Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Integrated Degree Program

Overview

The Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering offers an integrated Bachelor and Master Degree program (IDP). This is exclusively available to students officially admitted to the Bachelor of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) or the Sustainable Systems Management (SSM) Bachelor of Science programs. The IDP program allows students with strong academic performance to take additional credits (up to 16 credits) at undergraduate tuition rates during their last few semesters, which can be applied towards the Bioproducts and Biosystems Science, Engineering and Management Master of Science program  (BBSEM M.S.).

Students accepted to the integrated degree program will be guaranteed admission to the BBSEM Master of Science program as long as they complete their undergraduate program.

Why consider graduate school and this program?

  • A graduate degree can possibly lead to greater career advancement and professional  autonomy in some companies.
  • Strengthen your academic background in topics associated within the disciplines of BBE or SSM.
  • The cost of attending a graduate program is reduced. Up to 16 of the 30 credits for the BBSEM M.S. program can be completed at the undergraduate tuition rate.
  • Potentially fund your graduate studies through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships.
  • Students accepted to the integrated program will be guaranteed admission to the BBSEM M.S. program as long as they complete their undergraduate program.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be enrolled at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities admitted to the Bachelor of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) or the Sustainable Systems Management (SSM) Bachelor of Science program.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and must have a recommendation from a BBE/SSM faculty member or instructor
  • Applicants must be within 32 credits of completing their undergraduate degree.
  • Applicants must have a confirmed BBSEM graduate faculty advisor.
  • GRE test scores are NOT required.

Application Procedures

Students should meet with their academic advisor or other BBSEM graduate faculty advisor to discuss the program, their eligibility, and the feasibility of completing the bachelor’s degree in four years while adding additional graduate credits in their senior year and completing the remaining master’s degree requirements in the fifth year. Students should bring the Advisor Verification Form to their appointment.

All the required items listed below must be submitted via the BBE Integrated Degree Program Application Form prior to the application deadlines (November 15 for spring admission consideration and March 31 for fall admission consideration):

  • IDP Application Form
  • Advisor Verification Form
  • Statement of Purpose - A statement concisely detailing the applicant's educational, research, or industrial background as they relate to the student's objectives. The statement should include names of BBSEM faculty members and research groups whose research is of interest to the applicant.
  • Resume
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Names of one to three BBE/SSM faculty members who are willing to provide a reference 

Note: All applications are subject to review by the BBSEM Grad Program Committee.

Application Timing

  • BBE and SSM students must apply to the IDP by the end of the junior year and must be within 32 credits of completing the undergraduate degree. 
  • Applications must be received by:
  1. March 31st for fall consideration (the application will open January 1st).
  2. November 15th for spring consideration (the application will open June 1st).

Application Decisions

Students will be notified of the outcome of their application via email by December 10th (for spring) or June 1st (for fall). In some cases, an admission decision may be on-hold until semester grades are finalized. Students will be notified if their application is on-hold.

Sample Plans

Sample plans for the Integrated Degree Program can be found at the links below. These plans are just examples and do not need to be followed exactly, in terms of when courses are taken.

Other Considerations: 

Credit Transfer Limit; Minimum Graduate Career Timeline; No Double-Counting of Credits

  • Credits can not be used to satisfy requirements for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees (i.e., no “double-counting" of credits).
  • Students can transfer a maximum of 16 credits taken during their integrated senior undergraduate year to the graduate program.
  • Students must be enrolled as a graduate student for a minimum of two semesters after the completion of their undergraduate degree.
  • Coursework applied to the graduate degree must be taken at the graduate level (i.e., 5xxx or above, or, no more than two 4xxx courses that have not been used to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements).
  • Students may only use credits taken after being officially admitted to the Integrated Degree Program to satisfy requirements for the graduate degree.
  • The undergraduate degree and graduate degree cannot be awarded simultaneously.
  • Students must complete their undergraduate degree by the fourth undergraduate year.
  • Students who are not planning to graduate in four years due to co-op / internship activities, transfer status, or other situations, may still be considered for the program.

Newly Admitted Student Checklist

To help better understand the process and keep track of necessary steps, students who are admitted to the Integrated Degree Program will be sent this checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm interested in this program. What should I do first?

A: Meet with an academic advisor.

Q: Are there funding opportunities during my graduate program semesters?

A: Yes. M.S. students can be considered for teaching or research assistantship positions.

Q: When would I become eligible for graduate funding through TA or RA positions.

