Biological Systems Engineering

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS in Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering (30-36 cr, Option I, II, or III) with optional specialization:
  • PhD in Biological Engineering (90 cr) with optional specialization:
    • Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering
    • Environmental Studies
    • Water Resources Planning and Management
  • MS in Mechanized Systems Management (30-36 cr, Option I, II, or III) with optional specialization:
    • Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Minor in College STEM Education with any graduate degree program, subject to approval (apply to degree program, add minor after enrolling)
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

  • Biological Engineering
  • Bioenergy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioprocess Engineering
  • Ecosystems Engineering
  • Engineering Education
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Mechanized Systems Management
  • Site-Specific Crop Management
  • Test Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Biological Systems Engineering

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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Biological Systems Engineering

Graduate Chair
Dr. Mark Wilkins

Graduate Secretary
Amanda Lager-Gleason

Campus Address
209 L.W. Chase Hall
Lincoln NE 68583-0730

Promo image for Biological Systems Engineering

Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

2. Required by Biological Systems Engineering

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 80, IELTS 6.5
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Letter of interest

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Biological Systems Engineering
  • For Financial Consideration: January 15 for Fall. January 15 for Summer.
  • Otherwise: Rolling Admissions.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. Our academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years.


The Department of Biological Systems Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science in agricultural and biological systems engineering and mechanized systems management. The department also offers a Ph.D. in biological engineering with specialization options in water resources planning and management, water resources engineering, and environmental studies. The department also cooperates in Master of Science programs in environmental engineering and the unified Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.

Graduate study may be directed toward agricultural power and machinery systems, animal waste management, animal well-being, biomedical engineering, bioprocessing, computer applications, control systems, decision support systems, environmental engineering, food process engineering, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, ground and surface water management, irrigation system design, materials handling and processing systems, monitoring and controlling biological systems, plant environment, risk assessment, soil and water conservation, solid and hazardous waste management, water quality, and other areas of engineering science and design.

Students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment. These facilities include 15 laboratories in L. W. Chase Hall, Splinter Laboratories Building, and IAPC Pilot Plant. Field research sites in Nebraska include the Rogers Memorial Farm and Agricultural Research and Development Center in Lincoln; Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord, Nebraska; and Research and Extension Centers at North Platte and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Together these facilities capture the wide range of climate, soil, and cropping systems that exist in the state.

Courses and More

Faculty and research

Where available, names link to bios or homepages and contact card icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Greg Bashford

Cerebral Hemodynamics and Emboli Detection during Pediatric Cardiac Surgery; Ultrasound Micromorphology Analysis of Achilles Tendon

Tami Brown-Brandl

Livestock Environment

Heidi Diefes-Dux

Engineering Education; Development, Implementation, and Assessment of Authentic Engineering Activities in Undergraduate Settings; Translation of Current Technical Research Outputs to K-16 Classrooms

Bruce Dvorak

Small System Drinking Water Issues; Applied Pollution Prevention

Dean Eisenhauer

Hydrologic and Irrigation Engineering; Infiltration; Overland and Vadose Zone FlowProfessor Emeritus

Thomas Franti

Surface Water Quality Engineering; Surface Water Management

Yufeng Ge

Imaging and Spectroscopic Analysis; Agricultural Remote Sensing; Spatial and Geostatistical Analysis; High Throughput Plant Phenotyping

John Gilley

Soil and Water Conservation Engineering; Land Application of Manure; Surface Hydrology and Water QualityAdjunct Faculty

Troy Gilmore

Groundwater Hydrology; Groundwater Quality; Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction

Derek Heeren

Irrigation Engineering and Management; Variable Rate Irrigation; Vadose Zone Hydrology

Roger Hoy

Machine Performance

Sibel Irmak

Chemical and Thermochemical Processing of Lignocellulosics; Biodegradable Polymers; Advanced Oxidation Processes and Catalysts

Suat Irmak

Soil and Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering; Crop Water Productivity; Evapotranspiration; Measurement and Modeling of Soil Water Dynamics

Nicole Iverson

Biomedical Engineering; Nanotechnology; Biological Sensors; Disease Development and Resistance; Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species

