Ecological Engineering Undergraduate Program

OSU's Ecological Engineering program is uniquely multidisciplinary and was the first of its kind nationally at the undergraduate level. The Bachelor of Science (BS) and Honors Bachelor of Science (HBS) degrees in Ecological Engineering require completion of 180 credit hours and are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

What is Ecological Engineering?

Ecological Engineering (EcoE) blends engineering and science, and focuses on the design of sustainable systems (natural, urban, and agricultural) that integrate human activities into the natural environment to the benefit of both.

Examples of EcoE-related projects:
  • Riparian restoration
  • Optimizing sensor arrays for ecological monitoring
  • Improving agricultural water quality
  • Mitigating toxic materials migration from landfills
  • Developing sustainable industrial systems (agricultural and otherwise)
  • Developing closed systems for space travel
  • Dealing with issues associated with global climate change
  • Green building/infrastructure that increases water and energy-use efficiencies

Ecological Engineering Curriculum

Ecological Engineering depends on a broad mix of disciplines. In addition to traditional engineering training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering principles, EcoE students receive training in biology, ecology, soil science, geographic information systems (GIS), surveying, and environmental economics and policy.

Upperclassmen complete upper-division engineering coursework that includes biosystems analysis and modeling, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, hydrology and hydraulics, non-point source pollution, and bioremediation.

Students also take credits to meets basic Oregon State University requirements under the Baccalaureate Core. Graduation requires 180 credit hours and generally takes 4-4.5 years to complete.

An example 4 year plan and more detailed information on curriculum can be found in the EcoE advising guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 10:1 student:faculty ratio ⇒ great access to professors
  • Average BEE class sizes: 20-30 students ⇒ get to know your peers and engage in hands-on learning
  • >90 undergrad research projects and internships completed within the department since 2014
  • >10% EcoE students part of Honors College and ~45% EcoE students graduate with honors
  • Highest female representation in College of Engineering (currently ~52% female)
  • 10 department scholarships awarded annually (~$15k)
  • >80% of EcoE students employed soon after graduation
  • >75% of EcoE students take (and pass) FE exam (usually either Civil or Environmental Engineering FE)
  • Python programming language
  • ArcGIS
  • Hydraulic/Hydrologic modeling software (e.g., HEC-RAS and HEC-HMS)
  • 2D and 3D CAD software
  • Engineering design
  • Field surveying
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Technical writing

Graduates with an ecological engineering skill set may find employment in a variety of fields (see figure) with industrial clients, engineering consulting companies, governmental agencies, and entrepreneurial start-ups.

Examples of potential employers:
  • AKS Engineering & Forestry
  • Biohabitats
  • City (or Corvallis, or Salem, or Portland, etc) Public Works departments
  • Environmental Science Associates
  • Herrera Environmental Consultants
  • Jacobs
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers 
  • Murraysmith
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • Quantum Spatial
  • River Design Group
  • Stahlbush Island Farms
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Forest Service

Information on how to enroll for both first year and transfer students is available here. Please contact our undergraduate Head Advisor if you have any questions.

You will need to formally apply to OSU and be accepted.  The registrar’s office will produce an Advanced Standing Report based on your submitted transcripts.  You will then have to meet with the EcoE Head Advisor to determine which of your completed courses will count towards the EcoE degree.  More information is on our how to enroll page.

Change of major requests can now be processed online by academic advisors. If you would like to change your major to EcoE, please contact Head Advisor Khrystal Condon.

You will need to take the chemistry for major’s sequence – CH 221, 222, 223 for a total of 15 credits.  Alternatively, you can complete CH 202 and CH 205 in addition to CH 201 for 7 Cr.  You will then need an additional 8 Cr. of upper division chemistry to complete the required 15 Cr. of chemistry – usually CH 331 and 332, Organic Chemistry.

YES! Ecological Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, ABET evaluated the EcoE program for certification in October 2011, and awarded us accreditation. Accreditation is retroactive to students who have graduated from the program since 2010.

To practice engineering professionally requires an engineering license. A part of the licensure process involves taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Students graduating from the Ecological Engineering undergraduate program can (and already have) taken the FE exam.

Students are able to sit for the FE exam through an arrangement with Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS), the state licensing board. Current students should apply (Dec. 1st deadline) to take the exam in the spring (early April) of their senior year through OSBEELS.  Review courses are available on campus for students taking the FE exam.

Reach out to Dr. Adam Ward (BEE Department Head), or submit the Request for Information form for the College of Engineering.