The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior is dedicated to exploring, teaching and understanding the neural underpinnings and evolutionary forces that shape animal behavior. The interests of our faculty and students span all levels of organization, from single neurons to complex circuits to whole organisms and societies thereof, and include the impact of hormones and stress on learning and memory, the emergent properties that define behavioral states and govern complex tasks, and the evolution of cooperation, conflict and communication from solitary to highly social organisms.
The department offers a wide range of research opportunities in cellular and molecular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, computational neuroscience, neuroethology and endocrinology, behavioral, sensory and cognitive ecology, sociobiology, sexual selection, chemical ecology and the evolution of species boundaries. Our teaching mission is to integrate most of these themes into two flagship courses, BioNB 2210 (Introduction to Behavior) and BioNB 2220 (Introduction to Neuroscience), and to explore them in greater depth in our upper level courses. These traditional strengths in research and teaching, combined with the recent hires of exciting new faculty members, have positioned NBB as a leader in the emerging science of the brain.
The Office of Undergraduate Biology provides comprehensive, academic, career, and research advising to current and prospective biological sciences majors and minors, as well as alumni and faculty. Our primary mission is to serve the diverse needs of our majors as they navigate the curriculum and achieve their academic and career aspirations.
The Department of Performing and Media Arts follows a liberal arts program that emphasizes creative thought, intellectual growth, and performance skills. The faculty and staff are accomplished professionals who embrace a philosophy of training and mentoring within the context of a liberal arts education. Faculty teach courses and train students across the following areas: theatre, performance studies, acting and directing, design (lighting, sound, scene, costume), stagecraft, cinema and media studies, film and media production (analog and digital), dance, spoken word, voice and movement, and other areas in performing and media arts.
The department is housed in Cornell’s elegant Schwartz Center, which boasts three theatre performance spaces, a dance theatre and studios, film editing and production suites, film forum, classrooms, and scenery and costume shops. Opportunities abound for students to present their work through the department’s Student Laboratory Theatre Company, Dance Program and student film screenings, as well as via numerous student organizations on campus. Students can also take advantage of Cornell Cinema, which has been cited as one of the best campus film exhibition programs in the country. Cornell Cinema includes a media study library with extensive reference materials, publications, a film collection, and frequent workshops and presentations by guest artists and critics.
Founded in 1891, Cornell's Sage School of Philosophy offers students the excitement that comes from understanding intellectual problems and the satisfaction involved in finding theoretical and applied solutions. Students become familiar with classic texts and theories in the history of thought while also developing analytical skills that are valuable in academic, professional and everyday life. Small classes and a collaborative, communal atmosphere are among the distinguishing features of the Sage School. In addition to coursework, extracurricular activities and events offer abundant opportunity for philosophical exchange within Cornell and the wider philosophical community. The university's extensive library system, with its nearly five million volumes, provides excellent coverage of scholarly works in all branches of philosophy—historical, analytical, phenomenological, Continental and comparative.
The faculty of the Sage School edits The Philosophical Review, also founded in 1891, and generally regarded as the best journal in philosophy. Logos: The Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy at Cornell is run by a group of undergraduate majors who work with an advisory board of professionals to solicit papers, award cash prizes for the best submissions, provide critical comments on drafts, publish an annual volume, and organize additional colloquia and undergraduate conferences.
Physics forms the intellectual core of the physical sciences. It examines the world through an analytical lens: providing insight into the fundamental building blocks of nature, the emergent behavior of complex systems, and the laws which govern the physical world. In addition to offering an exciting array of courses, Cornell's Department of Physics features world-class research in a wide variety of specializations, from biophysics and nanoscience to high energy physics, accelerator science and string theory. Undergraduates in physics have the opportunity to conduct research in these areas, as well as participate in teaching and community outreach activities.
The Program on Ethics and Public Life (EPL) is a university-wide initiative, based in the Sage School of Philosophy, that promotes interdisciplinary learning about morally central questions concerning public policies and social, political and economic processes. EPL brings distinguished scholars in many fields from throughout the world to Cornell to address leading issues of vital ethical and political importance in public lectures, workshops and extensive informal discussions, including semester-long visitors series on such themes as "The Politics and Ethics of the Rise of China," "Deep Issues of the 2012 Elections: Equality, Liberty and Democracy," and "After the American Century: Hopes and Fear for America's Future." EPL reaches out beyond Cornell through free online videos, both documentaries and presentations of diverse views by leading scholars, as in the video series, "Where Is China Headed?" Initiatives for undergraduates include the Law and Society minor and courses at the intersection of ethics and public policy.
