If you want to help solve America’s energy problems and also prepare for an exciting and rewarding career, take a close look at ESF’s new Bioprocess Engineering program. The first and only program of its kind in the Northeastern United States, this program seeks to train engineers who will work in the emerging bioprocessing and biofuels industry to produce energy and related chemical products from renewable resources.
The bioprocess engineering program prepares students for careers as engineers in biological and chemical process-related fields, filling positions that are typically filled by chemical engineers following additional training. Students in this program master a variety of subjects that are normally found in a chemical engineering program and supplement those studies with advanced courses specific to bioprocess engineering. The program focuses on the use of wood and other renewable biomass materials to replace petroleum in energy and industrial product applications and on developing products and energy from sustainable sources in a sustainable manner, especially from wood and other lignocellulosic materials rather than non-renewable sources, such as fossil fuels.
Examples of this technology include the bioprocessing of ethanol, butanol, acetic acid, polymers, and other chemicals that have traditionally been produced from fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas.
Internships, Co-ops, and Research Experiences
Bioprocess engineering students enjoy the advantage of hands-on learning in the bioprocess and allied industries through faculty-guided internships and cooperative education (co-op) assignments. All students are required to complete a two-credit internship, co-op or research program in the industry. Internships provide students with valuable experience, financial benefits and two credits toward graduation. Students must submit a report and give a presentation for completion of the internship.
Students who complete a co-op in addition to the 12-week internship find the experience highly valuable because they are often able to see engineering projects through to their completion. Generally, students who have had the co-op experience are more highly recruited for permanent employment after graduation.
The co-op position, when taken in conjunction with the summer internship, consists of a work period approximately seven months in duration, either beginning in May and ending in December, or beginning in January and ending in August. Usually it takes students who complete a co-op one extra year to complete the degree requirements. Co-op students are enrolled for two credits and are required to submit a project report to fulfill the requirements for the class.
The employment interview schedule generally begins in mid-October with scheduling preference given to Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation member companies. Some companies schedule interviews for co-ops and summer internships at the same time they hold interviews for permanent positions. Other companies choose to hold interviews for co-ops and interns in the spring semester.
Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the Bioprocess Engineering program is preparing the graduates to achieve. We expect graduates:
To achieve these objectives, students study a broad base of topics in the fundamentals of engineering focused on the chemical and biological processing of raw materials from sustainable sources. Emphasis in this program is on using renewable biomass resources to replace petroleum in energy and industrial product applications. Examples of such technology include the production of ethanol, acetic acid, butanol, lactic acid, polymers, and other chemicals that have traditionally been produced from fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas.
Students gain valuable experience through a capstone design experience in which they work on significant problems in the design and implementation of new technologies. In addition, a summer internship is required of all students during which they gain valuable skills and experience in terms of technical knowledge and professional development. Both of these experiences serve to integrate the knowledge gained in their coursework with real-world work experiences commonly seen in their first positions after graduation.
The curriculum consists of several categories of courses. The general education component, which is required of all ESF students, broadens the students’ perspectives on global and societal issues, an important component of any education. Students also take a number of courses in math and the basic sciences—chemistry, physics, and biology—to provide the background for the courses that prepare students for engineering practice. The engineering courses cover a variety of topics that are traditional for a chemical engineering program, supplemented with courses specific to bioprocess engineering. The moderate requirement of 127 credit hours allows room for students to explore areas of interest through additional courses of their own choosing (free electives).
Students may be admitted to the bioprocess engineering program as first-year students with appropriate science backgrounds from their high school or as transfer students at any level with accommodations for coursework requirements. Students who have the associate degree in engineering science, chemical technology, biological sciences, or general science and mathematics are encouraged to apply as transfer students.