Expand mobile version menu

Agricultural Engineering

Program Description

Just the Facts

Agricultural Engineering. A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of systems, equipment and facilities for production, processing, storage, handling, distribution and use of food, feed, and fiber. Includes applications to aquaculture, forestry, human and natural resources.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

Check out related careers

Additional Information

Can you picture yourself working in a lab? Now, can you picture that lab being a barn? Agricultural engineering students strike a balance between academic study and practical fieldwork.

In a typical day, you might spend a few hours learning theories in the lab. Or you might take a field trip to a machine shop, hydroelectric generator plant or water treatment facility. It's all designed to expose students to the wide variety of industries they could pursue work in after graduation.

Some programs are actually called biosystems or bioresource engineering. That's because biology is playing a larger role in this field.

Students learn how to design buildings and environmental control systems, agricultural waste treatment systems and power equipment. You may decide to specialize in a field like hydroponics, which involves using fluid instead of soil to grow plants.

If you specialize in biotechnology, you could design bioprocessing systems, controls, bioreactors and equipment for the biotechnology industry.

Choosing the natural resources route could mean you'd be working on constructed wetland design or irrigation and drainage design.

A bachelor's degree usually takes four years to complete, but it can take longer for engineering students. This is because most engineering programs include co-op work terms where students go to work in the industry and receive a salary, work experience and academic credit. The co-op tends to add a year to most programs.

Once you have your bachelor's degree, you'll be eligible to register as a professional engineer.

The typical agricultural engineering student is a whiz in math and science. "Someone who likes hands-on experience as well as design, calculation and problem solving is well-suited," says R. Vance Morey. He's director of undergraduate studies and a professor of agricultural engineering and biosystems at the University of Minnesota.

Extracurricular activities that develop leadership skills may help you prepare for this program. "These can range from sports to theater to participation in math and science 'quiz bowls', etcetera," says Jim Leary. He is a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida. Science and agricultural clubs and fairs are also good experience.

There are all the usual costs of tuition and books. Sometimes there is also a computer use fee.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Agricultural Engineers

Educating about Agriculture
Ideas, resources, links and more

National Agriculture Day
Contests, event planning, resources and other ways to celebrate Ag Day in March

International Commission of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering
Keep up with news, events, and resources