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Washington State University

Graduate Student in LabM.S. Guidelines

The Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) offers MS degrees in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE).

Important Details


30 Total Credits Required

  • Thesis Option:  21 graded course credits, 6 can be 300-400 level
  • Non-Thesis Option:  26 graded course credits, 9 can be 300-400 level
  • Optional graded courses can be added if desired.
  • A minimum of 4 BSysE 700 (thesis option) or 702 credits (non-thesis option), or as many as needed to complete 30 credit hours

Transfer Credits: up to 10 relevant graduate level graded credits from another incomplete graduate program with grades of B or higher can be transferred with the approval of the graduate committee and program director (WSU Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual, Ch.6).


All students must enroll in 12 credits per semester, including BSysE 700 or 702.  Students must enroll in one semester of BSysE 598 Graduate Seminar. All other policies regarding course work, research credits, credit transfers and other policies are as defined by the WSU Graduate School.

Departmental Requirements:

  • Graduate Studies Committee – committee members selected, expected during 2nd semester
  • Program of Study – submitted to Graduate School, expected during 2nd semester
  • Research Proposal – approved by Committee and copy in office file, expected end of 1st year
  • Coursework – completed, expected end of 3rd semester
  • Final Defense – completed public presentation and oral exam. Evaluation rubric available under Student Resources
  • Exit Interview – schedule a meeting with department chair prior to leaving WSU

Area Required Courses:

Land, Air, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering

  • Students must consult their program committee to select most appropriate coursework

Food Engineering

  • Students must consult their program committee to select most appropriate coursework

Bioenergy and Bioproducts Engineering

  • Students must consult their program committee to select most appropriate coursework

Agricultural Automation Engineering

  • BSysE 512: Research and Teaching Methods (3 Credits)
  • STAT 512 or STAT 523 or SOILS 502 (Special Topics) or Equivalent Statistics Course (3 Credits)
  • BSysE 541: Instrumentation and Measurements (3 credits)
  • Any combination of courses listed below.
    • Group 1: Machine Vision/Sensing
      BSysE 530: Machine Vision for Biological Systems (3 credits)
    • Group 2: Mechanization, Automation, Control
      BSysE 532: Electrohydraulic Systems and Control (3 credits)
      ME 581: Control Systems (3 credits)
      ME 401: Mechatronics (3 credits)
    • Group 3: Precision Agriculture, GIS, Remote Sensing
      SOILS 568: GIS Spatial Analysis (4 Credits)
      SOILS 574: Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis (3 Credits)
      SOIL_SCI 508: Environmental Spatial Statistics (3 Credits)

Note: More courses will be added to each group if and when relevant courses become available. Course structures were defined to meet the minimum requirement of 21 graded credit hours for MS program at BSE. Students may take additional courses after consulting with their advisors. Students’ program committee may also require students to take additional courses.

Graduate Studies Committee:

The graduate student committees will have a minimum of three members; a minimum of two members will be tenured/tenure-track faculty in BSE, and other members may be tenured/tenure-track WSU faculty members in another department. Approved professionals not officially participating as Graduate Faculty within any graduate program at WSU can participate as committee members in addition to the minimum three committee members defined above.

Tenured and tenure-track BSE faculty and BAE Graduate Affiliate Faculty can serve as chair or co-chair of student committees. BAE Graduate Adjunct Faculty and non-tenure-track BSE research faculty may serve as co-chairs.

Student Reviews:

Your advisor will schedule a meeting with you at the beginning of each semester for the purpose of reviewing your progress towards degree completion.  Review forms will be completed and signed by both the advisor and the student and will be retained in student files at the Pullman campus.

Forms, Signatures, and Deadlines:

All forms needed to progress through your program are located on the Graduate School website at

Please contact the Academic Coordinator, Joanna Dreger (; 509-335-1578)  to check the form before obtaining signatures of your committee members. This is especially important for the Program of Study and Final Exam scheduling forms. After Joanna verifies the completeness of the document, you will obtain signatures of all committee members and hand deliver or mail the original document to Joanna, who will obtain the signature of department chair, make a copy for our records and submit the document to the Graduate School.

These guidelines are based on WSU’s Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures.