Lalit Verma
Department Head
203 Engineering Hall
479-575-2351
Email: lverma@uark.edu

Jin-Woo Kim
Graduate Coordinator
479-575-3402
jwkim@uark.edu

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Website

Degrees Conferred:
M.S.B.E. (BENGMS) in Biological Engineering
M.S.En.E. (ENEGMS) in Environmental Engineering, in collaboration with Civil Engineering (See Environmental Engineering)
Ph.D. (BENGPH) in Engineering

Biological Engineering (BENG) (M.S.B.E.)

Primary Areas of Faculty Research: The biological and agricultural engineering program is unique in that it is linked administratively to the College of Engineering and the Division of Agriculture.  At present, the department is experiencing growth in teaching, research and service.  In particular, departmental research continues to strengthen and expand in its two broad areas: 

Biotechnology Engineering – Biotechnology at the micro- and nano-scale, food processing, food safety and security, bio-energy, developing new products from biomaterials, biotransformation to synthesize industrial and pharmaceutical products, bioinstrumentation, bio-nano interfacing and molecular self-assembly, bio-nano plasmonics, and bio-nano sensing.

Ecological Engineering – Integrates ecological principles into the design of sustainable systems to treat, remediate, and prevent pollution to the environment. Applications include mathematical modeling of watershed process, stream restoration, watershed management, water and wastewater treatment design, ecological services management, urban greenway design and enclosed ecosystem design.

M.S.B.E. in Biological Engineering

Admission to the Degree Program: Admission to the Biological Engineering graduate program is a three-step process. First, the prospective student must be admitted to graduate standing by the University of Arkansas Graduate School. Second, the student must be accepted into the department’s program, which depends on transcripts, recommendations, a statement of purpose, and the following additional requirements:

Students with an ABET-accredited or equivalent Engineering Degree

  • Students seeking admission to an M.S. program from a B.S. degree in engineering:
  1. A score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam.
  2. For students whose first language is not English, a demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School.
  3. GPA of 3.00 or higher on the last 60 hours of a B.S. degree or B.S. and/or M.S. degrees.
  4. B.S. degree in engineering from an ABET accredited program or equivalent.

Students without an Engineering Degree

  • Students to an M.S. program from a non-engineering B.S. degree:
  1. A score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam.
  2. For students whose first language is not English, a demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School.
  3. GPA of 3.00 or higher on the last 60 hours of a BS degree.
  4. Completion of 18 hours of engineering course work.

Finally, a member of the faculty who is eligible (graduate status of group II or higher) must agree to serve as the major adviser to the prospective student.

Detailed requirements are in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Graduate Student Handbook, available at baeg.uark.edu.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree: (Minimum 30 hours) In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School and the graduate faculty in Engineering, the following departmental requirements must be satisfied for the M.S.B.E. degree:

  1. Students with an engineering B.S. degree: All students are required to complete not less than 24 semester hours of course work acceptable to the committee and a minimum of six semester hours of thesis. Of the 24 hours required for the M.S. degree, no more than 12 semester hours of course work presented for the MS degree can be at the 4000  level.
  2. Students with a non-engineering B.S. degree: In addition to the requirement in 1, students must complete 18 hours of deficiency engineering course work to demonstrate engineering competence.
  3. Earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on all graduate courses attempted. The minimum acceptable grade on a graduate course is “C.”
  4. Prior to acceptance into the program a candidate must, in consultation with the department head, identify a professor who is willing to serve as the major professor. During the first semester, the candidate must, in consultation with the major professor and department head, select a graduate committee. The candidate will, in consultation with the committee, prepare a written graduate program of study that will achieve the candidate’s objectives.
  5. Satisfactorily pass a written thesis research proposal at least one semester before  completing all other requirements.  Students may retake a failed proposal defense once, contingent upon approval of the student’s advisory committee. A student who fails the proposal defense twice will be terminated from the program.
  6. Satisfactorily pass a final oral examination and complete and submit a thesis.
  7. Candidates must prepare a paper suitable for submission to a refereed journal from research done for a thesis.

Detailed requirements are in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Graduate Student Handbook, available at bio-ag-engineering.uark.edu.

Students should also be aware of Graduate School requirements with regard to master's degrees.

