​Master’s in Biomedical Engineering

masters in biomedical engineering

The Master’s in Biomedical Engineering is a very popular degree program and one chosen by many students interested in a career that spans many fields and offers various career opportunities.

Description of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary STEM field that combines engineering and biology and, in turn, applies engineering principles and matters to healthcare and medicine. Biomedical engineering is also referred to as BME, BioMed or Bioengineering. Our country’s increasing utilization of technology and machinery in all areas of our lives, has increased the demand for biomedical engineers.

Because it’s such a broad field, it branches out into various areas of focus. The type of work a biomedical engineering might find him or herself doing will depend on the specific job description or role. Some examples might be:

  • Medical Imaging
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Electronics
  • Cellular, Tissue and Genetic Engineering
  • Computational Biology
  • Orthopedic Bioengineering
  • Bionanotechnology

The medical imaging career mentioned above is the perfect example of a STEM field applying engineering and biology into a healthcare job. By combining engineering principles with biology to identify various medical needs, many life-saving concepts have developed, such as kidney dialysis, advanced prosthetics, surgical robots, and artificial organs to name a few.

The best way to describe biomedical engineering is to say that it closes the gap between medicine and engineering. An individual thinking about a career in biomedical engineering might consider the description Forbes gives biomedical engineering, which is the “low-stress high-paying job you probably haven’t considered”.

Is a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Worth It?

Students contemplating a biomedical engineering degree often ask the question “Is a masters in biological engineering worth it?” The answer to this question is a resounding yes! The graduate degree prepares students for high-level positions in many industries. It also puts graduates in a position where they’re more likely to be offered lucrative positions.

While getting a higher salary may be the main reason for earning the master’s in biomedical engineering, it’s not the only reason. The master’s degree allows graduates to learn more about medical technologies, perform deeper research into these topics and also be able to contributes to these areas.

About one third of the most valuable majors are engineering majors, according to Forbes. Forbes also ranked biomedical engineering as the number 1 major most worth a student’s time, effort, and tuition in 2012, and this degree has only gotten more valuable in the past decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that biomedical engineers could see a job growth of five percent between 2019 and 2029. Those with a graduate degree typically see the best career opportunities.

What Can I Do with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering?

About 21,200 jobs were held by biomedical engineers in 2019, according to the BLS. Although the majority of biomedical engineers worked in the areas of medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, they also worked in other fields and industries, such as research and development; life sciences; healthcare, social assistance and in academic settings. Here are a few careers biomedical engineers may have.

  • Biomaterials Developer – This professional helps develop biomaterials, either artificial materials or natural living tissue, which can be used for the human body. Biomaterials can be used to image and detect a disease and replace or repair lost functions in the body. Biomaterials developers may also work in areas such as nano implants, drug delivery and implant development.
  • Manufacturing Engineer – This professional work at designing and production products that are high-quality while also low in cost. A manufacturing engineer working in the healthcare industry may design products like imaging tools, prosthetics limbs and other hospital or laboratory equipment. Manufacturing engineers with a master’s in biomedical engineering may work in leadership positions.
  • Doctor – Some biomedical engineering professionals choose to advance their education and pursue a medical degree to become a doctor or surgeon. This really increases their career opportunities, especially in areas of the healthcare industry.
  • Independent Consultant – These professionals provide their knowledge and expertise to research institutions and medical organizations. They may work with various businesses and may consult with these companies for extended periods of time.
  • Medical Technology Developer – This professional works with both the software and hardware used to manufacture medical devices. They understand the programs used to create medical devices and have the technologic knowledge to create the devices. An individual with a master’s in biomedical engineering may also specialize in certain areas such as bioinstrumentation, which involves equipment like blood pressure monitors, pacemakers and electrocardiographs.

How to Choose a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Program

Choosing a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering program can be a time-consuming process and one that requires due diligence. The time it requires to complete the program depends on whether you’re a full- or part-time student. Students working and earning the degree online or as a part-time student may require more time than a full-time student.

Graduate biomedical engineering programs may require a thesis as well as a non-thesis option

Biomedical engineering graduate programs are very competitive. The admissions process is generally based on a student’s GPA and their professional experience. When choosing a biomedical engineering master’s degree program, qualified students should use these factors.

  • Accreditation – You want to choose a program that’s accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the Department of Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Area of Study- If you’re choosing a specific area of specialization, choose a program that includes the courses necessary to earn the degree.
  • Workload – If you’re attempting to complete the degree in the required time, be sure to choose a program that does not require more credits than what you can comfortably complete.
  • Part-time Student – If you’re planning to attend school on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you choose makes accommodations for part-time learning.

Below are some areas of concentration students may choose.

  • Biomaterials
  • Cardiovascular systems
  • Imaging
  • Biomechanical Systems
  • Biomedical Sensing
  • Neural Engineering
  • Analytics and Health Informatics

List of Sample Courses in a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering

As states earlier, the master’s in biomedical engineering program is offered as a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option involves a research paper or essay and a practicum course, which typically involves completing an internship.

The non-thesis program does not require an essay but will usually require a project to be completed for the final grade. In addition to these requirements, students will generally complete the following courses.

  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Computer Programming
  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Research
  • Life Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Quantitative Systems Physiology
  • Biomedical Engineering Seminar

How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering?

The lengthy of time it takes to complete a master’s in biomedical engineering programs depends on the student’s status and the program itself. The biomedical engineering graduate program typically takes two years to complete. This is assuming the student already has a bachelor’s degree. Since a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, the entire time to complete the master’s degree is about six years.

