Loading
 

Biosystems Engineering: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Bioprocess Engineering

Applying engineering principles to biological processes and materials to develop alternative energy sources, beneficial products, and to provide alternative strategies for dealing with household, agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastes.

Biological Materials Processing:
  • Biodiesel
  • Ethanol
  • Other alternative energy sources
Processing/Bioseparation of materials to produce/purify:
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Oils
  • Other bio-based products
Treatment system design/operation:
  • Household wastes
  • Municipal wastewater
  • Solid wastes
  • Agricultural wastes
Alternative materials production such as straw-based fiberboard

Employers

  • Food processing companies
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Land grant universities
  • Research and education facilities
  • Research laboratories
  • Government agencies including U.S. and State Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Agricultural Research Service
  • Alternative fuel production companies
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Power/utilities companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research firms

Information & Strategies

  • Seek related production and processing experience through co-ops, internships, or part-time jobs.
  • Maintain knowledge of current alternative energy and product industry trends and regulations.
  • Develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Seek extensive laboratory and research experience to obtain research positions.
  • Learn team and individual design skills.
  • Obtain PhD for optimal teaching and research careers.
  • Become familiar with the federal job application and employment procedures.
  • Participate in related clubs and organizations like the student chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to build contacts and cultivate related interests.

Soil and Water Conservation Engineering

Applying engineering principles to the complex environmental problems facing development and conservation of soil and water resources including soil erosion, water pollution by sediment and other contaminants from various land uses, stormwater runoff that causes flooding and damages the environment, and the impact of various land uses on aquatic ecosystems.

Erosion and Sediment control:
  • Construction sites
  • Reclaimed mines
  • Disturbed forests and pasture
  • Agricultural lands
Stormwater management for urban settings to reduce:
  • Downstream flooding
  • Negative ecological impacts

Measuring and monitoring hydrologic phenomena:

  • Hydrologic elements
  • Water quality concerns
Protecting water resources from waste-management operations:
  • Municipal wastewater and solid waste
  • Household wastewater
  • Agricultural animal and solid waste
  • Household wastewater
  • Agricultural animal and solid wastes
  • Pesticide-contaminated rinsewater
Automated characterization of aquatic habitat:
  • Underwater video mapping
Development of instrumentation and control systems:
  • Hydrologic and water quality phenomena

Employers

  • Land grant universities
  • Research and education facilities
  • Research laboratories
  • Government agencies including U.S. and State Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • State environmental and conservation agencies
  • State departments of transportation
  • Environmental design and consulting firms
  • Architectural and building firms
  • Forest product and mining companies

Information & Strategies

  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.
  • Seek related experience through co-ops, internships, or part-time jobs in specialized area of interest.
  • Develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Seek extensive laboratory and research experience to obtain research positions.
  • Learn team and individual design skills.
  • Obtain PhD for teaching and research careers.
  • Participate in related clubs and organizations like the student chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and/or the Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences Club to build contacts and cultivate academic interests.

Machinery Systems and Controls

Improving equipment efficiency in terms of energy, labor, and economics, while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

Site-specific control of machinery (to reduce inputs/encourage optimal plant growth):
  • Agricultural tillage
  • Seeding
  • Irrigation
  • Chemical application equipment
Determining/Predicting the impact of military vehicles:
  • Environmental quality of training areas

Control of spraying systems to target pest/nutrient needs

Development of sensors/control of equipment using sensors
  • Crop and process yield monitors
  • Crop health monitors
  • Spray applicators
Collection/Use of spatial information
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Geographic information system (GIS)

Employers

  • Agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers
  • Electronic instrumentation and control companies
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Biological production, management, and design companies including agricultural, forest products, nursery, turf, greenhouse, mining
  • Agricultural and environmental design and consulting firms
  • Bulk product handling, processing, and transport manufacturers

Information & Strategies

  • Develop strong knowledge of engineering principles with practical application to design and integrate equipment, sensors, and facilities that handle, process, and control biological materials.
  • Seek related experience through co-ops, internships, and part-time jobs.
  • Develop strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Learn team and individual design skills.
  • Obtain a PhD for optimal teaching and research careers.
  • Participate in related clubs and organizations like the student branch of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to build contacts and cultivate academic interests.

General Information

  • The Bachelor's degree provides a wide range of engineering career opportunities in industry, business, and government.
  • The BS also provides a strong foundation for pursuing technical graduate degrees, as well as professional degrees in business administration, medicine, or law.
  • Graduate degrees offer more opportunities for career advancement.
  • Related work experience obtained through co-op, internships, part-time, or summer jobs is extremely beneficial.
  • Plan informational interviews or job shadowing opportunities to make contacts in government and industry and to learn more about specific fields.
  • Engineers need to think in design, scientific, and mathematical terms, and must have the ability to study data, sort out important facts, solve problems, and think analytically.
  • Engineers should be able to see how entire systems are affected and influenced by the various parts of the system.
  • Creativity is useful.
  • Other helpful traits include curiosity, technical aptitude, perseverance, a commitment to teamwork, and a basic understanding of the economic and environmental context in which engineering is practiced.
  • Develop excellent verbal and written communications skills including presentation and technical report writing.
  • Develop computer skills to assist in determining solutions to problems, collecting and analyzing data, and to control various processes.
  • Join related professional organizations.
  • Rapid changes occur in engineering fields, so continuing education and knowledge of new developments are very important.
  • All states and the District of Columbia require registration of engineers whose work may affect the life, health, or safety of the public.
  • Learn about state requirements for licensure as a Professional Engineer including the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Principles of Practice of Engineering (PE) exams.
Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

Canadian Trip, Canoeing