Ph.D. in Engineering

Admission to the Degree Program: Admission to the Biological Engineering graduate program is a three-step process. First, the prospective student must be admitted to graduate standing by the University of Arkansas Graduate School. Second, the student must be accepted into the department’s program, which depends on transcripts, recommendations, a statement of purpose, and the following additional requirements:

Students with an ABET-accredited or equivalent Engineering Degree

  • Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program who have a B.S. and M.S. degree in engineering:
  1. score on score of 301 or above (verbal and quantitative) on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam. .
  2. A TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or 80 (Internet-based). For students This requirement is waived for applicants whose first native language is not English, English or who earn demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a a U.S. institution.
  3. GPA of 3.00 or higher on the last 60 hours of a B.S. degree or B.S. and/or M.S. degrees.
  4. B.S. degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program or equivalent.
  • Students to a Ph.D. program directly from a B.S. degree in engineering:
  1. A score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam.
  2. A score of 307 or above (verbal and quantitative) on the GRE.
  3. A TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or 80 (Internet-based).For students This requirement is waived for applicants whose first nativelanguage is not English, English or who earn demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School.
  4. Bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution.
  5. A cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above for undergraduate work.
  6. B.S. degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program or equivalent.

Students without an Engineering Degree

  • Students seeking admission to a Ph.D. program from non-engineering B.S. plus M.S. degrees:
  1. A score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam.
  2. A score of 301 or above (verbal and quantitative) on the GRE.
  3. A TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or 80 (Internet-based). For students This requirement is waived for applicants whose first nativelanguage is not English, English or who earn demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School.
  4. Bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution.
  5. GPA of 3.00 or higher on the last 60 hours of B.S. and/or M.S. degrees.
  6. Completion of 18 hours of engineering course work.
  • Students to a Ph.D. program directly from a non-engineering B.S. degree:
  1. A score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to meet the Graduate School requirement of a standardized exam.
  2. A score of 307 or above (verbal and quantitative) with 155 (quantitative) and 4.5 or above in writing on the GRE.
  3. A TOEFL score of at least 580 (paper-based) or 237 (computer-based) or 92 (Internet-based). For students This requirement is waived for applicants whose first native language is not English, English or who earn demonstration of English-language proficiency which meets the requirements of the Graduate School.
  4. Bachelor’s or master’s degree from a U.S. institution.
  5. A cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above for undergraduate work.
  6. Completion of 18 hours of engineering course work.

Finally, a member of the faculty who is eligible (graduate status of group II or higher) must agree to serve as the major adviser to the prospective student.

Detailed requirements are in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Graduate Student Handbook, available at baeg.uark.edu.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree: (Minimum 78 hours).  In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the department follows the College of Engineering’s requirements with an additional requirement:

  1. Students entering directly with an engineering B.S. degree: All students must complete a minimum of 78 semester hours of graduate-level credit beyond the engineering bachelor’s degree, including a minimum of 48 semester hours of course work and a minimum of 30 semester hours of dissertation research credits. Of the 78 hours required for the Ph.D. degree, up to 12 semester hours of 4000-level courses may be taken in the first 30 semester hours of course work.  The remaining credits (minimum of 66 semester hours, 36 semester hours of coursework and 30 semester hours of dissertation) must be at the 5000 level or above.
  2. Students entering with a master's  degree: Upon recommendation of the student’s advisory committee, a student who has entered the Ph.D. program after a master’s degree may receive credit for up to 30 semester hours toward the required 78 credit hours. If the 30 hours includes master’s thesis research, the advisory committee may credit up to 6 hours of thesis research toward the minimum dissertation research requirement.  All subsequent coursework presented for the PhD degree must be at the 5000 level or above.
  3. Students with a non-engineering B.S. degree: In addition to the requirements in 1 and 2 above, students must complete 18 hours of deficiency engineering course work to demonstrate engineering competence.
  4. Complete a minimum of nine semester credit hours of coursework in a set of coherent courses in a related subject area approved by the student’s advisory committee.
  5. Earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on all graduate courses attempted. The minimum acceptable grade on a graduate course is “C.”
  6. Satisfactorily pass a preliminary examination (Note that the Engineering College defines this examination as a qualifying examination).   After completing the course requirements  the prospective candidate must take the preliminary examination.  Students may retake a failed preliminary exam once, contingent upon approval of the student’s advisory committee. A student who fails the preliminary examination twice will be terminated from the program.
  7. Satisfactorily pass a proposal defense.  The prospective candidate must present the dissertation research proposal to the advisory committee after completing the  preliminary examination, and at least one year before completing all other requirements. Students may retake a failed proposal defense once, contingent upon approval of the student's advisory committee. A student who fails the proposal defense twice will be terminated from the program.
  8.  Satisfactorily pass a final comprehensive oral examination and complete and submit a dissertation.
  9. Candidates must prepare a paper suitable for submission to a refereed journal from research done for a dissertation.

