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

Overhead view of students presenting their research posters in a large, open space inside a building.
Students enrolled in the Science with Practice program presented their projects during a poster session in Kildee Hall on April 30. The program is just one of many opportunities for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study.

AMES, Iowa – Continuing a proud tradition, Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences agricultural and forestry programs are once again ranked among the top. The 2024 QS World University Rankings lists Iowa State’s programs at No. 14 worldwide among 451 institutions and No. 6 in North America.

This is the 11th year in a row that Iowa State’s agricultural and forestry programs have been named to the top 4% worldwide.

“We are very proud that our college’s programs continually rank among the top in the country and the world,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It is a true testament to the high standards we hold ourselves to when it comes to providing our students with a quality educational experience and conducting research and extension activities that have impacts well beyond campus.”

The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings are known to be a starting point for students deciding which university to attend. Factors considered in the rankings include 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.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) offers 27 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs within its 14 departments. Student enrollment for the fall of 2023 totaled 4,250 – 3,710 undergraduate and 540 graduate students. The college prides itself on the connections it builds with students through peer mentoring programs and learning communities.

Aligning with Iowa State’s university-wide focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, CALS provides countless experiential learning opportunities to prepare students for their future careers. The newly established CALS Pathways to Innovation and Leadership program encourages students to create their own paths as they navigate their college experience. Students select classes and leadership opportunities that suit their interests and excite them. They can also work with a team of fellow students on a semester-long project to solve a real-life problem, putting into practice the skills they have learned.

Undergraduate research opportunities are another highlight of the CALS student experience. The Science With Practice program pairs undergraduate students with faculty and staff to work on research projects relevant to the students’ programs of study. Recent projects have included:

  • researching ways to improve heifer care and growth,
  • investigating how prairie health influences bee species and
  • discovering ways to overcome barriers women and minorities face when participating in outdoor recreation.

The college’s research and extension enterprises are national and international leaders as well. During the past five years, Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station scientists have leveraged capacity funding to secure approximately $60 million in external funding annually. This allows Iowa State researchers to expand their scope of research and be strategic and responsive to emerging issues affecting Iowa, the nation and the world.

“The grants and contracts that our faculty bring in to support their work are on a steady increase,” said Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, CALS associate dean for research and discovery and associate director of the Ag Experiment Station. “The quality of research here directly reflects the excellence our people bring to the job each and every day.”

Learn more about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on its website.


Whitney Baxter, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-2314,