About the College
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is one of the world’s leading institutions of agriculture, with more than 160 years of leadership in science, education and extension. The college educates future leaders, conducts mission-oriented research and shares new knowledge for the betterment of Iowa and the world. The college is one of eight colleges at Iowa State University, which is one of the most influential land grant universities in the nation.
The Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station is the research division of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that helps Iowa remain a world leader in food production and address societal issues linked to agriculture: economic development, life sciences, the environment, public policy, families and communities. The college is a leader in moving into a new era of discovery about living organisms and life processes. Responding quickly to emerging needs, providing leadership to solve critical challenges and partnering to achieve goals are trademarks of the college.
- CALS ranks in the top five for the number of faculty with federal research grants and in the top six nationally, out of 60 agricultural colleges, for the total number of federal grants (Academic Analytics, 2022).
- CALS ranks third out of 60 agricultural colleges nationwide for the number of faculty with awards (Academic Analytics, 2022).
- Over the last five years, Experiment Station scientists successfully brought in more than $300 million in external funding to address critical needs and expand scientific frontiers.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers 26 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs in addition to hands-on opportunities for students to hone skills in leadership, communications and cultural competency, within and across disciplines.
- The college hosts the nation’s largest career fair and employers compete for our graduates: placement has been 97 percent or higher for 24 consecutive years.
- Approximately $4 million in scholarships are offered to students annually through the college and its departments.
- The college has the second highest four-year retention rate on campus and leads campus in four-year graduation rates.
- Iowa State’s agricultural and biosystems engineering undergraduate program is ranked fifth nationwide and its graduate program ranked second nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- Students studying biology at Iowa State will find themselves at the No. 3 ranked biology program in the state of Iowa, according to Niche.
- CALS students interested in entrepreneurship can become involved in the Start Something College of Agriculture and Life Sciences program. Iowa State recently was ranked No. 11 for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs, according to Princeton Review’s 2023 annual survey of undergraduate schools for entrepreneurship studies.
Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serves Iowans daily, delivering science-based information and education vital to farmers, businesses, communities and consumers. ANR also listens to understand needs, emerging issues and help plan for the future. ANR is the largest unit in ISU Extension and Outreach, involving 40 faculty and staff in 9 departments and 41 field specialists across Iowa. The ANR Extension network of campus-based state specialists and field specialists include: agricultural engineering, commercial horticulture, farm management, field agronomists, beef specialists, swine specialists and dairy specialists.
Daniel J. Robison
Endowed Dean’s Chair
In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, or CALS, you’ll engage your purpose and passion to understand the world around you, make it more productive and improve the condition of people, communities, economies and landscapes wherever they are.
Faculty and Staff
The college has 303 tenure/tenure eligible faculty, 105 term faculty, 450 professional and scientific staff and 47 merit staff in 14 departments. Eight departments are co-administered by another college. Nine faculty members have received national honors from the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards. The college has 36 named faculty positions.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences delivers quality, experiential educational programs, that provide opportunities for students to graduate with skills in leadership, communications and cultural competency, within and across disciplines. The college provides a welcoming, inclusive environment that inspires success.
Agriculture Experiment Station
Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station's work represents the efforts of 177 scientists in 15 departments and 25 centers, institutes and initiatives.The dean of the college serves as director of the Experiment Station and the associate dean for research and discovery serves as associate director.
ANR Extension and Outreach
Extension and Outreach is the university-wide outreach component of Iowa State University, and has a fundamental role in the land-grant missions of teaching, research and extension. It has a presence in each of the state’s 99 counties, with educators, specialists and volunteers living and working across the state.
Our alumni are strong supporters of the college and university. More than 24,000 of our 46,376 alumni live in Iowa – 42% have donated to Iowa State University and 20% have donated to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The top five words our alumni use to describe the college are: outstanding, solid, strong, excellent and respected.
The Iowa State University Foundation is the private gift fundraising arm for Iowa State University. As part of this partnership, the foundation has development staff housed in each of the colleges to raise funds that meet the needs of each. For each of the past three years, alumni and friends have given more than $20 million to support students, faculty and programs.
The college is a national leader in student participation in study-abroad programs. Students are encouraged to integrate international dimensions and perspectives into their educational and career goals. For more than 65 years, the Global Programs unit has led international programs to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The college’s goal is to help students become global citizens with multicultural views.