Bioprocessing & Bioproducts Degree Programs


Recent discoveries in biological science and chemical engineering are providing new ways to beneficially manipulate biological systems ranging from individual cells to entire ecosystems. Engineering of these systems can increase the quality, quantity and production efficiency of food and non-food products. Additionally, most of these technologies are a first step toward developing renewable sources of chemicals, material and energy.

Several American universities have begun to develop degree programs to provide students the professional engineering, chemistry and biological science background in the expanding fields of bio-based product engineering, processing and product development. These programs are focused on implementing new emerging ideas and technologies that are an inherent component of complex "next generation" of agricultural industries.

These programs are helping to fill public and private-sector employment needs in current production technologies, as well as developing "industries-of-the-future." Studies and surveys have identified needs and opportunities for engineering personnel in bio-manufacturing, bioprocessing, bio-control, product recovery and production management areas. Most of the programs are interdisciplinary, encompassing the environmental, chemical, biological, mechanical-engineering and chemical-engineering sciences. Some may include applicable business or economics course work. A typical degree program could encompass biological science courses in biology, organic chemistry, microbiology and biochemistry with an option to select additional courses in genetics, cell biology, zoology or botany. Engineering science courses required are static systems, fluid mechanics, physical property analysis of materials, electrical circuits, heat transfer and thermodynamics. Mathematics courses, statistics and calculus, frequently are requisites or prerequisites to these courses of study.

See Also

  • Georgia - University of Georgia. Brief Description: University of Georgia, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Four-year professional engineering program (B.S.B.E. in Biological Engineering) provides the student with a balance of basic sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering sciences, biological sciences, and courses in engineering design and analysis. All students complete biological science courses in biology, organic chemistry, microbiology, and biochemistry with an option to select additional courses in genetics, cell biology, zoology, or botany. Engineering science courses required are statics, fluid mechanics, material strength analysis, electrical circuits, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Three areas of engineering emphasis are provided: (1) Environmental, (2) Bioprocessing, and (3) Biomedical.
  • Iowa - Iowa State University. Brief Description: Biorenewable Resources and Technology Graduate Program. Students are able to earn Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, or obtain an academic minor in this area. The program encourages students from a wide range of science and engineering backgrounds to pursue advanced study in the use of plant- ad crop-based resources for the production of biobased products. Example products include fuels, chemicals, materials and energy. The program is intended as interdisciplinary advanced training for students to prepare them for leadership positions in the developing bioeconomy. The program is built around several core courses that develop a foundational understanding in bio-economic and bio-product principles. The course requirement is then filled from a list of electives from the areas of plant science, production, processing, and utilization research. 
  • Michigan - Michigan State University. Brief Description: Graduate Training Program on Technologies for a Bio-based Economy (TBE). This program is to produce Ph.D. scientists and engineers having broad academic training in fields applicable to the bio-based products industry. The students are encouraged to have strong research skills and effectively work as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Degree requirements for each of the participating departments are supplemented by recommended electives and participation in multi-disciplinary research projects. A semester-long internship with a bio-products company is part of this program.
  • Minnesota - University of MInnnesota, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department. Brief Description: The common mission of the department is to integrate engineering, science, technology and management for sustainable use of renewable resources and enhancement of the environment. The department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs related to bioproducts and biosystems engineering, bio-based products marketing and management and residential building science and technology. We strive to develop and deliver high-quality, regionally and nationally recognized research-based programs to meet current and emerging needs of industry and communities. Our teaching, research, Extension and outreach activities are focused in four key areas: (1) Bioproducts and Renewable Energy, (2) Environment and Ecology, (3) Advanced Building Systems and Energy Efficiency and (4) Food Production, Processing, Safety and Security.
  • Nebraska - University of Nebraska. Brief Description: The University of Nebraska is developing bio-based engineering and technology graduate programs that utilize existing graduate majors. An emphasis on hands-on research within the Industrial Ag Products Center is emphasized. The Department of Biological Systems Engineering offers several M.S. and Ph.D. programs, these include: M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering; M.S. in Mechanized Systems Management; Ph.D. in the Unified Engineering Program in the field of Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering; and an interdepartmental M.S. in Environmental Engineering.
  • Oklahoma - Oklahoma State University. Brief Description: Students are encouraged to develop a program of study based on their personal and professional goals. Three degrees are offered. A Biomechanical option B.S. program stresses that students learn how to integrate engineering and biology in the design of machines and mechanisms that directly interact with biological materials, including soil, plants, and animals. The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees place emphasis on research and development. The M.S. of Biosystems Engineering Program places emphasis on production system design and usually includes an internship. There are three general options for related areas for study, and none of the degrees have a set curriculum requirement. Students work with their advisor to develop a plan of study that include courses from engineering, mathematics, computer science, statistics, agriculture and related disciplines that will suit their particular needs and interests. Individual research is the most important element in the graduate program.

Links checked February 2016.