About the department
With two distinct and highly integrated program areas – biological engineering and environmental engineering – the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering addresses scales from the molecular to the global and applications across them.
Although these two areas share commonality in teaching, there are differences in emphasis and course options, resulting in a flexible curriculum that satisfies the diverse interests of our students.
Biological engineering integrates engineering practice and quantitative biology, with a focus on food systems, life sciences, human health and the environment.
Environmental engineering is aimed at combining engineering and environmental sciences in a coordinated manner to include a balance of basic, developmental and applied investigative efforts. Once concerned primarily with the rural environment, the program now addresses a wide range of environmental issues in the private and public sectors.
Much of the approximately $6 million annual department expenditures are directed at sponsored research. This research includes the development of nanobiomechanical devices, biosensors, a bio-based industry center, food processing, controlled environmental agriculture, preferential flow, sustainable watersheds, as well as many other projects and programs. Most biological and environmental engineering-led research is interdisciplinary and includes links to teaching and outreach.
Extension and outreach
Extension and outreach in BEE is conducted largely by faculty working with full-time senior extension associates in programs. Our department has extension and outreach programs in areas such as local roads, dairy systems, water and watershed management, and controlled environmental agriculture.
People of BEE
BEE is composed of extraordinary faculty and staff. Faculty members have diverse backgrounds and expertise in agricultural engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, biotechnology and applied math. Administrative and academic staff contribute to the success of the department.
BEE at a glance
Trailblazer in agricultural engineering
Our first department head was Howard W. Riley. His vision for the field – which included improving local roads and electrifying farm equipment – helped set the course of agricultural engineering around the world.
BEE is consistently ranked in the top 3 in the nation for graduate studies by U.S. News & World Report.
As the Division of Rural Engineering and Architecture.