about us

Message from the Chair

Beth Ahner
Beth Ahner, Professor and Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.

Cornell is one of the "Ivy League" schools and also the Land Grant University of the State of New York. The Biological and Environmental Engineering Department (BEE) is one of the largest of its kind in the country with a very diverse faculty, staff and student population.

The department serves three integrated functions:

  1. teaching of undergraduate and graduate students;
  2. research on problems in agriculture, biology, and the environment;
  3. and public outreach to help society implement new knowledge.

Undergraduate and Graduate programs

The primary undergraduate program in BEE is engineering with majors in environmental engineering and biological engineering. Graduates from the engineering programs receive a joint degree from the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture and Life Sciences. Graduate degrees offered include the Ph.D., M.S., Master of Engineering, and Master of Professional Studies. There are about 360 undergraduate and 75 graduate students in the BEE program.

Because Cornell consistently ranks among the top universities in terms of external research support, it is often characterized as a "research university." Currently research grants and contracts to the BEE department exceed six million dollars. Our success in research allows ample opportunities for undergraduate as well as graduate students to benefit from the research component of our programs. Many students choose to do an independent research study working closely with our faculty members. Still others are hired to work part time on a research activity during the academic year and often full time during the summer. This undergraduate research is often funded by industry and college fellowships.  We take very seriously the goal of linking teaching, research, and outreach in all our program activities.

Alumni

BEE alumni can be found throughout the country and around the world. BEE alumni are not only an extension of our department but also an important resource to our students and new graduates. We look to our alumni as evidence of the strength of the department, as a source of inspiration for new graduates, and as a critical source of information from the "real" professional world.

Looking to the future

BEE has demonstrated the ability and courage to make the changes necessary to effectively address the challenges of the 21st century. We will continue to meet the ever increasing student demand for technologically advanced and relevant programs. Our goals are to educate people, develop new knowledge and technologies, and to provide outreach programs that result in engineered systems to increase productivity and profitability in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. These goals will be achieved by fostering a departmental climate that promotes collaboration, professionalism and the pursuit of academic excellence while valuing diversity and individual achievement.

If you are interested in learning more about the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, please contact us.