Agriculture and So Much More

ACES is considered among the top agricultural schools worldwide. However, our academic programs are much more varied, from engineering to finance, economics and law, to nutritional science and communications. While the individual specialties of our faculty and students are diverse, we all work toward the unified goal of improving lives globally.

Our Mission

Discovering, advancing, and integrating new knowledge to ensure nutritious and safe food, sustainable and innovative agriculture, strong and economically resilient families and communities, and environmentally sustainable use of natural resources to benefit the people of Illinois and the world.

An ACES Education

We owe our success to putting our students first, and supporting them with a compassionate and close-knit academic community.


15:1 Student/Faculty Ratio graphic


Being in ACES gives you all the advantages of a Big Ten university, but with the small class sizes that assure a community-focused quality learning experience.


80% of students participate in experiential learning

We value learning by doing. Our students complete internships, volunteer, travel around the country, and participate in over 400 study abroad opportunities to get hands-on experience in their field of study.

$3.8 Million ACES scholarships awarded yearly

The College of ACES is also dedicated to helping students achieve financially. Each year, students receive $3.8 million in college scholarships. Generous alumni and friends of the college make these scholarships possible.


75% Four-Year Graduation Rate

ACES boasts a 95.9% freshman retention rating and a 75% four-year graduation rate. Our graduation rate is also more than double the national average for public universities (33%, according to the U.S. Department of Education). This means students are both staying and succeeding in ACES.


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The ACES Impact

The lessons taught in our degree programs are rooted in research, and our goal is to share that research not just with our students, but with communities around the world.

Global Impact

Our programs are rooted in research, and our goal is to share that research with communities around the world. We partner with institutions in more than 120 different countries, allowing researchers to work with and learn from each other. 

Our overarching research areas cover:

  • Agriculture and Environment
  • Data and Technology
  • Family and Communities
  • Health and Wellness

Read more about our research areas and international engagements.

Local Impact

University of Illinois Extension, based in ACES, has been leading community outreach efforts since 1914.

Extension specialists and educators across the state share research knowledge with local communities via training programs, educational workshops, and more.

Illinois Extension Programs

Faculty Impact

Our world-class faculty and staff are at the heart of everything we do. Faculty in all of our departments conduct research and shape lessons in engaging, impactful ways. Their education efforts help foster a greater understanding of the scope of their work. These summaries also briefly explain how their efforts impact our students and communities.

What We Do and Why It Matters


The University of Illinois is recognized worldwide as one of the great public universities, and ACES has been a part of it from day one. The university timeline stretches back to the mid-1800s. 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 made up over 85 percent of the population of Illinois at the time.

In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant College Act which donated public lands to create colleges for “the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts.” Thirty-seven land-grant institutions were established between 1862-1868, including Illinois Industrial University.

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

The Hatch Act of 1887 established the Agricultural Experiment Station, bringing a focus of research to the rich soils of the Urbana-Champaign campus. In 1914, this research was made accessible to citizens through the Smith-Lever Act. This act also established the Cooperative Extension System.

Today, we offer interdisciplinary fields of study to impact lives around the world. To stay up to date on our most recent activities, browse our news section and subscribe to our newsletter.

College of ACES News