Jul 17, 2019  
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) 
2013-2014 General Catalog (Spring 2014) [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Biological Engineering - BS

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College of Engineering

Department of Biological Engineering

Effective for students beginning degree Summer Sem. 2013 thru Spring Sem. 2014

Admission to the College of Engineering

In addition to the policies of the University concerning admission of students, the following regulations apply to the College of Engineering:

1. Transfer students from other colleges or universities will be referred to the Engineering Admission Committee for evaluation. Criteria considered in admission decisions for transfer students include resources available in the requested department and the transfer GPA, along with an evaluation of the program of the former college or university. Decisions concerning academic standing once the student is admitted to USU will be based solely on USU grades.

2. Students registered on campus (including Undeclared) must be approved by the Engineering Admission Committee before transferring to the College of Engineering. Students in this category must have demonstrated, by courses taken at USU, a potential to succeed in the major of their choice.

Pre-Engineering and Professional Engineering Requirements

Students interested in Engineering careers enter the University with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Therefore, it is necessary for all students to demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in basic engineering, mathematics, science, and English before they are admitted into a professional engineering program. Specific courses used to evaluate this proficiency are listed on the applications to the Professional Program available in the individual departments or in the College of Engineering Dean's Office. The professional engineering programs consist of the last two years of study listed in the departmental sections of the General Catalog. Students will not be admitted into engineering classes numbered 3000 or higher until they have been admitted into a professional engineering program. Applications listing the required pre-professional courses and admission standards are available from the various departments and the Engineering Advising Center. The minimum requirements a student must satisfy in order to be eligible to apply for admission to a professional program are:

1. The student must achieve a grade of C- or better in every required preprofessional course. The P/D+, D, F grading option may not be used except in freshman English composition.

2. The student must achieve an overall grade point average of 2.3 or better for all required pre-professional coursework completed at USU.

3. A student can repeat no more than three of the required pre-professional courses in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements. Multiple repeats of the same course are included in the total of three repeats. Audits count as a time taking a class unless prior written approval is obtained from the college academic advisor. Satisfying minimum eligibility requirements does not ensure that a student will be admitted to a professional program in a specific department. The number of students accepted will be based upon the number of students that can be accommodated in upper-division classes. Applicants will be ranked and selected in order of their academic standing in the required pre-professional courses.

Program Educational Objectives

Objectives describe what graduates of the Biological Engineering program are expected to attain within a few years of graduation.

The USU Biological Engineering Program Educational Objectives are:

1. Advance in careers, opportunities, and professions in Biological Engineering and related fields based on a solid educational background in appropriate engineering, mathematics, physical and life sciences, and liberal studies (including communication and ethics).

2. Pursue advanced degrees in engineering and related professional fields.

Student Outcomes

Biological Engineering Program outcomes are aligned with the program outcomes of all academic engineering programs in the U.S. that are provided by the EAC Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

Student Outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to skills, knowledge, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the Biological Engineering program.

The USU Biological Engineering Program Student Outcomes are:

1.   An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering

2.   An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data

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.   An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams

5.   An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems

6.   An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

7.   An ability to communicate effectively

8.   The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context

9.   A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning

10. A knowledge of contemporary issues

11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

The Program

Biological Engineering applies the art and science of engineering principles to the solution of problems in biological systems, including pharmaceuticals, biofuels, and food processing; biomedical; bioenvironmental; and water resources. The department also prepares students for entry into professional schools, such as medicine, veterinary, and law. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a wide variety of professional jobs related to biological systems. The objective of the Biological Engineering Program is to provide students with broad-based engineering skills necessary to solve biological-based problems and to design, control, and analyze biological-engineered systems. Students first learn to integrate biological sciences with conventional studies in mathematics and chemistry. These skills are broadened with a liberal exposure to humanities and social sciences, and then sharpened with the study of engineering topics that develop practical problem-solving abilities. The Biological Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, (www.abet.org). Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering examination, the first step in becoming a licensed professional engineer, is desired for graduation. After students have made two credible attempts to pass the national exam, a departmental exam will be administered. When passed, this departmental exam will satisfy the graduation requirement. The schedule provided in this guide should be followed as closely as possible, as many of the courses are presented in, and must be taken in, a specific sequence. Students should seek recommendations for coursework from their advisor, and use this guide as an aid in planning a program of study.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in biological engineering have a number of opportunities available in research and development, production, sales, or management. Graduates are employed by biotechnology companies, bioprocess and biomedical industries, food processing companies, distributors of biomaterials and supplies, and as engineering consultants who supply services to biotechnological and agricultural organizations and managers. Others work for state and local governments, educational institutions, and federal agencies with biosystems development, testing, research, and water management responsibilities. In recent years, the College of Engineering has had an excellent job placement rate.

