College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Iowa State agricultural and biosystems engineering undergraduate program ranked No. 2 in U.S.

According to the newly released U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 “Best Colleges” rankings in the biological/agricultural engineering category, Iowa State’s agricultural and biosystems program is the No. 2 ranked undergraduate program among all national public universities for the second year in a row. Iowa State is tied for second with two other universities.

“We are excited to maintain our number two ranking this year,” said Steve Mickelson, professor and chair of the ABE department. “I am so proud of our outstanding faculty, staff and students for making this ranking a possibility.”

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture.

Today, the department’s 43 faculty encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food, fiber and other biological products.

ABE is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. ABE has 690 undergraduates pursuing degress in: agricultural engineering (189), biological systems engineering (95), agricultural systems technology (138) and industrial technology (268). Over the past four years, ABE’s undergraduate enrollment has grown by 17%.

The department also offers M.S. and Ph.D. programs in agricultural and biosystems engineering and in industrial and agricultural technology. As of spring 2020, 75 graduate students were enrolled.

Current research and extension efforts are focused in five areas: 1) land and water resources engineering, 2) biological and process engineering and technology, 3) animal production systems engineering, 4) advanced engineering and manufacturing systems, and 5) occupational safety engineering.

The achievement of No. 2 ranking was reached by dedication to the department’s mission and vision. The department’s faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students and scholars are all engaged in and committed to teaching, research, extension and outreach.

“Our goal to maintain our high ranking moving forward through the hiring of key faculty and staff and adding new learning experiences by adding new laboratories to our already state-of-the-art teaching facilities,” Mickelson said.