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Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

About the Department

Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) students advance the science and application of engineering systems involving food, agriculture and our environment. FABE graduates use their skills to identify and solve a range of engineering problems related to the production, processing and distribution of food and other products. Ohio State students have many curricular options, which include:

  • Food engineering focuses on applying engineering principles to the safe processing and production of a sustainable and environmentally responsible global food supply.
  • Agricultural engineering students can focus on one of three tracks: soil and water, structures and facilities, or machinery systems.
  • Biological engineering students can specialize in either biological systems or one of four pre-professional tracks including pre-veterinary, pre-optometry, pre-dentistry, and pre-medical.
  • Ecological engineering focuses on the design and restoration of natural ecosystems for societal and environmental benefits.
  • FABE students have had co-ops, internships and full-time employment opportunities in companies including NASA, John Deere, Procter & Gamble and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Careers in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Food engineering students prepare for careers in food machinery, food processing, packaging, ingredient manufacturing, and instrumentation and control. Graduates use their skills to design sustainable and environmentally responsible food processes for manufacturing safe, tasty, healthy, convenient food products. As consumer awareness and demand for a safe and abundant supply of food have increased, so has the need for more food process engineers.

Potential employers for mechanical aspects of agricultural engineering include equipment manufacturers for farming, forestry, construction, transportation, global positioning, homeland security equipment, lawn, garden and recreational markets, and their distributors.

Students interested in learning about the relationship among soil, plants and air can find a career devoted to engineering solutions for environmental issues in agriculture, including designing controlled environments such as greenhouses, livestock facilities and storage structures to meet specific environmental or climatic conditions. Employment opportunities include positions with federal and state environmental agencies, consulting firms, manufacturers and suppliers of drainage, irrigation and related equipment.

Students interested in the biological engineering specialization will have opportunities in most career areas having a biological component, even medicine. Biological engineering students can concentrate on a wide variety of career areas, including alternative fuels, bio research, biotechnology, bio-medical applications, and of course, our department’s historically excellent preparation for admission to veterinary, medical, dental, or optometric professional schools.

Ecological engineering students may focus on the design and restoration of natural ecosystems like streams, wetlands, and coastal systems, as well as water quality and environmental contamination through the design, development, and management of ecosystems. Graduates work for government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Army Corps of Engineers and environmental consulting firms.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Combined BS/MS in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Master of Science in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Research

Digital Agriculture - The central focus of this program is the interaction of automation, sensing and data analytics to optimize crop production while addressing environmental quality, sustainability and profitability. Research efforts are focused on execution of site-specific nutrient management practices, development of hand-held devices for in-field data capture, autonomous functionality of machinery, remote sensing solutions, and data analytics to enhance timing, placement and efficacy of inputs to cropping systems.

Advanced Bioenergy and Biobased Products - As the importance of renewable sources for energy and materials increases, research and industry partnerships come together in this signature area to develop biomass-based advanced energy technologies and value-added biobased products such as fuels, specialty chemicals, and fiber products.

Environmental Quality and Sustainability - Work in this signature area seeks to understand, protect, and remediate the environment and ecosystems to ensure long-term sustainability. At the core of this effort is the realization that sustaining population and economic growth must be balanced with the preservation of natural resources and environmental assets.

Food Security, Production and Human Health - This signature area focuses on improving agricultural production; enhancing the quality of food and feed; ensuring an adequate, affordable, and safe food supply; and maintaining agrosecurity to ensure food security and the basics of nutritional health for a growing global population.