Graduate work in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) leads to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees. Graduates of our program create and study new methods of using and conserving the natural resources across the world. Career opportunities include positions in industry, consulting firms, government agencies, and educational institutions.
Graduate training prepares students for academic and industry positions that focus on the sustainable use of the world’s biological and natural resources. Graduate students may choose to specialize in a wide variety of areas including soil and water engineering and power and machinery.
The department offers students an opportunity to undertake research and advanced study in the many different fields involving biological systems. Research positions are available with our faculty, giving students the ability to explore the Wisconsin Idea for themselves. The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides a quality of education second to none, as expected from a world-class university.
"Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found."1894 Report of the UW Board of Regents
Master of Science
Two options are available for the Master’s degree in BSE: a thesis option and a non-thesis option (i.e., an independent study) program. If your objective is to pursue a Ph.D. degree or a research-oriented career, you are strongly encouraged to select the thesis option. Graduate research assistantships are generally not awarded to students pursuing the non-thesis option. Students should select course work in consultation with and approval of the major professor.
Doctor of Philosophy
Students in the doctor of philosophy degree program are concerned with advancement of knowledge through cutting edge research and scholarly activity. The doctor of philosophy degree normally requires a minimum of 42-54 course credits beyond the bachelors degree and the completion of an acceptable dissertation. The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original and significant contribution to the biological and agricultural engineering profession.
For any questions about BSE’s graduate program and admissions, please contact:
Julie Garvin, Student Services Coordinator
125 Agricultural Engineering Building
460 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-2239
Graduate Student Resources
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The BSE Graduate Guide includes degree overviews, requirements, policies, and more.
Mental and Physical Health Resources
BSE’s Mental and Physical Health Resources contains resources for mental health support, physical health resources, support and rights of victims, and methods of reporting violence, harassment, and discrimination.
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- General Information
- Cost of Attendance
- International Cost of Attendance
- Graduate assistantships
- Assistantships are often available for both Masters and Doctoral students on a competitive basis on specific research projects. These assistantships waive tuition, however segregated fees apply to all students. The request for assistantship should be included with the application. Research assistantships for Master’s degree candidates are limited to four semesters plus two summer sessions; for Ph.D. candidates, six semesters plus three summer sessions.
Graduate Student Performance Review form
Once per year, BSE asks that graduate students and their advisors conduct a performance review using this form so that students may see how they are progressing and what areas they need to improve in.
You may order your transcript from the university using the registrar’s website.