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K-State Today

July 23, 2013

Several Kansas State University agriculture doctoral programs ranked in Top 10

Submitted by Mary Lou Peter

A website that compares university programs across the United States has ranked several Kansas State University College of Agriculture programs in the Top 10 as compared with similar programs at peer institutions.

The rankings, at PHDS.org, use data from the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Education Statistics to provide information about quality measures or graduate programs. The rankings are based on university doctoral programs. In total, eight doctoral programs associated with K-State's College of Agriculture were evaluated.

The council's most recent Ranking of Plant Sciences Graduate Schools lists Kansas State University's plant pathology program at No. 10 nationally among 162 plant sciences departments. K-State is the top ranked plant pathology doctoral program on the list, which puts it ahead of plant pathology programs at Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California-Davis.

"These rankings, which include numerous renowned universities across the United States, are a testament to the incredible work being done across the college's doctoral programs," said John Floros, dean of K-State’s College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "It affirms that our students and faculty are among the best and brightest. We are in the process of finalizing our college strategic planning for the campuswide K-State 2025 process. These rankings provide at least one external benchmarking guide for us as we seek to become a top five college of agriculture by the year 2025. Clearly, we have some very strong programs."

K-State's agricultural economics program is ranked No. 4, ahead of similar departments at Purdue University and Cornell.

In addition, K-State's entomology doctoral program is ranked No. 8 and the interdepartmental food science program No. 9, compared with other universities' programs.

In the "Research Productivity category," the university’s animal science doctoral program ranked No. 5 among animal and dairy science programs nationally.

Overall rankings are based on a variety of criteria including research productivity, student outcomes, student resources, diversity and a National Research Council quality measure.

One of the programs that was not included in the rankings was K-State’s department of grain sciences and industry, which is the only institution in the country that offers college degrees in all three areas of baking, feed and milling science and management.

"K-State's grain science doctoral program provides the lion's share of research scientists working on cereals, cereal processing, cereal chemistry and storage worldwide, and has done so for a long time," said Jon Faubion, professor and graduate program director in the department. "Our concentration of faculty with this expertise provides all of our graduate students, including doctoral students, with a breadth of expertise and experience in these cereal grain areas that doesn't exist elsewhere."

"The National Research Council rankings reflect the quality of educational experience our doctoral students receive at K-State, as well as the quality of research conducted as those students are mentored through their respective degree programs in the college," said Ernie Minton, associate director for research and technology transfer with K-State Research and Extension.

Graduate scholarly experience is one of the goals of K-State 2025, the university's new strategic plan. K-State’s College of Agriculture has a graduate enrollment of more than 500 students, including students seeking both master's and doctoral degrees. About a third of the graduate student enrollees are students seeking doctoral degrees. The college has about 200 faculty members and many of them have time dedicated to mentoring graduate students. More information is available at www.ag.k-state.edu.