Africana studies is a tradition of intellectual inquiry and study of African peoples. Using a transdisciplinarian approach, Africana scholars document the global migrations and reconstruction of African peoples, as well as patterns of linkages to the African continent (and among the peoples of the African Diaspora). Having perhaps the most international faculty on the Cornell campus, all professors represent the three regions of the African Diaspora: Africa, African America, and African Caribbean - the three foci of Africana Studies. In addition to the faculty, the Africana Studies and Research Center is comprised of nationally and internationally-recognized scholars and educators; socially-conscious intellectuals; and students representing each of Cornell's undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges.
The Program in American Studies offers an interdisciplinary study of the United States and the many ways to interpret the American experience. The program explores the themes, trends and patterns that characterize the American past and present using multiple perspectives and methodologies. You create your own path through the major, which includes courses in history, politics, popular culture, visual studies, law, literature, race and ethnic studies, etc.
Anthropology is the study of the human condition from the deep past to the emerging present. The field is unified by its commitment to engaged field research that seeks to enhance understanding across boundaries of culture, nation, language, tradition, history and identity. A holistic discipline, anthropology regards economy, politics, culture and society as inseparable elements of humanity’s complex long-term history. A bridge between the humanities, social, and natural sciences, anthropology documents the diversity of our communities and examines the consequences of our commonalities. Because it engages directly with communities around the world, anthropology has a unique capacity to bring the entire human experience to bear on vital questions of sustainability, equality, and mutual understanding that will shape the future of the planet.
Cornell’s Department of Anthropology is one of the most respected programs in the world with a long tradition of innovation and a legacy of leadership in the discipline. The work of its faculty traces the human career from the emergence of the species to the formation of 21st century post-colonialism. Our ethnographic, archaeological and biological research links empirical observations to critical theoretical approaches. Key themes in ongoing research projects and teaching profiles include: medicine and culture; politics, inequality and sovereignty; economy, finance, corporations and law; materiality and aesthetics; gender, personhood and identity; ethics and humanitarianism; humans and animals; colonialism and post-coloniality. Our students and faculty work around the globe from Ithaca, India and Indonesia to the Caribbean and Central America, from Japan, Africa and Nepal to China and the Caucasus, from the circumpolar North to the Global South. The Anthropology Collections, housed in McGraw Hall and used in a range of courses, include over 20,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects whose origins span the globe and represent over 500,000 years of human history.
The Archaeology Program was founded in 1967. Cornell is one of the few universities in the United States that offers a separate archaeology major in addition to its graduate program. The program also offers a new post doc in archaeology. Our faculty's specialties range from studies of early peoples to the historic 19th century, within the following departments and programs: American Indian studies, anthropology, classics, earth and atmospheric sciences, historic preservation, history of art and visual studies, landscape architecture, and Near Eastern studies. Archaeology at Cornell is particularly strong in the eastern Mediterranean area, and in the Americas (both pre- and post-Columbian). Some members of the program also are active participants in area studies programs, and faculty and students routinely work with other programs and departments. Faculty members are involved in long-term research projects in Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Italy, South Africa, Turkey and in New York State.
At the time of its founding in 1987, the Asian American Studies Program at Cornell University was the first such program in the Ivy League. Today the program has faculty members in the humanities and social sciences in a variety of departments in the College of Arts & Sciences, teaching students from across the University. This cross-college, university-wide position accommodates the extensive teaching and research interests of the Program's faculty and reflects the breadth of the vibrant field of Asian American studies in general. In the classroom, in scholarship, and through campus and community advocacy, the Program is committed to examining the histories and experiences; identities, social and community formations; politics; and contemporary concerns of people of Asian ancestry in the United States and other parts of the Americas.
The Department of Asian Studies serves as the institutional center of Cornell's diverse research and teaching interests, strengths and potentials in Asia. It is the home for instruction in the languages, literatures, religions, cultures, and intellectual histories of Asian societies and is one of the few departments in America that offers instruction in social sciences, the humanities and languages across all three regions of Asia: East Asia (China, Japan and Korea), Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). The professorial faculty members are a multi-disciplinary group in the humanities who conduct research and teach on topics arranged under our rubrics of "Literature & Linguistics," "Religion," and "Society & Culture," as well as offering more broad courses under the "General Education" heading and more specialized courses such as honors or graduate seminars. Associated faculty throughout the university teach courses about the politics, economics, history, culture and contemporary development of Asian regions. Faculty members at the rank of senior lecturer, lecturer and teaching associate offer instruction in 14 modern Asian languages, and the department also offers instruction in five classical Asian languages (Sanskrit, Pali, Literary Chinese, Literary Japanese and Literary Vietnamese).
The department works with Asian specialists of all disciplines across campus, who collectively comprise the East, South and Southeast Asia area studies programs. Undergraduate students can major in Asian studies or minor in East Asian studies, South Asian studies or Southeast Asian studies. The department is home to two graduate programs: Asian Studies (MA) and Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture (MA/PhD).
