Agricultural & Biological Engineering

What Is It?:

The Agricultural & Biological Engineering (ABE) program offers two different undergraduate degree paths: a 4-year program administered by the College of Engineering, and a 5-year program that combines agricultural and biological engineering and agricultural science.

The 4-year program of study provides a bachelor of science in agricultural & biological engineering from the College of Engineering. Coursework includes basic and advanced engineering principles, agricultural engineering, biological and related agricultural sciences and other technical subjects.

The 5-year program of study provides dual bachelor of science degrees from the College of Engineering and the College of ACES. Coursework provides the same comprehensive education as the 4-year program and includes an additional year of related agricultural, physical, and biological science courses.

For more information, please visit the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.


  • Agricultural Engineering:  includes the integration of physical and biological sciences as a foundation for engineering applications in agriculture, food systems, energy, natural resources, the environment, and related biological systems. Students pursuing this concentration are involved in the design of systems for renewable energy, off-road equipment, water quality, and the utilization and protection of soil and water resources. Important design constraints are economics, conservation of materials and energy, safety, and environmental quality. Within this concentration, students are strongly encouraged to select a set of coherent courses that constitutes a specialization in their area of career interest either from the following list or a customized area  chosen in consultation with an advisor:
    • ​Renewable Energy Systems, Off-Road Equipment Engineering, or Soil & Water Resources Engineering.
  • Biological Engineering: integrates biology and engineering to provide solutions to problems related to living systems (plants, animals, and microorganisms). Engineered biological systems vary widely in scale. At the molecular level, nanometer-scale devices consist of a few biomolecules inside individual cells. At the other extreme, regionally-scaled complex ecosystems depend upon multiple species of interacting living organisms. Such systems are becoming increasingly important in areas such as bioenergy, bioprocessing, nanotechnology, biosensing, bio-informatics, and bioenvironment. Within this concentration, students are strongly encouraged to select a set of coherent courses that constitutes a specialization in their area of career interest either from the following list or a customized area chosen in consultation with an advisor:
    • Bioenvironmental Engineering, Ecological Engineering, Food & Bioprocess Engineering, or Nanoscale Biological Engineering.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHEM 102/103—General Chemistry I / General Chemistry Lab I
  • MATH 221—Calculus I
  • MATH 231—Calculus II
  • PHYS 211—University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 212—University Physics: Electricity & Magnetism

Students​ should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

An ABE degree will open doors around the world in large corporations and small businesses, including careers in water quality, food processing, environmental systems, structural design, erosion control, materials handling, agricultural power, equipment design and more.

Graduates in this well-respected program are employed for the purpose of:

  • designing and managing food production systems
  • designing animal production facilities and environmental control systems
  • designing natural resource management systems
  • designing off-road vehicles and agricultural equipment
  • developing and managing bioprocessing systems
  • protecting surface and ground water quality

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Biological Engineer
  • Consulting Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Water Resource Engineer
  • Waste Specialist

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Alpha Epsilon Honor SocietyHonor society for agricultural and biological engineering students
    • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers: Supports the pre-professional development of students in agricultural and biological engineering

Related Skills:

  • Ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering;
  • Communicating effectively
  • 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
  • Design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • Knowledge of contemporary issues
  • Recognizing the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • Understand professional and ethical responsibility
  • Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • Work with multi-disciplinary teams

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Agricultural Engineering, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Agricultural Engineering.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Agricultural Engineering. One such organization includes American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Agricultural Engineering, visit Undergraduate Programs.