Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

biological engineering

Biological engineering incorporates the science of biology into the profession of engineering. Biological Engineers use the scientific understanding how living things function to design solutions for problems that involve the ecosystem, which is the interaction of people, plants, animals, microbes and their common environment. More specifically, the focus of the U of A BENG program is on biosystems that produce and utilize water, food and energy. The goal of biological engineering is to make these biosystems sustainable. The human population is rapidly growing increasing the demand for clean water, healthy/affordable food and clean/renewable energy. These resources are limited and will not keep up with population growth unless key engineering problems are solved very soon.

As a student in the U of A BENG program, you’ll learn how to:

  • control water quality and flow from rain falling on fields and forests then flowing through streams, factories and farms and settling in reservoirs
  • both prevent water pollution and economically clean water
  • produce food with sustainable impacts on environmental water while using as little energy as possible and minimizing the production of greenhouse gases
  • economically process food to prevent contamination and spoilage to maximize the availability safe food
  • produce fuel from natural products and economically utilize wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.

Biological engineering student

In addition to traditional engineering tools, you will learn how to use life cycle analysis, global information systems, and risk assessment to investigate the impacts of engineering design on the ecosystem and the impacts of changes in the ecosystem (such as climate change) on engineering design.

Forbes magazine recently listed this area as the best engineering major for the class of 2022. Industries requiring these skills include environmental management (Garver Engineering, CH2M Hill, US Army Corps of Engineers), water treatment (Beaver Water District, OMI), consumer product retailers (Wal-Mart, Estee Lauder, Target), ecosystem restoration and protection (Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Dept. of Health, US Environmental Protection Agency), food processing (Tyson, M&M Mars, Anheuser-Busch, General Mills), agriculture (Monsanto, Bayer Crop Science, DuPont), alternative energy (municipal governments), land management (US Forestry Service), and recreation (US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service).

The undergraduate program in biological engineering, leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering, is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Visit http://www.abet.org. The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are also offered. The curriculum is under the supervision of the dean of the College of Engineering. The Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering degree is conferred by the College of Engineering and is granted after the successful completion of 128 hours of approved course work.

The educational objective of the Biological Engineering program at the University of Arkansas are to produce graduates to:

  1. successfully practice engineering involving the design and management of sustainable food, water, energy and related biological systems,

  2. make valuable and sustained contributions that benefit employers, communities, Arkansas and the world, and

  3. succeed in continuing professional development or graduate studies, as needed for professional growth.

Student Enrollment and Graduation Data

For the undergraduate biological engineering program, the following table lists the total numbers of students enrolled in the program, as well as the number of B.S. degrees awarded, for each of the last 5 academic years. Please note that the student totals do not include freshman (whose majors are undeclared as part of the Freshman Engineering Program). Also note that biomedical engineering students were part of biological engineering until 2012.

Academic Year Students Enrolled Graduates
2017- 101 13
2016-2017 111 14
2015-2016 85 21
2014-2015 75 18
2013-2014 65 14
2012-2013 77 25
2011-2012 118 25
2010-2011 98 22
2009-2010 82 19

Additional student enrollment, graduation, and retention data can be accessed at http://oir.uark.edu/students/retention.html, (Office of Institutional Research). The numbers listed there may not be consistent with those posted here due to irregularities in distributing the BENG student count between the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture during the period from 2007 to 2014.

Eight-Semester Degree Plan for Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering