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Integrating Biology And Engineering: What Works And What Doesn't

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.607.1 - 6.607.7

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Susan M. Blanchard

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2309

Integrating Biology and Engineering: What Works and What Doesn’t

Susan M. Blanchard North Carolina State University

I. Introduction

The database ( created for The Biomedical Engineering Educational Summit that was held on December 7-10, 2000 in Lansdowne, VA was used to determine biological science and physiology course requirements for the 21 ABET-accredited Biomedical Engineering (BME) programs listed in Table I. Thirteen of the programs require at least 4 semester hours of biological science with only one program (Johns Hopkins, 580.221: Molecules and Cells) having a course that is taught within the department. Five of the programs (Case Western Reserve, Duke, Louisiana Tech, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Texas A & M) do not require any introductory biology course. All but two of the programs (Duke and Marquette) require at least 3 semester hours of physiology or engineering physiology with over half of the programs offering engineering physiology courses. The 20 programs other than Duke, which has biology and physiology as electives, required a total of 9.8 ± 4.0 semester hours of biology and physiology.

The Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Department at NC State developed an engineering biology course in 1995 and an engineering physiology course in 2001. These attempts to integrate engineering into the life sciences are discussed in the following sections.

II. Integrating Engineering with General Biology

The B. S. in Biological Engineering (BE) with concentrations in Agricultural, Biomedical, Bioprocess, and Environmental Engineering was first offered at NC State University in the fall of 1994. A new 4-hr course, BAE 235: Engineering Biology, was developed to help meet ABET requirements for 48 hours of engineering topics and 16 hours of biological science with no more than 8 hours double counted with engineering hours. BAE 235 counted as 4 hours of biological science and 3 hours of engineering topics and covered general biology with engineering applications. This made it possible for the BE curriculum to stay within the legislatively mandated maximum of 128 semester hours while meeting the requirements for ABET accreditation.

BAE 235 had three 1-hr lectures each week that were taught in the BAE Department’s classroom space and one 3-hr lab that was taught in the same labs used for general biology. A college biology textbook1 was used for the course. The laboratory manual2 was the same one that was used for BIO 125: General Biology, which also had three lectures and a 3-hr lab each week.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Blanchard, S. M. (2001, June), Integrating Biology And Engineering: What Works And What Doesn't Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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