Technical Systems Management

What Is It?:

Technical Systems Management is designed to prepare students as problem solvers for systems involving the application, management, and marketing of agricultural engineering technologies. Students are instructed in engineering and business principles in preparation for professional careers as entrepreneurs, marketing representatives, or plant managers working with service organizations, manufacturers, corporate farms, retail dealers, power suppliers, contractors, or management companies from production through processing and distribution.

There are five areas of specialization within the major:

  • Construction Systems Management: prepares students to manage residential, agricultural, and industrial construction technologies; maintain systems to handle and treat biowaste; operate and manufacture systems that provide desired environmental conditions for animals, people, crop storage, and greenhouses; and develop alternative housing and nutrient management practices. 
  • Environmental Systems: prepares students to utilize GIS and other technology to develop and manage practices to control the transport of agricultural and other non-point sources of pollution and prepares students to implement systems for sustaining and improving water quality, maintaining ecosystems, managing stormwater, developing optimal irrigation use and drainage systems. 
  • Mechanization, Marketing, & Technical Systems: prepares students to test, analyze, manufacture, and manage off-road machinery and specific machine components; understand equipment control systems for automating machinery; and troubleshoot and solve problems associated with agricultural, construction, and mining equipment. 
  • Processing Systems: prepares students to process and convert agricultural and biological materials into useful co-products for human, animal, and industrial purposes; and to understand the variability in raw materials and the effects this has on the operation of commerical processes, co-product quality, and profitability. 
  • Renewable Energy Systems: helps students understand the science behind renewable energy from sunlight, wind, geothermal, and biomass sources; perform economic analysis of proposed systems; manage energy systems to blend appropriate sources into reliable, cost-effective, and long-lasting systems; and develop, construct, and operate large-scale, grid-connected renewable energy projects. 

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

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHEM 102/103—General Chemistry I / General Chemistry Lab I
  • CPSC 112—Introduction to Crop Science
  • NRES 201—Introductory Soils
  • TSM 100—Technical Systems in Agriculture

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

Possible Career Opportunities:

Employers and career opportunities are vast and varied and there is great demand for TSM graduates. Starting salaries are highly competitive and are among the highest of all College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) majors. Technical Systems Management graduates, who understand technology systems, business and economics, have available a wide variety of employment options. You could work for a major equipment company such as John Deere, a government agency such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or a production company like Kraft Foods.  Below is an example of the diversity of employers who hire TSM graduates.

  • Abbott Labs
  • AGCO
  • Anheuser Busch
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • BASF
  • Campbell's Soup
  • Caterpillar
  • Dow Chemical
  • Exxon Mobil
  • General Mills, Inc.
  • John Deere
  • M & M Mars
  • New Holland
  • NASA
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Department of Energy
  • US Armed Forces

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Crop Production Consultant
  • Crop Specialist
  • Customer Support Technician
  • Dairy Equipment Specialist
  • Design Technician
  • District Sales Manager
  • Elevator Manager
  • Energy-Use Advisor
  • Experimental Mechanic
  • Farmer, Owner, or Operator
  • Field Representative
  • Grain Merchandiser
  • Maintenance Supervisor
  • Network Engineer
  • Operations Manager
  • Precision Agriculture Specialist
  • Production Supervisor
  • Program Technician
  • Research Technician
  • Shift or Production Supervisor
  • Structures Specialist
  • Territory Aftermarket Manager
  • Territory Sales Manager
  • Technical Service Representative

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 Society: Promotes the high ideals of the engineering profession, to give recognition to those agricultural and biological engineers who manifest worthy qualities of character, scholarship, and professional attainment, and to encourage and support such improvements in the Agricultural Engineering profession as will make it an instrument of greater service mankind.
    • Alpha Zeta: Agricultural Honorary Fraternity

Related Skills:

  • Ability to analyze engineering problems related to agriculture and processing and to organize a systematic approach to their solution;
  • Ability to design, apply and use specialized equipment, machines, structures, materials, procedures, and operational systems for the agricultural, bioprocessing and food industries;
  • Knowledge of and appreciation for physical properties, biological variables, biochemical characteristics, atmospheric phenomena, plant-soil-water relationships, animal/plant response to the environment, and human factors related to engineering problems in agriculture, broadly defined;
  • Understanding of and appreciation for the impact of engineering on our renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy, environment, and society; and
  • Sense of responsibility for solving engineering problems of significant benefit to our society.

Further Information:

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

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Technical Systems Management.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Technical Systems Management.  These organizations include American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, IEEE and National Academy of the Sciences.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Technical Systems Management, visit Undergraduate Programs.