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The field of sustainable bioproducts is concerned with extending one’s knowledge of wood as a material and applying this knowledge to the manufacture of useful products. It requires knowledge of the chemical, physical, botanical and engineering sciences and how they impinge on wood. The Department of Sustainable Bioproducts promotes the responsible use of our planet's abundant renewable resources by developing, innovating, and improving bio-based products, materials and energy for the economic and environmental benefit of all people.

Program highlights:

  • This program offers 6 major areas of studying including Building Materials & Composites, Wood Products Testing & Standards, Deterioration & Preservation of Wood Products, Biofuels, Chemicals & Energy, Bioproducts & the Environment, and Forensic Wood Identification
  • The courses for this online program are taught by the same faculty that teach the on-campus program.
What are some potential careers?

Career options may include systems programmer, environmental engineer, Extension specialist, plant manager, plant superintendent, product development, research technician, and wood materials scientist.

Who should pursue this degree?

An online non-thesis master’s degree program provides greater flexibility for not only traditional students, but also those starting professional careers or those already employed who wish to continue pursuing a graduate degree. Academic experiences add to resumes increasing the marketability of professionals. Often employers view the pursuit of higher education as a true sign of an individual’s motivation to continue to learn and even justification for promotion.

Program Structure

The non-thesis Master of Science in Sustainable Bioproducts program requires 30 hours of coursework, and a comprehensive examination.

Course Number Course Title Hours
SBP 8023 Professional Practices in Wood Products Industry 3
SBP 8203 Graduate Capstone Seminar 3
College Required Courses
8000-level coursework
12
Graduate-level electives*
*see Courses for elective options
OR
Graduate-level courses from other MSU Departments as approved
OR
SBP 7000 Directed Individual Study (no more than 6 hours total)
12-16
Total Hours 30

Course Offerings

Fall Odd Spring Even Fall Even Spring Odd
SBP 6113 Adhesives and Composites SBP 6013 Wood Anatomy SBP 6123 Lumber Manufacturing SBP 6013 Wood Anatomy
SBP 6153 Biomass Products Manufacturing SBP 6253 Quantitative Methods in SBP SBP 6133 Biorefinery Processes SBP 6023 Lignocellulosic Biomass Chemistry
SBP 6353 Forest Prod Marketing SBP 6313 Bioproducts and the Environment SBP 8023 Prof Practices in Wd Products Industry ✝Must take in 1st year of program SBP 6213 Deterioration and Preservation of Biomaterials
SBP 8023 Prof Practices in Wd Products Industry ✝Must take in 1st year of program SBP 8013 Advanced Wood Sci & Tech SBP 8133 Environ Issues in Sustainable Bioproducts SBP 8013 Advanced Wood Sci & Tech
  SBP 8203 Graduate Capstone Seminar ✝Must take in last year of program SBP 8143 Standards for Testing Sustainable Materials SBP 8203 Graduate Capstone Seminar ✝Must take in last year of program

✝Course offerings are subject to change. All students will work closely with their advisor to create an approved Program of Study within the first semester of their master’s program.

Course Offerings by Area of Interest

Developing, innovating and improving bio-based building materials to increase strength, safety, performance and resource efficiency.

  • SBP 6113 Adhesives and Composites
  • SBP 6123 Lumber Manufacturing
  • SBP 6153 Biomass Products Manufacturing

Finding more effective ways to measure and predict mechanical properties of lumber and composites.

  • SBP 6253 Quantitative Methods in SBP
  • SBP 8143 Standards for Testing Sustainable Materials

Protecting bio-materials from degradation and deterioration caused by fungi, insects, marine borers and weathering.

  • SBP 6213 Deterioration and Preservation of Biomaterials

Conversion of biomass into viable energy sources like wood pellets and bio-oil.

  • SBP 6133 Biorefinery Processes
  • SBP 6023 Lignocellulosic Biomass Chemistry

Ensuring that the production and use of biomaterials does not damage the environment.

  • SBP 6313 Bioproducts and the Environment
  • SBP 8133 Environ Issues in Sustainable Bioproducts

Teaching humans and computers how to recognize and differentiate wood species to deter illegal forest products trade.

  • SBP 6013 Wood Anatomy

Admissions Requirements

Applications for the degree programs are reviewed three times a year. The application deadlines for those semesters are as follows:

  • Fall Semester – August 1
  • Spring Semester – December 1
  • Summer Semester – May 15

Students seeking full admission into the non-thesis Master of Science in Sustainable Bioproducts program should apply as a classified student. Non-degree seeking students wishing to take classes offered through the Online Sustainable Bioproducts program should apply as an Unclassified student.


An applicant for admission to graduate study must hold a bachelor's degree from a fully recognized four-year educational institution that has unconditional accreditation with appropriate regional accrediting agencies. They must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the non-thesis Master of Science in Sustainable Bioproducts program.

Regular admission to graduate study in the program requires a minimum grade point average (last four semesters of undergraduate work) of 3.00/4.00. When a student is deficient in one of the criteria cited, the student's application, nevertheless, may be considered for admission based on the strength of other materials contained in the student's application.


Attention International Students

International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score greater than 550. Detailed information regarding international applications can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Questions regarding international applications can be addressed to the Office of the Graduate School at gradapps@grad.msstate.edu.

  • ETS is providing home testing for the TOEFL iBT test, and MSU is encouraging students to take advantage of this testing option. For those students applying who have taken the TOEFL within five years of the semester they plan to enroll and are unable to access the TOEFL iBT test from home, we will accept your previous test scores.