A: Eligibility for TA/RA positions begins after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students interested in TA/RA positions should inquire with a BBE faculty member or the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Q: I missed the deadline to apply to the Integrated Degree Program for next semester. Can I apply late?

A: No. We strictly enforce the March 31st deadline for a fall start and the November 15th deadline for a spring start. You can apply next semester to be considered.

Q: What are the reasons applicants are not admitted to the integrated degree program?

A: These are the main reasons:

  • Applicant’s GPA is below 3.3
  • Applicants do not have support from a faculty member or instructor
  • Applicants with known academic dishonesty cases during their undergraduate career may be denied.
  • Application materials are either incomplete or insufficient. 
  • Applicants who delay their timely graduation in order to take the additional coursework for the Integrated Degree Program will not be admitted.

Q: I transferred to the University of Minnesota from another university/community college. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Transfer students are eligible to apply to the integrated degree program under the same criteria as non-transfer students.

Q: I have room to take the additional integrated degree program graduate credits in three semesters and still graduate within four years with my bachelor's degree. Can I do that?

A: Yes. However, a maximum of 16 additional graduate credits taken by the end of your fourth year may be counted towards the graduate degree. 

Q: Can I count the 5000-level courses that are used to meet my t undergraduate requirements toward the graduate degree requirements?

A: No. Although the integrated degree program allows students to take additional graduate-level credits while they are undergraduates, no courses can be counted toward both degrees (i.e., double-counting). 

Q: I have room to take more than 16 credits to apply toward the graduate program. Can I take more credits to apply towards the BBSEM M.S. while I'm still an undergraduate?

A: The maximum number of credits that can be transferred to the BBSEM M.S. through the integrated degree program is 16. At least 14 of the 30 credits needed for the BBSEM M.S. program must be taken over two regular semesters (fall and spring; not summer) enrolled as a graduate student. 

Q: Can I apply credits taken prior to admission to the Integrated Degree Program even if  not being used to meet undergraduate degree requirements?

A: No. Only credits taken after official admission to the Integrated Degree Program can be transferred to the graduate degree.

Q: What courses should I consider taking for the additional graduate-level credits once I am admitted?

A: Students should consult with their advisor on the degree program course work, and should consider taking the following courses/requirements to apply toward their graduate degree as an undergraduate integrated degree program student. These courses are required of all BBSEM M.S. students. 

  • BBE 8001 - Seminar I (1.0 cr)

  • BBE 8002 - Seminar II (1.0 cr)

  • BBE 8013 - Parameter Estimation in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (3.0 cr)

Q: I have applied to the Integrated Degree Program and I'm waiting for my decision. When should I hear back and what should I do in terms of registration, not knowing the results?

A: Students will be notified of the outcome of their application via email by December 10th for a spring start or June 1st for a fall start. In some cases, an admission decision will be put on hold until semester grades are finalized. Students will be notified if their application is on hold.

Applicants should register for additional coursework with the assumption of acceptance. Applicants who are not accepted to the program can then simply drop the additional courses from their registration prior to the start of the term.

Current graduate students have earlier assigned registration times than undergraduate students. This means that some popular course options may be full before undergraduate students have a chance to register. We recommend that students always have some backup course options in mind that will meet their undergraduate requirements and additional graduation requirements they are adding as part of the Integrated Degree Program.

Q: If I am admitted to the integrated degree program, can I work in the industry prior to starting in the graduate program?

A: No. The Integrated Degree Program is intended for students who will go straight from their undergraduate program into the graduate program with no break.

Q: If I get admitted to the Integrated Degree Program and take graduate classes but then decide to go to a different university for graduate school, can the credits transfer to that school?

A: That would at the other university’s discretion. We cannot guarantee that another university would accept the transfer of credits taken during your undergraduate degree as part of our integrated degree program.

Q: What are the full requirements to earn the BBSEM Master of Science degree?

A: You can find the requirements to earn a Plan A or Plan B BBSEM M.S. degree.

Q: I am taking/chose to take courses S/N during the spring 2020 semester due to COVID-19 policy adaptations. Will this negatively affect my application?

A: As long as you earn an S (the equivalent of a C- or higher) in required courses, they will count toward your undergraduate degree requirements and will not influence your GPA. Admission decisions for the integrated degree program will be made with the understanding that the spring 2020 semester was tumultuous for all students, and GPA, as admission criteria, will be adjusted accordingly. 

Links to Forms