The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Ecological Engineering degree program offered through the Colleges of Agricultural Science and Engineering is a new degree program that is the first of its kind nationally at the undergraduate level. The undergraduate Ecological Engineering degree program requires completion of 192 credit hours. The Ecological Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
Ecological Engineering is the design of sustainable systems consistent with ecological principles that integrate human activities into the natural environment to the benefit of both. This approach emphasizes diversity, resilience and adaptation to maintain sustainability. Ecological Engineering deals with both fundamental processes and engineering applications on scales that range from microscopic to watersheds and beyond. This discipline is rapidly developing as an important new area of engineering based on the science of ecological systems, with a number of dedicated journals, national and international professional societies, and new application areas emerging over the last decade. The Biological and Ecological Engineering Department at OSU has considerable expertise in this area and is among the national leaders in this discipline.
What can I do with a degree in Ecological Engineering?
Graduates with an Ecological Engineering degree will work to optimize the interface between humankind and the environment. Specific activities undertaken might include 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, or dealing with issues associated with global climate change. Oregon State University has strong programs in many of the basic and engineering sciences that underpin the Ecological Engineering degree program.
Graduates with an ecological engineering skill set may find employment with industrial clients, engineering consulting companies, governmental agencies, and entrepreneurial start-ups.
Ecological Engineering depends on a broader mix of disciplines than other branches of engineering. In addition to the traditional engineering training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering analysis and design, students in this program will receive training in biology, ecology, geosciences, hydrology, and systems analysis methods. Another important distinction between Ecological Engineering and other engineering disciplines is its strong links to ecology, geosciences, hydrology, and water quality. Students also acquire a general understanding of legal, political, economic, and sociological disciplines. Students that graduate from this program will be firmly grounded in the hard sciences, engineering fundamentals and systems analysis and aware of and sensitive to how other disciplines drive and respond to Ecological Engineering in practice.
For more detailed information see:
Advising Guide (pdf) for the Ecological Engineering Undergraduate Program
Bubble Chart (pdf) showing Course Pathway for first and second year Ecological Engineering Students
What is the Senior Design Capstone Project?
Information about the Senior Design Capstone Project is available here.
“Oregon State's Biological & Ecological Engineering program is an innovative program nested in a state where nature and human activities are both so diverse. To understand ecology with the depth of OSU sciences and engineering problem solving skills is unique. I hope to soon hire a BEE graduate to help design and build plant systems that clean urban storm water and recharge aquifers while diversifying habitat to include endangered species. Where else could that set of skills be learned as an undergrad? And all new students will help the program evolve - these are exciting times.”
What students are saying about our program...
Benjamin Morelli (2010 Ecological Engineering Undergraduate):
"Ecological Engineering embodies a more holistic/systems approach to traditional engineering problems. Because of this it is less closely tied to specific disciplines and more about the way that you understand and shape the world in which you live. It is exciting that we have such opportunity to define the depth and breadth of our field... Ecological Engineering and Systems Thinking which will come to penetrate a broader segment of society and have a role to play in the repair of damaged ecological and social systems. As a student in this major we have the opportunity to positively affect the world in which we live. ”
"I chose EcoE because of its unique appraoch to problem solving with a focus on biology as a fundamental science in combination with engineering principles. I feel that this is the only engineering degree that truly approaches the concept of sustainability. After working on my masters in the Environmental Engineering program, I am even more appreciative of my background as an Ecological Engineer”
What faculty are saying about our program..
Dr. Desiree Tullos describes how she became interested in Ecological Engineering.