Courses of Study 2012-2013 
    Apr 18, 2024  
Courses of Study 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological and Environmental Engineering


B. A. Ahner, chair; L. D. Albright, C. L. Anderson, D. J. Aneshansley, L. T. Angenent, L. Aristilde, A. J. Baeumner, J. A. Bartsch, A. K. Datta, K. G. Gebremedhin, D. A. Haith, P. G. Hess, J. B. Hunter, L. H. Irwin, D. Luo, J. C. March, J.-Y. Parlange, G. E. Rehkugler, N. R. Scott, R. M. Spanswick, T. S. Steenhuis, M. B. Timmons, L. P. Walker, M. F. Walter, M. T. Walter. Lecturers: L. D. Geohring, M. Wu

Biological Engineering:

Offered by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering

Contact: 207 Riley-Robb Hall, (607) 255-2173,

This major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Biological and environmental engineering (BEE) programs address three great challenges facing humanity today: ensuring an adequate and safe food supply in an era of expanding world population; protecting and remediating the world’s natural resources, including water, soil, air, biodiversity, and energy; and developing engineering systems that monitor, replace, or intervene in the mechanisms of living organisms. The biological engineering (BE) major has a unique focus on biological systems, including the environment, which is realized through a combination of fundamental engineering sciences, biology, engineering applications and design courses, and liberal studies.

Students interested in the BE major should have a strong aptitude for the sciences and math and an interest in the complex social issues that surround technology.

Students take courses in math, engineering, statistics, computing, physics, chemistry, basic and advanced biology, fundamental engineering sciences (mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and transport processes), and engineering design. Students select upper-level engineering courses in subjects that include bioprocessing, soil and water management, biotechnology applications, bioinstrumentation, engineering aspects of animal and cellular physiology, environmental systems analysis, sustainable energy, and waste management and disposal. Students may further strengthen their programs by completing a minor or a second engineering major. Students planning for medical school also take additional lab-based courses in chemistry and biology. Throughout the curriculum, emphasis is placed on communications and teamwork skills, and all students complete a capstone design project.

Career opportunities cover the spectrum of self-employment, private industry, public agencies, educational institutions, and graduate and professional programs in engineering and science, as well as professional fields like medicine, business, and law. In recent years, graduates have pursued careers in consulting, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry, biomedical engineering, management, and international development.

The living world is all around us and within us. The ongoing biological revolution has given rise to a growing demand for technical problem solvers who have studied biology, who have strong math and science skills, who can communicate effectively, and who are sensitive to the needs of people and the environment, and interested in the challenges facing society. The Biological Engineering major is designed to educate the next generation of engineers to meet these challenges.

The academic requirements* for students majoring in Biological Engineering are outlined below.

Basic Subjects:

Concentration courses:

(three courses, minimum of 9 credits, chosen from one of the following BE concentrations): Biomedical Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering, or Bio-Environmental Engineering.***

Major-approved Engineering Electives: ***

(Engineering courses at or above 2000-level to bring the number of credits to 46.) One course must be a BEE capstone design course and one must be a BEE lab experience course.

Liberal studies (two first-year writing seminars and six liberal studies electives) (24)

Advisor-approved electives (6)


* Basic accredited curriculum. See also the section on minors. Information on preprofessional study for medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine is available at

** Students must have a competency in calculus equivalent to MATH 1110  before they attempt MATH 1910 .

*** See department web page for a current list of approved courses.

Students must satisfy the College of Engineering Technical Writing requirement by including one of the approved courses in their program of study.

Total (minimum): 126

Biological Engineering Honors Program:

The B.S. degree with honors is granted to biological engineering majors who graduate with distinction from the College of Engineering and satisfy the Honors requirements given on the page “Undergraduate Study and Graduation Requirements .”

