Biological Engineering, B.S.

Program Code: BE_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, students must satisfy the following requirements:

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering, a minimum of 129 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 111-114

27-30 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 9 credits of GWS courses; and 0-3 credits of GHW courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
BE 460WBiological Engineering Design I2
BE 466WBiological Engineering Design II2
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
MATH 231Calculus of Several Variables2
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BE 301Mathematical Modeling of Biological and Physical Systems3
BE 302Heat and Mass Transfer in Biological Systems4
BE 304Engineering Properties of Food and Biological Materials3
BE 305Agricultural Measurements and Control Systems3
BE 308Engineering Elements of Biochemistry and Microbiology3
BE 391Communication Skills for BE and BRS Students Keystone/General Education Course2
BE 392Leadership Skills for BE and BRS Students Keystone/General Education Course2
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
EDSGN 100Cornerstone Engineering Design3
EMCH 211Statics3
EMCH 212Dynamics3
EMCH 213Strength of Materials3
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 251Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations4
ME 300Engineering Thermodynamics I3
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Select 1 credit of First-Year Seminar1
Select one of the following:3
Economic Principles of Agribusiness Decision Making Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 100AEffective Speech Keystone/General Education Course3
or CAS 100B Effective Speech Keystone/General Education Course
Requirements for the Option
Select an option36-39

Requirements for the Option

Agricultural Engineering Option (36 credits)
Additional Courses
IE 424Process Quality Engineering3
or STAT 401 Experimental Methods
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CE 360Fluid Mechanics3
or ME 320 Fluid Flow
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits in math/basic science 13
Select 6 credits in engineering science/design 16
Select 3 credits in agricultural/biological science 13
Select 6 credits in biological engineering 16
Select 6 credits in technical selection 1,26
Supporting Courses and Related Area: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Structural Systems in Agriculture
Machines for Agricultural and Biological Processing
Principles of Soil and Water Engineering
Food and Biological Processing Engineering Option (39 credits)
Prescribed Courses
BE 465Food and Biological Process Engineering3
BE 468Microbiological Engineering3
BMB 211Elementary Biochemistry3
CHEM 202Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry I3
IE 424Process Quality Engineering3
NUTR 100Nutrition Applications for a Healthy Lifestyle Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CE 360Fluid Mechanics3
or ME 320 Fluid Flow
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits in emphasis technical elective 16
Select 6 credits in engineering science/design 16
Select 6 credits in technical selection 1,26
Natural Resources Engineering Option (36 credits)
Prescribed Courses
BE 467Design of Stormwater and Erosion Control Facilities3
BE 477Land-Based Waste Disposal3
BE 4873
SOILS 101Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course3
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ASM 309Measurement & Monitoring of Hydrologic Systems3
BE 307Principles of Soil and Water Engineering3
CE 360Fluid Mechanics3
Additional Courses
IE 424Process Quality Engineering3
or STAT 401 Experimental Methods
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits in engineering science/design 16
Select 3 credits in biological/environmental sciences 13
Select 3 credits in technical selection 1,23

Program Educational Objectives

Early career Biological Engineering graduates will be expected to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in basic and engineering sciences related to biological processing, natural resource, and agricultural engineering fields;
  2. Effectively identify, analyze and design sustainable solutions to address issues and opportunities throughout the world; 
  3. Work in teams and effectively communicate within and outside the profession;
  4. Demonstrate strong leadership skills, ethical integrity, and professional engagement

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. The Biological Engineering program is designed to enable students to:

  1. Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. Apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. Recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. Function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. Develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. Acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Megan Marshall
Associate Teaching Professor
305 Agricultural Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-3392
mnm11@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Agricultural Engineering Option: Biological Engineering, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to: http://advising.engr.psu.edu/degree-requirements/academic-plans-by-major.aspx

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3CHEM 111 (GN)1
ECON 102, 104, or AGBM 101 (GS)3ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
EDSGN 100*#3MATH 141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
MATH 140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4PHYS 211 (GN)*#†4
BE 1 (or First year Seminar)1General Education Course3
General Education Course3 
 17 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)‡†3EMCH 212*3
EMCH 211*3EMCH 213*3
MATH 251*4MATH 2312
PHYS 212 (GN)*†4ME 300*3
General Education Course3Math/Basic Science Selection3
 General Education Course3
 17 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BE 301*3BE 302*4
BE 304*3BE 305*3
BE 308*3BE 392 (GWS)‡†2
BE 391 (GWS)‡†2BE 30X-Junior BE Selection*3
CE 360 or ME 320*3BE 30X-Junior BE Selection*3
General Education Course3 
 17 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BE 460W2BE 466W2
IE 424 or STAT 4013BE 4XX-Biological Engineering Selection3
BE 4XX-Biological Engineering Selection3Engineering Science/Design Selection3
BIO/AG Selection3Technical Selection3
Engineering Science/Design Selection3Technical Selection3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15.5 15.5
Total Credits 129