Recommended High School Courses

Students interested in entering any field of engineering should take two or three years of algebra, one year of geometry, and one-half year of trigonometry while in high school. Four years of English and courses in chemistry, physics, and computer drafting are also recommended. If the suggested mathematics courses are not taken in high school, they must be taken in college prior to starting calculus. This additional work need not cause a delay in graduation if CLEP or AP credit is earned or if summer semester enrollment is used to supplement course credits. 

Academic Advisement

All students should contact their academic advisor for assistance with course selection, program planning, and meeting graduation requirements. If they do not know who their advisor is, students should contact the Engineering Advising Center, ENGR 314A. 

Academic Requirements

The Engineering Advising Center maintains a handout sheet giving current details of all academic regulations of the college. It is the responsibility of the student to know the current regulations and to follow these regulations. Preprofessional Program. Students must maintain a USU GPA of 2.0 to remain in good standing both in the college and the University. Students in a preprofessional program who are not making satisfactory progress toward acceptance into a professional program or who become ineligible to enter a professional program will be suspended from the college. Students in good standing in a preprofessional program must still meet the entrance requirements for admission into a professional program.

Professional Program

For all engineering majors in the professional program, the following academic regulations apply in addition to University regulations:

1. A GPA of 2.0 or higher must be maintained in all upper-division engineering/ math/science courses required for, or used as technical electives in Biological Engineering. Courses which were part of the pre-professional program requirements and University Studies courses are not included in this GPA calculation.

2. No grade less then C- may be applied toward meeting graduation requirements in engineering/math/science classes.

3. College of Engineering courses may be repeated only once. Audits count as a time taking a class unless prior written approval is obtained from the department head. Amaximum of three required or elective courses completed as part of a professional program can be repeated in order to meet graduation requirements. (Courses completed as part of a preprofessional program are not included in this total of three repeats.)

4. The P/D+, D, F grading option may not be used in required or elective courses completed as part of a professional program. (The P/D+, D, F grading option is approved for University Studies Courses.)

5. The academic regulations listed above (1-4) apply to required coursework and any elective engineering/math/science course which could be used to satisfy graduation requirements for the chosen degree. That is, once a student completes a particular technical elective, it becomes a required course for that student.

6. Students in violation of departmental or college academic regulations, no longer eligible for graduation, or not making satisfactory progress toward a degree, will be placed on probation.

  1. a. Students will be placed on probation if they (i) earn a D+/D/F in an engineering/math/science course which could be used to satisfy graduation requirements for the chosen degree (see No. 2 and 5 above);  or (ii) have an upper-division GPA of less than 2.0 (see No. 1 above).
  2. b. Students remain on probation until they improve their standing by repeating and passing all failed classes, repeating classes improve all D or D+ grades to C- or better, and/or by raising their upper division GPA above 2.0.
  3. c. While on probation, a student must earn a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher in engineering/math/science classes and must not earn any grades of D or F. While on probation, a student may not preregister. The student's major code will be changed to a preprofessional code. The student must meet at l east once per semester with the college academic advisor to work out a schedule having the primary goal of correcting the existing academic problems.    

Students must complete the General Education Requirements .

  • BIOL 1610  and BIOL 3300  (which are required for the major) will fulfill the Breadth Life Science (BLS) requirement
  • PHYS 2120  or PHYS 2220 , if selected as a Technical Elective course, and for students in the Premedical Program, CHEM 1220  or PHYS 2220  will fulfill the Physical Science (BPS) requirement for students in the Biological Engineering major.  Students must delay filling the BPS requirement as long as possible. The department's goal is to get BPS approval for a class already required for the major.
  • Since both MATH 1210  and MATH 1220  are required for the Biological Engineering major, one of the courses will fulfill the Quantitative Literacy requirement and the other will fulfill the Exploration requirement

Students must also complete the University Studies Depth Requirements :

  • BENG 4880   and BENG 4890  will fulfill the Communication Intensive (CI) requirement 
  • MATH 2250  or STAT 3000  will fulfill the Quantitative Intensive (QI) requirement
  • Complete at least 2 credits in approved 3000-level or above courses from each of the following categories: Humanities and Creative Arts (DHA) and Social Sciences (DSS)

Transfer Students

Transfer students coming to USU with an associate degree from a regionally- accredited institution may be deemed as having satisfied the General Education portion of the USU University Studies Requirements, but not necessarily the College of Engineering requirements. Students with transfer credits in University Studies areas will need to have their transfer credit evaluated by the College of Engineering to determine which of the University Studies requirements it will satisfy. In general, transfer students will still need to satisfy the Depth Education portion of University Studies. Also, since not all associate degrees granted by institutions outside of Utah include an American Institutions course (a State of Utah requirement), students may need to complete such a course while at USU. 