The Honors program requires completion of 9 credits beyond the B.S. degree requirements drawn from the following, with at least 6 credits in the first category:

  1. A significant research experience or honors project under the supervision of a BEE faculty member using BEE 4991 BEE 4992  BE Honors Research completed in their senior year. A written senior honors thesis must be submitted as part of this component.
  2. A significant teaching experience under the direct supervision of a faculty member or as part of a regularly recognized course in the department under BEE 4980 .
  3. Advanced or graduate courses. These additional courses must be technical in nature, i.e., in engineering, math, biology, chemistry, and physics at the 4000+ and graduate level.

Environmental Engineering:

Offered jointly by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Contact: BEE Office, 207 Riley-Robb Hall, (607) 255-2173,, or CEE Office, 221 Hollister Hall, (607) 255-3412,

Environmental Engineering is the study and practice of analyzing, designing, and managing natural and engineered systems in ways consistent with the maintenance or enhancement of environmental amenities and sustainability. It requires the ability to predict interactions and impacts among natural and engineering-system components at various spatial and temporal scales in response to alternative projects and design and management policies. It requires a thorough understanding of interactions among the natural environment, the constructed environment, and human activities.

Students matriculating in the College of Engineering (CoE) may affiliate with this major in their second year. Students matriculating in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) may enroll in this major in their first semester. This major requires that students take the following courses:


Introduction to engineering (b): (3 Credits)

Engineering distribution courses (†):

Required: (3 Credits)

Recommended: (3-4 Credits)

Major-required courses:

Major Courses:


Three environmental design electives:

at least one from list of capstone design courses and the remainder from list of design courses 9-credit minimum (g)

Additional Requirements:

  • Two major-approved engineering electives to complete total credit requirement (h) (6)
  • First-year writing seminar (6)
  • Two approved electives (6)
  • Liberal studies (18)

Total credits (minimum): 126


  1. BEE 1510  and BEE 1200  together (5 credits) satisfy the ENGRI requirement for CALS– matriculated first-year students. Students using BEE 1200  and BEE 1510  to satisfy the ENGRI requirement must make up the 2-credit difference with engineering course work.
  2. COE matriculated students must complete one ENGRI 1XXX course their first year. CALS matriculated students may complete BEE 1510  and BEE 1200  to meet the requirement.
  3. Students using this course as a second engineering distribution must take an additional major-approved elective.
  4. ENGRD 2700  (f,s,3) may be accepted (by petition) to substitute for CEE 3040  if taken prior to affiliation with the Environmental Engineering major or if necessary because of scheduling conflicts caused by co-op or study abroad.
  5. Students may take BIOMI 2900 - General Microbiology Lectures  in place of CEE 4510 .
  6. If the course fulfilling the technical writing requirement also fulfills another requirement (e.g., liberal studies, major-approved elective), then it may be used to satisfy both requirements.
  7. To be chosen from a list of design courses.
  8. The list of suggested courses covers the areas of environmental engineering, hydraulics/hydrology, environmental systems engineering, geotechnical engineering, remote sensing, air pollution, and renewable energy systems. The respective lists are available online or at the departmental offices.

Academic Standing

 Majors in Environmental Engineering are expected to meet the following standards:

  1. Semester GPA ≥ 2.0
  2. Cumulative GPA ≥ 2.0
  3. *A semester GPA ≥ 2.0 in Core Courses, Design Courses, Major-approved Electives, and Engineering Distribution Courses(Tech GPA).
  4. *At most one grade below C- in Core Courses, Design Courses, Major-approved Electives, and Engineering Distribution Courses.
  5. 12 credit hours each semester
  6. No failing grades

*Grade(s) below C- in these courses beyond the first will require that the course(s) so graded be repeated.  (The College of Engineering also requires that each course in the required mathematics sequence - 1910, 1920, 2930, 2940 - be passed with a grade of C- or better.)

Environmental Engineering Honors Program:

Students interested in pursuing an honors program should contact the office of the undergraduate program director of Biological and Environmental Engineering or the associate director of Civil and Environmental Engineering for information on the program requirements.