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Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering

Program Description

Just the Facts

Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of biomedical and health systems and products such as integrated biomedical systems, instrumentation, medical information systems, artificial organs and prostheses, and health management and care delivery systems.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

Biomedical engineering degrees cover many different aspects of medicine: surgery, anesthesiology, biosensors, cardiology, prosthetics, radiology, neurology, medical imaging and more.

It's often a master's degree, meaning you'll need to do a bachelor's degree first. Students completing undergraduate courses in engineering, biology or applied sciences may apply for graduate programs in biomedical engineering.

Your choice for a first degree will depend on your interests. Because biomedical engineers work on so many different types of projects, you should decide whether you'd like to specialize in mechanics, electronics or chemical engineering.

Many universities in North America offer a four-year program to achieve a master's in biomedical engineering. PhD programs typically last two to four years, with emphasis on research and teaching.

If all this sounds like too much school for you, many colleges and technical institutes also offer programs in biomedical engineering technology, which prepare you for jobs assisting engineers. These programs may be two to four years long.

Many independent projects and dissertations are done at the PhD level. Letters of recommendation are required for graduate and PhD entrance in most universities.

Programs often provide students with internships and research opportunities to get hands-on experience. When applying to a program, you may want to check out what it offers in terms of research assistantships and internships.

Carol Lucas is the chair of biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She says the main criteria for acceptance are high GPAs, SAT or GRE scores and honors courses.

"GPAs are important because they are a good indication of student motivation. Honors courses are also helpful -- both because it indicates the quality of the student and because it means the student should have more time to take more courses in their area of specialization or get involved with more research projects," she says.

Professors also look for applicants with good communication skills who show initiative. Biomedical engineering students deal with lectures, independent projects and research.

In high school, concentrate on science and math courses.

"Engineering in general requires a good grasp of many physical sciences, so basic courses in math, physics and chemistry are particularly important," says Lucas. "If one is interested in biomedical engineering or becoming an MD, an early start on biology is also helpful."


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineers

Biomedical Engineering Society
This site has career opportunities, links, information about accredited programs and more