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Biological systems engineering

Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) is a broad-based engineering discipline with additional emphasis on biology and chemistry. It is not to be confused with Biomedical Engineering and it is not necessarily Genetic Engineering, although the line between the two is sometimes blurred. The discipline focuses on environmentally sound, sustainable engineering solutions to meet societies’ needs. Biological Systems Engineering is a broad and growing engineering field that integrates the expertise of fundamental engineering fields with expertise from non-engineering disciplines.


Academic Issues

Many college and university Biological Engineering departments have a history of being grounded in Agricultural Engineering and have only in last decade or so changed their names to reflect the movement towards more diverse biological based engineering programs.[1]

Since Biological Engineering covers a wide spectrum, many departments offer specialization options. Depending on the department and the specialization options offered within each program, curriculum may overlap with other related fields. There are a number of different titles for BSE related departments at various universities. The professional societies commonly associated with many Biological Engineering programs include the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).[2] and the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE).

It is not uncommon for many employers, to not understand what a Biological Engineer is capable of. This makes the career search a difficult and tedious process for many Biological Systems Engineers. For example, an environmental consulting firm may commonly hire environmental engineers and biologists to meet the needs of the company, but may not realize that a Biological Engineer has a background in what both of these employees do, thus bridging the gap between engineering and the biological sciences. For this reason, Biological Engineers are becoming integral, valuable parts of many environmental engineering firms, consulting firms, federal agencies, and biotechnology industries.

Specialization options

  • Land and Water Resources Engineering
  • Food and Bioprocess engineering
  • Machinery Systems Engineering
  • Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering


  • 2003, Dennis R. Heldman (ed), Encyclopedia of agricultural, food, and biological engineering.
  • 2002, Teruyuki Nagamune, Tai Hyun Park & Mark R. Marten (ed), Biological Systems Engineering, Washington, D.C. : American Chemical Society, 320 pages.


  1. ^ For example the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was established as Agricultural Engineering in 1920, and renamed in 1992 to reflect new focus areas in the teaching, research and extension programs.
  2. ^ Website American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 2007

See also

Related engineering fields
  • Biological Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Systems engineering
Highly related sciences
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Biological_systems_engineering". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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