Cornell College

Introduction

About Cornell

Set on a wooded hilltop overlooking scenic Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell College is a private, four-year liberal arts college offering students an extraordinary array of opportunities— in the classroom, on campus, and around the world.

At Cornell, you'll focus intensely on one course for three and a half weeks, then move on to a new subject. Known as One Course At A Time (OCAAT), our academic structure enables you to spend a month creating a theatrical production, conducting high-level scientific research, or immersing yourself in a new language—giving each your full attention and best effort. It’s an innovative approach that attracts a diverse group of students from across the country and around the world, and it’s practically unique: Cornell is one of only two national liberal arts colleges on the block plan.

Opportunities are not restricted by the borders of a traditional classroom. You might spend a month in Spain exploring the origins of Spanish civilization, or work as a full-time intern on a presidential campaign. With just one course at a time, off-campus study is both manageable and meaningful.

As a student, you’ll enjoy our active campus life and welcoming community. More than 100 clubs and activities invite you to hone your leadership skills, showcase your talents, and explore your interests. In our residence halls, you’ll meet new friends who share a love of learning and campus involvement.

We’d love to tell you more about this spirited community. Contact us with questions, or let us help you plan a visit. We look forward to hearing from you!

Academics

You’re inspired by learning in all the many ways and places it occurs. You do your best when you are immersed in a subject, engaged and absorbed. You love a challenge, and you thrive on adventure. So why settle for a conventional approach to learning when it comes to your college education?

Cornell College takes a unique approach to the learning process. Sure, our majors and interdisciplinary programs are similar to those of other nationally respected colleges, and our faculty are highly qualified in all the traditional ways (97 percent hold the highest degree in their fields, for example).

But that’s where the traditional ends and the innovative begins. At Cornell, we think students learn best when they can immerse themselves in their subject, whether it’s building a 3-D fractal, exploring the contexts and formal elements of Shakespearian tragedy, or debating current Supreme Court cases. That’s why Cornell students take a single course at a time, an academic calendar referred to as the block plan.

The learning adventure continues outside the classroom with international travel, summer research opportunities, intense internship experiences through the Cornell Fellows Program, and a lot more. Other special academic opportunities include fully-staffed centers focused on health care, business and applied economics, and pre-law. And should you need some assistance along the way, we offer a full range of academic support services, including our innovative Center for Teaching and Learning within Cole Library.

This school offers programs in:
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Programs

This school also offers:

Bachelor

Bachelor of Biology

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

The best way to learn science is to do it. In the field and the in the lab, our students gain scientific skills through direct experience as they examine life at levels ranging from molecules to ecosystems. Cornell’s One Course At A Time (OCAAT) schedule allows students to practice “real-time” science that could not fit into the limited time available in other academic calendars. [+]

Why Study Biology at Cornell? The best way to learn science is to do it. In the field and the in the lab, our students gain scientific skills through direct experience as they examine life at levels ranging from molecules to ecosystems. Cornell’s One Course At A Time (OCAAT) schedule allows students to practice “real-time” science that could not fit into the limited time available in other academic calendars. In our biology courses, students: make frequent field trips to local wetlands, prairies, woods, etc carry out molecular analyses in class grow cells and test their responses to drugs learn anatomy in our own cadaver lab design and implement ecological experiments participate in community service projects The block plan also offers extraordinary opportunities for extended off-campus learning. Courses such as Ecology, Entomology, and Plant Morphology are taught at the Wilderness Field Station in northern Minnesota. Other recent courses have traveled to the Estuarine Field Station in Georgia and to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Summer research, independent projects, and internships build practical skills in studies ranging from neuroscience, to local turtles, to rainforest plant/insect interrelationships. See our research and faculty pages for examples of recent and ongoing projects. Cornell’s unique Dimensions Program supports many of our initiatives and offers a full-range of support to students interested in pursuing health-related careers. Curriculum Biology majors take core courses and electives in three areas: plant biology, animal biology, and cell and molecular biology. All majors complete our capstone course, Biological Problems (BIO 485), in which they engage in and present independent research. Students may create their own projects or take on problems associated with group trips to study corals in The Bahamas, rainforest plant/insect interactions in Ecuador or Costa Rica, etc. See some examples of recent projects that have been presented at the annual Cornell Student Symposium. Related Majors & Interdisciplinary Study Biology courses are an integral part of majors in environmental studies and biochemistry and molecular biology. And Cornell students frequently complement their biology studies with majors or minors in subjects ranging from anthropology to mathematics to Spanish. [-]

