Jul 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biosystems Engineering Major, PhD

Graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy with a major in biosystems engineering is available to graduates of a recognized curriculum in engineering, mathematics, or one of the physical or biological sciences. Major focus areas of the program are machinery systems; environmental quality and resource conservation; instrumentation, sensor, and control systems; and bioprocessing. Depending upon the applicant’s academic background and interest area within the program, prerequisite courses may be required.

Concentration (Optional)

Energy Science and Engineering

Campus Code

Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures

  • To the Office of Graduate Admissions submit online application, application fee, official transcripts, and scores from the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The online application procedure will also direct the applicant to submit an updated resume, three letters of reference (or three Graduate Rating Forms) from persons capable of assessing the applicant’s suitability for graduate work, and a statement of professional goals, research interests, and reasons for applying (less than one page).
  • Students applying for admission into the doctoral program must submit evidence of ability to perform and report independent research to the satisfaction of the faculty of the department. An approved master’s thesis will usually be acceptable for this purpose.

Academic Standards

  • Each applicant will be advised about any prerequisite courses before entering a program. The student’s program of study must be approved by his/her advisory committee and must comply with the requirements of the Graduate Council.

Biosystems Engineering Major

Credit Hours Required

75 credit hours of approved graduate credit (beyond the baccalaureate degree) in biosystems engineering and supporting areas (engineering, computational methods, agricultural and biological sciences, and other related areas).

Required Courses

  • Of the 75 credit hours, 48 must be in courses numbered greater than 500 (including 24 credit hours of course BSE 600) and 6 credit hours of courses at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, numbered greater than 600. Other specific requirements for the minimum 75 credit hours are:
    • BSE 519 , BSE 619  and four other courses in biosystems engineering (BSE) (18 credit hours)
    • Mathematics (MATH), computer science (COSC), statistics (STAT), or any course containing appropriate computational components that may be approved by the department (9 credit hours)
    • Program electives, selected in consultation with the major professor and graduate committee (21 credit hours)
    • ESS 603  Seminar (1 credit hour), three times during the course of the program, the last of which must be in the student’s final semester before graduation (3 credit hours)
    • BSE 600  Doctoral Research and Dissertation (24 credit hours)

Non-Course Requirements

  • Each doctoral student must also pass a comprehensive examination as required by the Graduate Council.

Energy Science and Engineering (Optional) Concentration

This concentration is offered in collaboration with the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. The ESE program is a joint effort between the College of Engineering, other UTK colleges, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Credit Hours Required

  • 72 graduate credit hours
    • Completion of the core requirements
    • Minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework beyond the Bachelor of Science degree
    • Minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework beyond the Master of Science degree
      • Exclusive of credit for an MS thesis

Required Courses

  • BSE 600  Dissertation Research (24 credit hours)
  • Core Curriculum:
    • ESE 511  and ESE 512  (6 credit hours)
    • Knowledge Breadth Curriculum: Select one course from the following three areas (3 credit hours)
      • Political, social, legal, ethical, and security issues related to energy (e.g.,  POLS, PHYS, ESE)
      • Entrepreneurship, leadership, and management (e.g., IE, ME, MGT, ESE)
      • Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the Bredesen Center’s Director
    • Knowledge Specialization Curriculum: Select two courses from the following areas selected in consultation with the major professor and guidance committee (6 credit hours):
      • Bioenergy and biofuels (e.g., EEB, MICR, BCMB, CBE, LFSC, PLSC)
      • Cross-cutting energy sciences (e.g., MICR, ECE, CHEM, PHYS, MATH, STAT)
      • Distributed energy and grid management (e.g., ECE)
      • Energy conversion and storage (e.g., CBE, CHEM, ME, MSE, PHYS)
      • Energy materials (e.g., MSE, PHYS)
      • Environmental and climate sciences related to energy (e.g., GEOL, MICR, BCMB, EEB, ESS, FORS, GEOL, LFSC, MICR, PLSC, ENVE, FWF)
      • Nuclear energy (e.g., NE, CHEM, ME, PHYS)
      • Renewable energy (e.g., MATH, CBE, ENVE, ME, STAT)
      • Transportation sciences (e.g., CBE, CE, ECE,  ME)
      • Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the major professor or research advisor

Non-Course Requirements

  • No later than one year after entering the program, each student must take a qualifying examination to proceed in the PhD program and to engage in dissertation research.
  • Each doctoral student must also pass a comprehensive examination as required by the Graduate Council.