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Why Major in BE?

B E curriculum is hands-on and applications focused

We guarantee hands-on laboratory experiences in just about every B E course!

B E prepares graduates to make a difference

Sustainable solutions are needed to supply a growing world population with food, fiber, water, and fuel under increasing environmental constraints.  A video introduction by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) explains how B E graduates are leading the way.  If you want a career where you help find solutions to global challenges, study B E and get involved with Penn State's ASABE Student Branch


B E provides broad engineering background with opportunity to specialize

B E students take courses in engineering fundamentals and are well prepared for the Fundamentals of Engineering (F E) exams, the next step to Professional Engineering licensure.  B E students specialize by choosing an option and relevant technical and engineering electives.

Many students pursue minors or certificates, such as:

Graduates are employable

Graduates are in high demand. BE alumni are enjoy successful careers in industry, government agencies, and academia.  Recent BE alumni are employed by:

  • Power and Machinery Systems Manufacturers (e.g., John Deere, CNH, GKN Land Systems, Cummins)
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA)
  • Environmental Consulting Firms
  • Food Processing Companies (e.g., Nestle, PepsiCo, Ardent Mills, Anheuser Busch)
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (e.g., Johnson & Johnson)

Graduates pursue advanced degrees

Approximately 20% of B E graduates go on to graduate school in Agricultural and Biological Engineering Departments across the country, as well as in related fields such as Food Science, Biomedical Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

B E is an alternative to other engineering majors

The Biological Engineering Major provides a good alternative to four Penn State College of Engineering majors that are under enrollment controls.

The following pages highlight differences and overlaps between B E and these four majors. In addition, they describe how first and second-year courses would count that are common between other majors and B E.

What is the difference between Biomedical Engineering and Biological Engineering?

Are you interested in bio-processing, biological systems, want to be an engineer, and are looking for an alternative program to Chemical Engineering? The Biological Engineering major may be just the right choice for you! A student in Biological Engineering can specialize in the following areas:

Are you interested in protecting the environment or structural design, want to be an engineer, and are looking for an alternative program to Civil Engineering? The Biological Engineering major may be just the right choice for you!

Are you interested in designing machinery systems, power transfer or alternative fuels, do you want to be an engineer, and are you looking for an alternative program to Mechanical Engineering? Then the Agricultural Engineering Option of the Biological Engineering (B E) major may be just the right choice for you!