Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) evaluates universities in a number of different subject areas. They recently released their World University Rankings for the top agricultural universities. The University of Massachusetts Amherst ranked eleventh in the World, up from 44th in 2013.
"We are delighted," says Stockbridge School of Agriculture Director, Dr. Wesley Autio, when asked about the jump in ranking among the QS Top University programs in Agriculture and Forestry" from 44th to 11th place worldwide and 10th among all US institutions. "Of course, we think the nearly 150 year-old University of Massachusetts has always been among the 'go to' schools for excellent undergraduate education, but it is nice to get this recognition" continued Dr. Autio.
The QS Ranking of Top University Programs which evaluated 2,838 universities worldwide and ranked 689 institution this year, measures recognition by university professors and employers, and research productivity in their assessment. The University of Massachusetts has a much smaller research budget than the major Ag schools, but touts a well-balanced research program coupled with an extraordinary and rapidly growing undergraduate education program. Larger agriculture programs at UC-Davis and Cornell top the list most years, due to their large research investments and connections with agricultural industries.
The Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers 8 Associate of Sciences degrees and 4 Bachelor of Sciences degrees, as well as opportunities for students to work toward graduate degrees in agriculture and related fields. For example, the nationally recognized winners of the Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition, the Turfgrass Science and Management degree, claims 100% job placement following graduation. The Sustainable Food and Farming Program, which allows students to concentrate on farming and marketing, agricultural education and public policy has grown from just 5 students in 2003 to 100 today. Other Associate and Bachelor programs focus on all aspects of agricultural science, important in a rapidly changing world.
Autio believes that the international recognition is long overdue and that "programs such as our Turf Club, the Student Farm, our draft horse classes, and our Permaculture Initiative for example, have really put us on the map." Students are encouraged to get involved in real-world applications of their course work. Autio says, "we offer both a solid Bachelor of Sciences degree as well as lots of opportunities to gain practical experience in preparation for exciting and satisfying careers." He concludes “our alums will certainly tell you that Stockbridge is among the top agricultural programs in the world.”