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

  • Junior BE Selection: BE 303 - Structural Systems in Agriculture; BE 306 - Machines for Agricultural and Biological Processing; or BE 307 - Principles of Soil and Water Engineering.
  • Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a Technical Selection.
  • BE 391 & BE 392 fulfill General Writing and Speaking requirements (taken instead of ENGL 202C).
  • See selection lists in BE Advising Manual at https://abe.psu.edu/files/be-advising-manual.pdf for the following:
    • BE 4XX - Biological Engineering Selection
    • BIO/AG Selection
    • Engineering Science/Design Selection
    • Math/Basic Science Selection
    • Technical Selection
  • These courses offered at University Park in fall semester only:
  • These courses offered at University Park in spring semester only:

Food & Biological Process Engineering Option: Biological Engineering, B.S. Ending at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to: http://advising.engr.psu.edu/degree-requirements/academic-plans-by-major.aspx

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
EDSGN 100*#3CHEM 111 (GN)1
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
ECON 102, 104, or AGBM 101 (GS)3MATH 141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
MATH 140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4PHYS 211 (GN)*#†4
BE 1 (or First Year Seminar)1General Education Course3
General Education Course3 
 17 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)‡†3CHEM 2023
EMCH 211*3EMCH 212*3
MATH 251*4EMCH 213*3
PHYS 212 (GN)*†4MATH 2312
General Education Course3ME 300*3
 General Education Course3
 17 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BE 301*3BE 302*4
BE 304*3BE 305*3
BE 308*3BE 392 (GWS)‡†2
BE 391 (GWS)‡†2BMB 2113
ME 320 or CE 360*3Engineering Science/Design Selection3
General Education Course3 
 17 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BE 460W2BE 466W2
BE 4653BE 4683
NUTR 100 (GHW)1.5Emphasis Technical Selection3
IE 4243Engineering Science/Design Selection3
Emphasis Technical Selection3Technical Selection3
Technical Selection3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15.5 15.5
Total Credits 129

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

Natural Resource Engineering Option: Biological Engineering, B.S. Ending at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to: http://advising.engr.psu.edu/degree-requirements/academic-plans-by-major.aspx

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3CHEM 111 (GN)1
ECON 102, 104, or AGBM 101 (GS)3ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
EDSGN 100*#3MATH 141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
MATH 140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4PHYS 211 (GN)*#†4
BE 1 (or First Year Seminar)1General Education Course3
General Education Course3 
 17 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)‡†3EMCH 212*3
EMCH 211*3EMCH 213*3
MATH 251*4MATH 2312
PHYS 212 (GN)*†4ME 300*3
General Education Course3SOILS 1013
 General Education Course3
 17 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ASM 309*3BE 302*4
BE 301*3BE 305*3
BE 304*3BE 307*3
BE 308*3BE 392 (GWS)‡†2
BE 391 (GWS)‡†2Engineering Science/Design Selection3
CE 360*3 
 17 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BE 460W2BE 466W2
BE 4673BE 4873
IE 424 or STAT 4013Technical Selection3
BE 4773Engineering Science/Design Selection3
BIO/ENV Selection3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 15.5 15.5
Total Credits 129

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

 

Career Paths

With a bachelor of science in Biological Engineering, you can gain a broad background in engineering fundamentals and specialized training needed to succeed in industry, government, or graduate education. Specific career paths vary by option within the Biological Engineering major: Agricultural Engineering, Food and Biological Processing Engineering, and Natural Resources Engineering.

Careers

Agricultural Engineering

You can learn power and machinery systems and structural analysis, with a focus on the design of off-road equipment for agricultural production, construction, and food processing. You might work as a design or test engineer for agricultural or construction equipment companies.

Food and Biological Processing Engineering

You can learn to design microbiological systems for production of pharmaceuticals, renewable fuels, and vitamins and to engineer processing systems for production of safe, high-quality food. You might work as a process engineer or project manager for food, pharmaceutical, commodity, or consumer goods companies.

Natural Resources Engineering

You can learn to apply best management practices to minimize non-point source pollution, such as sediment loss or nutrient runoff, and to apply low-impact development strategies for stormwater management. You might work as a design engineer in a government agency or an engineering consulting/design firm.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

As a Biological Engineering graduate, you may pursue an advanced degree in agricultural and biological engineering or related science and engineering disciplines, such as biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, or food science. You may also pursue licensure as a professional engineer by passing the appropriate examinations and gaining practical engineering experience.

Professional Resources

Accreditation

The baccalaureate program in Biological Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://www.abet.org/.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ABET ACCREDITATION

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING
105 Agricultural Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-1524
wjt11@psu.edu

http://abe.psu.edu