Graduate Degree Program

Steven Hall, Thomas, Daniel L., Singleton, Angela S.  |  5/30/2006 7:39:45 PM

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The LSU Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering offers graduate programs at the master's and Ph.D. levels. The Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering is a departmental program. The department cooperates with the College of Engineering in offering interdisciplinary master's and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Science with Biological and Agricultural Engineering as the major area of study. 

The Master of Science Degree Programs:

Two master's degree programs leading to the Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering or the Master of Science in Engineering Science are offered in both thesis and non-thesis options. Eighteen months is the usual time required for completion of the M.S. degree. Thesis options require 30 hours of course work beyond the bachelor's and a publishable thesis. Non-thesis options require 36 hours beyond the bachelor's and a project. A guide for students pursuing master's degrees that describes the detailed requirements and a chronological guide is available.

The Ph.D. Program:

The program typically requires three years of work beyond the master's degree, including a minimum of 54 hours of approved course work beyond the bachelor's degree, 27 hours of which must be engineering courses, and a dissertation based on original research. Student programs are guided by a major professor from the department and a committee of four or five other graduate faculty members. Ph.D. students (with the help of a major professor) are expected to make most of the decisions concerning course work, research, and selection of committee members. A guide for students pursuing a doctoral program describing the detailed requirements and a chronological guide are also available.

To assure breadth in the program, two minor areas of concentration must be included in the course work. Minors may be from a degree-granting department (such as mechanical engineering, mathematics, or statistics) or from a recognized area of study (robotics, CAD, fluid dynamics, or aquacultural engineering). A representative from each minor area must be a member of the student's advisory committee. Usually the minors are used to support the student's total program -- a minor in statistics could be helpful in planning experiments; one in CAD could support a program requiring machine design; and one in hydrology could apply to a program in soil and water.

Admission Requirements:

Admission to the graduate program requires graduation from an accredited undergraduate institution, acceptable grades on all undergraduate and graduate work, satisfactory scores on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and three letters of recommendation from faculty with whom the prospective student has studied. Applicants who lack these qualifications may, under special circumstances, be admitted on a provisional or probationary basis. An undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 and GRE score of 1000 are the minimum basic requirements.

The undergraduate records of international students will be evaluated by the Graduate School on the same basis as U.S. citizens. International students (if English is not their native language) must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of 213/525 on the TOEFL is required for admission and 215/550 for consideration for an assistantship.

The Master of Science programs in Biological and Agricultural Engineering require a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or the equivalent of the required engineering courses in the undergraduate Biological and Agricultural Engineering curriculum. The Master of Science in Engineering Science allows entry from other engineering or science programs, although additional work may have to be taken to support the student's program, and half of the student's course work must be taken in the College of Engineering.

The Ph.D. program in Engineering Science will accept qualified students who have a bachelor's or master's degree in any of the engineering disciplines or who have a science degree and have also taken the basic engineering courses. In the latter case, the student must plan appropriate supporting course work with the aid of his or her committee.

Financial Assistance:

Research and teaching assistantships are available to qualified students on a competitive basis. Doctoral students may compete for Alumni Association or Board of Regents Graduate Fellowships paying $17,000 per year for four years. When available, half-time graduate assistantships for M.S. and Ph.D. students start at $14,000 for 12 months.


LSU has modern residence halls for graduate students. The University also maintains unfurnished two- and three-bedroom apartments. Additional information and application forms may be obtained from the Office of Residential Housing, 98 Garig Hall, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, (225) 578-8663.

There are many off-campus apartments near LSU with competitive rental rates. Free bus transportation is provided to campus from the major off-campus student living areas.

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