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The BEE department offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The objective of the department's degree programs are to serve as the interface between life sciences and engineering. Biological and Ecological Engineering is the application of engineering and life-science principles and problem-solving techniques to the optimum use and sustainability of biological resources. The curriculum is engineering-based with strong emphasis on the life sciences. Courses focus on biological systems modeling, theoretical and applied aspects of bioconversion and bioseparation processes, regional hydrologic analysis, groundwater systems, irrigation, water resource optimization, remote sensing, image analysis, and instrumentation.
Our policy is that students can be accepted into the program at any time during the year and it is possible that support from sponsored research can become available throughout the year. Most students begin this program Fall Term and there are advantages with an early application in terms of assistantships and finding an advisor. We recommend that students applying for Fall Term have their application packets completed by January 5 of that year, for full consideration. You can submit an application after that date but opportunities for being accepted are greater at that time. An early application increases the likelihood that a student will find an advisor and be awarded financial support.
The Biological & Ecological Engineering Department offers the following graduate degrees:
Biological & Ecological Engineering (M.S., MENG, and Ph.D degree programs)
The graduate program in Biological & Ecological Engineering deals with diverse issues in the design and analysis of a wide range of biological and hydrologic systems. Focus areas are in bioprocessing, biosystems analysis and water resource engineering/watershed analysis.
Research topics in Biological and Ecological engineering encompass biofuels production, metabolic engineering, microbial fuel cells, biohydrogen production, waste and waste water treatment, modeling and control of biological systems, biofuel systems analysis using techno-economic models and life cycle assessment.
Research topics in Water Resources Engineering* include use of simulation modeling to support ecohydraulic decision support, application of remote sensing and GIS to water resource management, regional hydrologic modeling, optimum irrigation management, non-point source pollution management, constructed wetlands water treatment, and groundwater quality. The department is home to the NSF-funded CTEMPs.org, developing and supporting new methods in environmental monitoring. Departmental field campaigns are ongoing on six continents, with a strong emphasis on applied research.
*Water Resource Engineering at OSU is an interdisciplinary program separate from BEE, with advisors in the BEE department. If you want to study WRE, you must apply to the Water Resources Graduate Program's Water Resources Engineering focus NOT Biological and Ecological Engineering.
Difference between M.S. and MENG:
MS and MEng programs are very different and are designed for students with different career goals. While MS programs have significant research component (Minimum 30 credits towards Thesis) the MEng (non-thesis option) is primarily based on courses and a project (Minimum 6 credits). MEng degrees are generally considered as terminal degrees (student does not plan to pursue advanced degrees such as PhD after the completion of the program) as most of the PhD programs require students with significant research experience at master's level. Although the requirements for both MS and MEng programs are similar, there are greater number of applicants for MS programs and hence the qualified applicants have higher scores compared to those admitted for MEng program. Since the MS program involves significant research, there is a greater likelihood of obtaining GRA positions in a MS program compared to MEng program. While MEng students are also eligible for both GRA and GTA positions, they are less likely to obtain them in comparison to MS students.
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Graduate Student Research:
Water Resources Graduate Program
The interdisciplinary Water Resources Graduate Program at Oregon State University awards M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and brings together faculty and students from six colleges and multiple departments, including the Biological & Ecological Engineering department. The degrees are designed to allow flexibility in coursework, while insuring an outstanding foundation and specialization in your area of interest.
The Program includes core requirements for all students with additional work concentrated in specific degree programs in Water Resources Engineering, Water Resources Science, or Water Resources Policy and Management. Students will draw from a set of existing OSU courses covering engineering approaches, watershed processes, and/or water resources management and policy. Prospective students should visit the Water Resources Graduate Program website for more information.
Ecosystems Informatics Graduate Minor
A Graduate Minor in Ecosystem Informatics is available. The minor entails a series of 4 core classes, colloquia, and an ethics class totaling 18 credit hours. A student only needs to be of graduate student status in order to be eligible for the minor.