Engineering Agricultural Engineering

Quick points
Attribute Value
College: Engineering
Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering
Hours Required: 133
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.4 for graduation
Minor Available: No
  1. Intro

Agricultural Engineering

COLLEGE: Engineering

MAJOR: Agricultural Engineering

DEGREE OFFERED: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering


MINIMUM CUMULATIVE GPA: 2.4 for graduation




Department of Biological Systems Engineering

Head: Mark Riley

Professors: Dvorak, Hoy, Irmak, Jones, Koelsch, Kranz, Martin, Meyer, Weller, Woldstad, Yang, Yoder

Associate Professors: Bashford, Franti, D. Keshwani, Kocher, Liska, Othman, Pannier, Stowell, Subbiah, Woldt

Assistant Professors: Ge, Gilmore, Haghverdi, Heeren, Iverson, J. Keshwani, Luck, Mittlestet, Munoz-Arriola, Pitla, Rudnick, Schmidt

Assistant Professor of Practice: Mabie

Lecturer: Heithold


Agricultural engineering (AGEN) is one of two engineering degree programs offered in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. AGEN students emphasize course work in one of three engineering areas; machine design, test, or soil and water resources. Thus, some agricultural engineers are involved in the analysis and design of field machinery systems and machine components through study of the principles of mechanical design, joining techniques, hydraulics, controls, ergonomics, and safety. Others are evaluating machine or mechanical system functional performance based on study of test procedure standards, measurements, data acquisition, electronic communication and statistics, and practical experience gained at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. Still others are analyzing and designing soil and water management-related infrastructure as aided through study of irrigation, drainage, erosion and runoff control techniques, crop tillage and cultivation practices and natural resources management. Job opportunities for graduates are available in industry, public agencies, consulting, and private practice.

By two to six years after graduation, AGEN graduates (whether they are involved in machine design, product and performance testing, soil and water resources, or other professional endeavors such as business or law) will be:

  • applying their unique educational backgrounds in agricultural engineering by providing appropriate solutions to problems and adding value to the research, development, and design processes encountered in a variety of work environments;
  • considering systems as a whole when solving problems, looking beyond components and subsystems individually;
  • confidently using the necessary elements of mathematics, statistics, physical science, engineering, computer-based measurement and analysis tools and current literature in solving problems and providing design solutions;
  • successfully integrating technical knowledge with organizational, listening, communication, and interpersonal skills to lead and work effectively in teams, and to respectfully articulate the role of engineering decisions in the workplace, community, and world;
  • responsibly addressing issues such as health and safety, personal and professional ethics, cultural diversity, as well as the social, environmental, and global impacts of their work; and
  • continuing their personal growth, professional development, and professional and community service, through various opportunities provided by institutions, professional organizations and other venues.

The Department of Biological Systems Engineering is located in Chase Hall on East Campus. AGEN students participate in classes and laboratories on both the East and City Campuses. AGEN courses are offered on the East Campus. Basic courses in math, chemistry, physics, engineering, computers, and electives in mechanical, civil, electrical, industrial, and chemical engineering are taken on the City Campus. Convenient bus transportation is available between campuses.

Students benefit from small classes and personal acquaintances with faculty. In consultation with their advisor, students select electives that permit specialization in an emphasis area applicable to their career aspirations. Many students work part-time on departmental research projects, gaining valuable experience for graduate study and future employment. Students also benefit from summer jobs, internships and co-op programs. These opportunities give students practical experience to learn about careers in engineering. Students also gain valuable experience through participation in professional organizations such as the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the Soil and Water Resources Club, the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers and the Society for Women Engineers.


Pre-professionally admitted COE students majoring in agricultural engineering (AGEN) have their records examined for advancement to professionally admitted status during the fall, spring, and summer immediately following the term in which 43 or more credits applicable to the AGEN degree have been completed. Students must be professionally admitted in order to enroll in AGEN 470/BSEN 470.

To be professionally admitted to AGEN, the student must first meet the general professional admission criteria of the College of Engineering (i.e., completion of at least one semester in the College, a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater, and not having been already declined admission by two other engineering majors). AGEN professional admission criteria requires consistent grades of C or better in calculus, calculus-based physics, chemistry, communications, and engineering science courses. Specifically, the student must have completed MECH 223 and AGEN 225/BSEN 225 with grades of a C or better to gain professional admission to AGEN. In addition, the student must complete the AGEN/BSEN Writing Assessment Exam (i.e., Grammar Slammer) before professional admission is granted.

