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College of Engineering

Biological Systems Engineering

BSE studentswww.bse.vt.edu/


M. L. Wolfe, Head

Professors: B. L. Benham; R. D. Grisso; W. C. Hession; K. Mallikarjunan;
S. Mostaghimi; M. L. Wolfe; C. Zhang; Y. Zhang
Associate Professors: J. Arogo Ogejo; J. R. Barone; C. D. Heatwole; D.J. Sample; D. Scott; R.S. Senger; T. Thompson
Assistant Professors: Z. M. Easton; X. Feng; L.-A. H. Krometis; V. R. Sridhar
Instructor: S. C. Mariger


Overview

    The Biological Systems Engineering program integrates biology, chemistry, and physics with engineering to solve engineering problems associated with the environmentally sound production, processing, and utilization of renewable resources. The curriculum differs from other engineering programs in that it focuses on biological materials and the sustainable production and management of natural resources. Biological Systems Engineering graduates have rewarding careers working with biological materials and both large and small biological systems, for the benefit of society and the environment.

    The BSE program is designed to graduate biological systems engineers who will be leaders in applying engineering principles to biological systems, preparing graduates to accomplish the following objectives in their careers:

    • design and implement systems that mimic or adapt natural biological processes to solve problems related to conservation and restoration of natural resources;
    • design and implement processes to utilize biological materials for sustainable production of valuable products;
    • promote stewardship of natural resources; and
    • contribute effectively as members of multidisciplinary groups that include scientists, engineers, and community members.

    These educational objectives are supported by a curriculum that provides its graduates with:

    1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
    2. an ability to design and conduct experiments as well as analyze and interpret data
    3. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
    4. an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
    5. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
    6. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
    7. an ability to communicate effectively
    8. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in global and societal context
    9. a recognition of need for, and ability to engage in lifelong learning
    10. a knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. an ability to use techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

    The BSE program provides a strong, broad-based engineering education with opportunity for specialization utilizing the 33 credits of technical electives available in the curriculum. Using these electives, BSE students prepare for careers in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, food engineering, or watershed science and engineering. Many BSE graduates also choose to pursue graduate studies or professional degrees from medical, veterinary, or dental programs. 

    Recognizing the importance of "hands-on" experience in engineering education, instructional laboratories are included in many of the Biological Systems Engineering courses. These laboratory courses are designed to enhance understanding of theoretical concepts through hands-on activities. In addition to providing a strong and broad-based engineering education, the program emphasizes communication, team work skills, and design experience. The department participates in the Cooperative Education Program, which gives qualified students valuable work experience while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Students are also encouraged to participate in undergraduate research and study abroad programs. Many BSE students are employed in departmental research laboratories.

    Design and teamwork experiences are integral parts of the program. In the second year, students work in teams to design, build, and test a solution to an assigned design problem. Throughout the junior year, students acquire knowledge and analytical skills required for successful and professional engineering design through course assignments. The senior year design sequence gives students a comprehensive design experience in which they utilize much of the knowledge they have acquired through their other courses. Students work in teams to solve "real-life" engineering problems.

    The bachelor of science in biological systems engineering is offered through the College of Engineering and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org

    The relatively small class sizes in Biological Systems Engineering promote excellent interaction between faculty and students. 

    The department offers over 20 endowed scholarships to students enrolled in Biological Systems Engineering; students are also eligible for College of Engineering and other university scholarships.

    In addition to the undergraduate degree program, programs of study leading to master of engineering, master of science, and Ph.D. degrees are available in the department. The BSE department also participates in the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate degree program. Through this program, undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.4 or above can apply for admission to the Graduate School during their junior year. If admitted, students may apply up to 12 hours of graduate coursework to both their graduate and undergraduate degree requirements, thus accelerating completion of a master's degree in BSE.

    Degree Requirements:

The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as “Checksheets”. The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.

The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.

Please visit the University Registrar website at http://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation/checksheets/index.html for degree requirements.

