COVID-19 Response

For information about fall semester instruction and campus operations, please visit

During this time, please contact us at

CALS Ph.D. programs near top of doctoral class

Five doctoral programs at the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences rank in the top 15 percent in their respective fields, according to an assessment recently released by the National Research Council (NRC). In addition, another five CALS programs made the top 25 percent.

The council’s “Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States” uses methods that depart from most traditional rankings.

NRC researchers gathered information on 20 characteristics of graduate programs — among them measures of research productivity, interdisciplinary connections, degree completion rates and student demographics — to rate 5,000 programs from around the nation in more than 60 broad fields of study. The characteristics were weighted according to both faculty judgments of their relative importance and faculty perceptions of the quality of programs in their respective fields.

In an effort to reflect the uncertainties that come with gathering such a large pool of data from diverse sources, the assessment reports its results not as specific ratings but as ranges that represent where each program’s ratings fell most often, calculated through an iterative statistical process.

CALS doctoral programs in the top 15 percent of the NRC assessment:

  • Biochemistry
  • Forestry
  • Mass Communications (joint program with School of Journalism and Mass Communications)
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics

CALS doctoral programs in the top 25 percent:

  • Animal Sciences
  • Dairy Science
  • Entomology
  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

For more information, read the full press release about how UW-Madison programs fared in the NRC rankings.