University of Wisconsin–Madison
Graduate students work on an experiment in the Stock Pavilion

General Program Option

The General Program Option is for students who are interested in a combination of the other specialization areas or are interested in an area outside of the options offered. Examples of other specialization areas include aquaculture engineering, forest engineering, and biomaterials engineering. Although the Food and Bioprocess Engineering specialization provides an ideal curriculum for students interested in biofuels processing, some students interested in related areas of bioenergy production may choose the General Program Option instead.

Students enrolled in the General Program Option must have their “planned course of study” approved by their BSE department faculty advisor. The primary objective of this review is to check that the planned course of study meets the requirements of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. A secondary objective of the advisor’s review is to recommend any adjustments that could provide for a more cohesive and/or scholarly plan of study.

Students who complete the requirements of one of the offered specialization areas will have that area of specialization identified on their official transcript. There is no such identification on the transcript of a student enrolled in the General Program Option.

Where might I work?

Due to the flexibility of the General Program Option, graduates take positions in many different areas, including:

  • Analysis Engineer – Kuhn North America
  • Design Engineer – John Deere Ottumwa Works
  • Environmental Engineer – Eder Associates
  • Innovations Engineer – Case New Holland
  • Landfill Manager – Superior Services, Inc.
  • Manufacturing Engineer – Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation
  • New Product Development Engineer – Ford Motor Company
  • Process Development Engineer – M&M/Mars
Oscar Mayer, Kuhn, US Forest Service, Ford, John Deere, CASE IH, and Mars logos

What is a typical starting salary?

  • Typical starting salaries are different from area to area, but generally vary from $50,000 to $70,000.

For salary information, visit the CALS Graduate Salary Survey results.

Checklist and Roadmap

For more specific degree requirements, visit the General Program Option Checklist and Roadmap.

Download this page as a PDF brochure.