Biosystems Engineering (B.S.)

FAST FACTS ›

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Our faculty and students conduct research that addresses major issues that challenge our planet’s sustainability.
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. 

CLASSES.

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 programs and discover which major fits your personal interests and talents.

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 Bioprocessing 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 B.S. course work toward your M.S. in biosystems engineering, environmental engineering or bioengineering.

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!

Internships and Research Projects:

RESEARCH:
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.
CO-OP:
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.
CREATIVE INQUIRY:
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.

Connect with Other Students:

CAREERS.

What are students doing at graduation?*

64%

Employed

36%

Grad School

0%

Seeking Employment

0%

Other

Where are students headed at graduation?*

Recent employers and job titles*

  • AMEC — Ecological Services
  • Myriant Technologies, Inc. — Bioprocess Engineer
  • Fulbright Scholarship — Research in Uganda

Recent graduate schools and sought degree types*

  • Georgia Tech — Ph.D., Environmental Engineering
  • Johns Hopkins University — Ph.D., Environmental Engineering
  • Colorado State University — Ph.D., BioEnergy Engineering

Common Career Areas**

  • Bioprocess Engineering
    • Biofuels (Biodiesel, Ethanol, etc.)
    • Processing/Bioseparation of Materials 
    • Treatment System Design/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/Monitoring Hydrologic Phenomena
    • Protecting Water Resources from Waste-Management Operations
  • Machinery Systems and Controls
    • Collection/Use of Spatial Information
      • GPS
      • GIS
    • Sensor Development/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
*Numbers based on responses from 14 of 18 graduates from May 2012. Provided by the department.
**Used w/permission from Univ. 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