Students who meet the above criteria with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater with all grades above a C in UNL mathematics, science, engineering, and communications courses, and scoring 70 percent or higher on the AGEN/BSEN Writing Assessment Exam may be professionally admitted without further review by Department faculty. Students scoring less than 70 percent on the AGEN/BSEN Writing Assessment Exam must agree to a writing improvement plan with their academic advisor in order to be granted professional admission. Students not meeting the 3.0 GPA standard, or having grades below a C in the listed areas, will have their record reviewed by Department faculty for evidence of ability to succeed in AGEN. Under special circumstances, the Department may elect to defer professional admission for an additional term.

The Department faculty may recommend provisional admission and specify deficiencies and performance criteria to transition out of provisional status. If a student has not met the admission criteria and has not, in the opinion of the Department faculty demonstrated a minimum standard of good professional judgment in the pursuit of their academic program as expected of degreed engineers, they may be denied professional admission to the degree program. The student may appeal this decision to the BSE Department Head and then, if necessary, to the College of Engineering Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee.


Specific Major Requirements

First Semester

AGEN 100 Introduction to Biological Systems Engineering & Agricultural Engineering (BSEN 100)1

CHEM 109 General Chemistry I4

ENGR 10 Freshman Engineering Seminar0

MATH 106 Calculus I5

ACE Elective3

Select one course from not yet satisfied ACE outcomes 5, 6, 7, or 9.

Agricultural or Biological Sciences Elective3-4

Select from: AGRO 131, AGRO 153, BIOS 101, LIFE 120 & LIFE 120L


Second Semester

AGEN 112 Computer-Aided Problem-Solving (BSEN 112)2

CHEM 110 General Chemistry II4

MATH 107 Calculus II4

MECH 130 Introduction to CAD3

PHYS 211 General Physics I4


Third Semester

AGEN 225 Engineering Properties of Biological Materials (BSEN 225)3

ENGR 20 Sophomore Engineering Seminar0

MATH 208 Calculus III4

MECH 223 Engineering Statics3

MSYM 232 Power & Machinery Principles3

PHYS 212 General Physics II4


Fourth Semester

AGEN 212A Computational Tools & Modeling for Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering: MATLAB (BSEN 212A)1

AGEN 212B Computational Tools & Modeling for Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering: Control Systems (BSEN 212B)1

AGEN 212E Computational Tools & Modeling for Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering: LabVIEW (BSEN 212E)1

BSEN 206 Engineering Economics (CONE 206)3

JGEN 200 Technical Communication I3

MATH 221 Differential Equations3

MECH 200 Engineering Thermodynamics3

MECH 373 Engineering Dynamics3


Fifth Semester

MECH 321 Engineering Statistics & Data Analysis or MATH 380 Statistics & Applications (STAT 380)3

AGEN 324 Mechanics of Materials for Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering (BSEN 324)3

CIVE 310 Fluid Mechanics (MECH 310)3

AGEN Elective3

Select from:

AGEN 350 Soil & Water Resources Engineering (BSEN 350) (3 cr)

AGEN 441 Animal Waste Management (BSEN 441) (3 cr)

AGEN 443 Design of Light-Frame Structures (3 cr)

Oral Communication Elective3

Select from: ALEC 102, COMM 209, COMM 210, COMM 283, COMM 286, ENGR 100, GERM 303, JAPN 202, JGEN 300, RUSS 304, SPAN 303


Sixth Semester

AGEN 303 Principles of Process Engineering (BSEN 303)3

AGEN 325 Power Systems Design (BSEN 325)3

AGEN 344 Biological & Environmental Transport Processes (BSEN 344)3

ELEC 211 Elements of Electrical Engineering I3

ACE Elective3

Select one course from not yet satisfied ACE outcomes 5, 6, 7, or 9.

Emphasis Elective3


Seventh Semester

AGEN 424 Machine Design in Agricultural Engineering3

AGEN 453 Irrigation & Drainage Systems Engineering (BSEN 453)3

AGEN 460 Instrumentation & Controls (BSEN 460)3

AGEN 470 Design I in Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering (BSEN 470)1

Emphasis Elective3

ACE Elective3

Select one course from not yet satisfied ACE outcomes 5, 6, 7, or 9.


Eighth Semester

AGEN 480 Design II in Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering (BSEN 480)3

ENGR 400 Professional Ethics & Social Responsibilities1

ACE Electives3

Select one course from not yet satisfied ACE outcomes 5, 6, 7, or 9.