Bachelor of Chemistry

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

We emphasize a broad view of chemistry and its relationship to other disciplines. In particular, we are developing a stronger integration of chemistry and biology concepts through team-taught courses, participation in the Biochemistry and molecular biology major, health-related research projects, etc. [+]

Why Study Chemistry at Cornell? At Cornell, all of our courses are capped at 25 students. We teach only one course at a time, so much of that time is devoted exclusively to the students in that course. Our schedule allows us the ability to customize our lab time for each course. Our alums have very high rates of acceptance into professional schools and do particularly well once they get there. The department maintains a long tradition of summer research. Students and faculty have the opportunity to take part in a ten-week session of very intense laboratory research each summer. This research is supported by the college as well as by external grants. The One Course At A Time schedule allows for the opportunity to do month-long internships away from campus. Department Overview ... [-]

Bachelor of Computer Science

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

Computer Science is a mathematical, a scientific, and an engineering discipline. Studying computer science can be valuable in a variety of interdisciplinary pursuits in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts. The skills we teach our students, especially problem solving, analysis, creative design, and communication skills, serve them well in whatever area they choose to pursue. [+]

Why Study Computer Science?

Computer science is not the study of computers, but rather the study of algorithms and information representation to make productive use of computing technologies. In our courses and scholarly work we seek to answer these four broad questions:

What problems can be solved with the help of a computer? Given a solvable problem, how does one program a computer to produce a solution? Given a program, how does one measure (and improve) the program's efficiency? Given an efficient program, how does one verify that the program does in fact reliably and accurately solve the originally posed problem?

Computer Science is a mathematical, a scientific, and an engineering discipline. Studying computer science can be valuable in a variety of interdisciplinary pursuits in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts. The skills we teach our students, especially problem solving, analysis, creative design, and communication skills, serve them well in whatever area they choose to pursue.... [-]


Bachelor of Economics & Business

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

The ECB program cultivates analytical and quantitative approaches to solving economic problems. Our interdisciplinary curriculum offers a rigorous program in economic theory, applied economics and finance. Cornell’s distinctive One Course At A Time calendar allows us to deepen students’ understanding of economic problems through experiential learning. [+]

Economics & Business (ECB)

The department of economics and business combines two distinct yet related disciplines within the same major: Economics courses explore the choices people make when faced with scarcity, and the rules, laws, and customs governing those choices. Economic reasoning is applicable to many areas of human choices including law, the environment, and personal decision making. Business courses focus on economic decision making within firms. All organizations undertake strategies with limited resources, limited information, and shifting market conditions. Our business program emphasizes how managers make decisions, particularly financial decisions, in the face of such complexity. We believe that a liberal arts approach provides a deep understanding of modern economics and business. Curriculum The ECB program cultivates analytical and quantitative approaches to solving economic problems. Our interdisciplinary curriculum offers a rigorous program in economic theory, applied economics and finance. Cornell’s distinctive One Course At A Time calendar allows us to deepen students’ understanding of economic problems through experiential learning. Graduates Many of our alumni have moved directly into careers in business and government. Some have started their own firms. Others have found the ECB major to be ideal preparation for graduate studies in business or law. We regularly place students in top-rated Ph.D. programs in economics. Partnerships To achieve our goals, our department partners closely with the Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy and the Career Engagement Center. The Berry Center provides many exceptional benefits to our students, including support forinternships, off-campus courses, distinguished visitors, research projects, and post-graduate planning. The Career Engagement Center provides innovative and purposeful career development opportunities for Cornell College students, including the Cornell Fellows Program which provides high-level opportunities at companies and organizations throughout the world. Academic SupportIn Cornell’s ECB program, you will be challenged and enabled to succeed. Through the dedicated members of the Economics Honors Society, the department provides tutoring services for all of our introductory level classes. The department also works closely with Cornell’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which offers customized guidance on writing and quantitative skills.... [-]


Bachelor of Environmental Studies

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

Solving complex environmental problems requires knowledge and expertise from the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Cornell's emphasis on the liberal arts and our highly individualized educational approach are ideally suited to preparation for advanced study and careers in the environmental field. [+]

Environmental Studies

Solving complex environmental problems requires knowledge and expertise from the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Cornell's emphasis on the liberal arts and our highly individualized educational approach are ideally suited to preparation for advanced study and careers in the environmental field. And our One Course At A Time schedule enables exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary and off-campus learning,undergraduate research, and independent projects. $1 million to Fund Future GrowthCornell's commitment to growing the environmental studies program is evidenced by the nearly $1 million in alumni donations and institutional awards that have been received since 2008.... [-]


