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Information for Prospective Graduate Students

A Top-Quality Program

The Purdue University Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is consistently ranked among the top in the nation. In fact, our graduate program has been ranked #1 by US News & World Report for the eighth consecutive year.

Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University

Graduate Program Deadline---December 1 each year.

All applications and supporting materials must be submitted by December 1 each year to be considered for admission into the MS or PhD graduate program. Early application is strongly encouraged. To be considered for Graduate Fellowships, applicants must submit all materials by the December 1 deadline.

Timetable below with key steps in the application and admissions process for the ABE graduate program:

Date Process Event
December 1 All application materials received by the Graduate School
Mid-December Review of applications by the ABE Graduate Committee
Mid- January Internal applicants—luncheon with ABE Faculty by invitation

External applicants—Interested Faculty conduct phone interviews with promising applicants

February Select applicants visit Purdue campus during the Graduate Research Symposium….at least one Faculty member should express interest in applicant.   By invitation only
Mid-March Notification of acceptance and offers of financial support
April 15 Applicants accept or reject offers
3rd week of August Admitted students arrive on campus for program orientation and start of semester

Degree Programs

We have master's and doctoral-level programs available in the following areas of specialization:

  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Agricultural Systems Management
  • Biological Engineering and Technology
  • Biological and Food Process Engineering
  • Ecological Sciences and Engineering
  • Fluid Power (Engineering)

Graduate Research Opportunities

Grad student conducting an experimentWithin the above degree programs our faculty teach and conduct research in the following broad areas:

  • Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Bioenergy
  • Biological Engineering
  • Environmental and Natural Resources
  • Fluid Power
  • Food Process Engineering
  • Food Safety
  • Machine Systems

In addition, we are a member department of Purdue's Ecological Sciences and Engineering interdisciplinary graduate program.

Excellent facilities and internationally-known faculty support approximately 110 graduate students per year.

We are always looking for outstanding students to join our innovative research programs.  Both Masters and PhD degrees are offered in a variety of fields.  To find out more about specific research opportunities, please contact individual faculty members, or browse the web site.

To learn more about the Purdue ABE graduate program, consult our Graduate Student Manual.


We welcome your application for admission to our graduate program.  In order to receive maximum consideration for financial support, your application and all supporting documentation should be received on or before the dates listed below:

Fall Summer preceding Fall Spring of following year
December 1 December 1 October 1

In order to receive maximum consideration for financial support, submit your application by the above dates.

For additional details on application requirements, see:

Submit your application online via the Graduate School’s application website (site available after 7/1/15).  For more information contact Nikki Zimmerman at (765) 494-1166.


Prestigious fellowships are available for outstanding graduate students who plan to complete a Ph.D. Nearly all graduate students in our department are supported by fellowships or research assistantships, which fund both Ph.D. and M.S. students. Research projects that fund assistantships change each year, so contact specific faculty (see below) to determine opportunities for which you may be qualified.

We encourage all applicants to complete the Fellowship Applicant Essay, which you can access and submit via the application website.

Please note the dates above (Applying) in order to receive maximum financial consideration.