This time frame is providing the individual is a full-time student. Students earning the degree on a part-time basis may take one or two more years to complete it. The biomedical engineering graduate program is also offered online. Online students may take more or less than two years to earn the degree. The online program is an ideal option for the student who must work or may not be able to commit to a full-time program.

List of Biomedical Engineering Organizations

There are several biomedical engineering organizations available for students, graduates and biomedical engineers working in the field.

  • Biomedical Engineering Society – Founded in 1968, the Biomedical Engineering Society is a professional society designed to increase the knowledge of biomedical engineering and its utilization. This society, which also published a journal, is available to biomedical engineering faculty, students, industry workers and researchers.
  • IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society – The IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society merged with the IRE Professional Group on Medical Electronics to identify problems in medicine and biology that could be solved with electronic engineering principles and devise. This organization also has student chapters.
  • The National Society of Black Engineers – Founded at Purdue University in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers is a student-run organization designed to improve and increase the recruitment and retention of Black and minority engineers in both the industry and academia.
  • The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers – Founded in Los Angeles, CA in 1974 by Los Angeles-based engineers, this organization was started to help professional engineers in the Hispanic community by providing them with role models.
  • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers – Founded in 1991, this non-profit organization w represents 50,000 biomedical and medical engineers, professional engineering societies, private industries and academic institutions.

Top 10 Master’s Programs in Biomedical Engineering

Top 10 Master’s Programs in Biomedical Engineering

Columbia University

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program at Columbia University in the City of New York is a fully online program that requires completion of 30 credits. To successfully complete the program, students must complete core courses and elective courses totaling 30 credit hours. Core courses may include:

  • Quantitative Physiology
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Sound and Hearing
  • Principles of Applied Mathematics
  • Solid Biomechanics
  • Partial Differential Equations

Electives may include:

  • Solid Biomechanics
  • Artificial Organs
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Cardiac Mechanics
  • Computational Genomics
  • Physiological Control Systems

George Washington University

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at George Washington University in Washington D.C. is a program offered through the GWU’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. This 30-credit program is a full-time two-year program that offers both a thesis and non-thesis option. This strongly interdisciplinary program offers courses like:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Engineering I & II
  • Principles and Practice of Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering Seminar
  • Clinical Medicine for Engineers
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Medical Imaging

This program offers several areas of specialization, including cancer therapy; ultrasound applications in medicine; biosensors; cardiac electrophysiology; image analysis, and microfluidics.

University of Portland

The Master of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Portland in Portland, OR is a 12-month interdisciplinary program that puts students right into the medical, technical, business, scientific and management facet of the healthcare industry. Students must complete required courses as well as a real-life capstone project or internship but are not required to do a thesis. Course topics include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Management of Technology for Life Sciences
  • Design of Experiments
  • Anatomy & Physiology for Biomedical Engineers
  • Biomedical Device Planning and Design
  • Biomedical Device Optimization

Case Western Reserve University

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at CWRU in Cleveland, OH is an online program. The program is offered through CWRU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is ranked #19 in the nation. In order to complete the required 30 credits, students will complete two each of the following course types.

  • Biomedical engineering courses
  • Engineering courses
  • Specialty courses
  • Translational courses
  • Technical courses

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering offered through Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA is a 30-credit program that requires a thesis. Students who want to take their education to the highest level can enroll in the “along the way” Ph.D. program, which allows students to earn the master’s degree while also pursuing the doctoral degree.

After completing all courses, the students must pass an oral examination based on the thesis research. Course topics in the master’s program include:

  • Life sciences
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Biomedical engineering seminar
  • Research
  • Ethics/diversity

University of South Florida

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at SFU in Tampa, FL is a highly disciplinary program that combines medical science and engineering but does not require a thesis. Advisors assist students in choosing courses that cover the areas of engineering, life sciences, medicine and public health. Students can also choose from several different areas to research. Course topics include:

  • Biomedical engineering
  • Engineering Physiology
  • Medical Anatomy
  • Biostatistics
  • Nanotechnology and Risk Management

New Jersey Institute of Technology

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program at NJIT in University Heights Newark, NJ is a 30-credit program that offers a thesis or non-thesis option. Students in the thesis option must also use their knowledge to create a problem, research it and orally defend their solution. The course topics vary for the thesis and non-thesis option, but may include the following:

  • Biomaterials
  • Intro to Biomedical Engineering
  • Principles of Tissue Engineering
  • Cardiovascular Mechanic
  • Computer Methods in Biomedical Engineering
  • Biorobotics

University at Buffalo

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at UB in Buffalo, NY is a research-rich program that provides students with extensive hands-on training in cutting-edge laboratories. Students can choose from a few different research topics. The program prepares students to advance their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Course topics in this

  • Human Biology for Biomedical Engineers
  • Neural Engineering
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Machine Learning for Biomedical Data
  • Engineering Principles for Computer Tomography

Cornell University

The Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering at CU in Ithaca, NY is a program that focuses on the macroscopic and molecular facets of biomedical engineering. Students can choose from several areas of research. To complete this two-year graduate program, the student must complete seminars as well as courses in life science, foundation in biomedical engineering and take a minor in a doctorate program course.

Clemson University

The Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering at Clemson University in Clemson, SC is a one-year, non-thesis program that’s offered at three college campuses. The focus of this program is medical device development and commercialization. At the end of the program, students complete an internship. Course topics may include:

  • Medical Device Commercialization
  • Biomedical Engineering Product Translation
  • Biomedical Engineering Device Design
  • Clinical Affairs for Medical Devices

Start Your Career in Biomedical Engineering Today

If you are looking for an online master’s in biomedical engineering, you have a lot of options. Take your time when you research, and you will find the perfect program for you.