Home < Schools, Colleges, and Programs < College of Agricultural and Life Sciences < Degrees, Majors, and Certificate Programs < Biological Systems Engineering

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Biological Systems Engineering

Requirements for the Major
Courses

115 Agricultural Engineering Building, 460 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3310; bse.wisc.edu

Professors Straub (chair), Anex, Bohnhoff, Choi, Gunasekaran, Hanna, Holmes, Kammel, Muck, Ralph, Reinemann, Shutske, Shinners, Associate Professors Karthikeyan, Pan, Thompson; Assistant Professors Larson, Runge

The biological systems engineering program is a professional program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science–Biological Systems Engineering jointly granted by the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. A student may specialize in food and bioprocess engineering, natural resources and environmental engineering, machinery systems engineering, and structural systems engineering. It is intended for students interested in engineering as applied to all aspects of  food and fiber production and biologically related engineering applications.

To be admitted to the degree-granting designation of ABE (biological systems engineering), a student must have:

  1. A minimum of 24 degree credits
  2. A minimum of 17 credits of calculus, statistics, chemistry, computer science, statics and physics courses required for an engineering degree. These credits must include Math 222.
  3. A grade point average of at least 2.50 for all math courses 217 and above, statistics courses 224 and above, chemistry (all courses), computer science (302 and above), EMA 201, and physics courses 201 and above. For any course that a student repeats, only the most recent grade will be used in the calculation.  Any transfer course from another university that is included in the previous list must be included in the GPA calculation.
  4. A grade point average of at least 2.00 for all courses not included in requirement 3.
  5. Successful completion of introductory chemistry (Chem 103/104 or 109 or equivalent); EMA 201; math through Math 222; and either InterEGR 101 or 160 or another first year seminar course from the approved list. (The introduction course may be waived for transfer students).

Requirements for the Major

Required Courses

The BSE program requires completion of a minimum of 125 credits to be eligible for graduation. Note that this is higher than the minimum for other CALS programs.

Mathematics and Statistics (16 cr)

This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus. Refer to the Course Guide for information about calculus prerequisites.

Math 221
Math 222
Math 234
Stat 224 or 324

Chemistry (5–9 cr)

Chem 109, or Chem 103 and 104*
*Taking the combination of Chem 103 and 104 (9 cr) instead of Chem 109 (5 cr) may increase the total minimum number of credits required for graduation.

Biology (6–8 cr)

BSE 349
Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 or Zoology 153 or Biology/Botany 130 or Biology/Zoology 101 or Microbio 101 or 303* or biological science course as approved by advisor**
*Microbio 101 or 303 required for Food & Bioprocess Engineering specialization.
**Credits taken above 3 to meet this requirement may be counted under Category D of the technical elective section.

Physics (8 cr)

EMA 201
Physics 202

Foundation (11 cr)

Comp Sci 310 (preferred) or CBE 255 or Civ Engr/GLE 291
Acct I S/I SYE 313 [preferred] or ME 314 or Acct I S 300 or Econ/Finance 300
ME 170 or 231

Core (11 cr)

BSE 249 or CBE 250*
BSE 309
BSE 364
BSE 365
*Students selecting the Food & Bioprocess Engineering option who plan to enroll in the CBE 310, 320, 326 sequence must take CBE 250 here as a prerequisite. Students selecting the Food & Bioprocess Engineering option who plan to enroll in the M E 361, 363, 364 sequence are recommended to take BSE 249 here.

Specialization within the Major

Choose the General Program or a Specialization, below.

General Program (15–22 cr)
EMA 202 or ME 240
ME 361 or CBE 310*
ME 363 or Civ Engr 310 or BME/CBE 320*
ME 364 or CBE 326*
EMA 303 or ME 306
Minimum of four courses from:  BSE 201, 351, 356, 367, 372, 441, 460, 461, 472, 473, 475, 476, 542, 571, 642
*Take BSE 249 and the ME 361, ME 363 and ME 364 sequence, or take CBE 250 and the CBE 310, CBE 320 and CBE 326 sequence.

