Researchers using VR goggles to study teaching methods
Motivated by curiosity

Research, scholarship and creative works

The body of research, scholarship and creative works emerging from the College of Arts & Sciences is vast, with one common thread -- ALL of our research is curiosity-based. This model of inquiry confers intellectual flexibility, a precursor for innovation, creativity and discovery.

Foundational research

Foundational exploration at the center of a world-class research university

The College of Arts & Sciences is the home of foundational, theoretical and basic research at Cornell. Our researchers and scholars are all curiosity-driven and often collaborate across disciplines and colleges, partnering with applied scientists and researchers to tackle our greatest challenges. Faculty work side by side with postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students to explore the stars, our rural communities, our classrooms, and how humans and society affect the world in large and minute ways.

Below is a sample of the initiatives and projects that result when we collaborate to ask the big questions.


More than 100 interdisciplinary research organizations, 18 Cornell research centers and 2 national research centers


Of A&S students work closely with faculty in research & independent study.

Research and scholarly excellence

Research and scholarly excellence

Our faculty members, research scientists, postdocs and students are leading their chosen fields of exploration, receiving high honors, awards, fellowships and grants. Here are a few recent accolades.

Gloved hand holding a gold medal
Carla DeMello/Provided The Nobel Prize awarded to Hans Bethe in 1967
St. James AME Zion Church
Provided St. James A.M.E. Zion Church is believed to be the oldest religious structure in Ithaca and one of the first A.M.E. Zion churches in the country.

Faculty research

Faculty research

A thriving research community

Arts & Sciences is a thriving environment for researchers to build on questions large and small, old and new. Faculty and postdocs in A&S are given the opportunity to ask big questions and the resources to follow through and make lasting impacts. 

Person looks carefully at physics lab equipment
Cornell University file photo Students at work in a Cornell physics lab in early 2020.
Illustration of nSWAT mechanism stretching DNA molecules
“Resonator” wave guides made of silicon nitride, represented here by gray bars, apply enough force to half-micron-wide plastic beads (blue) to perform a standard biophysical experiment, unzipping DNA molecules held in place by light emanating from the resonator at the point of each bead.
Watercolor painting of a coastline with a sail boat
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection A watercolor ‘view’ by British artist John Thomas Serres (1759–1825) showing the South Foreland and Shakespeare's Cliff.

Watercolor views advanced the British empire

History of Art and Visual Studies
Two people in suits shake hands
Photo by Commons license 3.0 Vladmir Putin and Joe Biden at the 2021 Russia–United States summit

Sharing Indigenous stories through film

Jeff Palmer, assistant professor of performing and media arts and a member of the Kiowa Tribe, wants filmgoers to discover the untold stories of Native Americans that have been missing from American history. He’s been nominated for an Emmy Award and his documentary films have appeared in major festivals, from Sundance to the Berlin Independent Film Festival.

Filmmaker Jeff Palmer tells Native Americans’ untold stories

Pushing the limits of quantum nanoscience

Physicists at Cornell are pushing the edge of what can be done with microrobots, from using origami folds in graphene and glass to using magnets for self-assembling systems. In a TED talk, Paul McEuen, John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science, describes creating microbots the size of a single cell, showing how these machines could one day be "piloted" to battle crop diseases or study the individual neurons in your brain.

Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Sciencea and his former postdoctoral researcher Marc Miskin, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, give a TED talk on "microbots."

Undergraduate research

Undergraduate research

Let your curiosity expand your undergraduate experience

As an undergraduate student in the College you will have unique opportunity to do meaningful research in state of the art physics labs and ancient greek burial grounds. Your opportunities are endless.

Students conducting research in a lab

Nexus Scholars Program

Applications are now open for the new Nexus Scholars Program, which connects and supports undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences with opportunities to work side by side with Cornell faculty from across the College over the summer on frontline research projects.

Open to first-year students, sophomores and juniors, the program also includes professional development workshops, career exploration events, and the chance to be part of a cohort from throughout the college who are passionate about learning.

Click here to learn more about the Nexus Scholar Program.

Kemi Adewalure
Jason Koski/Cornell University Kemi Adewalure
Two students wearing lab coats examining a beaker of something yellow in a lab.
Cornell Univesity Amaya Garnenez works with Lejla Camdzic, right, in the Stache Lab.

Nexus Scholars Program applications now open

Nexus Scholars Program
students moving furniture
Ryan Young/Cornell University Adrian Lee '22, left, and Mar’Quon Frederick '22, right, move furniture from Balch Hall into trucks to be taken to homes involved in the Sunflower Housing Initiative.
Explore Undergraduate Research Opportunities