Bachelor of Geology

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

As the world faces declining natural resources (including potable water and food), climate change, and an increasing population, a geology major provides particularly salient training to address these issues. Additionally, geology majors leave Cornell able to pursue a wide variety of careers within and outside of the sciences. [+]

Department of Geology As the world faces declining natural resources (including potable water and food), climate change, and an increasing population, a geology major provides particularly salient training to address these issues. Additionally, geology majors leave Cornell able to pursue a wide variety of careers within and outside of the sciences. Field study and research Field experiences are critical to learning geology. Cornell's One Course At A Time allows us to include field trips in almost every course and to dedicate an entire block in specialized field study courses. We also engage our students in a variety ofresearch projects, often connected to the wide-ranging interests of our faculty. History Cornell's geology department was the first in Iowa, and we are the only liberal arts college in Iowa to offer a four-year degree in geology. Curriculum Many students choose to major in geology because they are interested in the environment and wish to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to study geology beyond the traditional classroom. Few students entering Cornell have had any exposure to geology; many of our majors “discover” geology after their first or second (and, occasionally third) year at Cornell. Our program is sufficiently flexible to allow enthusiastic “latecomers” to complete the requirements for the geology major or minor. Field Courses We believe strongly in a hand-on approach to learning science, and Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule allows us to include field opportunities in nearly every course, whether for a day or an entire block. Read more about our field course opportunities. Entry-level Courses We offer a variety of entry-level courses, including Physical Geology, Climate Change, Marine Science, Earth Science, and Investigations in Geology. At least one of these courses is taught in nearly all eight terms of the academic year, and all satisfy the college science requirement. Most of these courses emphasize how human land use affects geological processes and vice versa, and they underscore the importance of proper land management. Majors & Minors We offer a basic curriculum of upper-level courses that, along with supporting coursework in other sciences and mathematics, prepare our graduates for entry-level occupations in government and industry, or for graduate-level education. Our curriculum also prepares students who choose careers in earth science teaching. Internships We encourage our students to study on-site with professional geologists through internship opportunities. For example, our students have studied volcanic processes with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at Mount St. Helens and in Hawaii; petroleum exploration methods with oil companies in Oklahoma and Texas; land and soil management with the Natural Resources Conservation Service; water resources with the USGS in eastern Iowa; and energy resources with Alliant Energy. These internships not only enhance the education of our students, but also have opened doors of opportunity to them in graduate research and professional employment. Environmental Studies In concert with departments ranging from biology to politics, we administer an environmental studies program. Several of our courses, including Climate Change, Geology of the National Parks, Marine Science, and Environmental Geology are important components of environmental studies. Geology Research The geology faculty at Cornell College believes that involving students in independent research is an essential component of an undergraduate’s education. All geology faculty members maintain active, externally-funded research programs that provide numerous opportunities for student involvement. In addition to in-depth study of a particular geologic topic, research experiences allow students to develop critical skills essential to any career. A “capstone” research experience is required for students majoring in geology. Student symposium & conference presentations Our students regularly present the results of their research at regional and national professional meetings, at which they may begin to network with professional geologists and environmental scientists. The annual Cornell Student Symposium provides another venue for research presentations, and recent examples of student projects are outlined on our symposium page. You will find further project descriptions in the most recent edition of Sparks From the Rockpile, our department newsletter. Student Research Fund The geology department administers the Hendriks Student Research Fund that supports students who travel to conduct research or attend professional meetings to present their results. The fund also provides stipends to students who work on their projects over the summer. Recent research projects have been conducted in Greece, Norway, Western Australia, New Mexico, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Missouri and Iowa. Careers in Geology Many of our graduates have continued their study of geology in graduate school at places like the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, the University of New Mexico, and Arizona State University, and have started their careers with an M.S. degree. Our alumni currently work in the oil, gas and other extractive industries, state and federal agencies (including the EPA and national park service), environmental consulting firms, energy companies and water resource management firms. According to the American Geological Institute, average starting salaries for newly-minted geology graduates in 2007 varied by degree and employment sector. The average annual salary of graduates with a bachelors degree was $31,366 (typically in entry level environmental and hydrology positions). M.S. degree holders earned a median salary of $82,500 (oil & gas) or $45,500 (environmental firms, all government positions). Doctorates in the geosciences earned an average of $72,600. [-]

