Number One Again: Food Science Top-ranked Among U.S. Universities

UMass Amherst wordmark

The UMass Amherst food science department maintained its number-one ranking in the U.S. and jumped to seventh in the world, according to the 2020 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, part of the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

Top-ranked in the U.S. the past two years, the food science department rose two positions globally in the latest list, up from ninth in the 2018 and 2019 rankings. The next two highest-ranked U.S. food science programs in 2020 were at Cornell University, 16th globally, and the University of California, Davis, 19th.

“This impressive achievement was even more remarkable considering that the department at UMasshas only 12 faculty members, compared to three- to 10-fold more for the departments ranked above them,” says David Julian McClements, Distinguished Professor of Food Science and one of three UMass Amherst food scientists named among the world’s most highly cited researchers.The other two are Eric Decker, professor and department head, and Hang Xiao, professor and Clydesdale Scholar of Food Science.

The department, which has the oldest academic food science program in the country, also features other internationally recognized faculty members and has been successful in attracting innovative students and post-doctoral researchers who have made pioneering contributions to the field.

The department is a global leader in research on nutraceuticals, functional foods, food nanotechnology, food safety, the gut microbiome and healthy lipids, and is starting new programs on sensory science, genomics, plant-based foods, alternative proteins and sustainability.

ShanghaiRanking uses transparent methodology and third-party data to determine the rankings. Indicators include measures of research quality and the highest academic recognitions, as well as the extent of international collaboration.