Graduate Program Overview

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Our graduate program is one of the premier national programs in biological & agricultural engineering. Over the past few years, our department has had significant growth in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and biomedical engineering concentrations to expand our traditional agricultural and coastal engineering emphasis. The LSU Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering (BAE) is forging the way to the future in these fields.

An increasing number of young and active mid-level professors, winners of major national awards, work to continue to grow significant programs, garner large grants, and author excellent articles and books. Some of the best students in the country join our program; we recently welcomed students with NSF fellowships, Board of Regents fellowships, and Diversity (ETD) fellowships. LSU’s BAE program is an excellent choice for graduate students interested in working with some of the finest scientists and engineers in their fields as well as enjoying the unique culture and cuisine Louisiana has to offer. We invite interested students to come build relationships with our faculty, staff, and students who are changing the world for the better.

The LSU Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering offers graduate programs at the Master and PhD levels. The Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering is a departmental program, while the department also cooperates with the College of Engineering in offering interdisciplinary Master and PhD degrees in Engineering Science with Biological and Agricultural Engineering as the major area of study. 

Program Objectives

The program educational objectives include producing graduates who

  • have strong fundamental engineering skills, technical knowledge, and professional and personal skills to effectively practice engineering in biological systems (plants, animals, humans, microbes and their environments) with demonstrated proficiency;
  • address current and future challenges in biological engineering through life-long learning, professional and ethical contributions to society, and sustained accomplishment;
  • and obtain graduate and/or professional degrees at notable universities in biological and agricultural engineering, biomedical engineering, medicine, law, business, or other related disciplines.

These program educational objectives are consistent with our departmental mission statement and the College of Engineering mission. 

The Master of Science Degree Program

The Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering is offered in both thesis and non-thesis options. Eighteen months is the usual time required for completion of the MS degree. Thesis options require 24 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 Doctor of Philosophy Program

The PhD program typically requires three years of work beyond the master's degree, including a minimum of 42 hours of approved course work beyond the bachelor's degree, at least half of which must be engineering courses and at least 12 hours in Biological Engineering, and a dissertation based on original research. Student programs are guided by a major professor from the department and a committee of at least two additional graduate faculty members. PhD 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 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.

Visit our PhD in Biological Engineering page or contact the graduate coordinator Dr. Cristina Sabliov for more details and further information.

Admission Requirements

Unconditional admission to these graduate programs requires

  • a Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a foreign institution (Consult international degree requirements to see the level of study expected of applicants prior to enrollment at LSU),
  • a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 (A = 4.0) on all undergraduate work (or in the final 64 credit hours) and any graduate work already completed,
  • 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. However, an undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 and GRE score of 1000 are the minimum basic requirements.

International student undergraduate records will be evaluated by the graduate school on the same basis as U.S. citizens'. All applicants (international and domestic) to LSU graduate degree programs are strongly encouraged to provide a course-by-course evaluation of all foreign credentials. Foreign credentials refer to transcripts from educational institutions outside the United States. The LSU Graduate School will accept foreign credential evaluations from any current member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) with a course-by-course evaluation and grade point average (GPA) included. For a list of all current members, please visit their website ( Although using a NACES-member organization is not a requirement, applicants should understand that it may take longer to conduct the evaluation if it must be done by LSU staff, which may result in delayed admissions decisions.
International students, if English is not their native language, must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of 213/550 on the TOEFL is required for admission and 215/550 for consideration for an assistantship. Visit the ESL Program for more information.

The Master of Science program 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 PhD 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.


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.

Cristina M. Sabliov, Ph.D., P.E., Graduate Coordinator

Richard R. & Betty S. Fenton Alumni Professor