Cornell College

Cornell College students walk to class on a sunny fall day

“In my book there is no better college, and it produces much more than its share of writers, scholars, and executives. 
Colleges That Change Lives

Cornell has scheduled group visit events for all students and encourages customized individual visits for high school seniors and transfer students. Schedule your visit.

Cornell College
600 First Street SW
Mount Vernon, Iowa 52314
⋅ More than 1,000 students
Students from 45 states and 24 countries outside the U.S.
More than 70% of students come from outside of Iowa.
24% of the student body self-identify as domestic people of color, and 3% are international students.
Cornell is a test-optional college and gives equal consideration to applicants whether they provide test scores or not.

Tuition, Fees, Room, and Board for 2024-2025: $68,600 before aid.
99.6% of students receive financial assistance from Cornell and outside sources.
Scholarships are awarded, regardless of need, to all first-year domestic students with a minimum $31,000 academic merit award.
Talent awards are available for fine arts, mock trial, esports, and cheer & dance in addition to merit scholarships.

The Cornell mascot, which is a ram, and a student sit in a golf cart.
Two students look at a clipboard
an aerial view of the Cornell College campus
Fans sit in the stands during a game and holds signs that spell the word, "rams".
A student and a professor stand over a desk and look at a laptop screen together.

Cornell’s main campus is situated along a pedestrian mall that stretches from our state-of-the-art science facilities on the eastern border to a series of residence halls and our campus theatre on the west. While our entire campus is part of the National Register of Historic Places, our renovations and new buildings are tailored to make the most of our block plan calendar. We are located in the urban fringe Iowa town of Mount Vernon, which means there is easy access to both exciting city life and beautiful outdoor recreation within a short drive or walk.

Worth Noting

Cornell follows the Ingenuity curriculum, embracing the power of creative imagination.  Ingenuity encourages the qualities of being thoughtful, original, and inventive, using the strengths of a liberal arts education to apply ideas to solve problems and meet challenges through hands-on experience in learning.

One Course At A Time is a style of learning where we cover the same ground as a semester school, but the way we get there allows students and faculty the freedom to intensely explore one subject together in a micro-community for 18 school days (3.5 weeks.)  One Course makes it possible for students to incorporate full-time internships, undergraduate research, and off-campus study into their schedule without missing out on other class work or creating schedule conflicts, and allows students to personalize their schedule each semester.

Faculty & Academics

Cornell’s faculty act as student advisors in their topic area, teach only one course each block, act as mentors, and engage students in research projects for their area of expertise and through the One Course Summer Institute each year. 95% of full-time faculty, and 100% of tenure-track faculty, hold the highest academic degrees in their fields

Cornell offers a large variety of majors and minors to choose from that span arts and expression, economics & business, education, government & politics, health professions and pathways to graduate programs, humanities & society, and STEM. With our interdisciplinary approach to education, Cornellians often pair their majors and minors into unique combinations that match their interests and career goals. You have the option to do this by declaring multiple majors, adding minors, customizing your course load by pursuing a Bachelor of Special Studies (B.S.S.) or designing your own degree program with your academic advisor as an individualized major.

Areas of Study
For the most current listings, please check the college website.

Areas of Study

Arts & Expression

  • Art history
  • Studio art
  • Creative writing
  • English literature & society
  • Multimedia & digital writing
  • Music
  • Music performance (BMUS)
  • Theatre & Dance

Economics & Business

  • Actuarial science
  • Analytics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Economics

Graduate School Pathways in Business

  • Master of Accounting
  • Master of Finance
  • Master of Information Science
  • Master of Accounting


  • Elementary education
  • Secondary education
  • Music education (BMUS)
  • Kinesiology: health and physical education

Government & Politics

  • Politics
  • American politics & public policy
  • Political thought
  • International relations
  • International relations and comparative government

Graduate School Pathway in Government & Politics

  • Pre-law

Health Professions

  • Pre-medicine
  • Pre-veterinary
  • Pre-dentistry
  • Pre-health Administration
  • Pre-social work
  • Pre-occupational therapy
  • Pre-pharmacy
  • Pre-physical therapy
  • Pre-physician’s assistant
  • Medical laboratory science and medical terminology

Graduate School Pathways in Health Professions

  • Community and behavioral health (MPH)
  • Epidemiology (MPH)
  • Occupational & Environmental Health (MPH)

Humans & Society

  • French
  • German studies
  • Russian studies 
  • Spanish
  • Classical studies
  • History
  • Medieval & early modern studies
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Civic engagement minor
  • Environmental justice & sustainability
  • Gender, sexuality, & women’s studies
  • Latin American studies
  • Race, Ethnicity, & social justice
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology


  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Biochemistry & molecular biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology & evolutionary biology
  • Environmental science & sustainability
  • Kinesiology: exercise science
  • Kinesiology: physical activity & health promotion
  • Geology
  • Physics
  • Computer science
  • Data science
  • Engineering
  • Engineering (BSE)
  • Applied statistics
  • Mathematics & statistics

Campus Life

Cornell attracts unique and motivated students who lend their character to the campus community and actively define it. Cornell students represent a diverse, multi-talented, and engaged student body from across the nation and around the world. They quickly become involved in campus life, living in a common rhythm due to their focused academic calendar schedules that brings them closer together as a community on a socially, culturally, and politically engaged campus. As they pursue their passions in music, theater, athletics, service, leadership, and other co-curricular interests, they bring vitality to campus and build relationships and learning experiences throughout their college careers.

Varsity Sports

NCAA Division III Midwest Conference

Baseball (Men)
Cross Country
Football (Men)
Softball (Women)
Track & Field (indoor and outdoor)
Volleyball (Women)

Life After College

Cornell’s distinctive curriculum within the liberal arts provides a solid path to financial independence, professional achievement, and personal fulfillment. Cornell’s extensive academic opportunities and engaged campus community provide our graduates the tools to enter the workforce or advanced study with confidence, thrive in fast-paced and rapidly changing environments, and lead significant and productive lives. Student engagement with programming from the Berry Career Institute gives students the tools they need to complete valuable internship and research experiences that build up resumes and graduate school applications. The college’s Ingenuity in Action requirement ensures that every student graduating from Cornell has two hands-on experiences to feature as a part of their preparedness for life after Cornell.

Academic Profile of Entering Class
Class of Fall 2023

  • 27% U.S. Students of Color 
  • Students from 32 states plus Puerto Rico, 10 countries outside the U.S.
  • 3% International
  • Middle 50% ACT composite scores: 24-30
  • Middle 50% SAT composite scores:1160-1293
  • Middle 50% GPA: 3.27-3.97
  • 50% students applied using the no test scores option