Graduate Field of Biological & Environmental Engineering

Be part of an extraordinary legacy.

    As one of the first departments of agricultural engineering in the country, and through a transition to a premier biological and environmental engineering department, our tradition of excellence has centered on training graduate students for leadership in the field.

    The Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) is diverse with two distinct and highly integrated program areas: Biological Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Although these two program areas share significant commonality in teaching, especially with regard to the core curriculum, there are significant differences in emphasis and course options. These differences result in a flexible program that satisfies the diverse interests of our students. Accordingly, the intellectual breadth of the BEE department is even more strongly reflected by the diversity of the department's research and outreach activities.

    Master of Science (M.S.)

    Students can be admitted either into the M.S. program or into the Ph.D. program. The focus of these programs is on scholarly research. With top-ranked and diverse faculty, in one of the highest-ranked Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) departments in the country, we use basic biological and environmental science to generate solutions to societal problems involving air, water, food, energy and public health. Our goal is to enable our students to drive innovation as our discipline continues to be transformed by our changing world.

     

    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    Students can be admitted either into the M.S. program or into the Ph.D. program. The focus of these programs is on scholarly research. With top-ranked and diverse faculty, in one of the highest-ranked Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) departments in the country, we use basic biological and environmental science to generate solutions to societal problems involving air, water, food, energy and public health. Our goal is to enable our students to drive innovation as our discipline continues to be transformed by our changing world.

    Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Agriculture and Life Sciences

    The Master of Professional Studies in Agriculture and Life Sciences (M.P.S.) degree is for professional training and practical problem-solving, with less emphasis on scholarly research, and does not require the declaration of a research concentration.  However, the topics of interest to students pursuing professional degrees closely parallel the research concentrations of the faculty.  The project paper required of the M.P.S. typically reflects the special interests of the student.

    • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours related to the candidate's professional interest, as agreed upon with the faculty advisor.
      (a)   Twenty credit hours must be taken within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and at least 24 credits must be in courses numbered 4000 or higher.
      (b)   A maximum of 6 of the required 30 credit hours may be earned through the student's problem-solving project (see 3rd bullet).
      (c)   A maximum of 6 credit hours earned outside the program, at Cornell University or elsewhere, may be counted toward these requirements at the discretion of the student's faculty advisor. These credits must be appropriate to the subject of study and completed not more than five years before admission.
    • Completion of a minimum of 2 semesters. One semester must be earned by carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours. In certain circumstances, the second semester credit may be earned by accumulating the remaining credit hours in the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University or through transfer of credit (see item c above).
    • Satisfactory completion of a problem-solving project under the supervision of the faculty advisor. This project may be an action program, the development of a plan to address a pertinent problem, the development of materials or methodology suited to the student's situation, or the development and execution of research appropriate to the profession. An oral presentation and formal project report must be submitted to and approved by the candidate's faculty advisor. 
    • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 (minimum of 18 credit hours with letter grades at Cornell).
    • Completion of the degree within four years of admission. Some fields of study may have special requirements, so students should check with the field's Director of Graduate Studies for specific details.

    Program Overview

    The Biological and Environmental Engineering Master's 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 College of Engineering, students have the flexibility to take courses across Cornell.
    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 MEng students.

    M.Eng Areas of Specialization

    Systems Engineering and 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.

    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.

    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.