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Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

Biological and Environmental Engineering

This vital, growing field is where engineering practice meets the principles of life sciences and engineering to create solutions for severe and growing environmental challenges. Biological and environmental engineers work toward practical, sustainable solutions to a wide variety of human health and environmental challenges.

The biological and environmental engineering (BEE) M.Eng. program is intended for those who have a B.S. degree or equivalent in an engineering or closely related science field from a college or university of recognized standing. Students in the M.Eng. program must select a Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) faculty advisor who is a member of the BEE graduate field. 

With instruction led by top-ranked faculty, in one of the largest biological and environmental engineering departments in the country, Cornell’s master of engineering program in biological and environmental engineering (BEE M.Eng.) is a one year, specialized master’s degree program. The flexible, interdisciplinary program offers customized coursework, experiential projects and dedicated support organization to advance students' technical knowledge and career potential. M.Eng. graduates are well equipped to move right into the workforce upon graduation, typically drawing higher salaries and greater job opportunities than those with B.S. degrees.

    The biological and environmental engineering master of engineering program has two main components:

    1. Coursework: Students work with a faculty advisor to map out their individualized course of study based on their area(s) of interest. While the majority of the courses (24 credits) will be in the College of Engineering, students have the flexibility to take courses across Cornell. Learn more about the M.Eng. degree requirements.
    2. Problem-solving project: With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students work on solving a real-world problem. There are a variety of projects led by top-ranked faculty available for BEE M.Eng. students. Read more about BEE M.Eng. projects.

    The ideal candidate will demonstrate a passion for biological and environmental engineering. Admissions requirements include: 

    • Online application through Cornell Graduate School
    • Statement of purpose
    • Personal Statement (see description here)
    • Transcripts
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Application fee
    • TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English

    Read more about the BEE MEng admissions process here

    Application deadlines:

    • Fall: March 1
    • Spring: October 1

    Early Admission for Cornell undergraduates: 

    • Fall: April 8
    • Spring: Nov 8

    Cornell students who are within 1 to 8 credits of completing their engineering baccalaureate degree may apply to the M.Eng. program as “early admit students” (non-Cornell students are not eligible for early admit but are still encouraged to apply to regular admissions). The early admit application must be made in the semester prior to the last undergraduate term and, if admitted, the student must submit an intended set of master of engineering courses approved by their M.Eng. advisor prior to the start of their studies. Early admit students complete their bachelors degree and spend at least one full-time semester enrolled in the graduate school prior to the conferral of their M.Eng. degree. Early admit students are classified as undergraduate students and pay undergraduate tuition during the early admit semester.

    Areas of Specialization

    Hands with dirt holding wood.

    Systems Engineering & Modeling

    (Food, Water and Energy)

    Apply engineering and biology principles to provide basic services for human needs, including clean water, soil and renewable energy, and manage waste flows (food, agricultural and human) while protecting the environment and future generations.

    More on the systems engineering and modeling specialization

    Molecular Engineering

    (Synthetic Biology, Nucleic Acid, Health and Medicine)

    Explore the processes inside the cell, interactions among cells, and cellular response to the environment. Synthetic biologists study the creation of new biological systems, focusing on finding how life works or how to use it to benefit society.

    More on the molecular engineering specialization

    Soil and Water Engineering

    (Hydrology, Contaminant Transport and Remediation)

    Study interspecies interactions and design them into systems that produce useful products and preserve the environment; monitor ecosystems to preserve their stability in the face of population growth and climate change. Areas of exploration include hydroponics, biomass and food processing, management of pests and invasive species, and sustainable waste processing, including advances in composting and anaerobic digestion.

    More about the soil and water engineering specialization

    Research Spotlight

    Engineering plants and algae to make high value proteins

    Alumni Spotlight

    Caitlin Anderson: Biological and Environmental Engineering Alumni

    Two bottles in lab being tested.
    Alumni, Caitlin Anderson, standing in front of an icy river.