Biological Engineering, Minor

Program Code: BE_UMNR

Program Description

This minor provides students with an opportunity to apply engineering principles to agricultural and biological production and processing systems and to the management of our natural resources. Courses may be selected by students to gain a better understanding of power and machinery, microbiological engineering, soil conservation and water quality, food process engineering, or structures and their environments.

The minor is particularly suitable for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in a different engineering major. Additional prerequisites for courses in the minor may be required including calculus through differential equations, engineering mechanics, fluid dynamics, or thermodynamics. Students interested in pursuing this minor should follow up with the contact provided under Academic Advising to discuss how the minor might integrate with their major and any other questions.

What is Biological Engineering?

Biological Engineering involves the study of engineering fundamentals, very similar to traditional engineering disciplines like chemical, civil, or mechanical engineering. What makes Biological Engineering unique is the integration of these engineering fundamentals with biological, agricultural, and environmental sciences and the holistic approach taken to studying agricultural production, processing of food and other bio-based materials, and natural resource protection. Problem-solving skills are developed and then applied to grand engineering challenges such as sustainably providing safe food and clean water.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are pursuing an engineering major and want to complement it with an engineering minor that offers a different perspective on the connections between agriculture, food, and environment.
  • You want to take application-focused classes with interactive labs and hands-on learning opportunities.
  • You are interested in solving problems related to fundamental societal needs, like food, water, fiber, and renewable energy.
  • You are passionate about sustainability.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18-20

Requirements for the Minor

The minor requires a minimum of 18 credits, at least 6 of which must be at the 400 level.

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3-4 credits from the following related science electives:3-4
Principles of Crop Management
Animal Science
Measurement & Monitoring of Hydrologic Systems
Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Plant Biology Keystone/General Education Course
Elementary Biochemistry
Molecular and Cell Biology I
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry I
Introductory Food Science
Horticultural Science Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Microbiology
Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course
Select 6-7 credits from the following 300-level BE courses:6-7
Mathematical Modeling of Biological and Physical Systems
Heat and Mass Transfer in Biological Systems
Structural Systems in Agriculture
BE 304
Agricultural Measurements and Control Systems
Machines for Agricultural and Biological Processing
Principles of Soil and Water Engineering
Engineering Elements of Biochemistry and Microbiology
Select 6 credits from the following 400-level BE courses:6
Design of Fluid Power Systems
Design of Wood Structures
Bioenergy Systems Engineering
Food and Biological Process Engineering
Design of Stormwater and Erosion Control Facilities
Microbiological Engineering
Land-Based Waste Disposal
Simulation Modeling for Water Resources Management
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits of 400-level coursework or independent study in a related science or engineering field in consultation with the minor adviser3

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.


University Park

Megan Marshall
Associate Teaching Professor
305 Agricultural Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802


University Park

105 Agricultural Engineering Building
University Park, PA 16802