David Jones

Risk Assessment and Modeling

Deepak Keshwani

Bioenergy Systems; Bioprocess Modeling and Optimization; Biochemical Conversion of Cellulosic Biomass

Jennifer Keshwani

Biomedical Engineering; Biomaterials

Forrest Kievit

Developing nanoparticle-based delivery vehicles for transport into the brain for more effective brain cancer and brain injury treatments; Nanoparticle-mediated delivery of nucleic acids into brain tumors

Michael Kocher

Testing of Tractor Performance; Hydraulic System Analysis and Design; Testing of Agricultural Equipment Performance; Logistics and Economics of Agricultural Field Operations; Agricultural Equipment Design; Development of Instrumentation Systems for Agricultural Equipment

Richard Koelsch

Whole Farm Nutrient Management; Odor Control from Livestock Systems

William Kranz

Irrigation Engineering

Adam Liska

Biofuels; Life Cycle Assessment; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Soil Carbon Modeling

Joe Luck

Precision Agriculture; Sensors and Controls

Derrel Martin

Irrigation and Water Resources Engineering

Tiffany Messer

Emerging Sensor Technologies; Hydrologic and Stable Isotope Tracer Techniques; Nutrient, Pesticide, and Emerging Contaminant Fate and Transport; Ecosystem Restoration; Restoration Assessments of Ecosystem Services

George Meyer

Machine Vision; Electrical Optical Sensors; Thermal and Spectral Analysis for Plant Detection, Identification, Enumeration, Physiological Properties and Stress Applied to Both Field and Greenhouse Site Specific Crop Management

Amy Millmier Schmidt

Livestock Manure Management; Fate and Transport of Environmental Contaminants

Aaron Mittelstet

Watershed Modeling; Surface/Ground Water Interaction; Water Quality; Streambank Erosion

Francisco Munoz-Arriola

Hydroinformatics; Integrated Hydrology; Water Resources; Hydrometeorological and Climate Forecast

Christopher Neale

Developing Remote Sensing Applications for Irrigated Agriculture, Hydrology and Natural Resources Monitoring

Lameck Odhiambo

Evapotranspiration Measurements and Modeling; Deficit Irrigation Strategies; Impact of Tillage Practices on Crop Water-Yield Relationships

Angela Pannier

Tissue Engineering of Growth Plate Cartilage; Gene Delivery to hMSCs; Gene Delivery in General; DNA Vaccination Particles

Santosh Pitla

Agricultural Robotics; Multi-Robot Systems; Machine Automation: Electro-Mechanical and Hydraulic Systems; Controller Area Network (CAN) Based Systems; Machine Data Analytics.

Xin Qiao

Irrigation Engineering

Mark Riley

Bioprocess Engineering and Biosensors; Detection of Pathogens in Drinking Water; Lung Cell Spectroscopy

Daran Rudnick

Irrigation Engineering

Amy Schmidt

Livestock Manure Management; Manure Impacts on Soil Health; Mitigating Contaminant Transfer from Livestock Systems; Livestock Production System Siting and Regulations; Mortality Management

Yeyin Shi

Data management in precision agriculture; Applications of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in agriculture; Crop abiotic and biotic stress sensing; High-throughput phenotyping

Hyun-Seob Song

Computational Biologist in Analytical and Computational Methods for Interactions between Host Factors, Nutritional Factors, and the Microbiome in Health and Disease

Richard Stowell

Animal Housing Systems; Odor and Gas Emissions; Heat Stress Abatement

Rebecca Wachs

Biomaterials to Treat Low Back Pain and Osteoarthritis; Tissue Engineering of Intervertebral Disc and Cartilage; Controlled Release of Biomolecules

Curtis Weller

Food and Bioproducts Engineering; Value-Added Processing; Biopolymeric Films

Mark Wilkins

Food and Bioproducts Engineering; Fermentation; Biomass Processing; Enzymatic Reactions

Wayne Woldt

Groundwater Engineering and Management; Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment; Odor Management

Yiqi Yang

Biobased Materials; Chemistry and Engineering of Polymers and Textiles

Aaron Yoder

Agricultural Safety and Health

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Biological Systems Engineering.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Kurt Mueller.