The Department of Astronomy is one of the leading centers for astronomical research in the world. Areas of research include cosmology, exoplanets, planetary science, the interstellar medium, galaxies and stars (including black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars). The department places strong emphasis on the participation of students in ongoing research projects. It strives to foster an interdisciplinary approach to solving astronomical problems and maintains strong ties with other departments. Many undergraduate and graduate alumni of Cornell astronomy have become leaders in the field.
Cornell astronomers have played major roles in NASA missions to explore the solar system and distant universe. This commitment continues today, with Cornell astronomers leading the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission and playing integral roles in the Cassini mission to Saturn, its moons and environs. Cornell planetary scientists are intimately involved in planning and executing the next generation of spacecraft missions to explore the solar system.
Selected examples of current research topics (among many) include: the study of methane lakes on Titan, determination of the spectral signature of earth-like planets around other worlds, searching for gravitational waves by observing a network of pulsars, the migration of planets in exoplanet systems, the nature and origin of features in Saturn’s rings, and the structure and physical conditions of the earliest galaxies in the Universe.
The Department is home to the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Research (CCAPS) and the Carl Sagan Institute (for exoplanet and planetary research).
The Carl Sagan Institute (CSI) was founded to find life in the universe. Based on the pioneering work of Carl Sagan at Cornell, our interdisciplinary team is developing the forensic toolkit to find life in the universe, inside the Solar System and outside of it, on planets and moons orbiting other stars.
Cornell University's Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI) is devoted to understanding patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequalities of many different forms. It supports cutting-edge research on inequality, trains undergraduate and graduate students, encourages the exchange of ideas among researchers, and disseminates research findings to a broader public.
CSI is based in the Sociology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and has over 100 faculty affiliates in other departments within the College and across campus. CSI’s affiliates study and teach courses on a range of topics, including educational attainment and school-to-work transitions; inequalities in wages, income, wealth, health, and civic engagement; poverty and anti-poverty policy; intergenerational mobility and equality of opportunity; residential segregation and spatial differences in attainment; inequalities by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, age, disability status, and other social differences; the politics of inequality and the inequality of politics; and the relationship between global political, economic, and environmental changes and inequality.
The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology offers a full range of courses in physical, organic, inorganic, analytical, theoretical, materials, bioorganic, bioinorganic and biophysical chemistry. The department recognizes that the link between teaching and research is a vital one in the continuously evolving field of chemistry, and ensures that students will be provided with the most advanced information and perspectives through its faculty's dual commitment to teaching and to research. In addition to facilities in nuclear magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography, the department houses The National Biomedical Research Center for AdvanCed ESR Technology (ACERT), which develops and applies methods and theory of modern electron spin resonance.
A "revolutionary" undergraduate major at Cornell University, CAPS is a program designed to train future leaders who are equipped to address the inevitable challenges and negotiate the delicate complexities in the various domains of U.S.-China relations. With four years of intensive Chinese language training and two semesters of internships in Washington, D.C., and Beijing respectively, the unique and ambitious program offers CAPS majors unprecedented pre-professional training mapped onto a solid Cornell liberal arts education.
The Department of Classics at Cornell is one of the oldest and largest in the country. It offers training at all levels in the languages, literature, philosophy, culture, art, archaeology and history of ancient Greece and Rome.
The department promotes first-hand involvement in the ancient world, ranging from productions of ancient plays through participation in Cornell-sponsored archaeological projects. Courses involve direct engagement with material culture using Cornell's collections of ancient coins and of reproductions of sculptures, inscriptions and other ancient objects. Many students participate directly in the discovery and study of ancient material cultures by working in the dendrochronology laboratory on campus, or on material from Cornell-sponsored excavations in the Mediterranean region.
The interdisciplinary Cognitive Science Program at Cornell supports connections to psychology, computer science, linguistics, human development, philosophy, neurobiology, iInformation science, mathematics, computational vision, and computational linguistics.
Throughout the academic year the Cognitive Science program offers undergraduate and graduate minors; an international lecture series; Sprocket, the Cog Sci Film Series held each spring in conjunction with COGST 1101: Introduction to Cognitive Science; graduate and undergraduate travel grants; and the year-end Grad Convo luncheon, held every May.
Students and faculty are encouraged to attend our extracurricular programs in order to facilitate interesting and intellectual discussions and to gain exposure to a variety of related fields.
The Department of Comparative Literature provides a broad range of courses in European and non-European literatures, offering a full, rich, global view of world literature and cultures. In cooperation with related departments in the humanities, the departmental offerings reflect current interdisciplinary approaches to literary study, such as hermeneutics, semiotics, deconstruction, cultural criticism, Marxism, reception aesthetics, feminism and psychoanalysis.