Emphasis Elective3

Emphasis Elective3

Organizational Skills Elective (See advisor list)3


Total Credit Hours Required133

AGEN Primary Emphasis Area Requirements

An emphasis area requires 9 hours.

Soil and Water Resources Engineering12

AGEN 350 Soil & Water Resources Engineering (BSEN 350)3

Select from:3

AGEN 441 Animal Waste Management (BSEN 441) (3 cr)

BSEN 455 Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Engineering (CIVE 455) (3 cr)

BSEN 458 Groundwater Engineering (CIVE 458) (3 cr)

Additional credits in engineering, math or science6

Machine Design Engineering12

MATH 314 Linear Algebra3

MECH 342 Kinematics & Dynamics of Machinery3

MECH 350 Introduction to Dynamics & Control of Engineering Systems3

Additional credits in engineering, math or science3

Test Engineering12

AGEN 431 Site-specific Crop Management (AGRO 431/MSYM 431)3

MSYM 433 Equipment & Tractor Testing3

Additional credits in engineering, math or science6


Grade Rules

C- and D Grades

A grade of C- or better is required for all agricultural engineering required courses and electives that are to count toward graduation, with the exception of ACE 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 electives.

Bulletin To Use

In addition to the “Bulletin Rule” of the College of Engineering, students transferring into the Department of Biological Systems Engineering must follow the bulletin in effect at the time of their transfer into the department.


College Admission

College Admission

College Entrance Requirements

Students must have high school credit for (one unit is equal to one high school year):

1. 4 units of mathematics: 2 of algebra, 1 of geometry, 1 of precalculus and trigonometry.

2. 4 units of English.

3. 3 units of natural science that must include 1 unit of physics and 1 unit of chemistry (chemistry requirement waived for students in construction management).

4. 2 units of a single foreign language.

5. 3 units of social studies.

6. Students having a composite ACT score of 28 or greater (or equivalent SAT score) will be admitted to the College of Engineering even if they lack any one of the following: trigonometry, chemistry, or physics.

7. Students having an ACT score of 19 or less in English (or equivalent SAT score) must take ENGL 150 or ENGL 151.

A total of 16 units is required for admission.

Students must have an ACT (enhanced) score of 24 or greater (or equivalent SAT). Students who lack entrance requirements may be admitted based on ACT scores, high school rank and credits, or may be admitted to pre-engineering status in the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center. Pre-engineering students are advised within the College of Engineering.

Students for whom English is not their language of nurture must meet the minimum English proficiency requirements of the University.

Students who lack entrance units may complete precollege training by Independent Study through the UNL Office of On-line and Distance Education, in summer courses, or as a part of their first or second semester course loads while in the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center or other Colleges at UNL.

Students should consult their advisor, their department chair, or the Office of the Dean if they have questions on current policies.

Other Admission Requirements

Students who transfer to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from other accredited colleges or universities and wish to be admitted to the College of Engineering (COE) must meet COE freshman entrance requirements and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 for Nebraska residents or 3.0 for non-residents. Students not meeting either of these requirements must enroll in the Explore Center or another UNL college until they meet COE admission requirements.

The COE accepts courses for transfer for which a C or better grade was received. Although UNL accepts D grades from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and at Omaha, not all majors in the COE accept such low grades. Students must conform to the requirements of their intended major and, in any case, are strongly encouraged to repeat courses with a grade of C- or less.

All transfer students must adopt the curricular requirements of the undergraduate bulletin current at the time of transfer to the COE—not that in use when they entered UNL. Upon admission to UNL, students wishing to pursue degree programs in the COE will be classified and subject to the policies defined in the subsequent section.

College Degree Requirements

Grade Rules

Grade Appeals

In the event of a dispute involving any college policies or grades, the student should appeal to his/her instructor, and appropriate department chair or school director (in that order). If a satisfactory solution is not achieved, the student may appeal his/her case through the College Academic Appeals Committee on his/her campus.

Bulletin Rule

Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the bulletin for the academic year in which they are first admitted at UNL. In consultation with advisors, a student may choose to follow a subsequent bulletin for any academic year in which they are admitted to and enrolled as a degree-seeking student at UNL in the College of Engineering. Students must complete all degree requirements from a single bulletin year. The bulletin which a student follows for degree requirements may not be more than 10 years old at the time of graduation.


This is the site for old bulletin data. Please head to UNL's Course Catalog for updated course and program information.