Masters in Biomedical Engineering

An increasing number of engineering students come up with this question - “is a master’s in biomedical engineering worth it?” Well, the answer to that is “yes”! Along with preparing one for R&D jobs unlike a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering also opens the channel to a devoted career as an expert in one of the Biomedical Engineering specializations. Besides that, it is obvious that engineers with a master’s degree not only find more responsible positions that help in career advancement but also get paid higher.

What is Biomedical Engineering?

In the simplest terms, biomedical engineering involves the application of engineering methods to biology and medicine. It is geared towards the production of medical devices (both active and passive), enhancing and automating the treatment process, designing and developing biomaterials, and creating technologies that help medical professionals in their jobs of bettering and caring for human health.
The uniqueness of Biomedical Engineering is that it is dependent upon the developments in biological sciences and the understanding of the human body. Biomedical Engineers integrate this knowledge with the techniques and methods from an array of engineering disciplines to fulfil their tasks. A master’s student of Biomedical Engineering thus has to be a curious biology student besides being a bit of an electrical, chemical, mechanical, materials science and computer engineer. Sounds too much? Well, there’s nothing to worry as the interdisciplinary ness of biomedical engineering would depend upon the specialization one chooses. However, this is the very characteristic that makes it a challenging and enticing field.

What do the Master’s Students of Biomedical Engineering Study?

There is virtually no end to the breadth of courses that are there for a biomedical expert in the making to choose from. Here is a list of the most important courses that are a part of a good biomedical engineering master’s curriculum: Biomaterials; Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics; Computational Modeling (Biological and Biomedical systems); Drug and Gene delivery; Cell and Tissue Engineering; Neural Engineering; Regenerative Medicine; Quantitative Physiology; Bioelectrical Engineering; Biomedical Nanotechnology; Biomedical Robotics
Additionally, some of the innovative courses might include biodesign for mobile and digital health, mechanotransduction, optical control of tissues, protein engineering, metabolic engineering among others.

What is the Masters in Biomedical Engineering Admission Requirements?

The most common masters in biomedical engineering requirements for applying and admission to a program are the following:
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements: Biomedical Engineering is vastly interdisciplinary, and therefore, those with an undergraduate background in most science and engineering disciplines are welcomed to do a master’s degree. However, universities might prefer candidates with a bachelor’s in life sciences, computer science, electrical engineering, and related areas. Needless to say, those with a bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering will have slightly higher chances of being selected. Some universities might demand prerequisite coursework as masters in biomedical engineering requirements. This prerequisite coursework will broadly include the following:

  • Mathematics: Calculus, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • Physics: At least two semesters of calculus-based physics and one semester of Electrical Circuits coursework
  • Chemistry: At least two semesters of chemistry coursework
  • Life Sciences: Anatomy and Physiology
  • Programming: At least two semesters of basic college-level computer science coursework
  • Coursework in embedded systems, signals, processing, microprocessors, etc. becomes a necessity if a Medical Devices specialization track is chosen.

In case the prerequisite coursework has not been done, bridge courses during the first semester of the master’s program will have to be taken by the students compulsorily.

Other Requirements

  • TOEFL and IELTS: Many departments would ask for above-average scores in the language ability tests from applicants who are from non-English speaking countries. It would be better to check the minimum acceptable scores in the tests. Also note that if the exam was taken a few years ago, the scores might not be valid.
  • GRE: GRE might not be a necessary prerequisite for applying for a master’s in Biomedical Engineering, and the requirement should be checked from the official websites of the universities one is applying to. Either there are minimum acceptable scores for each section of the GRE exam as masters in biomedical engineering admission requirements, or there is a system of differential weightage for core in each section. If required, the GRE subject test should be taken in Biology.
  • Undergraduate GPA: It is usually above average. One cannot expect the application to be accepted or preferred if the undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0. The minimum GPA requirement for admission to a master’s in some leading departments might be even higher (3.2 to 3.5).
  • Letters of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose: Three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are usually demanded by most departments.

It is advised that if one is grappling with how to do masters in biomedical engineering abroad, one should make a list of all the universities one wishes to apply for along with their respective admission requirements so that they can assess their profiles and applications accordingly and proceed.

 

Biomedical Engineering is a field that comes with a number of specializations higher than that in most engineering fields. That is due to the very nature of this discipline. Its dependence over latest developments in life sciences allows it to mushroom into a number of sub-fields. The major ones are:

1. Biomedical Innovation and Development

A specialization in Biomedical Innovation and Development means that students will begin by learning to ascertain the problems in the medicine and healthcare world that require technological solutions. Thereafter, their job will be to act as a bridge between the science and the business world. Students of this specialization can expect to learn ideation of biomedical problems and solutions, feasibility evaluation of biomedical products and analysis of biomedical markets besides core biomedical engineering skills. They are most likely to find job as R&D engineers in biomedical companies.

