Iowa State University agricultural programs again among top 4% worldwide

Donald Sakaguchi speaking to two female students in a research lab on Iowa State University
Undergraduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have the opportunity to gain research experience working with professors in labs, on research and teaching farms or through industry collaborations.

For the eighth year in a row, Iowa State University’s agricultural programs have been named to the top 4 percent worldwide among other agriculture and forestry institutions, according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings.

Iowa State’s agricultural programs ranked 14 among 401 institutions worldwide in 2021. This is up from last year’s No. 16 ranking. Nationally, Iowa State’s rank was No. 6 out of agricultural and forestry programs among 65 U.S. higher education institutions.

With more than 25 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs offered students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State study a diverse range of fields related to food, the environment, human health, animals, global resource systems and more.

The current placement rate for recent CALS graduates (students graduating 2019-2020) is 98 percent. Placement rates of CALS graduates have consistently been 97 percent or higher during the past 23 years, with 68 percent of graduates remaining in Iowa for their first jobs – the highest percentage in five years. CALS organizes the largest annual student job fair in the nation, giving students an opportunity to seek internships and jobs.

Undergraduate students can gain research experience working with professors in the lab, on research and teaching farms or through industry collaborations. Students may also become involved in the Science with Practice program, which allows them to work with faculty mentors who are international experts, all while earning credits and a paycheck.

Over the last five years, Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station scientists successfully brought in more than $274 million in external funding to address critical needs and expand scientific frontiers. The college continues to rank No. 1 among 60 agricultural colleges nationally for the number of faculty with federal grants and ranks No. 3 for the total number of federal grants.

With a presence in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach had 98,200 contacts with Iowans at 1,836 meetings, workshops and field days last year. Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension’s network of campus-based state specialists and field specialists includes agricultural engineering, commercial horticulture, farm management, field agronomists, beef specialists, swine specialists and dairy specialists.

Other notable CALS rankings

  • Iowa State’s agricultural and biosystems engineering undergraduate program tied for No. 2 and its graduate program ranked No. 1 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 Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. Iowa State recently ranked No. 11 for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs, according to Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings is part of a British-based organization that ranks based on academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, and H-index, which measures productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar.

U.S. News & World Report rankings assess institutions granting bachelor’s degrees based on 17 measures of academic quality, including student-faculty ratio, student body demographics and average federal loan debt of graduates.

Niche rankings are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as opinions gathered from students about colleges.

Princeton Review rankings are based on survey data that gathers information about academic offerings, experiential learning opportunities, career outcomes and more.

Entrepreneur magazine rankings consider each school’s graduating students’ success rates in the business world, how many mentors are available for students, and more.