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Biorenewable Resources and Technology

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Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

The graduate program in Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) offers students advanced study in utilizing plant and crop-based resources in the production of biobased products (fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy). The BRT program was the first graduate program in biorenewable resources established in the United States.

This multi-disciplinary program offers the degrees of master of science and doctor of philosophy in Biorenewable Resources and Technology, and a minor to students taking major work in other departments. Students admitted to the Biorenewable Resources and Technology interdepartmental graduate program may pursue MS, Ph.D., or a Ph.D. minor degree. Additionally a 12 credit hour BRT Graduate Certificate is offered online. The home department of any BRT student is the department of the student's major professor, who serves as the Chair of the student’s Program of Study (POS) Committee.

The curriculum is designed to encourage students to obtain co-major degrees in Biorenewable Resources and Technology and a more traditional science or engineering discipline. A thesis is required for the master of science degree.Over 160 ISU faculty affiliated members,  29 departments in all seven colleges and 20 research centers and institutes are involved in this highly interdisciplinary graduate program.  A complete and up-to-date listing is maintained at: http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu.

Master of Science

The Master of Science degree in Biorenewable Resources and Technology requires 32 credits: a minimum of 8 credits of core required courses; 9 credits of core elective courses representing at least 3 of the 4 barrier areas identified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE); at least 9 credits of research; and an additional 6 credits selected from elective courses (including additional research credit). Prerequisite to major graduate work is a bachelor’s degree or prior graduate training in engineering or a physical or biological discipline, including agricultural sciences.

The core required courses (8 credits min. required) for the Biorenewable Resources and Technology graduate program include:

BRT 501Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources3
BRT 506CBiobased Products Seminar: Research Presentations1
BRT 515Biorenewables Law and Policy3
BRT 592LBiorenewable Resources Laboratory1
or BRT 507 Technology-Led Entrepreneurship in Biorenewables
Core electives in 3/4 barrier areas approved list*9
Research9
Electives or Research6
Total Credits32

*Students must complete approved  core elective courses from at least three of the four bioeconomic development barrier areas: plant science, production, processing, and utilization. These are selected in consultation with the student’s Program of Study (POS) committee. Additionally, students are to complete the determined amount of elective credits required for their degree, and in consultation with their POS committee, as well as research credits.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with skills to design, develop and/or manage cost effective and environmentally attractive technologies and systems for producing fuels, chemicals, materials, foods and energy from biorenewable resources.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree

The Ph.D. degree in Biorenewable Resources and Technology requires 72 credits. A minimum of 8 credits of core required courses; 18 credits of core elective courses representing at least 3 of the 4 barrier areas identified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE); at least 22 credits of research; and an additional 24 credits selected from elective courses (including additional research credit).

BRT 501Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources3
BRT 506CBiobased Products Seminar: Research Presentations1
BRT 515Biorenewables Law and Policy3
One credit from the following:1
Technology-Led Entrepreneurship in Biorenewables
Biorenewable Resources Laboratory
Core electives in 3/4 barrier areas approved list*18
Research22
Electives or Research24
Total Credits72

*Students must complete approved  core elective courses from at least three of the four bioeconomic development barrier areas: plant science, production, processing, and utilization. These are selected in consultation with the student’s Program of Study (POS) committee. Additionally, students are to complete the determined amount of elective credits required for their degree, and in consultation with their POS committee, as well as research credits.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with skills to design, develop and/or manage cost effective and environmentally attractive technologies and systems for producing fuels, chemicals, materials, foods and energy from biorenewable resources.

Ph.D. Minor

The Ph.D. minor in Biorenewable Resources and Technology requires 15 credits: a minimum of 6 credits of core required courses: 3 credits of  BRT 501* and 1 credit of BRT 506C and an additional 9 credits of core elective courses representing at least 3 of the 4 barrier areas identified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

BRT 501Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources3
BRT 506CBiobased Products Seminar: Research Presentations1
2 credits from: 2
Biorenewables Law and Policy
Biorenewable Resources Laboratory
Technology-Led Entrepreneurship in Biorenewables
Core electives in 3/4 barrier areas*9
Total Credits15

*Students must complete approved  core elective courses from at least three of the four bioeconomic development barrier areas: plant science, production, processing, and utilization. These are selected in consultation with the student’s Program of Study (POS) committee. Additionally, students are to complete the determined amount of elective credits required for their degree, and in consultation with their POS committee, as well as research credits.

