Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering - Graduate


hrs + thesis

M.S. Degree


hrs + thesis

Ph.D. degree

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Biosystems engineers are trained in biological, environmental, and engineering sciences and challenged to improve the sustainability of production systems, decrease or eliminate environmental hazards, and preserve natural resources. Biosystems engineers devise practical, efficient solutions for producing, storing, transporting, processing, and packaging biological and agricultural products. They solve problems related to systems, processes, and machines that interact with humans, plants, animals, microorganisms, and biological materials. They also develop solutions for responsible, alternative uses of biological products, byproducts and wastes and of our natural resources - soil, water, air, and energy.

Why Pursue Graduate Studies at UK?

Thank you for exploring opportunities for graduate education with us. The University of Kentucky is a thriving community of scholars, researchers, and students, all dedicated to improving lives through excellence in education, research, leadership, creative work, service, and healthcare. We are proud of our reputation for excellence. Here are just a few reasons why we believe that UK would best fit your personal educational goals:

  1. UK is one of only seven universities in the U.S. that have Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Pharmacy on a single campus.
  2. Home to nearly a dozen research centers, including the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, UK has been awarded over $300 million annually in federal, state, and industry research grants and contracts.
  3. The William T. Young Library is among the world’s leading research libraries; its book endowment is the largest among public universities.
  4. UK’s scholars – students, faculty and alumni – have been the recipients of many prestigious awards including the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, and honored by distinguished organizations such as the Rhodes Trust, the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Metropolitan Opera.



Degrees Available

MASTER OF SCIENCE in biosystems and agricultural engineering

The Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE) degree provides students with a combination of experiences in basic research, design, development, and practical applications. The MSBAE program requires successful completion of 24 credit hours plus a thesis. It is expected that M.S. students beginning their graduate work with a B.S. in engineering will take 2 years to complete their degree


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is a research degree granted on the basis of broad knowledge of engineering applications in biology and medicine and an in-depth study in a specific area leading to a dissertation reflecting original and independent work by the candidate. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 30 course hours (not residency credit) past the Master’s degree (note: the student’s advisory committee can require more credits), with the potential of waiving up to 6 hours with the concurrence of the a) student’s advisory committee, and b) the Director of Graduates Studies, and c) the Department Chair. It is expected that Ph.D. students beginning their graduate work with a M.S. in engineering will take 3 years to complete their degree. Courses for advanced study are determined in consultation with an advisory committee and are tailored to the student’s research direction and career plans.


Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, admission to the Department's program is also based on:

  1. A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.8 (3.0 in graduate courses) with special emphasis given to courses in the science areas.
  2. Official GRE or GMAT scores. We consider all applicants individually and do not publish specific score requirements for our applicants.
  3. The availability of a major advisor to work with the prospective student.

A prospective student's records will be reviewed by the Department's Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee forwards its recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies concerning admission.

Application Requirements

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Personal Statement to include the graduate studies area of interest and plan of study.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from those who can speak to your academic potential.
  4. A minimum TOEFL (internet-based) of 94 IELTS score of 7.0 or an acceptable alternate by the Director of Graduate Studies or the Department Chair. Scores must be no more than two years old.

Areas of Research

Our department requires incoming graduate students to have identified a faculty advisor who is willing to guide the student’s graduate program. Prospective students are therefore expected to identify a faculty member with similar research interests, and contact that faculty member directly to determine if that faculty member is taking on new graduate students during the semester in which the student would like to enroll. Research areas include:

  • Food Process Engineering
  • Bioenvironmental
  • Controlled Environment
  • Bioprocessing
  • Machine Systems Automation

Imagine Your Future

Agricultural Engineers

Agricultural engineers solve problems concerning power supplies, machine efficiency, the use of structures and facilities, pollution and environmental issues, and the storage and processing of agricultural products.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Agricultural engineers work mostly in offices, but may spend time traveling to agricultural settings. Agricultural engineers typically work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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