CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has just launched the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in ecological engineering.

The new degree, offered through OSU’s Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, is expected to attract top students from around the nation.

“This new degree sets Oregon State apart from any other engineering school in the country,” said Ron Adams, dean of engineering at OSU. “Many students study engineering because they want to solve complex problems that move the world toward a healthier, more sustainable place. This new degree is a major step in offering our students another engineering option that will impact the future in a positive way.”

The new program, which will accommodate approximately 100 students, is the result of a two-year collaborative planning process involving faculty and staff in the OSU colleges of engineering and agricultural sciences.

Ecological engineers design sustainable systems using principles that integrate human activities with the natural environment, said John Bolte, head of the OSU Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering.

“Graduates working in ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration engineering are involved in the design, construction, and management of ecosystems that have value to both humans and the environment,” Bolte said. “Oregon State students in this program will have a unique set of skills and experiences that will enable them to create solutions for some of our most pressing environmental problems.”

Ecological engineers combine basic and applied science from engineering, ecology, economics, and natural sciences for the restoration and construction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

New graduates will apply sustainable engineering approaches to restore ecosystems and river systems; design closed-loop systems with reduced ecological footprints using “living machines”; apply ecosystems analysis and modeling to solve complex environmental problems; design ecological systems that mitigate pollutants; design and manage constructed wetlands, tidal marshlands, and more.

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Ron Adams,