Detailed requirements are in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Graduate Student Handbook, available at bio-ag-engineering.uark.edu.

Students should also be aware of Graduate School requirements with regard to doctoral degrees.

Graduate Faculty

Costello, Thomas A., Ph.D. (Louisiana State University), M.S.Ag.E., B.S.Ag.E. (University of Missouri-Columbia), Associate Professor, 1986, 1992.
Haggard, Brian Edward, Ph.D. (Oklahoma State University), M.S. (University of Arkansas), B.S. (Missouri University of Science and Technology), Professor, 2006, 2011.
Henry, Christopher Garrett, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), M.S., B.S. (Kansas State University), Associate Professor, 2011, 2018.
Kim, Jin-Woo, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University), M.S. (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), B.S. (University of Iowa), Professor, 2001, 2011.
Kwofie, Ebenezer Miezah, Ph.D. (McGill University, Canada), M.Sc. (University of Boras, Sweden), B.Sc. (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), Assistant Professor, 2021.
Li, Yanbin, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University), M.S. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), B.S. (Shenyang Agricultural University), Distinguished Professor, Tyson Endowed Chair in Biosensing Engineering, 1989, 2003.
Liang, Yi, Ph.D. (University of Alberta, Canada), M.S., B.S. (China Agricultural University, Beijing, China), Associate Professor, 2007, 2014.
Matlock, Marty D., Ph.D., M.S., B.S. (Oklahoma State University), Professor, 2001, 2009.
Osborn, G. Scott, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University), M.S., Ag.E., B.S. (University of Kentucky), Associate Professor, 2001, 2007.
Runkle, Benjamin R.K., Ph.D., M.S. (University of California–Berkeley), B.S. (Princeton University), Assistant Professor, 2014.
Sadaka, Sammy, Ph.D. (Dalhousie University, Canada, and Alexandria University, Egypt), M.S., B.S. (Alexandria University, Egypt), Associate Professor, 2007, 2017.
VanDevender, Karl, Ph.D. (University of Arkansas), M.S., B.S. (Mississippi State University), Professor, 1995, 2004.
Verma, Lalit R., Ph.D. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), M.S. (University of Montana), B. Tech. (J.N. Agricultural University, Jabalpub, India), Professor, 2000.
Zhu, Jun, Ph.D. ( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), M.S., B.S. (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China), Professor, 2013.

Courses

BENG 500V. Advanced Topics in Biological Engineering. 1-6 Hour.

Special problems in fundamental and applied research. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

BENG 5103. Advanced Instrumentation in Biological Engineering. 3 Hours.

Applications of advanced instrumentation in biological systems. Emphasis on updated sensing and transducing technologies, data acquisition and analytical instruments. Lecture 2 hours, lab 3 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: BENG 3113. (Typically offered: Spring Even Years)

BENG 5253. Bio-Mems. 3 Hours.

Topics include the fundamental principles of microfluidics, Navier-Stokes Equation, bio/abio interfacing technology, bio/abio hybrid integration of microfabrication technology, and various biomedical and biological problems that can be addressed with microfabrication technology and the engineering challenges associated with it. Lecture 3 hour per week. Prerequisite: MEEG 3503 or CVEG 3213 or CHEG 2133. (Typically offered: Irregular)
This course is cross-listed with MEEG 5253.

BENG 5613. Simulation Modeling of Biological Systems. 3 Hours.

Application of computer modeling and simulation of discrete-event and continuous-time systems to solve biological and agricultural engineering problems. Philosophy and ethics of representing complex processes in simplified form. Deterministic and stochastic modeling of complex systems, algorithm development, application limits, and simulation interpretation. Emphasis on calibration, validation and testing of biological systems models for the purposes of system optimization, resource allocation, real-time control and/or conceptual understanding. Prerequisite: AGST 5023 or (STAT 3003 or STAT 5003) or INEG 2313. (Typically offered: Irregular)

BENG 5623. Life Cycle Assessment. 3 Hours.

This course will examine the process and methodologies associated with life cycle analysis (LCA). The course will explore the quantitatively rigorous methodology for life cycle inventory (LCI), LCA and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). This course is offered on-line. The principal instructor will be a UA faculty member. (Typically offered: Spring)

BENG 5633. Linkages Among Technology, Economics and Societal Values. 3 Hours.

Addresses how macro-level change is influenced by the linkages among technology, economics and societal values. Three major course initiatives: 1) Developing a conceptual model for understanding how macro-level change has occurred over history; 2) Examining recorded history in order to develop a contextual appreciation for Society's current situation; and 3) Using statistical data to identify six overriding world trends that are likely to greatly impact society's goal of achieving sustainable prosperity and well-being in the foreseeable future. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor permission. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)
This course is cross-listed with OMGT 5633.

BENG 5703. Design and Analysis of Experiments for Engineering Research. 3 Hours.

Principles of planning and design of experiments for engineering research. Propagation of experimental error. Improving precision of experiments. Analysis of experimental data for optimal design and control of engineering systems using computer techniques. Students must have an introductory background in statistics. Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 3 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. (Typically offered: Irregular)

BENG 5801. Graduate Seminar. 1 Hour.

Reports presented by graduate students on topics dealing with current research in biological engineering. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Spring)

BENG 5923. Nonpoint Source Pollution Control and Modeling. 3 Hours.

Control of hydrologic, meteorologic, and land use factors on nonpoint source (NPS) pollution in urban and agricultural watersheds. Discussion of water quality models to develop NPS pollution control plans and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), with consideration of model calibration, validation, and uncertainty analysis. Prerequisite: CVEG 3223. (Typically offered: Irregular)

BENG 5933. Environmental and Ecological Risk Assessment. 3 Hours.

Process and methodologies associated with human-environmental and ecological risk assessments. Environmental risk assessments based on human receptors as endpoints, addressing predominantly abiotic processes. Ecological risk assessments based on non-human receptors as endpoints. Approach using hazard definition, effects assessment, risk estimation, and risk management. Application of methods to student projects to gain experience in defining and quantifying uncertainty associated with human perturbation, management and restoration of environmental and ecological processes. (Typically offered: Spring)

BENG 5963. Modeling Environmental Biophysics. 3 Hours.

Interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Connecting the physical environment of solar energy, wind, soil, and hydrology to the biosphere through plant ecophysiology. Boundary layer meteorology, photosynthesis and boundary layer modeling strategies, and the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Instrumentation, measurement and modeling strategies for understanding leaf-, landscape- and regional behaviors; and, the transfer, kinetics, and balance of momentum, energy, water vapor, CO2, and other atmospheric trace gases between the landscape (vegetation and soil) and the atmosphere. Applications in sustainable agriculture, irrigation, land and water resources, and modeling plant water use and carbon uptake strategies. A working knowledge of calculus and a discipline related to the course is expected. Three hours of lecture per week. Students may not earn degree credit for both BENG 4963 and BENG 5963. Prerequisite: Instructor consent. (Typically offered: Spring Even Years)

BENG 5973. Advanced Practice in Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis. 3 Hours.

Application of water quality principles to a real world problem. Team project experience leading and developing quality assurance project plans, designing monitoring systems, selecting chemical analysis methods, estimating loads, performing trend analysis, basic model calibration and validation, team management, and technical report writing and oral presentations. Working with various clientele to analyze water quality data in the context of evaluating real-world problems and issues. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Spring Odd Years)

BENG 600V. Master's Thesis. 1-6 Hour.

Graduate standing required for enrollment. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for degree credit.

BENG 700V. Doctoral Dissertation. 1-18 Hour.

Candidacy is required for enrollment. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for degree credit.