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Track in Sustainable Bioeconomy and Bioenergy

Director of Graduate Studies:  Joel Cuello,


The primary objective of the SBB track is to prepare students for jobs as research professionals in the field of bioenergy, biofuels, and novel agricultural systems research as part of a sustainable regional and global bioeconomy.  Students will be interested in research towards selecting and improving appropriate feedstock; producing feedstock in a sustainable manner; researching conversion of the feedstock to biofuels, bioenergy and value-added coproducts; and in developing techno-economic and sustainability models to evaluate paths to commercialization and socioeconomic impacts.  Students completing the SBB track will seek employment in public or private research organizations (including universities) that conduct research in these fields; private companies (from bioenergy startups to established multinationals in the existing energy industries) that are interested in sustainable bioenergy research and implementation; governmental agencies that regulate the biofuels industry; and in nonprofit organizations that evaluate the environmental and societal impact of these industries.


Just as the other ABS emphases, the SBB track will provide a rigorous but student-tailored and student-centered science training that is complemented by integration of important knowledge from the disciplines of management, economics, business practices, and law.  Just as students in the existing tracks, SBB students will complete an internship at a company (preferably in the Tucson-Phoenix corridor) or at a UofA lab appropriate for their career goals, in order to obtain invaluable on-the-job training, experience and knowledge.  This real world know-how obtained in the internship is unique and cannot be emulated in the classroom nor by taking on-line courses.  As part of their graduate program, students will prepare, present and defend an internship report in lieu of a thesis (PSM-ABS is a non-thesis MS degree).  This report will describe the field of research the student was engaged in; details their contributions to this field; and discusses future directions such research may take.


Students graduating in the SBB program will typically do research during their professional career “at the bench” (including the “virtual bench” of the computer, in case of research in socioeconomic modeling), with the perspective of eventually managing a laboratory at a university or in industry. With knowledge gained in business and legal fields, our trained scholars can also become involved in the business side of the bioenergy industry, becoming project managers, regulatory agency employees, marketing and analysis professionals.



All ABS tracks share identical Professional Preparation and Internship Modules totaling 21 credit hours, and have more specific, but still partially overlapping Scientific Modules (15 credit hours).  Considering that this is a Professional degree, the Professional Preparation, Internship and Science Modules are equally important for the successful completion of the degree.



Science Module

15 units

Professional Preparation Module

12 units

Internship (including the Final Report)

9 units


36 units


The Professional Preparation Module contains classes that are related to business practices, biotech-related policies, laws and regulations, scientific ethics, and leadership skills.

The Internship Module is also common to all tracks.  It consists of 8 credits (1 credit=45 work hours; 360 work hours total required) of a practical internship completed at the University of Arizona or with biotech industrial partners.  The Module also contains 1 credit of internship report preparation and defense.  All tracks encourage students to conduct their internships outside of the UA as this provides the “real-life” and “commercial” milieu that we would like the students to experience, and also this is what most employers actually prefer to see on the students’ resumes.  However, PSM-ABS also allows students to do their internship in a UA lab (this is called an “internal internship”), provided that the work matches the stated career goals of the student.


Please find a list of recommended courses for Sustainable Bioeconomy and Bioenergy track from the ABS Student Handbook.

Last updated 10 Feb 2022