The Department of Psychology focuses on the investigation of behavior and its cognitive, neural and hormonal underpinnings in the full range of environmental situations. The dominant strengths of the department lie in the three broadly defined areas of perception, cognition, and development; behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience; and social and personality psychology.
Cornell offers substantial resources for psychological research, including excellent research space and laboratory equipment; state-of-the-art computer facilities; an outstanding library system that is one of the ten largest academic research libraries in North America; and a highly skilled support staff. Research facilities include animal housing rooms, histological and chemical preparation rooms, electrophysiological recording equipment, an extensive Social Psychology Laboratory, an infant behavior laboratory, several perception and cognition laboratories and laboratory-oriented software to support empirical research.
In the Religious Studies Program, religious traditions are explored in all of their complexity through comparative, contextual (in specific historical or cultural contexts), and thematic studies. The courses offered through the program are built on the established scholarly tradition of the study of religion as an academic, as opposed to confessional, pursuit.
The Religious Studies Program, an undergraduate program in the College of Arts & Sciences, is designed to meet the needs of three classes of students: students planning to pursue advanced degrees in the academic study of religion or allied disciplines or sub-disciplines (e.g., history of religions, religion and literature, religion and psychology, ethics, theology, area studies); students seeking courses on topics relating to religion to fulfill distribution requirements: and students desiring a more systematic exposure to the academic study of religion as a significant component of a liberal arts education.
The program offers an excellent opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complex ways in which religious traditions inform human thought and behavior. The program hosts lectures, conferences, symposia and periodic social gatherings for faculty members and students throughout the academic year to foster a sense of intellectual community.
The Department of Romance Studies gives voice to the literatures and cultures of those parts of the world where French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are or have been spoken. It offers students a broad range of opportunities for language acquisition, as well as the chance to become sophisticated interpreters of the literature, film, philosophy and material culture produced within and influenced by the Romance languages (i.e., those languages ultimately derived from the language spoken by the ancient Romans).
The classes are intimate, idea-driven, and student-centered. The Department of Romance Studies strives to create an atmosphere of intense intellectual engagement across linguistic and textual boundaries, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the wide array of on-campus lectures, events and resources available to them (including the Language House), as well as Cornell's extensive Study Abroad programs. The department is also home to diacritics, a distinguished journal of literary and cultural theory.
Since its inception in 1976, the School of Criticism and Theory has been devoted to intensive intellectual inquiry and the vigorous exchange of ideas, cultivating a space where courageous discussion and innovative academic exploration can thrive.
The Department of Science & Technology Studies (S&TS) at Cornell is concerned with understanding the larger ethical, social, and political dimensions of science-intensive issues. Science and technology are at the core of many of the most important concerns or topics of our day, from the control of military technology, to the ethics of assisted reproduction, to privacy on the Internet. The thread connecting these diverse issues is a shared understanding of science and technology as inherently social activities that are best studied from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell is recognized internationally as a leader in the field. Its faculty has expertise in both historical and contemporary social studies of science and technology, and the department offers a variety of courses on the place of science and technology in the modern world.
Cornell's Society for the Humanities was established in 1966 as one of the first humanities institutes in North America. Located in the historic home of Cornell's first president, Andrew Dickson White, the Society brings distinguished Visiting Fellows and Cornell Faculty and Graduate Student Fellows together each year to pursue research on a broadly inter-disciplinary focal theme. In addition to participating in our legendary Wednesday Fellows seminar, Fellows offer one experimental, innovative seminar on their research topic. The Society's presence at Cornell has fostered path-breaking interdisciplinary dialogue and theoretical reflection on the humanities at large with our internationally recognized Fellows. The Society is proud to sponsor numerous internal grants, workshops and funding opportunities for Cornell faculty and graduate students in the Humanities, as well as hosting over 100 annual lectures, workshops, colloquia and conferences organized by Cornell's distinguished humanities faculty.
Cornell’s Department of Sociology explores human social organization, institutions and groups. The department is known for the cutting-edge research of its faculty and for its exceptionally strong graduate and undergraduate training programs. It has a long-standing tradition of engaging and valuing theoretically driven empirical research. This approach to sociology uses sophisticated theoretical reasoning and rigorous methodological tools, many of which are developed by Cornell faculty, to answer fundamental questions about the social world, how it is organized and how it is changing. The department’s focus on basic science is complemented by a deep commitment to informing public and educational policy, particularly on issues related to gender and racial inequality, income inequality, poverty, drug use, economic development, school funding, organizational practices and race and ethnicity.
The sociology department also has close ties with the many other research centers on campus. Interdisciplinary research touches on subjects such as inequality, economics, social sciences, nonlinear systems, politics and social dynamics.