Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering

Biological Systems Engineering

Student in lab looking into microscope
Biological systems engineering integrates biology and engineering principles to address societal challenges. By understanding biological phenomena, you will work across disciplines to solve complex problems. Professionals with a biomedical focus may design tissue culture systems or develop disease-detection devices. Those in food and bioprocess engineering can improve manufacturing practices, while ecological and environmental engineers work on ecosystem design, pollution mitigation and waste management systems.
  • College

  • Hours Required

    127 credit hours
  • Areas of Focus

    Biomedical Engineering, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Bioenergy and Food Engineering

The Nebraska Difference



Student-to-Faculty Ratio


Kiewit Hall

$115 million student-centric engineering hub


Be a Complete Engineer®

Unleash your potential and cultivate core competencies


Innovate. Excel. Engineer.

80% of students receive a job offer before graduation

Students working on lab project

Program Features

Interdisciplinary Expertise 

Biological systems engineers address societal challenges by combining biological knowledge with engineering principles. You can foster specialized skills by choosing from emphasis areas such as biomedical engineering, food and bioprocess engineering, or ecological and environmental engineering. 

Real-World Applications 

Our graduates make a positive impact on organizations and communities. You’ll benefit from extensive laboratory work, small classes and 1-to-1 interactions with faculty. In consultation with advisors, you can select electives that align with your career aspirations. You’ll gain practical experience through in-class projects and research. 

Problem-Solving and Responsible Engineering 

You’ll develop a strong foundation in engineering, enabling you to tackle complex issues with a focus on ethical, social and environmental implications. The program emphasizes effective communication, teamwork and critical thinking in engineering decision-making. 

Faculty member pointing at work on board

Notable Courses

Engineering Properties of Biological Materials (BSEN 225)

Study the design of agricultural crop systems: measuring properties like friction, particle size, moisture content, and thermal characteristics for harvesting, storage and processing.

Biological & Environmental Transport Processes (BSEN 344)

Explore energy and mass transport in biological and environmental processes: heat transfer modes, mass transfer kinetics, soil-water relations, watershed analysis and water quality.

Natural Resources Engineering (BSEN 350)

Gain a fundamental understanding of soil and water resources: analyzing watersheds, evapotranspiration, precipitation, runoff, erosion, hydrology, water quality and GIS mapping.

Biomechanics of Human Movement (BSEN 410)

Explore basic human movement involving kinematics, kinetics and other quantitative analysis. Study basic human systems, as well as limitations and injuries.

Tissue Engineering (BSEN 418)

Study engineering biological substitutes. Learn about designing tissues and organs, cell biology, biomaterials, growth factors, scaffold-cell interactions and bioreactors for disease therapy.

Instrumentation and Controls (BSEN 460)

Study instrumentation and controls for agriculture and biomedical applications: sensors, circuits, computer interfacing, LabVIEW programming, signal analysis and system improvement.

Huskers Do Big Things


  • Biological systems engineering co-op, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
  • R&D hematology intern, Streck, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Water resources intern, Olsson Associates, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Bioenergy research assistant, Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Environmental science intern, HDR, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Ecology intern, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand


  • Process engineer, Novozymes, Inc., Blair, Nebraska
  • Research associate, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Environmental engineering volunteer, Peace Corps, Panama City, Panama
  • Water resource engineer, HDR, Denver, Colorado
  • Biological engineer, MatMaCorp, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Civil analyst, Kimley Horn and Associates, McKinney, Texas

Graduate Schools

  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Master's Degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • M.D. and Ph.D., Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Wisconsin
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Ph.D., Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University

Outside the Classroom

At Nebraska, you’ll have many opportunities to discover your academic community and stretch your strengths.


Academics & Experiential Learning

  • Tackle big challenges in your classes and work with faculty on research dedicated to solving global problems and saving lives.
  • Engineering is a global profession. Increase your knowledge and marketability by participating in a study abroad opportunity.

Career Preparedness

  • You’ll gain career-level experiences right from the start of your academic adventure to prepare you to enter the career or graduate school of your choice.
  • Participate in paid internships for valuable on-the-job experiences and to develop lifelong career connections.


  • With more than 50 clubs and organizations in the College of Engineering, you’ll build connections with other students and faculty through fun and hands-on experiences.
  • Situated on East Campus, you’ll find an inviting atmosphere for learning, studying and having fun.

Have Questions? We're Here to Help

If you have questions about the Biological Systems Engineering major or navigating the application process, contact us.

Taryn King portrait
Contact Name
Taryn King
Contact Title
Recruitment Coordinator