The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences agricultural engineering graduate program ranked third in the nation with the latest U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings.

Irrigation systems like this one sitting on a carpet of green crop better designed by Texas A&M's Agricultural engineering program help utilize water
The department’s agricultural engineering program ranked third in the nation with the latest rankings in U.S. News and World Report. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie/)

The department’s agricultural engineering graduate program ranked third in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Graduate School rankings and joined several other programs in the university that were mentioned in the publication for 2022.

Interim department head John Tracy, Ph.D., said the rankings were a very good indicator of the department’s high-quality teaching and research programs.

“The ranking reflects the quality of our students, faculty and staff within the department,” Tracy said. “The department has consistently ranked in the top five programs for many years now and are committed to maintaining this level of excellence well into the future.”

Teaching and research excellence

Tracy said the department’s faculty are committed to quality research programs and the people they affect.

“Our faculty are not only innovative and committed to developing high quality research programs, they are also committed to making sure our programs result in exceptional educational experiences for our graduate students,” he said.

The department’s research and teaching programs focus on two categories that include sustainable agricultural production systems and bioprocess and bioproducts engineering.

Tracy said the category of sustainable agricultural production systems focuses on the production of raw material for food, fiber and fuel needs that help sustain farmers, the environment and communities.

The category of bioprocess and bioproducts engineering focuses on how to convert produced raw materials into usable products in an efficient, safe and secure matter.

Graduates making worldwide impact

Students can focus their research in several areas including food engineering, environmental and natural resource engineering, bioprocess engineering, biomaterials science, machine and energy systems, systems analysis, bioacoustics, and food, feed and fiber processing.

“Our research and graduate education programs support the entire agricultural supply chain; from sustainable production and harvesting crops in the field, to the safe processing and packaging of these crops into food, fuel and fiber products,” Tracy said. “There are few agricultural engineering programs that are able to support this breadth of programs.”

The degree options also include thesis and non-thesis tracks, as well as an option for distance education with the Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees.

“I feel proud and humbled,” said Sandun Fernando, Ph.D., professor and associate department head for research and graduate programs. “Although rankings are important, what really matters is solving critical problems that are at the interface of biology, agriculture, environment and engineering. If we continue to address critical problems that impact the world – using traditional approaches combined with emerging technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence, rankings will automatically follow.”

Fernando also said the success of the graduate students after they leave speaks highly of the department’s quality teaching and research efforts.

“We see a significant number of our graduates ending up in highly prestigious companies, government agencies and educational institutions,” he said. “In fact, a considerable number of our graduates have joined academia and serve in highly competitive research and faculty positions.”

About U.S. News & World Report rankings

According to the publication, the rankings are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.

Data for these rankings comes from statistical surveys of more than 2,081 programs and reputation surveys sent to more than 24,000 academics and professionals at these schools. The study is released every March for the following year.

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