The Department of Agricultural Engineering began as courses in Farm Mechanics.1 In 1921, the courses were elevated to the status of the Department of Farm Mechanics, which offered instruction in the principles of engineering as applied to use in agriculture.2 The departmental name was changed to Agricultural Engineering in 1932.3 It offered courses in farm mechanics, drainage, buildings, construction, machinery and farm home equipment.4 Later, courses in rural electrification and soil and water engineering were added.5 Although the Department of Agricultural Engineering is in the College of Agriculture and receives its appropriations from that College, since 1933 the Agricultural Engineering curricula has been administered by, or in cooperation with, the College of Engineering.6 Students are allowed to work for their degree from either college or opt for the five-year program and receive degrees from both colleges. The Department of Agricultural Engineering offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with a major in agricultural engineering. Candidates for the Master's degree must have the equivalent of the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Illinois. The doctoral program provides for a major in agricultural engineering with a minor in other graduate departments of engineering, or other disciplines in the physical sciences.7 In 2003, the name of the Department was changed to the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, to reflect its increased emphasis on research in biomaterials, biofeuls, biosensors, bioprocessing, and bioenvironmental engineering.8
1. Richard G. Moores, Fields of Rich Toil, (Urbana: 1970), p. 222.
2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 31st Report, July 6, 1921, p. 6.
3. Registers and Catalogs, 1932-1933, p. 216.
4. Ira O. Baker and Everett E. King, A History of the College of Engineering of the University of Illinois 1868-1945, Vol. II (Urbana), p. 688.
5. Catalogs and Registers, 1950-51, p. 98.
6. Catalogs and Registers, 1932-33, p. 135.
7. Graduate College Catalog, 1971-72, p. 68.
8. Board of Trustees Agenda Items, July 16-17, 2003
Description: Annual plans of work and project reports of the Agricultural Engineering Extension from 1936-1941 regarding rural electrification, home equipment, farm buildings, soil erosion control and county program building.