt, Muir


The department is particularly strong in ancient, medieval, and modern European history, as well as American, Latin American, and Asian history. It also has a unique history of science program. In addition to a wide range of introductory and advanced courses, students can engage in independent research for credit, both within the honors program and under independent faculty supervision. History ... read more.
history of art

History of Art

Majors take courses ranging widely across chronological periods and geographical areas, with a strong emphasis on cross-cultural developments. The department teaches a variety of art-historical methods and interpretive strategies, including connoisseurship, feminism, iconography, semiotics and social history. Majors develop skills in critical thinking and astute observation that serve them well ... read more.

Human Biology

Human biology integrates the methods and theories of many disciplines, such as biological anthropology, nutrition, neurobiology, physiology, psychology, demography, ecology, genetics, and paleontology into a comprehensive study of biological diversity in Homo sapiens. A central focus of this interdisciplinary approach to the study of the human organism is an understanding of evolutionary ... read more.

Inequality Studies

Inequality lies at the heart of current debates about opportunity and equity, implicating numerous contemporary policy issues. Public and scholarly interest in inequality has intensified, not merely because of historic increases in income and wealth inequality in the United States and other advanced industrial countries, but also because inequalities of race, ethnicity, gender, and social ... read more.

Information illustration

Information Science

The Information Science (IS) major examines 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. The major includes three area-based tracks: information systems, social systems and ... read more.

International Relations

The Einaudi Center offers an International Relations Minor, which is an interdisciplinary program open to undergraduates enrolled in any of the seven Cornell undergraduate colleges. It provides a structured yet flexible program for undergraduates to take advantage of the vast resources available at the university for studying the politics, economics, history, languages, and cultures of ... read more.



The Italian major offers tracks in Italian literature and culture and Italian studies. The literature and culture track is designed for students who wish to study Italian language, literature and culture through the works of writers, artists and other figures who have developed rich and varied aesthetic traditions. The Italian studies track includes a broader progression of courses that entails ... read more.

Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Program was founded as an extension of the Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures, now the Department of Near Eastern Studies, in 1973 and attained status as an intercollegiate program in 1976.

The program has grown out of the conviction that Judaic civilization merits its own comprehensive and thorough treatment and that proper understanding of any ... read more.

Latin American Studies

Cornell’s Latin American Studies Program (LASP), founded in 1961, has become one of the nation’s premier Latin American centers. Today, as part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, LASP provides a focus for all activities on the Cornell campus oriented toward Latin America. Latin Americanists are active in most of Cornell’s colleges and schools, with diverse strengths ... read more.

Latino Studies

The Latino Studies Program, a university-wide academic program housed within the College of Arts and Science, addresses all of the different cultures, languages, and traditions that exist within Latino communities in the United States. Our faculty members, from several different disciplines and colleges, teach the courses—drawn from history, sociology, literature, language, planning, ... read more.

Law and Society

The Law and Society minor provides 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.

... read more.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Studies is devoted to the study of sexuality and its importance to the organization of social relations, political formations, expressive behavior, and aesthetic categories. It is primarily concerned with the representations and lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered subjects, even as these subjects remain stubbornly and ... read more.



 Linguistics is an inherently interdisciplinary field, and majors are attracted to it in different ways. Some have simply always enjoyed studying foreign languages. Others have studied computer science, logic or mathematics and are looking for a field where these disciplines can be applied to problems of human behavior. Still others are intrigued by the history ... read more.



The mathematics major can emphasize the study of classical pure mathematics or it can explore applications of mathematical knowledge to other fields. Students choose from a rich variety of courses in analysis, algebra, topology, geometry, probability, statistics, and logic to tailor a program that meets their individual needs and interests. As the language of modern science, mathematics ... read more.

Medieval Studies

Undergraduate students may pursue an Undergraduate Minor in Medieval Studies, for which they must complete five courses at the 2000 level or above in at least two different disciplines, of which up to two may also count toward their major. Students should seek out an advisor, and may wish to consult with the Director. Those completing a minor will receive a notification on their transcripts and ... read more.

Minority, Indigenous, and Third World Studies

This minor aims to foster comparative thinking, so students are encouraged to choose courses that study a variety of ethnic and national traditions, including Native American, African American, Asian American, U. S. Latino/a, and Anglophone African, Asian, and Caribbean literature.

Students wishing to minor in Minority, Indigenous, and Third World Studies (MITWS) must complete ... read more.



Cornell's music major carries the study of music to an advanced level through the integration of performance, music theory and music history. It is designed to accommodate both students who are oriented toward eventual graduate or professional work in music and those who wish to take a more general approach. Music majors from Cornell have gone on to varied careers in musicology, ... read more.

Mosque at Al-Azhar

Near Eastern Studies

The Near Eastern Studies major affords students 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. The major is designed both to acquaint students broadly with the region and its cultures and to study a particular subfield in depth. The Near East/Middle East ... read more.


Performing and Media Arts

The Performing and Media Arts major allows students to broaden their experiences in the disciplines and benefit from the synergies between the study and practice of dance and movement, live theatre and media arts.  We also welcome students interested in a double-major within the College of Arts and Sciences and we offer three minors — in theatre, film or dance — to interested students. For our ... read more.



The philosophy curriculum generally includes offerings 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. Students participate each year in events that range from informal reading groups and workshops to formal conferences and large public ... read more.

physics photo by Seamus Davis


The Physics major at Cornell is a flexible and intellectually stimulating program designed to accommodate the needs of students with a wide spectrum of backgrounds, interests and career goals. The analytical and problem solving skills developed in the course of earning a physics degree have enabled past graduates from Cornell's Physics Department to excel in careers such as ... read more.

Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

The Portuguese and Brazilian studies minor includes both a linguistic and cultural component and is targeted toward undergraduates across different colleges who have an intellectual and/or professional interest in Brazil. 

... read more.


Psychology majors can concentrate in one of these areas, behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; perception, cognition and development; or social and personality psychology. Many students double major in Psychology and Economics and many Psychology majors pursue a minor in Cognitive Science. The goal of the psychology major is to familiarize the student with current knowledge about the ... read more.


Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary major drawing from the resources of a variety of departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. The academic study of religion stands apart from a purely confessional approach in that it draws upon a diverse array of humanistic and social scientific disciplines in an effort to situate religious practice and belief within an ... read more.


The Russian Minor in the Department of Comparative Literature is open to undergraduates in all seven colleges. 

The Minor allows students to explore an interest in Russian language, literature, and culture

... read more.
digital earth

Science and Technology Studies

The major in Science & Technology Studies aims to further students' understanding of the social and cultural aspects of science and technology. Department courses encourage students 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. The major is ideal for ... read more.


Science of Earth Systems

The Earth Sciences have never been more critical to society than they are today. The Science of Earth Systems (SES) major is the undergraduate program offered by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences to Cornell students in the colleges of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Science of Earth Systems (SES) major is intrinsically interdisciplinary, ... read more.



The major gives students the opportunity to focus on basic science yet dive deeply into public and educational policies. Gender, racial, and income inequality, as well as drug use, economic development and organizational practices are among the topics investigated.

Students develop fundamental insight and understanding of sociological issues as well as advanced research skills in ... read more.

South Asian Studies

The Department of Asian Studies offers minors for East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia designed for undergraduates with an intellectual and/or career interest in one of these three areas of Asia. These minors can be fulfilled by the study of language, literature, religion, and culture in the Department of Asian Studies as well as by courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, ... read more.

Southeast Asian Studies

The Department of Asian Studies offers minors for East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia designed for undergraduates with an intellectual and/or career interest in one of these three areas of Asia. These minors can be fulfilled by the study of language, literature, religion, and culture in the Department of Asian Studies as well as by courses on Asian history, politics, anthropology, ... read more.



The major is designed to give students proficiency in the oral and written Spanish language, to acquaint them with Hispanic culture and to develop their skill in literary and linguistic analysis. Majors can choose to concentrate in such areas as Spanish literature or Area Studies (Spanish, Latin American or U.S.–Latino studies). Spanish majors typically pursue a second major in such departments ... read more.



Statistical inference and probabilistic modeling are central to all of the pure and applied sciences today. Statistical thinking and quantitative reasoning has become pervasive in culture, economy, law, government, and science, dramatically changing the way people view the world. Cornell's academic and research programs take advantage of Cornell University's extensive resources, drawing ... read more.


The Theatre Minor allows students to focus in areas that interest them within the discipline of live performance: acting and directing for stage production; theatre history, theory, and criticism; and theatre design and technologies.

... read more.

Visual Studies

Visual studies is a minor that provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to visual art, media (including digital works), performance, and perception. Faculty from departments throughout the college offer courses toward the minor, drawing on such various disciplines as the history of art, film, literary studies, psychology, theatre, and others. Requirements for the minor include the ... read more.

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