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Biosystems Engineering (PHD) 
Program Description

In 2018 the Department name, along with the graduate program names, changed to Biosystems Engineering. Like similar departments at most Land Grant universities, this department is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering The Biosystems Engineering Department Doctoral Degree program offers students the opportunity for study and research in many fields, including the following:  Controlled Environment Agriculture; Water Resources; Biometry and Biosystems Informatics; Food, Bioproducts, and Renewable Energy  The flexibility of the program allows students, in consultation with their advisors, to develop programs especially suited to their needs.

Our vision: BE will be a world leader known for developing technologies and systems for the safe production of food, bioenergy, bioproducts, and biological information for sustainable use of arid and semi-arid environments.  Students, constituents, and professionals will come from across the world to participate in our programs.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Biosystems Engineering -

Departmental programs focus on biological systems and water related issues such as irrigation and water quality, and biosystems applications, including computer modeling, sensors and controls, and systems design and evaluation. However, students will find that a program can be designed to fit almost any need in the general field of the application of engineering principles to the solution of agricultural and biological engineering problems. The flexibility of the program allows international and domestic students, in consultation with their advisors, to develop programs specifically suited to their needs. The University of Arizona is a diverse institution and therefore provides courses in many different areas to support specific and general programs. Interdisciplinary desires of students are met by taking courses across the broad spectrum available in the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and other divisions on campus.

The Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringDepartment offers the following graduate programs: Accelerated Master of Science (for Current UofA Undergraduate students), Master of Science Degree, and the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

There is opportunity for study and research in many fields, including the following:

Controlled Environment Agriculture; Water Resources; Biometry and Biosystems Informatics; Food, Bioproducts, and Renewable Energy 

Engineering Administration -

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences College of Engineering  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Dava Renee Jondall
Graduate Program Coordinator
Dava Renee Jondall
Director of Graduate Studies
Donald C Slack
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Doctoral program, the candidate must have attained a Bachelor's degree and be admitted to both the Department of  Engineering Biosystems Engineering and the University of Arizona Graduate College. Minimum eligibility requirements for admission to the Graduate College which include a 3.30-grade point average on a 4.0-grade scale. 

Required Material for the Graduate Application:

3 Letters of recommendation.  Letters must be signed and on official Letter Head.

Statement of Purpose

Resume or CV

All applicants are required to:

Applicants must upload unofficial pdf versions of all transcripts when submitting their application in our GradApp system. Official transcripts from ALL universities/colleges attended. Please do not send transcripts until you have been recommended.

Candidates review the Graduate College Transcript Requirements located at, before sending Official Transcripts to the Graduate College.

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS)

Minimum GRE Verbal: 138
Minimum GRE Quantitative: 151
Minimum GRE Written: 3.0

GRE Institution code for the University of Arizona 4832

Minimum TOEFL: 79 (IB) or 550 (PB)

Minimum IELTS: composite score of 7 (no subject below 6)

The institution code for the University of Arizona 4832.

Financial Aid

Please note that 1) the Department is not able to provide a guarantee of funding and 2) the International College requires that all international students provide a Financial Guarantee (see the Proof of Financial Resources located on

Graduate Tuition scholarships and Fellowships sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the University of Arizona Graduate College and the Department of Biosystems Engineering may be available on a competitive basis.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for institutional funding offered through the UA Graduate College, including Graduate Access Fellowships, UA/SIGP Fellowships, and NASA Scholarships.  Domestic students should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Loans, FAFSA, to qualify for institutional funding  Detailed information on UA financial aid may be found at

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall:  June
  • Spring:  November

International Applicants:

  • Fall: Month January
  • Spring: Month September
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 0117, 0119, 0102, 0103, 0107, 0122, 0112, 0114, 0199, 0224, 0226, 0205, 0206, 0212, 0308, 0409, 0405, 0502, 0605, 0631, 0705, 1004, 1001, 1101, 1102, 1103, 1107, 1109, 1199, 1301, 1399, 1501, 1502, 1602, 1615, 1616, 1612, 1699

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Minimum of 63  Credit hours, which consist of at least 18 units of BE Dissertation and 9 to 12 units from the Minor.

63 units minimum, consisting of the following:

3 units of STAT 571B

9 units of either Statistics (can’t repeat STAT 571B), Numerical Analysis, Mathematics/ Modeling

2 units of BE 501

4 units of BE 696A (students who are presenting).

  • EXCEPTION: Candidates with a BE MS degree are only required to take 2 units as the other 2 units were earned from their MS program.

12 units of BE courses

1 unit of BE 693 (section # under faculty sponsor)

18 units (minimum) of Dissertation units (BE 920)

3 to 6 units of elective courses per approval of Major Professor (depending on the required minor units).

9 to 12 units in the minor, depending on the student's Minor Department requirements.

Enrollment in BE696B for each semester he/she is not presenting. Students must receive approval from the Department, to be excused from this requirement. The BE696B units are not listed on the students POS in UAccess.

All courses in the Plan of Work must be taken for a grade (A, B, C) except for BE 693 (Teaching Internship).

Additonal information and requirements can be found at:


Minor Requirements

Students who minor minor in Biosystems Engineering, a candidate must complete 10 units consisting of:

9 units of BE courses determined by the student and his/her BE faculty minor advisor, and at least 1 unit of BE 696A.

Students should select their Minor Advisor, and receive approval from their Major advisor, prior to completing the Graduate College Minor application and filing his/her POS.


The BE Minor Advisor will serve on the Graduate Dissertation Committee.
Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 70%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 4.00
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 62%
Enrollment Percent Female 38%
Enrollment Percent International 35%
Enrollment Percent URM 9%

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Last revised 19 Jul 2018