Cornell majors

Cornell majors – Introduction

Founded in 1865, Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York, and has an undergraduate population of approximately 15,000 students. One of the eight Ivy League private universities in the nation, Cornell ranks #17 among national universities by U.S. News. Among its many positive qualities, the variety of Cornell majors offers a top-tier education to Cornell students.

At this top-ranking school, students can choose from a wide variety of Cornell University majors.  Cornell University majors also have their own storied history—Cornell was the first U.S. university to offer a major in American Studies and the first in the world to award a journalism degree. 

Cornell houses eight undergraduate colleges and schools, which offer over 100 Cornell University majors to choose from. At Cornell, each college and school admits its own students. Depending on which of the Cornell majors you choose, you’ll apply to a particular school within Cornell. The university also offers many Cornell minors to choose from. 

Before you start your Cornell application, you should understand the different Cornell University majors and Cornell minors available. In this article, we’ll discuss the kinds of college majors at Cornell, including the best college majors. Additionally, we’ll walk you through how the Cornell majors compare to those available at other Ivy League schools. We’ll also look at a college major list to help you understand the best majors at Cornell. 

Cornell University majors: how many are offered?

Cornell offers nearly eighty college majors and 120 Cornell minors.

The list of college majors on Cornell’s website provides details on each of these programs. Cornell is made up of 100 academic departments grouped into eight undergraduate colleges and schools. 

Each college or school at Cornell has its own faculty, academic requirements, and programs. As you choose what to major in, you should keep these requirements in mind. Each college at Cornell also has its own unique set of personal essay questions and Cornell admissions requirements. So, applying to study business will look different than applying to study engineering. 

In the Cornell admissions process, applicants must select one of the eight undergraduate colleges and schools to apply to. This means that you should decide what to major in before you begin the application process and start thinking about Cornell enrollment. Take a look at the list of college majors available at Cornell for more details.

Additionally, according to Cornell admissions, you cannot change your college or school after submitting your application. However, you can still change your major as long as you remain within your chosen school. 

If you don’t know what to major in at Cornell, don’t worry. On Cornell’s website, you’ll find a college major list that will help you narrow down your interests. You can explore the Cornell majors to understand which undergraduate college or school you will need to apply to. 

Before we discuss Cornell University majors in detail and look at a list of college majors, let’s break down the undergraduate colleges that comprise Cornell. Then, you can take a look at the college or school with potential Cornell majors that may interest you.

The eight undergraduate colleges at Cornell

  1. College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS)
  2. College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  3. College of Arts & Sciences
  4. College of Engineering
  5. College of Human Ecology
  6. School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR)
  7. Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
  8. SC Johnson College of Business with two accredited business schools:
    1. Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
    2. Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration

As you explore the Cornell majors available, make a list of college majors that you may want to pursue. If you’re stuck, look at the college major list on Cornell’s website. This will give you specific information about the different Cornell University majors available to students. 

Once you select a few of the best college majors for you, mention these specific college majors in your Cornell application. The more detailed you can be in your Cornell application, the better your chances of Cornell enrollment. 

What majors is Cornell University known for?

Cornell University is a prestigious school known for successful alumni with varying college majors. With plenty of majors at Cornell to choose from, you may be overwhelmed. You may find it difficult to scale back your college major list after exploring your options. 

So, what are the best college majors at Cornell? Let’s break down four popular Cornell University majors to help you finalize your Cornell application strategy. 


Cornell majors

Cornell boasts the highest-ranked engineering program among Ivy League schools. Engineering at Cornell consists of fourteen college majors and twenty-two minors. Areas of interest include computer science, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering.

Biological sciences

Cornell majors

Biological Sciences is another of the top Cornell University majors. This field is offered in both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Students who choose this college major may be enrolled in either college. This Cornell major allows students to choose one of fourteen biology concentrations.

Hotel administration

Cornell Majors

Cornell established the first four-year School of Hotel Administration, which is recognized as a top-ranked hotel management program by U.S. News. If you’re looking for highly specialized Cornell University majors, this program has a lot to offer. Cornell’s hotel administration program includes studies in the guest experience and the business of hospitality.


Cornell majors

At Cornell, Architecture is one of the best college majors, boasting one of the top programs in the country. Architecture students will choose a concentration ranging from science and technology to visual representation. They may also have an opportunity to study abroad in Rome.

What are the best college majors at Cornell?

Now that you understand the most well-known college majors at Cornell University, what are the best college majors? Let’s dig into a list of college majors at Cornell. 

