Biosystems Engineering

Our Biosystems Engineering (BSE) program prepares students for careers involving the application of engineering design and problem-solving in the realm of biological systems including natural resources, the rural environment, and agricultural production and processing. We have a solid base of traditional engineering courses mixed with significant exposure to physics, chemistry, and applied biological sciences. The electives in the BSE program allow students to emphasize the study of natural resources and environment (for example, Non-Point Source Pollution) or autonomous agricultural systems (for example, Robotics for Biological Systems). Upon graduation, our BSE students find employment in commercial engineering firms consulting in sustainable land development and environmental engineering, agricultural machinery manufacturers, government agencies involved in environmental regulatory activities, etc. Some choose to pursue further education in graduate school or even professional schools such as law or business administration.


General Education Electives

Biosystems Engineering is the branch of the engineering profession that deals with problems encountered in biological systems including ecology, the rural environment, and agriculture. The responsibilities of the Biosystems Engineer often include designing solutions to problems in the following applications:

  1. water issues in the rural environment such as infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration in crops.
  2. biomass for energy and bio-based products
  3. autonomous systems including sensors, artificial intelligence, and robotics and for agriculture and food-production systems.

The curriculum in Biosystems Engineering is designed to give the student a thorough grounding in the basic sciences of biological systems, mathematics, physics, and chemistry, followed by a series of fundamental and applied courses in engineering. Apart from preparing students to work in natural resources and agriculture, the B.S. in Biosystems Engineering is an excellent foundation for graduate study in biosystems engineering and other engineering disciplines, and preparation for entry into certain professional schools including law school. Biosystems Engineering students can choose to focus their course sequence on one of two emphasis areas:

Natural Resources and Environment. Agricultural activities and climatic changes affect the rural environment. Engineers are needed to design solutions to problems in this area, which can involve improving sustainable land-use practices, developing efficient water-usage strategies, improving water quality, and protecting and conserving soil and water resources. Students in this emphasis will take courses on soil and water management, nonpoint-source pollution, remote sensing, and geospatial computing. This emphasis prepares students for careers in land-use permitting, natural resource management, and conservation.

Autonomous Agricultural Systems. Worldwide trends demand that significantly more food be produced per acre, with less environmental risk, and with significantly less labor. This requirement can be met only with autonomous agricultural systems, which involve sensors, analytical tools like artificial intelligence, and mechatronic and robotic systems. Examples of such technologies include self-driving tractors, agricultural drones, and robotic harvesters. Students in this emphasis will take courses on sensors, imaging, machinery, and robotics. This emphasis prepares students for careers in design of agricultural machinery and systems as well as precision agriculture.

For more information:
Dr. Filip To
Undergraduate Coordinator for Biosystems and Biomedical Engineering
130 Creelman Street