Admission Options

Domestic/International Classified Admissions

  1. Submit online application. You will choose Master of Science / Sustainable Bioproducts as your Program of Study and Online Education as your campus.
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Three letters of recommendation
    • You will be asked to submit three names and three email addresses of individuals you are using as references. Once you click submit, these individuals will be sent an email from MSU, which will provide a link to an online form for completing their recommendations.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students
  5. One official transcript showing bachelor’s degree or progress toward degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
  6. One official transcript showing ALL work after bachelor’s degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to: gradapps@grad.msstate.edu Mississippi State University, Graduate School. Only one copy of an electronic transcript is required.
    • Paper Transcripts Address (USPS):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      P.O. Box G
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
    • Physical Street Address (for DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, DHS, etc.):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      175 President Circle
      116 Allen Hall
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
  7. Payment of $60 non-refundable application processing fee for domestic students.
    Payment of $80 non-refundable application processing fee for international students.
  8. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email with complete instructions on registering for classes and contacting your advisor

Courses

SBP 6013 Wood Anatomy
(Prerequisite: SBP 1103 or consent of instructor) Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Anatomy of commercial timber species; elements of botanical microtechnique, fundamentals of microscopy, and fundamental properties: gross and minute structural characteristics of wood leading to identification.


SBP 6023 Lignocellulosic biomass Chemistry
(Prerequisites: CH 1213 or CH 1223 or consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. This course will give a brief introduction to the major chemical composition of wood. The distribution of wood components (cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, and extractives), their structures, isolation, processes & applications will be covered.


SBP 6113 Adhesives and Composites
(Prerequisite: SBP 1103, SBP 2012, SBP 2123, SBP 3113, SBP 3123 or consent of instructor) Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Introduces students to theories and practices of wood composite products, wood adhesives and manufacturing, and evaluation of various wood composite products.


SBP 6123 Lumber Manufacturing
Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Raw materials, production methods and product specifications for sawn wood products. Machinery and plant layout. Operation, control, and analysis of lumber manufacturing systems; markets.


SBP 6133 Biorefinery Processes
(Prerequisites: SBP 4023 or consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. This course will cover biomass resources; biorefinery concepts; and the different chemical and thermochemical processes used to convert biomass into chemicals and fuels.


SBP 6153 Biomass Products Manufacturing
(Prerequisite: BIO 1134/BIO 1144/consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. Introduction to concepts of conversion of biomass covering subjects: physical properties of wood, product manufacturing, wood chemistry, composites/adhesives, and the use of organisms or isolated enzymes used to break down cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses.


SBP 6213 Deterioration and Preservation of Biomaterials
(Prerequisite: SBP 1103 or consent of instructor) Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Develop an understanding on biological and non-biological abiotic agents that cause wood deterioration; biological control methods; design considerations; wood preservatives and preservation systems; treatability of wood; treatment mechanics; preservative effectiveness; commodity standards.


SBP 6253 Quantitative Methods in sustainable Bioproducts
(Prerequisites: SBP 2123 or consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. The study and practical application of quantitative techniques commonly used in industry to evaluate the net worth of raw materials, and the cause and effect on process variables


SBP 6313 Bioproducts and the Environment
(Prerequisites: SBP 2012, 2123, and 3123 or consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. An introduction to environmental topics and laws, environmental impact, and control technologies associated with emissions from diverse sustainable bioproducts industries, including global and national issues.


SBP 6353 Forest Prod Marketing
Three hours lecture. Marketing and business practices used by forest products companies trading in lumber, engineered wood, products, and furniture.


SBP 6990 Special Topics in Sustainable Bioproducts
Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years).


SBP 7000 Directed Individual Study in SBP
Hours and credits are arranged based on a course designed to provide specialized knowledge and develop skills relating to wood and its functionality, wood products, or related systems.


SBP 8013 Advanced Wood Science & Technology
Three hours lecture. Introduction to properties of wood (anatomy, chemical, physical, mechanical) and manufacturing process of sustainable biomass-based products will lead to an understanding of the basic concepts and current topics related to sustainability, natural products, and technology development in forest products and wood science.


SBP 8023 Professional Practices in Wood Products Industry
(Consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. Discussion and practice of workplace skills related to performance of duties in the wood products industry sector.


SBP 8133 Environmental Issues in Sustainable Bioproducts
(Consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. Environmental impact, regulations, management of wood treatment by-products and chemical wastes; biodegradation microorganisms; bioremediation; biomass residues; soil, sediment, water, air contaminations; current clean-up technologies.


SBP 8143 Standards for Testing Sustainable Materials
(Prerequisites: Consent of instructor) Three hours lecture. This course will evaluate how solid and composite sustainable materials are used in product development. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of material properties and how they impact end-use product performance.


SBP 8203 Graduate Capstone
(Prerequisite: SBP 8023 or consent of instructor) Seminar. Integration and application of knowledge from previous coursework in sustainable bioproducts for the creation of an original project proposal. Emphasis on professional oral and written expression, logical organization of thought, literature review, data presentation, budget writing, and peer evaluation.


SBP 8990 Special Topic in Sustainable Bioproducts
Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years).

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Contact Information

Photo of Mindy Wolfe

Mindy Wolfe

Online Education

  • Recruiting Coordinator
Headshot portrait of Jeanie McNeel

Jeanie McNeel

Sustainable Bioproducts

  • Coordinator of Administrative Services
Rubin Shmulsky Headshot

Dr. Rubin Shmulsky

Sustainable Bioproducts

  • Head and Warren S. Thompson Professor of Wood Science and Technology
Headshot portrait of Dr. Beth Stokes

Dr. Beth Stokes

Sustainable Bioproducts

  • Associate Professor