2. Biomedical Science

This specialization track is suited for those who wish to enter into medical or dental schools or those who wish to pursue research, either professionally or in a PhD program. The major courses that this specialization would cover would be around clinically oriented human anatomy, molecular biology laboratory methods, tissue engineering, genetic engineering, immunology, human physiology and stem cells. Courses in systems analysis for biomedicine and biocomputational languages are also in trend. Students with this specialization get employed as healthcare scientists, biomedical scientists, epidemiologists, etc.

3. Biomedical Informatics

Biomedical Informatics is the marriage between Data and Information Science and Biomedical Science. It involves the methods and techniques used to collect, store, manage and analyze biomedical information and knowledge to improve health. It is a bridge between biomedical clinical practice and research and biomedical business. Some of the key course themes in this specialization include clinical informatics, modeling of biomedical systems, computational molecular biology, data driven medicine, pharmacogenomics, statistical and machine learning methods for biomedical sciences, etc. The major areas where Biomedical Informatics specialists are required are Bioinformatics, Clinical Informatics, Consumer Health Informatics, Public Health Informatics and Health Information Management.

4. Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Biomaterial and Tissue engineering specialization aims at the selection, design and development of biomaterials for clinical applications. Tissue Engineering is concerned with the repair or replacement of damaged tissues and organs like cartilage, bone, liver, pancreas, blood vessels etc. It combines materials science, clinical science, Stem Cell technology and genome science. Students of this specialization can expect to do courses like cellular mechanics and signalling, computational biology, biomedical imaging and optics, bioelectrical and neural engineering, immune engineering, cell-matrix interactions, gene chips, bio-systems, etc. They usually find jobs as Biomaterials Engineer, Tissue Engineer, Biofabrication Engineer, Immune Engineer, Biomaterials Developer, etc.

5. Biomechanics

Biomechanics involves the study of structure and motion of biological units and systems. They may range from the cellular level to whole organisms. This specialization is a confluence of mechanical and biomedical engineering. Some of the main areas that define the course structure of this specialization include Biofluid Mechanics, Tribology and Continuum Biomechanics. Students can expect to learn Cardiovascular Biomechanics, Imaging Anatomy, Tissue Mechanics, Molecular Motors, Modeling and Simulation of Human Movement and Cell Mechanics. Knowledge of musculoskeletal structures is considered a key skill for experts in this area. Biomechanics master’s graduates can expect to be employed as Sport Scientist, Human Motion Simulation Expert, Biomechanist and Biomechanical Engineer. Their skills might also be useful for animation and game development industry.

6. Biomedical Devices and Systems

Biomedical Devices and Systems specialization in a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering is concerned with the clinical evaluation, regulatory and business aspects of biomedical devices. Quality assessment, design and manufacturing are the central concerns of this field. It aims at bridging the purely technical aspects of developing new medical devices and its socio-economic and business-oriented aspects. Students will learn courses around the topics like biomedical electronics design principles, miniaturization technologies, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), medical device manufacturing, biomedical imaging systems and medical device development. Biomedical Device experts are employed as R&D engineers, Quality Engineers, Production Engineers, Biomedical Equipment Technician, etc.

7. Medical Devices

The difference between a specialization in Medical Devices and Biomedical Devices and Systems in Biomedical Engineering master’s is rooted in the difference between their thrusts. Biomedical devices are used for studying the interaction between human body and disease, while medical devices are used for diagnosis and treatment. At the level of training, industry and employment, there are no major differences between the two. Often the coursework of one overlaps considerably with the other.

8. Rehabilitation Engineering

Rehabilitation Engineering is aimed at providing technological solutions to the health and medical concerns of the disabled. It involves the study of medical, social and psychological issues associated with disabled people and aims at finding remedies for them. Rehabilitation Engineers aim to improve the quality of life of patients by creating solutions to restore functions and perform life activities and promoting independence. Students of this specialization track study assistive technology, rehabilitation technology design and solutions, human performance analysis, soft-tissue biomechanics, telemedicine and e-health, wheelchair biomechanics, rehabilitation counseling, computer programming for health informatics, augmentative communication, etc. They can find placement as Assistive Technology Practitioner, Rehabilitation Engineer and Rehabilitation Counselor, etc. with large healthcare organizations, biomedical manufacturers, rehabilitation centers, etc.