Bachelor of International Relations

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

We need only turn to the day's news to see how closely our lives are connected to developments throughout the world. The International Relations major offers Cornell students an interdisciplinary approach to this significant field. [+]

International Relations at Cornell

We need only turn to the day's news to see how closely our lives are connected to developments throughout the world. The International Relations major offers Cornell students an interdisciplinary approach to this significant field. By combining courses in history, politics, and economics and business with the study of a modern foreign language, students complement their theoretical knowledge with the tools for its practical application. Students are strongly urged to study outside the United States, and have many options. Cornell's One Course At A Time calendar enables students to participate in a wide-range of block-long courses abroad, or to engage in longer programs through external programs, such as peace and conflict studies in Ireland, the Middle East, or Switzerland. International internships and fellowships are also supported by the Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy and by the Cornell Fellows Program, respectively. Past International Relations graduates have pursued careers in business and government service. Others pursue graduate studies in law, international relations, history, and politics. Since the inception of the program in 1983, several graduates have been appointed officers of the US Foreign Service.... [-]


Bachelor of Psychology

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 USA Mount Vernon + 1 more

Psychology provides strong preparation for success in a variety of fields because of the many important learning objectives met by our courses. [+]

Why Study Psychology at Cornell? Psychology provides strong preparation for success in a variety of fields because of the many important learning objectives met by our courses: Psychology fosters proficiency with research design and research methods. This is an integral skill for success in a variety of research-dependent fields. Our students are prepared to conduct and understand research at a high level of sophistication. Psychology promotes understanding of human thinking, emotion, and behavior (both normal and abnormal). Understanding complex human interaction is integral to success in many arenas and our students are well-prepared for this challenge. Psychology offers wide exposure to diversity issues. Understanding and appreciating diversity is a vital component of meaningful interactions in increasingly diverse local, regional, national, and global environments. Psychology explores the contribution of biology to psychological issues. This reflects one of the many interdisciplinary intersections of the field. Psychology prepares students to interact with professionals across many disciplines. Psychology on OCAAT Cornell’s One Course At A Time schedule allows us to use class time flexibly to fit the subject rather than fitting the subject into rigid 50-minute class periods. Most class periods are a mixture of short lectures, film clips, demonstrations, and small group discussion, but OCAAT makes other ways of using class time possible. In some class periods students may watch a feature length film and discuss the psychological principles shown in the film. In other class periods, students may use their psychological knowledge to train a virtual rat or to practice counseling skills they have learned in class. OCAAT also makes it possible for classes to take full-day field trips. And OCAAT is ideal for internships. Psychology students who complete an internship at Cornell can work full time on-site for a block or longer, and thus be more completely integrated with the activities of the agencies and the other staff members. Curriculum & Internships Curriculum The major requirements are intended to give students choices within the major but also offer clear guidance on course selection in psychology. We also seek to broaden students’ awareness of the interdisciplinary connections of our field. We offer three separate tracks for our majors to choose from: The Psychology Specialist option prepares students for a broad range of activities in psychology, including graduate study and a variety of areas of practice. We have labeled this curriculum “specialist” because it allows students to choose a generalist option or to develop individualized specializations while also completing breadth requirements crucial for advanced study in Psychology. Talk to your advisor about whether a specialization area might be advisable for you and about what courses to include in a specialization. The Psychological Scientist option includes more coursework in mathematical and natural science areas, and prepares students for research-oriented positions, health-related careers, or graduate study in areas of psychology that are more closely associated with the natural sciences, such as learning, cognition, neuroscience, and biopsychology. The Psychological Services option prepares students for work in a variety of mental health and human service areas, as well as for graduate training at the master’s degree level in applied aspects of psychology and related fields (e.g., student services, social work, rehabilitation, or career counseling). This track allows students to complete either Senior Seminar or a practicum as a capstone experience. We strongly encourage students who might eventually pursue doctoral training in psychology to select one of the other tracks of the major, or to complete Senior Seminar in fulfilling the Psychological Services option. Internships Cornell's One Course At A Time schedule gives students many opportunities for off-campus learning, including immersions inreal-world internships for a block or longer. Undergraduate Research Involvement in research is an excellent way for students to learn about psychology almost literally from the inside out. Students who are engaged in research are able to greatly expand their understanding of a particular area of psychology and increase their technical skills in the field. Research experiences are also great opportunities for faculty members to mentor talented students in the field. [-]