Program in Engineering Biology

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Engineering Biology is designed for those highly motivated students who are interested in pursuing careers or graduate education in the areas of biotechnology or bioengineering. The interface between engineering science and the life sciences is an area of dramatic growth and intellectual vigor. Innovations and new developments in this area require multidisciplinary approaches and greater exposure to life science and engineering science fundamentals than is available from a single department. For engineering majors, in addition to courses in those subjects fundamental to the student's major, the program encourages the study of cellular and molecular biology, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, and neuroscience. For biological and chemical sciences majors, the program offers study in biotechnology, biomechanics, thermodynamics, control theory, hazardous waste management, electronics, computer graphics, and information theory.

Admission to the Program

Students are formally admitted to the program once they have declared a major. Generally, any student enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science or the Departments of Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, or Molecular Biology is eligible to participate in the program. All other majors are also welcome to apply. A student planning to enroll in the program should submit an application, which is available in A201 EQuad or on the program's website. Freshmen are encouraged to do this as early as possible to begin planning appropriate course sequences.

Program of Study

An engineering biology student will normally satisfy both program and departmental requirements. The program will be developed by the student and his or her departmental adviser in consultation with the special adviser in engineering biology. In some cases courses taken under the program requirements may be applied toward the fulfillment of regular departmental requirements. The program requirements are as follows:

1. Five biology/life science courses selected with the approval of the student's engineering biology adviser. The courses should represent a coherent program in some aspect of biological science. To ensure depth as well as breadth, at least two of the courses should be upper-division courses.

2. Five engineering courses selected with the approval of the student's engineering biology adviser. The courses should represent a coherent program in engineering science, such as biotechnology, waste management, biomechanical sensor technology, neural networks, or computer graphics, although they need not be in a single department. At least two of these courses should be at the upper-division level or required courses taken by departmental majors. Many upper-division engineering courses require calculus and/or differential equations (MAT 104, MAT 202, and MAE 305, or equivalent), and students should allow for these requirements in planning course selections.

3. Close collaboration with faculty is expected. Students are required to complete, with the grade of B- or better, at least one semester of independent work in an appropriate area of engineering biology. This independent work is coordinated with the student's department in order to satisfy departmental requirements for the senior thesis or senior independent research.

The growth of interdisciplinary research in bioengineering has led to the creation of several courses in the engineering school that satisfy the biology/life science course requirement, and courses taught in molecular biology that satisfy the engineering course requirements. Several physiology-oriented courses in the psychology department satisfy the life science course requirement. Students should consult the program's website for an updated list of courses that satisfy the program requirements.

Program students are expected to demonstrate strong academic performance. To qualify for the engineering biology certificate upon graduation, a minimum grade average of B- in the program courses is required. Program courses may not be taken on a pass/D/fail basis.

Additional information can be obtained at the Program in Engineering Biology website.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in engineering biology upon graduation.