Food & Bioprocess Engineering Specialization (Take all of the following courses and all of the courses for either the Food Engineering track or the Bioprocess Engineering track)
Chem 341 (preferred) or 343
ME 361 or CBE 310*
ME 363 or BME/CBE 320*
ME 364 or CBE 326*
*Take BSE 249 and the ME 361, ME 363 and ME 364 sequence, or take CBE 250 and the CBE 310, CBE 320 and CBE 326 sequence

Food Engineering Track (33-35 credits when combined with above courses)
Food Sci/Microbio 325
Food Sci 410
Food Sci 432
Food Sci 532
BSE/Food Sci/ME 441
BSE/Food Sci 542 or BSE 461
One BSE breadth course from the following list: BSE 351, 356, 367, 372, 460, 472, 473, 475, 476, 571

Bioprocess Engineering Track (24–26 credits when combined with above courses.)
Microbio 102 or 304
Biochem 501
BSE 367
BSE 460
BSE 461
One BSE breadth course from the following list: BSE 351, 356, 372, 441, 472, 473, 475, 476, 571

Structural Systems Engineering Specialization (25–28 cr)
BSE 351
BSE/DS/Land Arc 356
ME 361
Civ Engr 310 or ME 363
ME 364
BSE 201
Civ Engr 340
EMA 202 or ME 240
EMA 303 or ME 306
One BSE breadth course from the following list: BSE 367, 372, 441, 460, 461, 472, 473, 475, 476, 542, 571, 642

Natural Resources and Environment Specialization (22–25 cr)
BSE/Civ Engr/Soil Sci 372
BSE 472
BSE 473
BSE 571
ME 361
Civ Engr 310 or ME 363
BSE 201
EMA 303 or ME 306
Soil Sci 301 or Envir St/Geog/Soil Sci 230
One BSE breadth course from the following list: BSE 351, 356, 367, 441, 460, 461, 475, 476, 542, 642

Machinery Systems Engineering Specialization (30-32 cr)
BSE/ME 475
BSE/ME 476
EMA 202 or ME 240
ME 306
EMA/ME 307
ME 313
ME 331
ME 340
ME 342
ME 361
ME 363
One BSE breadth course from the following list: BSE 351, 356, 367, 372, 441, 460, 461, 472, 473, 542, 571, 642

Technical Electives

Select courses from one or more of the following four technical elective categories to bring the total number of credits in the General Program Area or in the selected specialization area to 44. See the BSE Undergraduate Student Handbook for a list of recommended technical electives for various areas of specialization.

A. Introduction to Engineering Course: Inter-Egr 101 (1), 102 (2), or 160 (3). For freshmen only.

B. Independent Study/Instruction Courses: CALS or CoE courses with a 001, 299, 399, or 699 course number.  No more than 3 credits of coursework in this category can be used to meet technical elective requirements.

C. Part 1. Upper-Level Engineering Courses: Engineering courses with a 300 or greater course number. This includes BSE courses not taken to meet other curricular requirements. This does not include independent study/instruction courses.

Part 2. Upper-Level Science Courses: Advanced biological, natural and physical science courses (i.e. courses with a B, N or P designation). This includes BSE courses not taken to meet other curricular requirements.  This does not include independent study/instruction courses.

D. Lower-Level Science and Engineering Courses, Breadth Courses: Elementary and intermediate biological, natural and physical science courses except elementary and intermediate math courses; College of Engineering courses with a 100 or 200 level designation; College of Agricultural and Life Sciences courses, Institute of Environmental Studies courses, and/or School of Business courses. Independent study/instruction courses cannot be counted in this category. No more than 12 credits of coursework in this category can be used to meet technical elective requirements.

Capstone (4 cr)

BSE 409
BSE 509
Fundamentals of Engineering Exam Required*
*Grades for BSE 509 will not be posted until proof of examination is presented.