Undergraduate Course Descriptions (BSE)


Courses for Engineering Students
(See College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for courses for non-engineering students)


2004: INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
Introduction to the fundamental concepts of Biological Systems Engineering, including statistics, heat and mass balances, protein separation, microbial metabolism, and enzyme kinetics. Engineering design process, engineering problem-solving tools and techniques, development of oral and written communication skills, and the importance of teamwork and ethics in Biological Systems Engineering. Pre: ENGE 1024 or ENGE 1215. (1H,3L,2C)

2094: INTRODUCTION TO METAL FABRICATION
Introduction to metal working tools, equipment, and processes. Fundamentals of gas and arc welding. (3L,1C)

2294: ANIMAL STRUCTURES AND ENVIRONMENT
Functional considerations in facilities development for production agriculture. Concepts of farmstead planning and system development emphasized. Techniques for providing production animal environment, especially for confinement facilities. Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (3H,3C)

2304: LANDSCAPE MEASUREMENTS AND MODELING
Introduction to land surveying, computer-aided design, and drafting for land and water resources engineering. Representation of features in two and three dimensions for documentation and visualization of land and water resources engineering projects. Create plans, cross sections, detail drawings, and three dimensional visualizations using computer-aided design and drafting tools. Pre: (MATH 1206 or MATH 1226). (2H,3L,3C)

2384: SOIL AND WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Fundamental principles involved in the management of soil and water resources are presented. Emphasis is placed on the planning and management of irrigation systems and the control of soil erosion on agricultural lands. Non-engineering students. I Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (3H,3C)

2484: ENGINE AND POWER TRAIN TECHNOLOGY
Fundamentals of the construction and operation of current internal combustion power units. Control of power utilizing clutches, transmissions, drive shafts, and differentials. Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (2H,3L,3C)

2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.

2984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.

3134: BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING SEMINAR
Critical review of technical and professional articles on current topics in Biological Systems Engineering. Development of oral presentation and technical writing skills. Contemporary ethical, professional, and global issues in Biological Systems Engineering. Pre: 2004. (2L,1C)

3144: ENGINEERING ANALYSIS FOR BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS USING NUMERICAL METHODS
Solving engineering problems related to biological systems using numerical analysis including root finding, numerical integration, differentiation, interpolation and numerical solution of ordinary differential equations. Error analysis and programming with engineering software. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking MATH 2214 prior to or concurrent with course. Co: MATH 2214. (2H,2C)

3154: THERMODYNAMICS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
Fundamental concepts, first and second laws, psychometrics applied to plant and animal environments, introduction to Gibbs energy, and application of calorimetry to gain basic understanding of energy flow in a biological system. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking MATH 2214, CEE 3304 of CHE 3114 or ESM 3015 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404 prior to or concurrent with course. Pre: (MATH 2214 or MATH 2214H), (CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3015 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404). (3H,3C)

3324: SMALL WATERSHED HYDROLOGY
Precipitation, soil physics, infiltration, evapotranspiration, groundwater hydrology, overland flow, open channel flow, flow routing, hydraulic analysis. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3015 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404 prior to or concurrent with course. Pre: CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3015 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404. (3H,3C)

3334: NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION ASSESSMENT AND CONTROL
Erosion prediction and control; transport and fate of sediment, nutrients, and microorganisms; design of nutrient management plans, wetlands, detention facilities and other management practices for rural and urban nonpoint source pollution control. Pre: 2004, 3324, CSES 3114. (2H,3L,3C)

3494: ADVANCED WELDING TECHNOLOGY
Techniques in welding that include gas, submerged metal arc, metal inert gas, pulsed arc, and tungsten inert gas welding. Design of welding structures, fundamentals of heat treatment, and plasma arc cutting. Consent required. (3L,1C)

3504: TRANSPORT PROCESSES IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
Introduction to material and energy balances in biological systems. Fundamentals of heat and mass transfer in biological systems. One and two dimensional conduction, convection, and diffusion of thermal energy and mass. Heat and mass transfer rates, steady and unsteady state conduction, convection, diffusion; design of simple heat exchangers. Application of these topics and fluid mechanics to fluid handling, bacterial growth, plant nutrient uptake, enzymatic reactions. Pre: 3154, ESM 3024. (3H,3C)

3524: UNIT OPERATIONS IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
Unit operations for processing biological materials including heat exchangers, evaporation, drying, mixing, homogenization, extrusion, phase and multi-phase separation, and size reduction. Laboratory hands-on experience in various unit operations. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking BSE 3504 prior to or concurrent with course. Co: 3504. (2H,3L,3C)

