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Biological Systems Engineering

Administrative Unit:Biological Systems Engineering
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Straub (chair), Bohnhoff, Etzel, Gunasekaran, Hanna, Hartel, Holmes, Kammel, Kung, Muck, O'Leary, Ralph, Reinemann, Shinners, Straub, P. Thompson, Walsh; Associate Professors Karthikeyan, A. Thompson; Assistant Professors Digman, Pan, Runge


Graduate work in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) leads to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees. Graduates of the program help fill the need for highly educated engineers in industry, consulting firms, government agencies, and educational institutions.

Students who undertake graduate studies in BSE normally have as their goal a better understanding of the current theories, principles, issues, and problems in biological systems. They desire a better understanding of how knowledge is generated, how it is critically evaluated, and how solutions to problems are generated. Graduate studies improve the ability of students to think critically and creatively, and to synthesize, analyze, and integrate ideas for decision making and problem solving.

The department offers students an opportunity to undertake research and advanced study in different specialization areas such as biological systems, environmental quality and natural resource engineering, waste management, food and bioprocess engineering and food safety, machinery systems, bioresources and biorefining, and agricultural safety and health.

Graduate research assistantships, project assistantships, and fellowships are available on a highly competitive basis.


The department requires that students have a strong engineering background for admission to its graduate program. Most applicants have a bachelor of science degree from an ABET/EAC-accredited engineering program or an engineering undergraduate degree from an international institution. Applicants who do not have a bachelor of science degree from an ABET/EAC-accredited engineering program may be admitted with a stipulation that they complete supplemental work. Contact the department for details concerning additional requirements. Applicants are evaluated based on their academic record and educational objectives and letters of reference.

For more information: Student Services Coordinator, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, 460 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3310; fax 608-262-1228; bse@wisc.edu; bse.wisc.edu.