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IARD – BS: Degree Requirements

Requirement Credits Checklist
College Distribution Requirement 32 + 4 in statistics Distribution Requirement Details [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)
Core Requirements for IARD Major - including international experience, area studies, senior seminar and ethics course (+ More Core Requirements) 25 Core Requirement Details [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)
Concentration Requirement - choose one from below or a combination (+ More) 16  
   1. Economics and Development   Economics and Development Details [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)
   2. Agricultural and Food Systems   Agricultural and Food Systems Details [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)
   3. Environment and Ecosystems   Environment and Ecosystems Details [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)
Depth in Concentration 15-18  
Electives 25  
Total 120 credits  
Summary of Requirements [pdf] (revised Oct. 2015)

Learning Outcomes:

Core Curriculum (30 credits)

These core courses are chosen to ensure that students can demonstrate a broad introductory knowledge in the major disciplines involved in international agriculture. They enable students to interpret a broad multi-disciplinary set of issues related to socio-economic development, food security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability in developing countries. Students typically take some courses during the freshman year to acquaint them with the major and others in their later years as they gain more knowledge from their other course work.


Students integrate knowledge and experiences obtained from their courses and time spent overseas by participating in a senior seminar. Students learn to work together synergistically in groups while they examine, research, and debate issues of major global importance from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint. Students produce a group report that synthesizes their findings. Students share their international experiences with other seniors to demonstrate their communication and analytical skills.

International Experience

Students can articulate their experiences working with rural people, food systems, development institutions and practitioners, preferably in low-income countries. They can apply their prior knowledge from courses they have taken to examine the various interactive farm activities they encounter and organize their thoughts into an intelligent reflection paper. This will help students to decide whether International Agriculture is the career for them and help them identify further training needs that can be acquired in their senior year.

Area Studies

Students examine the history and culture of the country or region where they intend to do their International Experience to better prepare them for a successful internship.

Foreign Language - Highly Recommended

Students demonstrate some competency in the language of the country where they do their internship. This is not a requirement, however it is highly recommended. Cornell offers a wide range of languages and area studies relevant to the IARD major, including many associated with Asian, Latin American and African countries. The actual decision would be made in consultation with the student's advisor.


Students debate the important ethical arguments in International Agriculture and demonstrate this competency in their capstone and other course outputs.

Concentrations (Minimum - 16 credits)

All IARD majors choose one of the three concentrations. Students may mix courses from each concentration if agreed with their advisor to add more discipline depth to this multi-disciplinary major. Concentration credit can vary, from a minimum requirement of 16 credits to an in-depth study in a specific discipline with an additional 15-18 credits.

Economics and Development

Intermediate-level coursework in economics and development sociology serves as a foundation for upper-level study in the social sciences. Students considering future graduate study in economics, development sociology or development studies should consult their advisors concerning more advanced coursework in those and other fields, including mathematics. The student is required to take 5 courses and may take an additional 5 in-depth courses depending on their interests and with the help of their advisor.
View Economics and Development concentration requirements

Agricultural and Food Systems

This science-intensive concentration is built around courses in the applied biological and physical sciences relevant to crop, food and animal production, farming systems, protection and improvement, post-harvest food handling and value addition, and human nutrition. Students in this concentration need to take 5 courses from 4 different categories and may choose 5 more in-depth courses in areas of interest. Students considering future graduate study in any of the applied sciences represented above should consult faculty advisors concerning more advanced coursework in the relevant field(s), as well as in chemistry and biology.
View Agricultural and Food Systems concentration requirements

Environment and Ecosystems

IARD students who elect this concentration examine in greater depth the science, policy and institutions relevant to environmental conservation and management in developing countries. Students considering future graduate study in this area should consult faculty advisors regarding additional coursework in the biological and physical sciences. As for the other concentrations, the students have to take 5 courses plus 5 more in-depth courses in areas of interest and in discussions with their advisor.
View Environment and Ecosystems concentration requirements