The College of Human Ecology education lends itself to a range of career directions, including those that have yet to be created. Our students are well prepared to enter the global job market, pursue graduate study, and engage in community development. The paths our graduates choose are diverse, but they are linked by a confidence in their education and a focus on human issues. 

At the time of the 2021 Cornell Career Services: Postgraduate Survey, 64% of graduates pursued immediate employment in a variety of areas including business, science and health, education, design, public service/government, and law/policy; 27% attended graduate school primarily in medicine/health, law and psychology. The remaining 9% pursued other endeavors, such as professional internships, service experiences and travel, or were pursuing graduate/professional school and employment. Explore how our students tested their career paths during summer experiences including service projects, intern/externships, work, and research.

While the programs in the College of Human Ecology are focused on pre-professional study, there is no established pre-med/-health, business, or law major, or one way to be creative. Every major in the College allows students to prepare for professional and graduate programs.

Our approach to careers in...

Human Ecology students interested in medicine, public health, and community health-related careers craft an education that focuses on prevention and wellness. How we maintain, seek, and receive health care is not solely based on the natural and life sciences. Our students are confident in their preparation for medical/health programs and for lives as healthcare professionals because they also consider how the societal components of well-being – nutrition, human development, culture, environment, economics, and public policy – impact human health. 

College of Human Ecology students work with college advisors, faculty, and university resources to thoughtfully plan their academic and experiential paths as they pursue the evolving career options in healthcare. 

Pursuing business through the College of Human Ecology allows students to focus on how the human dimension – human behavior and consumer decision making – influences the management of resources, the development of public policy and regulation, and the delivery of goods and services, as well as the creation of systems that facilitate that delivery. Students apply this understanding to various markets considering the role of business and entrepreneurship in a global society. 

Students interested in business careers can pursue roles in marketing, consulting, finance, and the evolving business landscape in human health and science, education, design, public policy, and technology, among others.

Human Ecology majors build on a liberal arts-based foundation while completing major specific courses. In addition, the flexible curriculum allows students to pursue business-specific electives or minors to complement their major. 

Human Ecology designers study the impact of design on how we interact with materials and everyday objects and perform within spaces. Beyond problem-solving, our students use planning, resource management, changing technologies, and the strategic use of creativity to design for human potential and transform society. 

Our human-centered design options focus on the physical spaces and settings and textiles and clothing that shape our life experiences. The programs go beyond the technical aspects of design to emphasize social responsibility in practice. Courses across the College of Human Ecology and the University inform design perspectives and outcomes through an understanding of the human aspects involved. 

Students balance their design sense with training in practical applications and analytical thinking to prepare for leadership roles in the design industry. 


Those considering law school can choose coursework and co-curricular experiences that emphasize strong analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and effective communication. In addition, the Human Ecology curriculum helps students understand the law’s social aspects and human dimensions as they use their education to effect positive change.

Our flexible curriculum allows students to incorporate law-related courses from across the university and the Law and Society minor into their schedules. 

CHE students learn to research subjects in-depth, analyze information and data, and address legal questions from a broad perspective. Among other areas, students can pursue law as it relates to business; family and community; psychology; policy; human nutrition, health, and science; intellectual property; design; and technology.

Career Development and Planning

Our Office of Student and Career Development combines career counseling and academic planning, while encouraging students to become engaged in their own personal and career development. Through career exploration and experiential opportunities, students are encouraged to expand their knowledge of themselves and consider careers within a dynamic global community.

Our advising staff promotes critical reflection and self-awareness in the process of discovering values, interests and skills, and their relationship to academic and career planning. With career-related resources, support services, and professional knowledge, students become pro-active in their own development, and are prepared for their transition to productive academic opportunities and satisfying employment. This mission is accomplished through collaboration with students, faculty, staff, alumni, employers, and the use of advanced technology.

The College’s Career Exploration Center conducts résumé critiques, delivers career-related workshops and mock interviews, and supports internship, externship and job searches. Students also leverage university career resources to support their career planning.