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NATION’S BEST: Last fall, Iowa State University’s undergrad program in ag and biosystems engineering was ranked as best in the country. Now, the graduate program in ag and biosystems engineering is also No. 1, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

ISU ranks No. 1 in ag and biosystems engineering

Iowa State’s graduate program in ag and biosystems engineering earns the top spot in a national ranking.

Iowa State University’s program in agricultural and biosystems engineering jumped one spot to No. 1 in the country, according to this year’s rankings of university graduate programs released in March by U.S. News & World Report. The program, co-administered by the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Engineering, also jumped to the top of the undergraduate rankings last fall.

Steve Mickelson, the Charles R. and Jane F. Olsen professor in engineering and chairman of ag and biosystems engineering, says the biggest reason for the department’s rise to the top of the rankings is its new facilities. In June 2014, the department moved to new facilities in Elings and Sukup halls.

It was a challenge to recruit faculty and students to the old facilities. But now the department is seeing growth in faculty and student numbers. New research labs and capabilities have also led to growth in research expenditures, which climbed to $12.5 million in 2016, Mickelson says. “I would also say there has been tremendous support from both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to help the department grow,” he adds.

The magazine bases its annual rankings of graduate programs on expert opinions about program strength and statistical measures of a program’s faculty, research and students. Each spring, the magazine reports a combination of new rankings and older rankings. Iowa State’s latest rankings include:

New rankings, colleges/schools
• Engineering, tied for 45th overall and tied for 26th among public universities (tied for 48th and tied for 26th, respectively, last year)
• Business, tied for 65th overall and tied for 37th among publics (tied for 71st and tied for 39th last year)
• Education, tied for 80th overall and tied for 63rd among publics (tied for 78th and tied for 60th last year)

New rankings, programs
• Biological and Agricultural Engineering, first overall
• Student Counseling and Personnel Services, tied for 13th overall and 12th among publics
• Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering, tied for 24th overall and tied for 17th among publics
• Materials Engineering, tied for 27th overall and tied for 16th among publics
• Aerospace, Aeronautical, Astronautical Engineering, tied for 31st overall and tied for 16th among publics
• Chemical Engineering, tied for 33rd overall and tied for 20th among publics
• Civil Engineering, tied for 36th overall and tied for 23rd among publics
• Electrical, Electronic, Communications Engineering, tied for 42nd overall and tied for 24th among publics
• Mechanical Engineering, tied for 42nd overall and tied for 23rd among publics
• Computer Engineering, tied for 46th overall and tied for 26th among publics
• Economics, tied for 53rd overall and tied for 28th among publics
• Sociology, tied for 80th overall and tied for 55th among publics
• Psychology, tied for 90th overall and tied for 56th among publics
• History, tied for 98th overall and tied for 60th among publics
• English, tied for 108th overall and tied for 70th among publics
• Part-time MBA, tied for 122nd overall and tied for 77th among publics

Older rankings
Veterinary Medicine, 13th overall and 10th among publics (ranked in 2015)
Statistics, 19th overall and 11th among publics (ranked in 2014)
Chemistry, tied for 45th overall and 28th among publics (ranked in 2014)
Physics, tied for 50th overall and 30th among publics (ranked in 2014)
Computer Science, tied for 63rd overall and 37th among publics (ranked in 2014)
Math, tied for 68th overall and 41st among publics (ranked in 2014)
Biological Sciences, tied for 75th overall and 42nd among publics (ranked in 2014)

Source: Iowa State University

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