Sustainable Bioproducts Major

Students majoring in Sustainable Bioproducts will develop a strong foundation in the manufacturing of wood and fiber-based products, their physical and mechanical properties, environmental implications, marketing, sales, and trading of wood and composite materials composed of agricultural resides and other natural fibers. Besides structural materials, specialty chemicals such as polymers and adhesives from natural resources, and bioenergy such as bio-oils, alcohols, and pelletized fuels are increasingly important to sustainable industrial production. In addition to utilizing the state's timber and agricultural residues, the program seeks to increase the use life of wood and non-wood materials, and to enhance sustainability by use of preservative treatments and developing improved designs.

Students must complete a specified major core curriculum and one of two academic pathways.

  1. Business - Forest Products Manufacturing & Engineering Technology
  2. Science - Wood & Environmental Science
Background Image Alternative Text: Student testing wood
Background Image Alternative Text: Students in the lab
Background Image Alternative Text: close view of a hand applicating a solution on a wood slab

Sustainable Bioproducts Accelerated Program (Thrive in Five)

The Department of Sustainable Bioproducts offers an Accelerated BS/MS program to highly qualified MSU undergraduates enrolled as SBP majors. Programs of this type offer students the opportunity to earn graduate credit while completing a Bachelor's program, and are offered in several departments across the university. Currently enrolled SBP undergraduates who have completed 60 credit hours toward a Bachelor's degree, and who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher for all undergraduate work may apply for the program by contacting Dr. Beth Stokes ( in the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts for further information. Undergraduates may receive dual credit for split-level courses (4000-level and 6000-level) taken during their final year of undergraduate studies, and may choose to transition into a Master's program immediately following their Bachelor's degree, completing both programs in as few as five years in total.

Sustainable Bioproducts Minor

A Sustainable Bioproducts minor is available to non-majors to provide students with the knowledge of wood products, and bio-based composites, polymers, chemicals and fuels. The courses focus on material properties, environmental issues, and manufacturing principles, as well as their marketing and sales. The topics complement many fields that deal with natural materials: construction, design, business and production management, and scientific fields such as chemistry, engineering, environmental science, and biotechnology. A minor in Sustainable Bioproducts will also provide non-major students an excellent background for entering a graduate degree program in Sustainable Bioproducts. A total of 18 hours is required to obtain a Sustainable Bioproducts minor.


Opportunities abound for students interested in getting involved in their new profession. Students have a myriad of clubs and organizations which provide opportunities to network, learn new skills and make new friends. Students are also encouraged to gain professional experience during their academic careers where they may receive college credit and a stipend for their contribution. Employers even come to campus to interview and employ our students, often meeting with students during club meetings. Studies have shown that employers give preference to students who have acquired professional experience prior to graduation.

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Career Information

The forest products industry is one of the most vital industries in the state of Mississippi and in the United States. The combined employment of the furniture, lumber, wood products, composites, and paper sectors on the economy far exceeds the employment of any other manufacturing sector in the state. The forest products industry in Mississippi recognizes the need for well-trained young people to help increase conversion efficiencies and alter manufacturing processes to allow compatibility with a changing raw material base. While the industry is very large in terms of employment and value-added, the total number of processing facilities is only a few thousand nationwide and a few hundred in Mississippi. Mississippi State's forest products graduates have always been in high demand with relatively high starting salaries and excellent opportunities for advancement. Career opportunities are available in many sectors of the industry. Four of these include: manufacturing, marketing, technical services, and research.

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Where can I work with a degree in Sustainable Bioproducts?

Manufacturing Careers

Careers in manufacturing are concerned with product and process development, quality or production control, engineering, personnel relations, and management. Manufacturing is the most diverse area within the forest products field and the one chosen most often by students at Mississippi State. Graduates who specialize in this area may initially find employment as production supervisors, as management trainees and design engineers for companies specializing in timber construction, or as quality control technicians in forest products. Many then move on to become plant managers and executives.

Marketing Careers

Today, marketing is recognized as a key element in the overall business strategy of forest products firms. Marketing is the income-producing side of a business, and students who specialize in marketing often have their first job in sales, moving later to management of a regional or national account. Others with analytical aptitudes may be employed as market research analysts or product-market development managers.

Technical Service Careers

Technical service representatives for wood industry suppliers use their knowledge of wood to enhance the efficiency of their clients' operations. Employment may be with a chemical company, machinery manufacturer, or other service-oriented business. Forest products associations, the federal government, and state government can provide technical input about broad industry problems. They also can answer consumers' questions and establish product standards. Forest products companies employ technical, environmental, and engineering specialists, especially in multi-plant operations.

Research Careers

Inquisitiveness, imagination, and ingenuity are necessary characteristics for the wood scientist who pursues a career in research. Many new and improved wood products and processes have resulted from wood research over the past 40 years. Employment opportunities exist with large forest products firms, universities, and government agencies. Research areas range from developing new plastics from wood to a method of cutting wood without producing sawdust. Individuals seeking research careers should have graduate training. The Forest Products Laboratory at Mississippi State is among the world's leading forest products research laboratories. Graduate students receive training at the Laboratory using state-of-the-art scientific equipment under the guidance of world renowned faculty members.

Job Titles of Sustainable Bioproducts Graduates with a B. S. Degree:

  • Management Trainee - Anderson-Tully Company
  • Quality Assurance Technician - Zildjan Percussion
  • Rough Mill Supervisor - Batesville Casket Company
  • Sales Service Representative - Neste Resins
  • Environmental Engineer - Georgia Pacific Corporation
  • Development Engineer - OMG Americas
  • Product Engineer - Georgia Pacific Corporation
  • Environmental Compliance Manager - Georgia Pacific Corporation
  • Products Specialist - Kop-Coat, Inc.
  • Process Improvement Manager - Norbord Mississippi, Inc.
  • Production Superintendent - Temple-Inland
  • Plant Manager - Koppers Industries, Inc.
  • Chip Procurement Supervisor - Riverwood International
  • Environmental Coordinator - AKZO Nobel Coatings, Inc.