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