Bioengineering Minor

ODBI Minor Program

We are excited to announce that the Bioengineering Minor program will be available Fall 2024. Students in the Class of 2026 and beyond will be able to apply for the Bioengineering Minor program. Students in the Class of 2025 who previously enrolled in the Engineering Biology Certificate program will be given an opportunity to switch into the Bioengineering Minor.

Program Offerings

Bioengineering will play increasingly important roles in health, technology, and society in the 21st century. These efforts are already underway, with bioengineers helping to usher in next generation vaccines (e.g. mRNA vaccines introduced during the Covid19 pandemic) and therapeutics (e.g., the first CRISPR gene therapies just approved in December 2023), and to find new sources of renewable energy (e.g., metabolic engineering to produce biofuels), among myriad other applications for human health and society. There is thus a pressing need to train the next generation of bioengineers. Drawing on Princeton’s strengths in bioengineering, both within the Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute and across the broader campus, the Bioengineering Minor will provide rigorous classroom and research experiences, enabling our students to gain expertise and make important contributions to this critically important field.

Goals for Student Learning

  • Students will gain knowledge of bioengineering approaches, including protein design, principles of cell and tissue engineering, computation and device fabrication.
  • Students will develop research skills and mastery of cutting-edge analytical and experimental approaches as part of their senior independent research, senior thesis, or full-time summer research experience.
  • Students will develop relationships with classmates across disciplines, interacting with both engineering and life science peers to solve cutting-edge problems. These relationships will be fostered both in the classroom and in research opportunities such as the Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program and the iGEM Program, an undergraduate team-led synthetic biology research program that has attracted students from MOL, ELE, CBE, and MAE, among other programs.
  • Students will be exposed to and consider ethical dimensions of bioengineering and its impact on society, for example through attendance and participation in events associated with the annual Omenn-Darling Bioethics lecture. 

Prerequisites

Students wishing to declare a Minor in Bioengineering must have taken a foundational course in Molecular Biology (MOL214 or equivalent) as well as one foundational course in computing (COS126 or equivalent).

Admission to the Program

Students may apply for the Bioengineering minor program in the Spring semester of their sophomore year but no later than Dean's Date during the Spring semester of their junior year, and after declaring a major. To apply, please use the Program Application Form. When you are ready to apply or if you have any questions about the minor program, please contact Jessica Varela at [email protected].

Program of Study

To fulfill the minor requirements, students must take:

  • Three courses with bioengineering content, selected from the list established for the Engineering Biology Certificate (see Courses). These courses should provide a coherent training in an area of bioengineering, such as biotechnology, molecular or cellular engineering, neuroengineering, or systems biology. One of these courses must be from outside the student’s department of concentration, and at least one of these courses must not count as a departmental. 
  • One advanced life science course, selected from the approved list (see Courses). This course should provide additional insight into complex living systems and complement the bioengineering courses chosen by the student. Please note: Up to 2 courses can be double counted with a student’s major.
  • To promote thinking about the ethical aspects of bioengineering and its effects on society, students are required to attend the Omenn-Darling Bioethics Lecture once during their Princeton career and write a short (1-2 page single spaced) reflection on what was discussed and how it relates to topics in bioengineering, due to Jessica Varela ([email protected]). The Lecture is typically held in early March; the reflection is due by April 1st of the same year in which the lecture was held. A recording will be made available for students who are unable to attend the lecture in person.
  • Close collaboration with faculty is expected. Students are required to complete at least one semester or summer of Bioengineering research in an appropriate area of engineering biology. This research requirement can be a component of the student’s senior thesis or senior independent research, or be satisfied by either of the two Bioengineering summer research programs recently established at Princeton: the Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (BE-SURE) and the iGEM Synthetic Biology research project.

Faculty

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Jared Toettcher: [email protected] 

For a full list of faculty members please visit the department website: Faculty | Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute (princeton.edu)

Program Manager

Jessica Varela: [email protected]