CIV_ENV 295-0-21: Biology & Ecology of Engineering

Quarter Offered

Fall : MWF 4:00-5:50 ; Hartmann


MATH 214-2 or equivalent, CHEM 101 or CHEM 171 or equivalent


An applications-centered track to discuss biology and ecology as they relate to engineering in general, and environmental engineering specifically, while also discussing the ramifications for society at large. The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the fundamentals of biology and ecology.  Biology topics include cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry; ecology topics include biological interactions, microbial ecology, and biogeochemical cycling. The bioinformatics tools necessary for analyzing biological and ecological data will also be presented. As each concept is introduced, it is illustrated with examples of emerging or successfully developed technologies, such as biosynthesis of insulin, CRISPR, wastewater treatment, microbial and plant-based biofuel production, and fecal transplants. Special consideration will be given to exploration of fortuitous discoveries, as well as unintended consequences, in biological and ecological engineering. We will also discuss how the public perceives innovations and how these topics are handled by the media.


  • Biology (2016), OpenStax
  • Course packet of selected readings (links or PDFs on Canvas)
CIV_ENV 495,21 Syllabus