Graduate Certificate

Through a series of 12 credit hours of graduate coursework, the Biorenewable Resources and Technology certificate will offer students from a wide variety of science and engineering backgrounds an exposure to advanced study in the use of plant- and crop-based resources for the production of biobased products, including fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy.  The program aims to train professionals to serve the emerging bioeconomy, and in so doing to serve state, national, and global needs in moving toward a more sustainable industrial economy.
See certificate details : http://www.elo.iastate.edu/graduate-certificates/biorenewable-resources-and-technology-graduate-certificate-online/.

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Courses

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: Previous coursework in introductory physics and chemistry is recommended.
Introduction to the science and engineering of converting biorenewable resources into bioenergy and biobased products. Survey of biorenewable resource base and properties; description of biofuels and biobased products; production of biorenewable resources; processing technologies for fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy; environmental impacts; technoeconomic analysis of production and processing; and biofuels policy.

(1-0) Cr. 1. F.S.


Research presentations throughout the semester as part of the course seminar series and during the course. Research Poster Symposium at the end of the semester. Typically taken in the last semester(s) when completing degree program. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with BR C). (1-0) Cr. 1. S.

Prereq: Graduate Standing or Permission of Instructor.
Develop an understanding of the relationship between discovery research entrepreneurship and innovation in biorenewables. Understand critical techno-commercial analyses and intellectual property. Learn critical skills needed to found a company, including how to define key assets, write a business plan, leverage local resources, and secure funding.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: A E 216 or equivalent, MATH 160 or MATH 165, one of CHEM 167 or higher, BIOL 173 or BIOL 211 or higher or BRT 501, senior or graduate classification
Sustainability, cleaner production. Taxonomy, kinetics, metabolism, aerobic and anaerobic fermentation. Biofuels, bioenergy and coproducts. Mass/energy balances, process integration, pretreatment, separation. Membrane reactors, bioelectrolysis, microbial fuel cells, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, mutagenesis. Term paper for graduate level only.

(Cross-listed with POL S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.


Evaluation of the biorenewables field as it relates to the areas of law and policy. Primary emphasis on the following topics: concerns that motivated the development and expansion of the biorenewables field, a history of the interactions between biorenewable pathways. U.S. law and policy and controversies that have arisen from these interactions and their effects.

(Cross-listed with POL S). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Evaluation of the international biorenewables field as it relates to the areas of law and policy. Primary emphasis on the following topics: concerns that motivated the development and expansion of the field by adopting countries, a history of the interactions between biorenewable pathways. Law and policy in adopting countries and international controversies that have arisen from these interactions and their effects.

(Cross-listed with M E). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: Undergraduate course work in thermodynamics and transport phenomena
Introduction to thermal and catalytic processes for the conversion of biomass to biofuels and other biobased products. Topics include gasification, fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal processing, syngas to synfuels, and bio-oil upgrading. Application of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics to bioenergy and biofuels.

(Cross-listed with C E, FS HN). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: C E 326 or equivalent, MATH 160 or MATH 165, CHEM 167 or higher, BIOL 173 or BIOL 211 or higher, senior or graduate classification
Sustainability, cleaner production. Taxonomy, kinetics, metabolism, microbial cultivation, aerobic and anaerobic fermentation. Antibiotics, food supplements, fermented foods, vitamin production. Biofuels, bioenergy and coproducts. Mass/energy balances, process integration, pretreatment, separation. Membrane reactors, bioelectrolysis, microbial fuel cells, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, mutagenesis.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Investigation/study of an approved barrier area(s) topic on an individual basis. Course content and requirements designed and developed in consultation with the student's major professor/instructor to determine barrier areas covered, but in all cases a formal report should be written.

(0-3) Cr. 1. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Graduate student status. Undergraduates with instructor approval
An introduction to hands-on experimental laboratory techniques including laboratory safety, calibration, proper usage of chemistry apparatus, chemicals, analytical equipment, and fundamental techniques to ensure successful research.

Courses for graduate students:

(Cross-listed with FS HN). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: FS HN 311, or FS HN 471/472 or equivalent, or FS HN 511.
Recent advances in the science and technology of food processing and preservation; examples include both thermal and non-thermal processes, including cold plasma, nanotechnology, food packaging, and extrusion. Advances in extraction and separation technologies, waste management, by-product utilization, biorenewables and sustainability in food processing industry will also be discussed. Students to research on select topics and present.

Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Permission of student's major professor