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

Department statistics

  • 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)

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.

What systems, tools, and skills can I learn in this degree?

  • 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

What can I do with a degree in Ecological Engineering?

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

How do I enroll?

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.

Additional questions?

Reach out to Dr. Adam Ward (BEE Department Head), or

Request for information from the College of Engineering