Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Major Description

The Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) major integrates life and engineering for the enhancement of systems involving agriculture, food, energy, water, and the environment. The program that combines fundamental engineering skills with understanding and the ability to design complex systems in some of the world’s areas of greatest need. We prepare you to create abundant and safe supplies of food, feed, water, and energy; to design healthier, more sustainable indoor and outdoor environments; and to develop new technology at both micro and macro levels. Our graduates are equipped to analyze data and manage information for complex systems. In a world with finite resources and nearly 7.5 billion people, these are skills that are valued on both local and global scales.



Students will choose a concentration during their sophomore or junior year.


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.

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.

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

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
Further Information:

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