Research Areas for Potential Graduate Students in Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Grain processing and milling, particle technology, particulate flow and materials handling, physical and chemical properties and correlation in food and feed materials, process modeling and simulation.
Irrigation Design and Management. Hydraulic network analysis using FEM. Irrigation scheduling. Expert Systems. Land and water resources planning. International development. Engineering education and administration.
Agricultural Systems Management Application of mobile technologies for information collection and management; forage and biomass harvest and handling; livestock feeding.
Food Process Engineering. Food Rheology. Food Extrusion, evaporation. Food processes simulation.
Surface Science of Materials by exploring and exploiting physical and chemical properties to establish surface-property-performance relationships of particles, composites and powders.
Ecohydrology and Ecological Engineering. Measurement and modeling of solute and sediment transport at various spatial/temporal scales, interaction of terrestrial and aquatic processes affecting water quality and linking these processes to develop integrated watershed/water quality management technology.
Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering. Cold climate hydrology, remote sensing and large-scale data analysis
Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science. Identification of therapeutic biomarkers and novel applications for biotechnology. Defining mechanisms controlling brain tumors through proteomic and metabolic analysis. Viruses that infect bacteria through genomic and bioinformatics analysis. Biotechnology and biological engineering education including global leadership and bringing research into the classroom spanning K12 to professional graduate student audiences.
Fluid Power Systems, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Cavitation
Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery. Rational design of new polymers and composites. Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery. Development of bioengineered systems for tissue regeneration and controlled delivery of therapeutics.
Information Systems Soil and Water Resource Engineering. Hydrologic/water quality modeling. GIS, simulation.
Bioseparations for the recovery of valuable co-products from biomass either prior to processing or from waste streams. Modeling of Bioprocess recovery and process integration for economic determination of co-product value.
Precision Agriculture, sustainable agricultural production systems, and agricultural systems management.
Agricultural Safety & Health, Rural Rehabilitation, and AgroSecurity. Focusing on loss prevention in the workplace.
Soil Erosion Mechanics, Prediction, and Control. Soil detachment, transport, and deposition processes. Process-based soil erosion modeling. Soil amendments for erosion control. Water quality monitoring and modeling.
Watershed Modeling and Management . Drainage and water quality, soil and water engineering.. GIS for watershed analysis. Conservation practices to improve water quality.
Water Resources and Ecohydrologic Engineering. Hydrologic and water quality modeling, fate and transport of critical contaminants, trends and impacts of land use, land management and climate on water resources, ecological responses, sustainable water resources management, development of computer and internet-based applications.
Transportation planning Economics and modeling, transportation energy and sustainability, agricultural transportation and logistics; highway safety, transportation electrification.
Air Quality and Building Environmental Control. Field and laboratory research of agricultural dust, gases, and odors; measurement, emission rates and control. Odor evaluation. Biofiltration of air for advanced life support.
Grain post-harvest handling & storage, powder technology and logistics with focus on post-harvest operations, storage and feedstock characterization for grains, oilseeds, bioprocessing coproducts and lignocellulosic biomass.
Biosensors and Single molecule spectroscopy High-speed screening and super-resolution microscopy of biomarkers for cancer screening, targeted Drug Delivery using nanomaterials, novel Nanoscale devices.
Fluid Power System Design, Modeling and Multi-domain Simulation. Energy saving actuators, advanced transmission concepts, drive line control, computer based optimization of positive displacement pumps and motors.
Machine Vision and other Sensors Development in plant science research, application of big data and artificial intelligence in high throughput plant phenotyping with advanced imaging systems, spectroscopy, remote sensing, automation and robotics in agriculture.
Sensor Development for agricultural automation applicable to robotics and farm machinery. Electromagnetic devices for sensing technology. Color machine vision. Electro hydraulics and feedback control systems.
Bioprocess Engineering: Bioseparations (liquid chromatography, membrane separations, microfluidics). Biocatalysis for biofuels (enzymes, cellulose pretreatment, fermentation, process  scale-up).  Pathogen Detection (food safety).
Fluid power. Design of machines and systems. Sustainable technologies for developing countries. Modeling, simulation, and control of dynamic systems. Autonomous and drive-by-wire technologies for vehicles.
Ecological Engineering and Biogeochemistry Nutrient dynamics in coupled human-natural systems; monitoring and modeling of stormwater management and ecosystem restoration at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering. Multi-scale hydrological processes modeling, transfer across hydrological scales, dryland water management, water-energy-food nexus.
Bioprocessing. Conversion of renewable resources to fuels, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Biocatalysis Enzymes for lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysis, biotransformation of natural raw materials to value-added products.
Colloidal and Interfacial Phenomena. Pore formation by antimicrobial peptides in lipid bilayers, molecular dynamics simulation of protein conformation, oxidative stability in food emulsions, pasting behavior of starch.
Waste Management to protect water and air quality. Anaerobic digestion for renewable energy production and pollution control. Air pollution monitoring, evaluation, and modeling. Data acquisition and control software programming. Sensor development.
Food and Bioprocess Engineering. Heat and mass transfer in foods. Computer-aided process design. Continuous fermentors. Experimental and computer-aided research in optimization of food and bioprocesses.
Biosensors. Lab-on-a-chip MEMS devices for cell sensing. Biomimetic sensors for environmental monitoring Bio-nanotechnology. Bioregenerative Life Support. Nutrient delivery systems for use in microgravity.
Biomaterials. Materials to measure, control, and mimic living cells. Biosensors. Nano/micro biosensors for cell physiology.  Applications in cell transplantation, bioreactors, implantable devices.
Precision Agriculture
Sustainable Systems Modeling: Systems Modeling, Sustainability in Industrial-Natural Coupled Systems (SINCS), Urban Sustainability, Complex Systems Models, Integrated Nitrogen Modeling, Biodiversity Loss, and Chemical Pollutants.
Systems & Synthetic Biology. Metabolic Engineering; Functional Genomics/Tanscriptomics/Proteomics; Gene Circuits; Protein Engineering; Microbiology. Applications in biofuels, value-added chemical production, drug discovery, molecular diagnostics.
Physical Properties of Biomaterials. Magnetic resonance detection of quality in agricultural materials and food products; measurement of grain storability and quality; biomedical and bioprocess engineering.
Bioenergy and the Design of Machines and Systems for Agriculture.
Bioprocessing, Bioproducts. Biofuels processing/separation, chemical synthesis/modification of biomaterials, synthesis of DNA-protein bioconjugates, bioproducts development.
Systems Biology. Interdisciplinary research: mechanisms of development and regulation of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins. Finite-element modeling of biological systems. Quantitative image analysis, microscopy, and data-driven modeling.
Fluid Power Systems. Design, modeling and testing of novel concepts for Hydraulic Valves and Hydrostatic Pumps/Motors. Formulation of new approaches to model fluid properties.
Engineering Human and Environmental Microbiomes. Influence of diet on gut microbiome, nanotechnology for separating bacteria in complex mixtures, in vitro>/em> models for microbiomes, metabolomics for diagnostics of diseases.