With over 100 college majors and minors to choose from, the best majors range in their areas of study. Based on results from the U.S. Department of Education for 2019 graduates, the best Cornell majors are:

Best Cornell Majors

1. Computer science

A Computer Science major studies computing, programming, and theory. Students can be enrolled in either the College of Engineering or the College of Arts and Sciences. There is no advantage in enrolling in one college over the other. However, if you are undecided between the many Cornell University majors, you might find more flexibility within the College of Arts and Sciences.

2. Biological sciences

In the Biological Sciences major, students must declare a concentration. These include animal, ecology, or plant biology, among many others. There are fourteen concentrations in total.

3. Industrial and labor relations

At Cornell, one of the best college majors is Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), which studies people and policies in the workplace. The ILR degree is versatile and prepares students for a variety of fields.

4. Hotel administration

In the School of Hotel Administration’s undergraduate class of 2021, 185 graduates sought full-time employment. Ninety-seven percent received offers and ninety-six percent accepted offers, all within four months of graduation. So, if you’re looking for Cornell University majors with strong employment rates, this program may suit your needs.

5.Food and agricultural business

One of the Cornell majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Food and Agricultural Business studies both the food and agricultural markets in the U.S. and abroad.

Want to pursue multiple college majors? If so, you may be interested in Cornell’s dual-degree programs. However, these rigorous programs have limited availability and depend upon the type of college, school, or student performance. Also, dual-degree programs may take longer to complete compared to normal college majors. 

If you want to pursue multiple fields, you may consider selecting one of the 120 Cornell minors instead.  These can supplement any one of the Cornell University majors you might choose.

Does Cornell have a political science major?

Cornell majors

Political science is the study of politics, public policies, and the government. As you look at the list of Cornell University majors, you might notice that “political science” is not included. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t pursue this field at Cornell. 

If you are interested in studying politics, Cornell has a political science major with a different name. In the College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell offers a government major. Cornell uses the term “government” for the study of politics. Other college major lists might also include government as an alternative to political science.

Cornell majors: how do they compare to other Ivy Leagues?

Compared to other Ivy League schools, Cornell University has one of the higher acceptance rates at about 9% percent. However, Cornell admissions are still competitive. Located in a small but pleasant town, Cornell offers over 100 college majors and minors and an active student life with a diverse student body. 

The university also has campuses in New York, New York; Geneva, New York; Doha, Qatar; Washington, D.C.; and Rome, Italy. Students may complete their requirements for Cornell University majors at any of these campuses.

Cornell is the only Ivy League school that is a land grant institution, prioritizing diversity and equity in its research and public service. Some notable alumni include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever appointed as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

Like other Ivy League schools, Cornell continues to support its students by providing opportunities in their college majors that further set them up for world impact. Most Cornell majors come with internships, cooperative education, and research experiences that give students hands-on practice in their own fields.

How are Cornell majors unique?

Cornell University triumphs over other Ivy League schools with one of the best majors in hospitality. Additionally, the most well-known Cornell majors continue to be in engineering and architecture. 

Beyond the top Cornell University majors, Cornell has other high-ranking programs that might interest you. Although not an undergraduate college major, Cornell ranks #3 in the best Veterinary Medicine School in the nation with the College of Veterinary Medicine. This college offers a variety of Cornell University majors in the veterinary field. 

Unlike other Ivy League schools, Cornell majors may have supplemental essay questions and additional requirements that are specific to the undergraduate college that houses your chosen major. So, as you consider your own college major list, keep these requirements in mind.

Finally, keep in mind that the best college majors at Cornell will be different for everyone. In this article, we’ve looked at a college major list that includes many top-ranking majors at Cornell. However, you should never choose what to major in based on rankings alone. Instead, think about your own interests and goals, and use any college major list to help you narrow your choices.

Cornell majors – Final thoughts 

Cornell majors

There are hundreds of Cornell majors and minors to choose from. First, you will have to narrow down your options to one undergraduate school and college on your Cornell application. If you want to know how to get into Cornell, the process starts by centering your own interests. Use any college major list you encounter to help specify your goals as you explore what to major in.

If your college major list is still lengthy, watch this webinar panel by Cornell alumni and students. You can also access other online resources to help you understand life at Cornell. Remember, once you apply to a school or college at Cornell, you can no longer make any changes. However, you can still transfer between Cornell University majors at your chosen school.

Cornell majors offer students vast opportunities to work with industry-leading faculty members at one of the most prestigious schools in the nation. Whether you choose a major in science or the arts, Cornell University maintains diversity in its college majors, extracurriculars, student body, and postgraduate opportunities. Get in touch with our team today to find the best Cornell majors for you.

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This guide to Cornell majors was written by Maxie Moua.’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from top universities. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 576-0953.