Biosystems Engineering

Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering


Hannah Brodhead
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-884-8796


Biosystems engineers design solutions to technical problems that involve a critical biological component. They apply skills to create products, processes and systems that improve life. Working at the link between engineering and biology, biosystems engineers are engaged in solving some of the most challenging problems of our time.

Our graduates can choose from a wide variety of job functions and application areas, including ecosystems protection, food safety, bioenergy, biosecurity and human health.

Biosystems engineers have skill sets that encompass biological sciences and engineering and take on issues that affect human health and well-being. For example, they develop systems that convert biological waste products into energy and other valuable products and resources. In the food industry, biosystems engineers design and manage manufacturing processes to ensure that food is free from food-borne pathogens. Biosystems engineers also design constructed wetlands to protect aquatic ecosystems. In the biomedical field, biosystems engineers work to improve methods for rapid detection of pathogens and disease diagnostics.

The bioenergy industry is a rapidly growing sector, and biosystems engineers are employed both by small firms that design and build custom bioenergy systems and by major energy corporations.

Entry into the biosystems major is through the College of Engineering. Students are admitted to the College of Engineering when they meet the following requirements:

  • Complete 12 credits at MSU, including six in mathematics, physical and biological sciences, engineering for freshmen and sophomores, and 10 credits in mathematics, physical and biological sciences, and engineering for juniors and seniors.
  • Complete required core courses: MTH 132 and 133 (>=2.0 GPA), CEM 141 or 151, PHY 183, and EGR 100 and 102.
  • Attain a 2.9 combination GPA for Biosystems Engineering.

Biosystems engineering majors may choose from four concentrations within the major:

  • Bioenergy engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Food engineering
  • Ecosystems engineering

Core areas of study

  • Engineering design and modeling
  • Thermodynamics and heat/mass transfer
  • Microbial Systems engineering
  • Engineering properties of biological materials
  • Life-cycle analysis and sustainability

Supporting discipline areas

  • Calculus and differential equations
  • General and organic chemistry
  • Physics
  • Cellular and molecular biology
  • Population biology

Career opportunities

Biosystems engineers are employed by a wide range of businesses and organizations that need engineers with expertise in biological systems at the nexus of food, energy and the environment. The food industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the United States and a top employer of our biosystems engineers. Environmentla consulting firms and government agencies hire biosystems engineers, particularly to work in areas of ecosystems protection and water quality.

Each year, nearly all biosystems engineering students secure jobs. In fact, 90 percent of our graduates are employed within 90 days of graduation. Some graduates attend graduate, law or medical school.

Study abroad opportunities

  • Australia
  • Central America
  • Sweden
  • Germany

Course listing

To read more about this major and the classes required for it, visit: