The mission of the Biological Engineering program reflects the mission of the land grant system, specifically to provide teaching, research and public service in the discipline of biological systems engineering. The goal of the Bachelor of Science program is to provide high quality undergraduate engineering instruction related to biological systems. The curriculum objectives are to:
- Provide students with a solid foundation in biological engineering through the understanding and application of mathematics, science, and engineering principles.
- Prepare students for a broad range of career opportunities through the use of problem solving and critical thinking methods.
- Help students develop the ability to function effectively in the workplace through teamwork and effective communication of technical/professional information.
- Help students become aware of their moral, ethical, legal, and professional obligations to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
- Help students develop an appreciation for the necessity for lifelong learning.
Biological engineers primarily design processing systems that render biological raw materials into value-added products. Many biological engineers work on problems of scale-up related to biological processing and therefore need to be conscious of system costs, efficiencies, and environmental impacts. This curriculum provides a unique background so that students may solve engineering problems and produce engineering designs in fields associated with biomedical, bioprocessing, biotechnology as well as other biologically related fields. The program follows the “process engineering” approach. During the first five terms the Biological Engineering (BLE) and Chemical Engineering (CHE) programs are essentially the same except that BIO 100 is required for BLE. The required courses cover both the scientific foundations of the subject and the relevant engineering sciences such as thermodynamics, kinetics, fluid mechanics and unit operations. The CHE and BLE programs diverge for the last three terms during which the courses are more discipline specific. A major advantage of this arrangement is that students who are interested in the process engineering approach can transfer freely between BLE and CHE until the second term of the junior year. Additional information about the program is available on the Web at http://www.umche.maine.edu/chb/
The basic curriculum, combined with electives in engineering, the humanities and social sciences, and in the life sciences, and culminating with a two-semester engineering design experience, provides a broad base of knowledge for engineering practice in today’s society. Students may, in consultation with their academic advisor, focus their technical elective courses in bioprocessing, biomechanics or biomaterials. Degrees are awarded upon satisfactory completion of 130 credits at an accumulative grade point average of not less than 2.0 in Chemical and Biological Engineering courses, including technical electives credits. The program in Biological Engineering is fully accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Biological engineering students are eligible to enroll in the minor of Biomedical Engineering administered by the College of Engineering at the University of Maine.
The undergraduate program prepares students for graduate work as well as immediate employment. The degree of Master of Science (Biological Engineering) is offered with or without a thesis in several option areas. Several assistantships are available. Incumbents devote half time to research on approved projects of the primary research emphasis areas at the University of Maine with relevance to Maine and the world. The program is described in the University of Maine Graduate School online Catalog and on the Web at: http://www.umaine.edu/graduate/
Co-operative “Work Experience” Program Option
Students who are engaged in engineering related summer jobs under the direction of the program’s cooperative (co-op) coordinator can earn three credits toward their technical elective credits through the cooperative education program, following an approved work experience sequence in the field of study.
Employment opportunities for biological engineers are as diverse as the biologically-based industries themselves. Graduates in Biological Engineering find employment as design or sales engineers in industries such as biomedical, bioprocessing, food, pharmaceutical; in federal government entities such as EPA, NIH, USDA, or similar state agencies; in biological waste utilization industries; in government, industry, or state experimental facilities as research engineers; or in colleges and universities as teachers or instructors. Expanding engineering opportunities are available in the evolving fields of biomedical and biotechnology and the engineering of their related systems. Some graduates work as consulting engineers and a number of opportunities for overseas employment are available. With the expanding world population and a rising demand for higher standards of living, Biological Engineers will continue to be in great demand.
The program offers scholarships for outstanding students majoring in biological engineering. In addition, students can apply for college scholarships through the College of Engineering.