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
  • prevent water pollution and find economical ways to clean our water
  • produce food  sustainably with less water, energy and other inputs, while minimizing the production of greenhouse gases
  • economically process food to to maximize the availability of safe and nutritious food
  • produce and utilize fuel from biomass, and economically utilize wind, solar and other alternative renewable 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.


Requirements for B.S. in Biological Engineering

Requirements for B.S. in Biological Engineering with Environmental Concentration 


Educational Objectives:

The faculty of the Biological Engineering program seeks to provide a challenging technical education in a safe, secure and inclusive learning environment that promotes a desire for service and prepares graduates to:

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

  2. Make ethical, valuable and sustained contributions that benefit employers, communities, Arkansas

    and the world, and

  3. Succeed in graduate education or continuing professional development, as needed for professional growth and licensure.

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 6 academic years. 

Academic Year Students Enrolled Graduates


125 21


127 19


117 19


102 16
2016-2017 111 14
2015-2016 85 21

Additional student enrollment, graduation, and retention data can be accessed at http://oir.uark.edu/students/retention.html, (Office of Institutional Research). 

Retention and graduation data presented in the linked tables is for first time, full time, new freshmen cohorts who enter the College of Engineering in the fall of the reported year. All new freshmen are enrolled in a common first year experience and do not declare a major until mid-way through the spring semester of their freshman year. The College of Engineering table tracks cohorts over a six-year period for the entire college. The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering table tracks retention and graduation rates for a five year period, starting when those new freshmen join the Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering in their sophmore year.