The department benefits from close ties with Cornell's Society for the Humanities, a center of teaching, research and lectures that provides a unique, historic catalyst for critical and theoretical reflection on campus. The department also has vital connections to the School of Criticism and Theory, a six-week summer program based at Cornell that features leading figures in critical thought, as well as to the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), a Cornell research institute dedicated to reflection on the global and plural nature of modernities.
Students interested in computational biology will learn how to apply computer science, statistics, and mathematics to problems in biology. Computational biology spans a wide range of fields within biology, including genomics/genetics, biophysics, cell biology, biochemistry, and evolution.
As a computational biologist, much of your work would be the analysis of molecular data, such as bio sequences, three-dimensional protein structures, gene expression data or molecular biological networks. You could use this data to address a wide variety of problems, including the identification of disease-causing genes, the reconstruction of the evolutionary histories of species and the unlocking of the complex regulatory codes that turn genes on and off. Computational biologists can also work with non-molecular data, such as clinical or ecological data.
Cornell Cinema has been cited as one of the best campus film exhibition programs in the country, screening close to 200 titles each year, many in conjunction with academic courses. Films are shown five to seven nights a week in the historic Willard Straight Theatre, which is open to the public. Each semester-long schedule features work from the breadth of cinema: silent films with live accompaniment; cult and canonical repertory titles; contemporary Hollywood, documentary, international, art-house, and experimental work; as well as visiting filmmakers, panel discussions, and faculty & graduate student introductions.
Begun in 1970 as a university film society, Cornell Cinema has adapted to address the changing exhibition landscape and to remain vital to campus culture. Throughout its 50-year history the program's primary mission has been educational, with a secondary purpose of providing affordable entertainment for the Cornell & Ithaca communities./p>
Cornell Cinema collaborates with departments and academic programs across campus, many within the College of Arts & Sciences, and has always attracted a diverse range of students studying a broad cross-section of fields throughout the University.
Ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) is the study of the patterns and processes that structure ecological systems and drive evolutionary change. Understanding the interactions between organisms and their environments is both fascinating and critical for solving environmental problems. As ecologists, we study natural populations, communities and ecosystems and the links among them. As evolutionists we elucidate the past history of natural assemblages and how organisms respond to changing environments. And as organismal biologists we seek to understand how plants, animals and microbes function in relation to their environment. We delight in interacting with students; we integrate undergraduate and graduate education, and foster communication between science and society.
The department makes use of field research sites (from lakes to forests and fields to the ocean coast; locally, nationally and around the world), museum collections (we manage the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates), and modern laboratory facilities (we manage the Cornell Isotope Laboratory and the Evolutionary Genomics Core Facility). Undergraduates in EEB have opportunities to participate in laboratory and field-based research across a broad array of ecological and evolutionary projects.
In 2011, Cornell took the extraordinary step of creating an expanded and improved Department of Economics, combining economics and labor economics faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Industrial & Labor Relations as well as a set of distinguished senior faculty from around campus.
The economics department offers the study of human behavior in many settings—at the household, market and aggregate levels. Economics is more than a set of questions, but rather is a mode of thought, a set of precise analytical tools that can be used to study a wide variety of social science problems. Students are introduced to these tools in the core methodology courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics. With these tools in hand, students are then able to study a wide variety of topics including labor-market outcomes, the role of the banking sector, the economics of developing countries, international trade, the role of the public sector and of the political process, economic history and the study of health and education. In addition, students have the option for advanced methodological study in dynamic optimization, game theory and econometrics.
Cornell's program in Environment and Sustainability (E&S) is guided by a single principle: understanding and resolving environmental problems requires an interdisciplinary approach. This cross-college program supports the Environmental and Sustainability undergraduate major available in both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. The major provides environmental science and environmental studies curricula under one umbrella in two Cornell colleges.
E&S offers students breadth and depth in a wide range of courses pertaining to the environment and sustainability. All students complete a set of foundation courses (Core Curriculum), after which students tailor their upper-division courses by selecting one of six concentrations. Enough flexibility remains for students to study abroad, engage in research or pursue other opportunities offered by Cornell.
The Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program offers students 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. Students will learn how gender and sexuality are socially constructed, what these terms mean in various contexts, and how these concepts are used to support social and political institutions. They will also learn how critical analysis and creative questioning of these concepts can help to reshape those institutions.
Students will use the skills they learn in our 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. Because of the program’s interdisciplinary focus, our majors are often double majors, and go on to pursue careers in law, medicine or public health, development and international aid, media, research and community activism.
All majors and minors take courses in three key distribution areas of the program: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies (LGBT); the study of intersecting structures of oppression including race, ethnicity and class (ISO); and global perspectives on feminism, gender and sexuality (GLO). These three areas assure that students understand a wider range of issues concerning sexuality and gender identity, the connection of human rights and social justice concerns across identities that are often represented as separate, and the global contexts for all of these discussions.