Minor in Bioengineering Opens Up New Opportunities for Students

Dr. Russell Gardner (left), Chair of the Department of Biology, and Dr. William Kelly, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, were two members of the Bioengineering Planning Committee.

Students looking to acquire knowledge in an important field, to have a cross-college, multidisciplinary experience, and to be more attractive to future employers should check out Villanova University’s new minor in Bioengineering.

Available starting in fall 2009, the minor introduces students to an area of study that, according to the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, is “an essential underpinning field for the 21st century.” The field draws upon engineering and biology to produce new knowledge, processes, procedures, systems, and products for the benefit of society.

The Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Nursing have collaborated to develop this minor, which will provide students with an enriching, interdisciplinary experience. “Students from these three Colleges will have the opportunity to learn with each other and from each other,” said Dr. William Kelly, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and a member of the Bioengineering Planning Committee.

Students enrolled in the minor take a minimum of 12 credits of science or bioengineering courses outside of their major, a minimum of 9 credits of science or bioengineering courses inside their major (these satisfy the students’ major requirements and so do not add to their course load), and 3 credits from inside or outside the major. Finally, a course in ethics is required. Because all engineering students must take an ethics course, this requirement does not add to their course load, either. Students interested in learning more about the minor should contact their advisor.

Gaining exposure to bioengineering will increase students’ employment opportunities. Fields or subfields of bioengineering include biomedical engineering, biomechanics, biomaterials, bioinstrumentation, bioinformatics, and the development and use of algorithms and mathematical methods to model and analyze biological behavior. In addition, engineers and biologists collaborate in the area of bioremediation, which is the use of biological systems to promote environmental stewardship.