4125-4126: COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN PROJECT
4125: Identify and develop an engineering design project using the team approach; use of literature resources to define project objectives and approach; present project proposal in a professional written and oral manner; engineering ethics, professionalism and contemporary issues. Pre: Completion of 96 hours, overall GPA of 2.0 or better. 4126: Complete a comprehensive design project using the team approach, test approach, test prototype, and prepare and present a professional engineering design report. Pre: 3334 or 3524 for 4125; 4125 for 4126. 4125: (1H,3L,2C) 4126: (1H,6L,3C)

4204: INSTRUMENTATION
Introduction to instrumentation and sensors for measurement and control of biological systems. Sensor response dynamics, data acquisition, sensor selection, signal processing and signal conditioning principles. Experimental determination of velocity, pressure, strain, displacement, forces and chemical constituents. Data analysis focused on uncertainty, error and statistical concepts. Pre: PHYS 2306, ESM 3024. (2H,2L,3C)

4224: FIELD METHODS IN HYDROLOGY
Site characterization: surveying, channel and floodplain mapping, land use, electronic data acquisition. Techniques for measuring surface and subsurface hydrologic processes: water flow, hydrologic conductivity, precipitation, evaporation. Sampling techniques: surface water, groundwater, and soil pore water sampling. In-situ monitoring: automatic samplers, dataloggers, water quality sondes. Laboratory analyses: good laboratory practices, selection of analytical method, calibration, quality assurance/quality control. Co: 3324 or CEE 3314 or FOR 4354. (2H,3L,3C)

4304: NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION MODELING AND MANAGEMENT
Concepts, principles and application of modeling and monitoring for assessment and management of nonpoint source pollution. Design and implementation of monitoring systems. Concepts of modeling agroecosystems and land use impacts on hydrologic/water quality response of upland catchments. Model selection, calibration, validation, and application for comparative analysis. Screening models using Geographic Information Systems. Case studies in current watershed management issues, with a focus on agricultural waste and nutrient management, using existing field and watershed models. Pre: 3334. (2H,3L,3C)

4344: GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR ENGINEERS
Conceptual, technical, and operational aspects of geographic information systems as a tool for storage, analysis, and presentation of spatial information. Focus on engineering applications in resource management, site selection, and network analysis. Laboratory work and senior standing required. (2H,3L,3C)

4394: WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Social, economic and engineering principles of water supply and sanitation in developing countries as affected by climate, cultural and sociological factors, and material and financial resources. Pre: CEE 3104. (3H,3C)

4504: BIOPROCESS ENGINEERING
Study of the engineering concepts for biological conversion of raw materials to food, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and chemicals. Emphasis is placed on enzyme kinetics and technology, bioreaction kinetics, analysis, and control of bioreactors and fermenters, and downstream processing of bioreaction products. Pre: 3504, BIOL 2604. (3H,3C)

4524: BIOLOGICAL PROCESS PLANT DESIGN
Engineering principles for design of systems for processing biological materials into primary and secondary products. Delivery, scheduling, storage requirements, economic analysis. Process control and instrumentation of bioprocessing plants. Pre: 4504. (3H,3C)

4544 (CHE 4544): PROTEIN SEPARATION ENGINEERING
Concepts, principles and applications of various unit operations used in protein separations. Properties of biological materials, such as cells and proteins, and their influences on process design. Design of processes for protein purification based on the impurities to be eliminated. Concepts and principles of scale-up of unit operations. Case studies in practical protein recovery and purification issues, with a focus on enhanced protein purification by genetic engineering. Protein purification process simulation and optimization using process simulation software. Pre: 3504 or CHE 3144. (3H,3C)

4604: FOOD PROCESS ENGINEERING
Analysis and design of food processing operations including thermal pasteurization and sterilization, freezing, extrusion, texturization, and mechanical separation. Pre: 3504, 3524. (3H,3C)

4644: BIOBASED INDUSTRIAL POLYMERS
Importance of biological feedstocks to commodity industrial polymers. Synthesis and production of biobased polymers. Polymer structure and properties relationship. Biodegradation and life cycle of biobased polymers. Applications of biobased polymers. Partially duplicates SBIO 3444, only one may be taken for credit. Pre: 4504. (3H,3C)

4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.

4984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.

4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.


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College of Engineering Programs of Study
Engineering Education | Aerospace and Ocean Engineering | Biological Systems Engineering | Chemical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering | Computer Science | Electrical and Computer Engineering
Engineering Science and Mechanics | General Engineering | Industrial and Systems Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Mining Engineering
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Virginia Tech 2015-2016 Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies