CORESTA has four study groups:
- AA - Agrochemicals Analysis
- PSMST - Pest and Sanitation Management in Stored Tobacco
- GMO - Proficiency Testing for Detection of Transgenic Tobacco
- TSNA - TSNA in Air-cured and Fire-cured Tobacco
- RFT - Agrochemical Residue Field Trials
- LNTP - Collaborative Study of Low Nicotine Tobacco Agronomic Production Practices
The Study Groups are forums for presentations of research findings, scientific papers and debates on scientific work. Each of them is represented in the Scientific Commission by an Executive Committee of five scientists, elected and co-opted during the biennial Congresses.
The Scientific Commission initiates, leads and monitors the scientific work through Sub-Groups and Task Forces (SGTFs), set in liaison with the Board to undertake specific scientific work. Each member of the Executive Committee liaises with one or more SGTFs in his Study Group and reports to the Scientific Commission.
The Study Groups meet every year, either during separate Joint Meetings of the Agronomy & Phytopathology or the Smoke Science & Product Technology Study Groups (odd years), or at the same period during a CORESTA Congress (even years).
All Sub-Groups and Task Forces report on their activities during these events.
Additionally, an Agrochemical Advisory Committee (ACAC) reports to the Scientific Commission and Board.
In 2001 the Scientific Commission decided to transform the Smoke and Technology Study Groups into Smoke Science and Product Technology Study Groups respectively. The new scopes and distribution of work between the two new groups were presented to the delegates at the 2001 meeting in Xian. The transformation was finalised at the 2002 Congress in New Orleans.
In 2012, in order to improve transparency and better reflect the trends and focus in modern tobacco production, leaf supply and monitoring, the Scientific Commission decided to rename the Agronomy and Phytopathology Study Groups and redistribute the related Sub-Groups and Task Forces. The Agronomy Study Group was renamed "Agronomy & Leaf Integrity" and the Phytopathology Study Group was renamed "Phytopathology & Genetics". The Proficiency Testing for Detection of Transgenic (GM) Tobacco (formerly the Genetically Modified Tobacco Proficiency Testing Sub-Group) and the Pest and Sanitation Management in Stored Tobacco Sub-Groups were relocated from Phytopathology to the Agronomy & Leaf Integrity Study Group. This transformation was finalised at the 2012 Congress in Sapporo.
In February 2015, the Smoke Science Study Group remit was reviewed by the Scientific Commission and Board and adapted to include tobacco related products.