Biological and agricultural engineers apply their knowledge of physical and biological sciences, mathematics, engineering principles and engineering design to the production and processing of food and fiber, to the preservation of environmental quality, to biological systems and processes, and to machine systems that interface with all of these. Because of their broad general engineering background, biological and agricultural engineering graduates are sought by a wide variety of employers including environmental consulting firms, equipment manufacturers, crop storage and handling industries, the cotton and forest products industries, food and feed processing industries, animal production industries, biotechnology companies, electric utility companies, chemical companies, and governmental agencies. Biological and agricultural engineers make significant contributions to meeting many basic needs of society such as maintaining food quality, quantity and safety; improving environmental quality; and enhancing the quantity and quality of our water resources.
The Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department provides quality education, research and outreach in engineering and technology for the world’s agricultural, biological, environmental and food systems. Our undergraduate programs provide a high quality education for engineering and systems management students to fulfill the needs of industries we serve and advance our reputation as a world leader in engineering and systems management education.
The biological and agricultural engineering program develops graduates who can pursue engineering careers in industry, academia, consulting or government. The curriculum is designed:
- to produce graduates who are prepared to become practicing biological and agricultural engineers, many of whom will become registered professional engineers;
- to produce graduates to serve the engineering needs of clientele in environmental and natural resources, machine systems, food processing, bioprocessing, and agricultural production and processing; and
- to produce graduates who continue to be engaged in professional development.
Students learn to apply fundamental knowledge of biological and physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering principles to formulate and solve engineering problems. Engineering design is integrated throughout the curriculum, along with opportunities to develop communication, learning, and teamwork skills, culminating in a capstone design experience. Electives in the curriculum allow the student to develop an emphasis in one of the following areas:
- Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering: design and management of systems affecting soil, water, and air resources.
- Renewable Energy Engineering: design and development of biomass, wind and solar energy systems.
- Food and Bioprocess Engineering: design and development of systems for processing and handling of food and agricultural products and processes involving cells, enzymes, or other biological components.
- Machine Systems Engineering: design and development of machines and machine systems for food, feed and fiber production and processing.
Students select courses with the assistance of a professional staff advisor in an individualized advising system. Faculty members also assist with professional development and job placement for students.
The biological and agricultural engineering program is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, and the curriculum is fully accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. The department is one of the largest in North America and is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the nation.
All biological and agricultural engineering majors are required to earn a grade of C or better in all math, science, and engineering courses required in the curriculum.
For graduates to become successful practicing biological and agricultural engineers, students need to acquire a set of skills, knowledge, and behaviors as they progress through the curriculum. We have established the following program outcomes outlining what students are expected to know and be able to do upon completion of the curriculum. At the time of graduation, students should have:
- an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering;
- an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
- an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
- an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams;
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
- an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
- an ability to communicate effectively;
- the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;
- a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning;
- a knowledge of contemporary issues;
- an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.