Biological Engineering Required Coursework

Suggested Semester Schedule (130-132 credits)

Pre-engineering: Freshman and Sophomore

Professional Engineering: Junior and Senior

Junior Year (32 credits)

Senior Year (32-34 credits)

Fall Semester (14-15 credits)

Spring Semester (18-19 credits)

  • University Studies Breadth course 3
  • BENG Elective course 3 2
  • Technical Elective course 6 2
  • University Studies Breadth Physical Sciences (BPS) course 3-4
  • University Studies Depth Social Sciences (DSS) course 3

Technical Elective Courses (select 21 or more credits)

Students must select 9-18 credits from the Biological Engineering Electives and Engineering Electives categories.

Technical Electives (suggested)* (select 0-9 credits)


* Other technical courses (especially science and engineering) may be accepted with prior written approval from the Department of Biological Engineering.

Suggested Semester Schedule for Premedical Program

It is possible for students to combine premedical requirements with requirements for the Biological Engineering major. Some of the premedical requirements add to the total amount of credits required. This combination may be completed within five years, if the student is very diligent. Medical schools do not accept AP, CLEP, or ACT scores toward fulfillment of English Composition, Chemistry, or Biology requirements. The following schedule is designed to satisfy the requirements without time conflicts. Students who must deviate from this schedule should be sure to meet often with a College of Engineering advisor.

Preengineering: First Three Years

First Year (33 credits)

Second Year (32 credits)

Third Year (32 credits)

Professional Engineering: Junior and Senior Years

Junior Year (30 credits)

Senior Year (30 credits)

Spring Semester (15 credits)

  • BENG 3000 - Instrumentation for Biological Systems 3
  • University Studies Breadth Creative Arts (BCA) course 3
  • BENG Elective 3
  • University Studies Depth Humanitities and Creative Arts (DHA) course 3 5
  • University Studies Depth Social Sciences (DSS) course 3


1 The Breadth Life Sciences (BLS) area in the University Studies Program is satisfied by the combination of BIOL 1610  and BIOL 3300 .

2 To emphasize bioprocesses, premedical, etc., contact department for suggested technical electives.

3 This course is required for admission to the Professional Engineering Program (PEP).

4 These courses are highly recommended, but not required, for the premedical program. They fit in the schedule during the semesters shown. It is important for students to find out the requirements of the schools they desire to attend. Students should consult with the premedical advisor early in their program.

5 AP English does not satisfy the two semesters of English Composition requirement. However, students may use AP English for ENGL 1010 , and then take ENGL 2010  and ENGL 3040  (DHA) for the two semesters.

6 Students satisfying PHYS 2210  with AP taken before Fall 2011 will not need PHYS 2215 .

Biological Engineering Mentors

The following list of faculty interests is provided to help students select the appropriate faculty member to contact for career and elective selection counseling.

D. W. Britt, biomaterials, biomedical engineering
Y. Cui, bionanotechnology
J. E. McLean, metals in soils and water, phytoremediation
C. D. Miller, synthetic biological engineering
R. C. Sims, bioprocess/bioreactor engineering, biotechnology, biochemical engineering
J. L. Sims, on-site wastewater treatment, land treatment/reuse
T. A. Taylor, bioprocess/bioreactor engineering
J. Zhan, metabolic engineering
A. Zhou, biosensors, nanobiotechnology, biomedical engineering

Requirement Changes

Graduation requirements shown on this sheet are subject to change. Students should check with their assigned advisor concerning possible changes.

For information contact

Biological Engineering Department; Engineering 402; Utah State University; 4105 Old Main Hill; Logan UT 84322-4105; tel. (435) 797-2785; bie@usu.edu; be.usu.edu/ 

Minimum University Requirements

Total Credits


Grade Point Average (most majors require higher GPA)

2.00 GPA

Credits of C- or better


Credits of upper-division courses (#3000 or above)


USU Credits (30 USU credits, 20 of which must be upper-division courses, 10 of which must be courses required for student's major)

30 USU credits

Completion of approved major program of study

See college advisor

Credits in minor (if required)


Credits in American Institutions (ECN 1500 ;HIST 1700 , HIST 2700  or HIST 2710 ; HONR 1300 POLS 1100 ; or USU 1300 )


General Education Requirements  and University Studies Depth Requirements 




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