Biosystems Engineering (B.S.)

ABOUT

Clemson’s biosystems engineering program is dedicated to studying the footprints our bright ideas may leave on the Earth and developing new designs to achieve our goals and minimize our ecological impact. Students may choose between two main paths of study that include sustainable bioprocess engineering, with its basis in microbiology, and ecological engineering, with its basis in ecology. The field focuses on the sustainable production of biorefinery compounds (biofuels, bioactive molecules and biomaterials) using metabolic pathways found in nature and green processing technologies. Further, biosystems engineering encompasses the design of sustainable communities utilizing low-impact development strategies (bioretention basins, rainwater harvesting) for stormwater retention and treatment — and ecologically sound food and energy-crop production. 

FAST FACTS

  • Our faculty and students conduct research that addresses major issues that challenge our planet’s sustainability.
  • We offer two emphasis areas for this major: bioprocess engineering and ecological engineering.
  • We offer a five-year plan to get your bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
  • Undergraduates can join many Creative Inquiry teams focusing on biodiesel plant operation, biohydrogen production, microbial fuel cells, algal biofuels and green infrastructure/low impact development.
  • All students planning to choose an engineering discipline will apply to Clemson as a general engineering major.

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

Freshmen who major in engineering at Clemson are initially admitted into our general engineering program, where you’ll have a year to explore many different engineering disciplines, meet faculty from each of our engineering departments and discover which major fits your personal interests and talents. On the admissions application, you will apply as a general engineering major.

A degree in biosystems engineering opens doors to vast career opportunities ranging from biofuel production to ecological design. To prepare you, classes include engineering science, life sciences and biosystems engineering in bioprocessing, biological kinetics, heat/mass transport, hydrology and ecological engineering.

Sustainable Bioprocess Engineering Emphasis: The sustainable bioprocessing engineering area focuses on the microbial conversion of compounds to high-value products using green processing techniques and recycling waste heat, water and nutrients. This area includes biorefinery design to produce biofuels, nutraceuticals, biomaterials, and extraction and separation of byproducts.

Ecological Engineering Emphasis: The ecological engineering track allows students to apply engineering and ecological principles to conserving and enhancing Earth’s resources. Students will learn ecological designs (permeable pavement, bioswales, green infrastructure) and how to integrate biological sustainability concepts into energy, water and food systems.

Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program: With this program, you can apply eight credits of your Bachelor of Science course work toward your Master of Science in biosystems engineering, environmental engineering or bioengineering.

Popular Minors

  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Mathematics
  • Languages
  • Sustainability
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

EXPERIENCES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

With biosystems engineering, almost every major-related class goes beyond the classroom. From collecting/identifying algae found in local lakes to learning how to operate a mobile biodiesel plant, plenty of hands-on experiences await you!

Our vibrant research community has numerous projects in which students may participate. Major research areas are sustainable biofuels production (biological hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol), ecosystem management and low impact development.
The biosystems engineering curriculum provides you with many experiential learning opportunities that are focused on laboratory skills, field sampling and assessment, fabrication, and engineering design.
Get involved in Clemson’s undergraduate research program, called Creative Inquiry. We currently have projects going on related to campus wastewater treatment and value-added co-products from biofuel waste products.
Put your classroom knowledge to work by spending alternate semesters working at a local industry and studying on campus as part of Clemson’s cooperative education program.
Clemson students have study abroad experiences across the globe every semester. As business becomes more global, experiencing and understanding other cultures is becoming more important every day.

AFTER GRADUATION

Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.

WHERE OUR RECENT GRADUATES HAVE GONE

KEY
  • 41-100%
  • 21-40%
  • 11-20%
  • 0-10%

RECENT EMPLOYERS

  • Technical Professional I - Environmental

    Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Stormwater Engineer

    Woolpert
  • Research Associate

    Algenol Biofuels
  • Bioprocess Engineer

    Myriant Technologies
  • STEM Public Policy Fellow

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

RECENT POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering

    University of Washington
  • Ph.D. Biosystems Engineering

    Clemson University
  • Ph.D. Biological Systems Engineering

    University of California at Davis

COMMON CAREER AREAS

  • Bioprocess Engineering
    • Biofuels (Biodiesel, Ethanol, etc.)
    • Processing and Bioseparation of Materials 
    • Treatment System Design and Operation
      • Municipal Wastewater
      • Solid Wastes
  • Soil and Water Conservation
    • Erosion and Sediment Control
      • Construction Sites
      • Reclaimed Mines
    • Stormwater Management
    • Hydrologic and Water Quality Phenomena
    • Measuring and Monitoring Hydrologic Phenomena
    • Protecting Water Resources from Waste-Management Operations
  • Machinery Systems and Controls
    • Collection and Use of Spatial Information
      • GPS
      • GIS
    • Sensor Development and Control of Equipment Using Sensors:
      • Crop and Process Yield Monitors
    • Instrumentation and Control Systems
    • Site-Specific Control of Machinery:

      • Agricultural Tillage
      • Seeding
      • Irrigation
      • Chemical Application Equipment
  • Biosystems Engineering
    • Natural Resources
    • Food Engineering
  • Education

Used with permission from the University of Tennessee.

FIND OUT MORE

Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

Christopher Porter

CES Undergraduate Recruitment Director
864-656-7870
cporter@clemson.edu