Master of Professional Studies
in Agriculture and Life Sciences

Concentration in Applied Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice

About the Program

Have questions or need additional information? Contact:

Lisa Biskup
MPS Graduate Coordinator
B38 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801
Phone: 607-255-1616

Behavioral economics is a field of behavioral science that incorporates insights from psychology, sociology or other social sciences to develop win-win solutions for consumers, companies and governments.

This unique Master of Professional Studies in Agriculture and Life Science with concentration in Applied Behavioral Economics and Individual Choice (ABEIC) program ignites cross-disciplinary solutions that transform consumer welfare as well as firm performance. Cornell University has a long history of transforming cutting edge research into knowledge that can be applied to the pressing issues of industry and policy. This new MPS program builds on this reputation by training a new generation of business and policy decision-makers with cutting edge tools. Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management lies at a unique intersection of expertise in the areas of behavioral economics and the role that psychology and economics jointly play in decisions related to food, public health, personal finance and sustainability.

Past research from this program promoted 100-calorie portions, changed the way superfund sites are regulated, and the transformation of over 25,000 school lunchrooms across the nation. In this program students have the opportunity to stylize their curriculum to empower both their career and find win-win solutions. The three primary areas of concentration for this Program are:

  • Behavioral Marketing
  • Sustainability and Behavior
  • Behavioral Finance

Each of these concentrations is focused on developing innovative managers, entrepreneurs, and researchers for related industries, the government, the health care system and NGOs. Each student must commit to a concentration and take at least six credit hours in that concentration.

Areas of Concentration

  • Behavioral Marketing – Consumers often face the choice between indulgent consumption or responsible consumption—virtue or vice. Using subtle cues and common behavioral heuristics can help firms guide consumer choice in the retail marketplace. Such tools can be used to reinforce healthier or more responsible choices without making the consumer feel goaded, judged or restricted all while preserving profits.

  • Sustainability and Behavior – As we learn more about the long-term environmental impacts of modern lifestyles, consumers and firms find themselves facing a tradeoff between current payoffs or a more sustainable future. Using behavioral tools, firms can address the increasingly restrictive regulatory environment while creating added value for their consumers. Limited competitive scholarships are available to individuals interested in this area – Read more

  • Behavioral Finance –Financial markets are susceptible to sharp rises and falls often based on irrational responses to changes in market information. Such trading can often eviscerate returns not only of panicky individuals, but also the well-researched institutional investment firms. Using behavioral economic concepts can help minimize the effects of such irrational trading and fluctuations and help preserve value and return on investment.


Program Goals

Upon completion of the Program students will be able to:

  1. Understand the key elements necessary to uncover behavioral solutions to a problem
  2. Identify data required and the proper analysis techniques in order to support a solution
  3. Be seen as an expert in a specific domain of behavior change.
  4. Implement the Consumer Insight Process


Who should apply?
This program will be appropriate for

  • Individuals who want to change the way the world thinks about consumer behavior, public policy, consulting, or food marketing. These could involve individuals with undergraduate degrees in any major who are looking for an applied context to leverage their skills.
  • Individuals interested in high impact careers in behavioral sciences but who are still exploring various domains including economics, psychology, marketing, public health, nutrition, communication, and food science.