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Biosystems Engineering Undergraduate Program

Students taking water sample on a dock.

Biosystems Engineering is the field of engineering most closely allied with advances in biology. BE emphasizes two main areas: bioprocess engineering, with its basis in microbiology; and ecological engineering, with its basis in ecology. The field focuses on the sustainable production of biorefinery compounds (biofuels, bioactive molecules, and biomaterials) using metabolic pathways found in nature and green processing technologies. Further, BE encompasses the design of sustainable communities utilizing low-impact development strategies (bioretention basins, rainwater harvesting) for stormwater retention and treatment - and ecologically-sound food and energy-crop production. Scientific emphasis is shifting toward the biosciences. Biosystems engineers apply engineering design and analysis to biological systems and incorporate fundamental biological principles to engineering designs to achieve ecological balance.

Here are some activities of Biosystems Engineers:

  • Design bioprocesses and systems for biofuels (biodiesel, hydrogen, ethanol), biopharmaceutical, bioplastics, and food processing industries.
  • Develop ecological designs (permeable pavement, bioswales, green infrastructure) to integrate water management into the landscape.
  • Integrate biological sustainability concepts into energy, water and food systems.

Clemson offers the Bachelor of Science degree in biosystems engineering with two emphasis areas – bioprocessing and ecological engineering. Students are encouraged to complete a minor and participate in the Cooperative Education, Biosystems Engineering Intern, and/or Study Abroad Programs. Those interested in medical careers should consider graduate study and/or medical school.

For Graduation and Enrollment Data, please go to the CECAS Current Students Page.

  • The principal mission of the Biosystems Engineering program is to educate and prepare students for a wide range of engineering endeavors involving biological entities. Two main areas supported include engineering for management of ecological natural resources and the environment and engineering for production of value-added products from bioprocessing technologies.

    Biosystems engineers work at the interface between engineering and life sciences and must be knowledgeable in both disciplines. Biosystems Engineering students should achieve familiarity with both biosystems emphasis areas, experience an interdisciplinary education, and develop a career goal of professional recognition and licensure.

  • Clemson's accredited1 undergraduate Biosystems Engineering degree program is offered in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. Graduates are eligible for licensing as professional engineers after gaining acceptable experience and passing the Fundamentals of Engineering examination and the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination.

    1“Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org”.

  • The Biosystems Engineering program educational objectives for our graduates three to five years after graduation are as follows:

    1. • Our graduates will advance the biosystems engineering profession or related fields through resilient engineering design, scientific innovation, program management or teaching.
    2. • Our graduates will enhance our world through professional endeavors within sustainable biosystems engineering practice.
  • Biosystems Engineering Program Outcomes

    Programs must be technically sound, academically rigorous, and structured to foster academic growth while indulging individual interests. Upon completion of the Biosystems Engineering program, a student will be prepared to enter into the workforce confident that he has mastered the skills necessary to succeed. Student outcomes consist of the mandatory “ABET Eleven.”

    Graduates of the program will have:

    1. 1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. 2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
    3. 3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
    4. 4. an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
    5. 5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    6. 6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
    7. 7. an ability to communicate effectively
    8. 8. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
    9. 9. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
    10. 10. a knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. 11. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • Biosystems Engineering Core Curriculum:

    Undergraduate students take courses in four broad areas:

    1. • basic sciences - mathematics, physics and chemistry
    2. • engineering sciences - statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, strength of materials and electrical circuits
    3. • biosystems engineering analysis and deesign courses - biological kinetics and reactor modeling, bioprocess design, watershed hydrology, and ecological engineering including a team-structured senior engineering design course
    4. • applied life sciences - biology, microbiology, and organic chemistry and electives selected based on the student's concentration.

    Emphasis Areas:

    Bioprocess Engineering Emphasis Area

    Ecological Engineering Emphasis Area

    Other courses on appropriate subjects may be substituted upon approval of the student’s Advisory Committee.

Information

For general information on admissions contact the Clemson Admissions Office.

For specific information related to the undergraduate program in Biosystems Engineering, please contact:

Caye Drapcho
cdrapch@clemson.edu

Or, come visit the Main Office, 445 Brackett Hall.

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