Agricultural Engineering courses (irrigation, drainage, fertilizers and farm management) were taught at Texas A&M as early as 1891 in what was then the Department of Agriculture. In 1911, a School of Agriculture and a School of Engineering were established. Within each school, departments were created based upon subject matter. The agricultural engineering courses were moved to the Department of Agronomy within the School of Agriculture. A Department of Agricultural Engineering was created within the Department of Agronomy in 1914, and in 1915 became an independent department. In 2005, the department celebrated its 90th year as a department.
In 1946 there was a threat to the program because of the perceived lack of engineering coordination and rigor. The program became jointly administered by the Deans of the Schools of Agriculture and Engineering in 1947 and in 1950, the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (predecessor to ABET) approved accreditation of the four-year curriculum in Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M. Thus, the engineering degree is celebrating its 50th year of continuous accreditation.
A curriculum in mechanized agriculture was established and administered by the Department of Agricultural Engineering in 1957. The degree and program name were changed to Agricultural Systems Management (AGSM) in 1988 to emphasize the technical management focus of the curriculum.
The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Agricultural Engineering was established in 1967 and it was one of ten such degrees offered across the U.S. at the time. In addition, the Master of Agriculture and the Doctor of Engineering Degrees were approved in 1974. The 1970s saw growth of student quality and enrollment in the department. The Gourman Report ranked the department second in the nation in 1979. As of 1998, the undergraduate agricultural engineering program was still ranked second in the nation behind Cornell University, and the graduate program was ranked eighth. U.S. News and World Report magazine has consistently ranked the departmental graduate program number one in the U.S., including the most recent ranking in 2003.