Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) is a national key institution of higher learning, directly affiliated to the Chinese Ministry of Education. Famously known for its established disciplines in agriculture and life sciences, NAU also offers balanced, comprehensive programs in diverse branches of learning, including sciences, economics, management, engineering, humanities and law. NAU is a university covered by the 211 Program and has been selected as one of the Innovation Platforms for Outstanding Disciplines listed under the National 985 Excellence Initiative Project as well as one of the institutions of higher education chosen to develop world-class disciplines under China’s Double First-class University Project.
The history of NAU can be traced back to its predecessors – the Sanjiang Normal School, a teacher training center in Nanjing founded in 1902, and the Faculty of Agriculture of Private University of Nanking, which was founded in 1914. In 1952, Nanjing Agricultural College was founded through the merger of the two agricultural faculties of University of Nanking (today’s Nanjing University) and National Central University along with several departments of the Agricultural College of Zhejiang University. In 1963, the college was recognized as one of the two key institutions of higher agricultural education in China. In 1972, it was relocated to Yangzhou, where it was merged with the Agricultural College of Northern Jiangsu to form the Agricultural College of Jiangsu. In 1979, it was relocated back to Nanjing under its previous name. In 1984, the college was renamed Nanjing Agricultural University. In 2000, NAU was transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Education.
The graduate education in NAU has a history of over 80 years. As its predecessors, the two agricultural faculties of University of Nanking (today’s Nanjing University) and National Central University started enrollment of graduate students in 1936 and in 1940 respectively. After being suspended for 12 years during the “Cultural Revolution”, the graduate education in NAU was restored in 1978. In 1981, NAU became one of the first universities to grant doctoral and master’s degrees in China. In 1999, it was awarded “Advanced Collective of National Degree and Graduate Education Management” by the Ministry of Education and the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council. In June 2000, it was approved of the foundation of graduate school, and in the same year, it became the secretariat unit of National Veterinary Education Steering Committee. After several decades of development, NAU has become one of the important bases for cultivating high-level professionals in China.
NAU hosts four national first-level key disciplines (including Crop Science, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Science, Plant Protection and Veterinary Medicine), three national second-level key disciplines (including Olericulture, Agricultural Economics and Management and Land Resources & Management), and one discipline prioritized by the state for development (Food Science). In the fourth round of China’s national assessment of disciplines, four of NAU’s first-level disciplines, including Crop Science, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Science, Plant Protection and Agricultural and Forestry Economics & Management, were rated “A+”, while another three first-level disciplines—Public Administration, Food Science and Engineering, and Horticulture—were rated “A”. Eight disciplines are included in Jiangsu Province’s Advantageous Discipline Development Program. Seven disciplines—Agricultural Science, Botany and Zoology, Environmental Science and Ecology, Biology and Biochemistry, Engineering, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics— are among the world’s 1% according to Essential Science Indicators (ESI) rankings. In particular, Agricultural Science and Botany and Zoology are among the world’s top 0.1%, placing NAU at the global forefront in these fields.
NAU offers 15 postdoctoral programs, first-level master’s programs in 30 disciplines and doctoral programs in 17 first-level disciplines. The disciplines of graduate students training include Philosophy, Economics, Law, Literature, Natural Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Management Science. There are 512 doctoral supervisors, 732 master supervisors, 12 members of the Discipline Appraisal Group of Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, and 5 members of National Professional Education Steering Committee. In 2000, it began to train professional master’s degree candidates, hosting 15 degree-conferring disciplines including Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Agriculture and Master of Engineering. At the end of 2017, there were more than 10,400 graduate students in the school, including more than 2,600 doctoral students, more than 6,200 full-time academic masters and professional masters, and over 1,600 on-the-job professional masters. The graduate students have been widely praised by employers. Numerous graduate students have made outstanding contributions in their work, and have won 12 national excellent doctoral dissertation and 14 nomination awards.