When it comes to agriculture and forestry, Penn State University is a top 10 player in the world marketplace of colleges and universities. In fact, it was recently ranked ninth in the 2013 QS World University Rankings.
This ranking has nothing to do with Penn State's beleaguered football program. It's about scoring big impacts in the state's largest industry – agriculture and forestry.
For the rankings, the QS Intelligence Unit of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, an international higher education data-research firm, ranked a total of 678 institutions as a whole and by specific subject areas, such as agriculture and forestry. In agriculture and forestry, Penn State ranked first in citations per paper and fifth in H-index citations, a widely used measure of scientific productivity and impact.
"This ranking confirms what we've long believed," says Barbara Christ, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, " that Penn State is one of the finest universities in the world, particularly where the agricultural sciences are concerned,". "It clearly indicates the value of our faculty's work in addressing important scientific questions surrounding food production, natural-resource utilization and conservation, and environmental quality."
Six other Big Ten universities ranked in the top 30 in agriculture and forestry. As a whole academic institution, the QS World University Rankings put Penn State in the top 200 institutions in 29 subjects.
A number of Northeast universities topped all overall world ranking. For instance:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 1
Harvard – 3
Princeton – 9
University of Pennsylvania –12
Cornell – 14
The QS World University Rankings are designed to "provide comparative information at discipline level and to highlight the excellence of institutions in specialist areas."