Professional Development

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Performing academically is only one component of successfully landing a job or admission to graduate or professional school upon graduation. Students must also take advantage of opportunities to develop themselves professionally outside the classroom. There are many sought after skills which can be worked on within the classroom setting, but are best advanced outside the classroom. Students should consider joining student organizations, traveling with study abroad programs, engaging in leadership activities, performing undergraduate research, participating in internships, and enhancing their major by completing a minor. A well rounded student is more likely to receive job offers and/or admission to graduate or professional school programs.

Student Organizations

More than 1,000 student organizations are active across campus. Nearly 80 percent of our students gain leadership experience in club activities. The student clubs affiliated with the Department offer opportunities for professional development including participation in regional, national, and international meetings and conferences and the chance to network with students, faculty, staff, alumni and other professionals.

Study Abroad

Some 400 programs are available to ABE and TSM students to study abroad, with programs in over 100 countries ranging from 10-day to year-long experiences. Students may participate in programs through the College of ACES Education Abroad Programs Office, International Programs in Engineering, or the campus Study Abroad Office. Most recently, the department has offered winter break programs to Puerto Rico and India, summer programs to Puerto Rico, China, South Africa, and Greece, and semester exchange programs to Brazil, Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. Don’t miss out on applying for departmental, college, and campus scholarships to support your study abroad adventure.

College of ACES Education Abroad
International Programs in Engineering
Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange


The University of Illinois prides itself on attracting students that have already demonstrated an ability to lead and on providing them with ample opportunities to further develop those leadership abilities. Students in ABE and TSM can hone those leadership skills with the assistance of the Illinois Leadership® Center, by minoring in Leadership Studies, and through serving in a leadership role in one of over 1000 student organizations. The Illinois Leadership® Center offers a series of programs ranging from 60-90 minute workshops provided to club, class, or alumni groups to a six-day leadership development program and provides a Leadership Certificate Program. For students looking to better understand the science and theory behind leadership and its study, a minor in Leadership Studies is offered by the College of ACES.

Illinois Leadership® Center
Minor in Leadership Studies

Undergraduate Research

Our students are encouraged to participate as undergraduates in research with our award-winning, world renowned faculty while earning credit hours or pay for part-time employment. Students can submit posters, papers, or presentation on your research findings at international meetings and determine if continuing for graduate school is of interest. Students can find opportunities by looking at the departmental job board or by contacting faculty whose research is of interest.

Departmental Job Board page
Department Faculty Page

Career & Placement Services

More than 80% of our students land at least one internship, with many internship each summer. Through internship experiences, students can apply what they have learned in the classroom and become competitive for the job market or graduate or professional school. The average starting salary for ABE graduates is $61,000 with the average starting salary for TSM graduates at $50,000. Our ABE graduates work as project, test, reliability, civil, environmental, mechanical design, product, agricultural, design, and biological engineers. Our TSM graduates work as control systems specialists, technicians, water quality specialists, grain elevator managers, parts operations supervisors, marketing representatives, appraisers, equipment dealers, golf course managers, and international agriculture development specialists. Alumni are self-employed or employed by Fortune 500 companies, consulting firms, academia, government agencies, non-profit groups, and research institutions.

Within the Department

The Department is regularly contacted by companies and individuals looking to employ our students. Fliers for positions are posted on bulletin boards near the north end of the building on both the first and second floors. Emails are sent out with job and internship information. Announcements are posted on the Departmental Job Board. Contact the Student Academic Program Coordinator, Anne Marie Boone for more information.

From the College and University

College of ACES Student Development & Career Services

The College of ACES provides many career services to its students. They host workshops, graduate school panels, and career fairs, offer career and interest assessments, provide resume review services, and hold mock interviews. Their services are open to anyone in the Department although they are more relevant for TSM students.

Engineering Career Services

ECS hosts workshops, resume reviews, mock interviews, career fairs, and corporate interviews. ECS serves as a liaison between engineering students and employers. Their services are available to ABE students.

The Career Center

The campus-wide TCC offers many of the same services as the college-based centers offer. Their services are available to all Illinois students, graduate students, and alumni.

Minors Relevant to ABE/TSM Students

Completion of a minor is not required but can add to a student’s expertise, allow students to formally develop an area of interest, and make students more marketable. There are over 100 minors offered on campus with many managed by departments in the College of ACES and College of Engineering and two offered by the department. Click here to see a list of all minors offered on campus.

Going to Graduate School

Many of our undergraduate students go on to graduate school. Whether you choose to continue your education at Illinois or go elsewhere, you should make an informed choice.

We currently offer programs at the MS and PhD level in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, at the MS level in Technical Systems Management, and Professional Science Master’s Programs in Technical Systems Management and Bioprocessing and Bioenergy. See some examples of research currently being done in the Department.

Picking a Program

Here are some helpful hints on how to select a graduate program.

  • If you know what your specific research interests are, you may want to speak with one of our faculty about their program or about researchers that they would recommend.
  • Another option if you know where your interests lie is to do an article search and then contact the authors of those articles which most appeal to you.
  • Look at national rankings such as U.S. News & World Report to find out who has a good graduate program in ABE or in a different area of engineering. Technical Systems Management programs are not ranked, but the ranking of the associated ABE program is a good indicator of the quality of the TSM program.
  • Attend the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Annual International Meeting and talk to people about their work and the programs at their institutions.
  • Do undergraduate research to determine if you enjoy doing research.
  • Visit the programs that you are considering. While there, speak to some graduate students about their satisfaction with the program, their research, their advisor, and the institution.
  • Ask about financing your education. Will you receive a stipend? Tuition waiver? Research funds?

Going to Professional School

Some of our students choose to pursue a professional degree upon graduation. The Career Center is an excellent source of information about the skills and coursework important to the pursuit of professional degrees in law, health fields, or veterinary medicine upon graduation.

Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

For ABE students, the first step to becoming certified as a Professional Engineer is to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.