Overview of ACES

More Than Meets The I

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) houses many disciplines. Our majors include concentrations in everything from animal physiology to advertising, plant biotechnology to child and adolescent development, engineering to public policy and law, wildlife conservation to education, dietetics to technical systems management, and so much more.

While our majors and concentrations are certainly diverse, the unifying theme is an emphasis on learning by doing. This mentality has been ingrained in our college, in part because of our history of promoting higher education in very hands-on career fields.

ACES by the Numbers

Faculty and Staff

  • 186 tenure-system faculty
  • 78 specialized faculty
  • 26 postdoctoral researchers
  • 493 academic professionals
  • 565 civil service staff
  • 323 assistants
  • 956 hourly employees
  • You can discover all of our Teachers Ranked as Excellent for any given semester on the Illinois CITL Teaching Evaluation page. Individuals are listed by department and the course number they taught (for example Animal Sciences 101).

Student Enrollment

Department Undergraduate Graduate
Agricultural and Biological Engineering1 344 68
Agricultural Communications2 39  
Agricultural and Consumer Economics 642 79
Agricultural Science and Leadership Education3 74 34
Animal Sciences 495 90
Crop Sciences4 145 110
Food Science and Human Nutrition5 383 135
Human Development and Family Studies 226 27
Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences6 228 120
Non-degree7 103  
Division of Nutritional Sciences   50
Professional Science Masters Program    
     Agricultural Production   14
     Bioenergy   2
     Food Science and Human Nutrition   18
     Technical Systems Management   3
Total Students Advised in ACES 2,679 754


The University of Illinois is recognized worldwide as one of the great public universities, and the College of ACES has been there from day one. The university timeline stretches back to the mid-1800s, when activist and Illinois-based professor Jonathan Baldwin Turner started a movement to provide higher education for anyone in the nation who aspired to learn. The movement was heavily backed by farmers and industrial workers, who then made up over 85 percent of the population of Illinois.

In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant College Act, donating public lands for the purpose of creating colleges for “the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts.” Thirty-seven land-grant institutions devoted to this purpose were created in March 1868 thanks to the 1862 Morrill Act, including the University of Illinois (originally Illinois Industrial University).

ACES professor Cyril Hopkins (right) and his assistant, James Pettit, taking soil samples in the Morrow Plots, April 1904.
ACES professor Cyril Hopkins (right) and his assistant, James Pettit, taking soil samples in the Morrow Plots, April 1904.

The Urbana-Champaign location of the university happens to have some of the richest soils in the world. This was quite the boon when the Hatch Act of 1887 established the Agricultural Experiment Station, bringing a new research focus. Later on, in 1914, the knowledge gained from college research and other university efforts was made accessible to each state’s citizens through the Smith-Lever Act, which created the Cooperative Extension System. Our extension programs continue working to this day to utilize the information gleaned from university research to improve local communities and their members.

What we do and why it matters

Our world-class faculty are working to advance their fields to help create abundant food and energy, a healthy environment, and successful families and communities. Learn more about the strides we’re making in the agricultural, consumer, and environmental sciences by reading summaries from our faculty on what they do and why it matters.

Gain more intimate knowledge about our college by following our blog, Voices of ACES, or by reading our college magazine, ACES@Illinois. The college blog is a space for students, faculty, and staff to share their personal experiences, while our magazine showcases the breadth and diversity of the college’s teaching, research, and extension programs and activities.