(For new curriculum starting Fall 2018)
- Mechanics of Solids (4 credits): ENGRD 2020
- Engineering Probability and Statistics (3 or 4 credits): CEE 3040 (recommended) or ENGRD 2700
Required Biological Engineering Core Courses
- ENGRI (3 credits): ENGRI 1XXX
- Thermodynamics (3 or 4 credits): BEE 2220, ENGRD 2210, CHEME 3130, MSE 3030 or AEP 4230
- Engineering Distribution (3 credits): BEE/ENGRD 2600 (recommended) or BEE/ENGRD 2510
- Bio-Fluid Mechanics (4 credits): BEE 3310
- Heat and Mass Transfer in Biological Engineering (4 credits): BEE 3500
- Molecular and Cellular Principles in Biological Engineering (3 credits): BEE 3600
- Design and Analysis of Biomaterials (3 credits): BEE 3400
- Bioinstrumentation (3-4 credits): BEE 4500
Biological Engineering Focus Area Electives (to complete 48 credits)
To complete the curriculum, electives are chosen depending on individual interests. For industrial careers, higher studies or professional studies, electives can be chosen from any of the biological engineering Focus Areas. Fifteen or more credits of courses chosen from 1 or more of the 7 focus areas to complete the 48 credits in the Engineering Distribution and Field Courses category.
- You may use up to a maximum of 4 credits of research, project team, teaching or independent study taken in an engineering department in place of 1 focus area course towards the 48 engineering credits in category 8. You must have an engineering role and be conducting engineering research, CEE 2550 does not count.
- One course in this category must satisfy the capstone design requirement. See Additional Requirements.
- One course in this category (or from specific liberal studies courses) must satisfy the College of Engineering technical writing requirement. See Additional Requirements.
- A full list of the focus area courses may be found here.
- All courses must be taken for letter grade.
- BEE 2600 covers Mass and Energy Balances with a biological focus while BEE 2510 cover Mass and Energy Balances with an environmental focus.
- Engineering distribution requirement is satisfied by ENGRD 2020 and ENGRD/BEE 2600 or ENGRD/BEE 2510.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: The website states that for the statistics requirement CEE 3040 is recommended over ENGRD 2700, and BTRY 3010 and 3080 aren’t even listed. What’s the reasoning behind that?
A1: ENGRD 2700 only covers classical (Fisherian, parametric) statistics that can give misleading results when used to analyze data that aren’t mathematically continuous (low/medium/high categories, for example) or which are not normally distributed (lifespans, for example). CEE 3040 covers them too but adds “robust” and nonparametric statistical methods that give you a toolbox for these other cases, very common in the biological and environmental domains. And you learn to use R, the open source statistical programming language that is now the standard tool of data scientists worldwide. BTRY 3080 is a probability course, not a statistics course; you need statistics. BTRY 3010 is indeed a fine statistics course but it’s not an engineering course. You can petition to use BTRY 3010 to satisfy your statistics requirement if you make up the engineering credits represented by CEE 3040 or ENGRD 2700 by pairing BTRY with a specific, quantitative engineering course (not unstructured credit) that will bring the number of engineering credits to 46 or higher. Finally, you could transfer in an engineering stats course from somewhere else and will need prior approval from the department offering the equivalent course. But CEE 3040 has exactly what the BEE faculty think you need to know in a first statistics course, so do try to take it if possible.
Q2: Should I take BEE 1200 or an ENGRI course?
A2: If you entered Cornell via the College of Engineering, you’re expected to take an ENGRI course during your first year, plus ENGRG 1050. If you entered through CALS, you’re expected to take an ENGRI course during your first year, plus BEE 1200. The ENGRI’s give you insight into the practice of engineering, and BEE 1200 has career- and planning-related assignments that can help you get the most out of your four years here.
Q3. What is the difference between taking classes such as Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics in the MechE/CEE departments vs in the BEE department? Do both count toward graduation?
A3. BE students may take either ENGRD 2210 (mechanical engineering thermodynamics) offered in the Fall and Summer, or BEE 2220 (bioengineering thermodynamics and kinetics) offered in the Spring. Other thermodynamics courses (e.g. MSE 3030, transfer courses) may be approved by petition if there is a strong educational reason to do so. However, one should not petition lightly, as petitions are not guaranteed to be approved.
BE students in the old curriculum may satisfy their fluid mechanics requirement using either BEE 3310 or CEE 3310. BEE 3310 is required in the new curriculum. Students switching from another engineering major may petition to use the fluids course from their former major; such petitions are customarily approved.
Q4. Is there a way to focus on a certain aspect of biological engineering that I find appealing (eg. biomedical engineering)?
A4. Absolutely. Just pick courses within the focus areas that address your interests, and consider doing either a minor or some undergraduate research in the area that most interests you.
Q5. Are pre-requisites for upper level BME electives recommended or required? Can I take the course even if I don’t have the pre-reqs?
A5. Alas, it’s impossible to tell from a plain list of prerequisites which ones are cordial recommendations and which ones are essential for your success in the course. If you hope to take a course without a prereq, your first stop should be to consult with the instructor. Do this well before the course begins. The instructor can let you know what to expect about use of the prerequisite subject matter, how to prepare, whether s/he will be available to provide extra help, etc. You may be waved right in, or told to stay away until you complete the prereq. Whatever advice you’re given, follow it.
Q6. Can I count credits toward my minor (if engineering related) as electives for the BEE major?
A6. Engineering courses taken for your minor can always count as approved electives (section 9 on the Program Progress Form), but you are probably asking about Major-Approved Technical Electives (section 8d on the Program Progress Form, and a more restrictive category). If you’re following the old curriculum, the answer is yes: you can use any technical engineering course at the 2000 level and above. If you’re following the new curriculum, any courses you choose as Major-Approved Technical Electives should be on one of the focus area lists. The focus area lists are not carved in stone: courses can be added, and you may petition the department to do so. These requests will be viewed much more favorably if you ask before you take the course.
Q7. What is the difference between BEE 2600 and BEE 2510? Both seem like introductory courses with little to no difference.
A7. Both courses cover mass and energy balances and use of MATLAB to solve engineering problems. But the examples and emphasis are different. BEE 2600 focuses more on molecular/cellular biology and biomedical examples whereas BEE 2510 focuses more on ecological and environmental examples.