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Academic Programs

At most colleges and universities, students select an academic discipline for their major – such as psychology or biology – and take courses in that field.

Human Ecology's applied, pre-professional curriculum is organized around contemporary social topics or themes - Design and Technology, Development and the Life Course, Economic and Social Well-being, and Human Nutrition, Health and Genomics - not simply academic disciplines.

Rather than choosing a major based on your plans after graduation, we encourage students to explore their academic interests and select a major whose focus will keep them engaged for their years at Cornell.  Not only will you maintain your enthusiasm for academia, but we also find that students who are happy with their majors are most successful here.

Our majors are:

  • Biology and Society - A broad multidisciplinary major in which students gain a rigorous academic foundation in the biological sciences, while also examining the social and behavioral dimensions of society.

  • Design and Environmental Analysis (options in Facilities, Planning and Management; Human Factors and Ergonomics; Interior Design) - Grounded in interior and industrial design, architecture and facility planning, environmental psychology, and human factors and ergonomics, students learn to plan, design, manage, and research innovation in the built environment.

  • Fiber Science and Apparel Design (options in Apparel Design; Fashion Design Management; Fiber Science) - A broad range of options, from the art of fashion design, to the business of designing, marketing, and manufacturing apparel and textiles in a global production system; to the science of apparel, textiles, and fibers.

  • Human Biology, Health and Society - The biological bases of health and illness are critically examined alongside the social, psychological, economic, cultural, and policy aspects.

  • Human Development - A multidisciplinary field of study that spans development across the life course and explores the psychological, social, cultural, and biological development of people.

  • Nutritional Sciences - A thorough foundation in basic life sciences and how nutrition affects the well-being of individuals, families, communities,and nations.

  • Policy Analysis and Management - A focus on effects of government policies on individuals and families, public health, education, crime, product markets, financial markets, and a variety of other social impacts.