Iowa State’s ag, forestry programs ranked among top 10 worldwide

Students in a classroom designing floral arrangements with various greenery
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students take part in a variety of hands-on activities in their classes, including this floral design course.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences jumped to No. 8 worldwide and No. 4 in North America for its agricultural and forestry programs, according to the 2023 QS World University Rankings.

These are up from last year’s No. 14 worldwide ranking and No. 7 national ranking. This is the first time in eight years that Iowa State has been among the top 10 worldwide.

“The college’s high rankings are a testament to the innovative work our faculty, staff and students do each and every day to make positive impacts in our community and our world,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We strive to provide our students with many hands-on opportunities to develop the skills and mindsets needed to go forth and be the next generation of thinkers, doers and leaders.”

The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings are known to be a starting point for students deciding which university to attend. The organization considers institutions’ academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, H-index (a measurement of the impact of a scientist or scholar’s published work) and international research network when generating these annual rankings.

With 26 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences prides itself on the hands-on opportunities available to students to help them hone skills in science, technology, leadership and communications within and across disciplines. The Innovate at Iowa State initiative helps to guide the college’s outlook, from labs and greenhouses to farms, forests and satellite facilities across Iowa and worldwide. Home of the largest career fair in the nation, CALS students are highly sought after by employers for both internships and professional careers.

The college’s research and extension enterprises are national and international leaders, as well.

Over the past five years, CALS researchers have brought in more than $300 million in external funding to address critical needs and expand scientific frontiers. The college ranks in the top five nationally for the number of faculty with federal research grants and in the top six for the total number of federal grants, according to Academic Analytics comparisons (2022).

“We are so very proud of the work our college’s researchers do to advance scientific knowledge and practices,” said Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, associate dean for research and discovery and associate director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. “These high rankings reflect that excellence and will ensure the college continues to attract top-notch faculty and staff who not only work to solve the latest challenges, but also train our students to be innovative so they are prepared to solve emergent challenges well into the future.”

Student talking to a small group of people about a research poster positioned next to him.
Students enhance their learning through participating in research projects alongside faculty members at Iowa State.