Global Rank

College Name Popularity Rank Global Rank Total Tuition Fees Deadline Annual RA+TA Unsecured Loan Offer Secured Loan Offer
Cornell University 1 14 59000 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Michigan 2 21 99016 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Boston University 3 81 105632 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Arizona State University 4 209 60396 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Columbia University 5 18 96864 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Northwestern University 6 28 108240 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Minnesota -Twin Cities 7 163 42000 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Wayne State University 8 461-470 42720 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Southern California 9 132 61805 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Johns Hopkins University 10 17 107480 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University at Buffalo, SUNY 11 318 45300 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Duke University 12 21 107080 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
New Jersey Institute of Technology 13 801-1000 59920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Carnegie Mellon University 14 47 94600 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Dallas 15 421-430 53704 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Arlington 16 NA 38072 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science 17 NA 84200 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The State University of New York at Binghamton 18 801-1000 NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Georgia Institute of Technology 19 70 57136 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Wisconsin-Madison 20 55 48108 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Florida 21 178 60260 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Irvine 22 164 22884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Engineering 23 651-700 NA Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stevens Institute of Technology 24 651-700 71920 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Rochester 25 186 49620 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 26 364 105100 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Stony Brook University 27 382 45300 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Ohio State University 28 86 68128 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
NYU Tandon School of Engineering 29 NA 53850 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Clemson University 30 701-750 45952 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Purdue University 31 105 58264 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The University of Texas at Austin 32 67 37884 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Texas A&M University 33 195 67333 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Michigan Technological University 34 551-600 34290 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Houston 35 601-650 36612 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Vanderbilt University 36 212 59010 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
North Carolina State University 37 263 50810 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 38 367 53648 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
The Pennsylvania State University 39 93 76932 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of California, Davis 40 118 57346 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Virginia 41 173 55548 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Delaware 42 421-430 54810 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 43 1 103040 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Illinois Institute of Technology 44 395 56700 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
University of Cincinnati 45 501-550 49064 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Wichita State University 46 NA 26712 Log in Log in Log in 1.5 Cr, Interest Rate starts @8.85%
Source: GyanDhan's analysis, partner data & university's website. While deadlines are latest, other figures are as of 2018. Double-check deadlines from the university's website

The next question that comes to mind after how to do masters in biomedical engineering abroad is whether the degree has the potential to lead to a promising career. The answer is yes! The demand for biomedical engineering skills is fast-expanding, and here is a list of the top job profiles one can expect:

1. Biomedical Engineer

The main responsibility of a biomedical engineer is to design, analyze and test systems, solutions and equipment that are required for diagnosis. They may provide technical support with the use of biomedical equipment and usually work in close coordination with other medical and biomedical specialists. They may also be involved in developing drug therapies, preparing computer simulations for various biomedical procedures and conducting R&D to find solutions to clinical problems.

2. Quality Engineer

Going by the definition, quality engineers are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the quality of materials and processes. This job profile in the biomedical profession will include evaluating and improving the quality of biomedical equipment, biomedical devices, biomaterials and entire biomedical systems and processes. They are the important members of R&D teams and device manufacturing teams. Designing tests to check the quality of medical devices is also one of their core tasks. They have to be alert about the safety norms and keep the industry standards in mind if they are working with development team.

3. Research and Development Engineer

Biomedical R&D Engineers have to develop new methods for testing biomedical materials and systems through research. They often have to engage in data collection for the same. They also have to work in the labs to enhance the understanding of diagnosis of medical problems and diseases. Biomedical R&D Engineers may also conduct research around new drugs, biomedical equipment and biomedical devices. The key sectors that are in hunt for biomedical R&D talent are pharmaceuticals, forensic agencies and biomedical research labs.

4. Process Engineer

Biomedical Process Engineers are involved in designing, controlling and optimizing biomedical engineering processes. They are required to have an understanding of all the processes involved in biomedical engineering as they have to channelize responsibilities and regulate work flows. They can be employed on a variety of projects like biomedical device design and development, biomedical data collection and analysis, bioengineering of tissues and cells or manufacturing of biomedical equipment. Their job is part technical and part managerial.

5. Validation Engineer

Biomedical Validation Engineers perform a very crucial role. They ensure that all the components of biomedical system are working properly. They are involved in managing, calibrating, testing and modifying the biomedical instruments, methods and systems. Checking whether some component needs replacement or the equipment requires repair is one of their core responsibilities. They also have to generate validation reports, lead teams of validation technicians, resolve testing problems and ensure safety standards and industry standards. They are mostly employed by labs and research centers besides biomedical device manufacturers.

Unlike more traditional engineering disciplines like Mechanical, Chemical, Civil or Electrical Engineering, the application of biomedical engineering is more particular. Besides that, it is one of the most challenging engineering disciplines if one wishes to devote one’s life to it, since it demands one to be regularly in touch with a wide variety of developments in technology and pure life sciences. Such a nature of biomedical engineering makes it an above average paying discipline for master’s graduates despite having only an average employment growth rate projected till 2026. Jobs for biomedical experts are slated to grow at only 7% till 2026, while the latest average annual salary stands at about $90k, which is higher than that of most disciplines According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, one can draw solace from the trends of the healthcare technology industry where biomedical engineers are most likely to make their careers. Digital Health Technology industry is projected to grow at 30% in the near future, and Artificial Intelligence is expected to increase productivity by 10-15%. In such a scenario, the relatively rarer skills of biomedical engineering master’s students are sure to lead to not only a high-paying job but a less-competitive career path as well.

Global Rank Employability Range Salary Range
1-10 Log in Log in
11-25 Log in Log in
26-50 Log in Log in
50-100 Log in Log in
101-200 Log in Log in
201-500 Log in Log in
500+ Log in Log in
Source: GyanDhan's proprietary analysis


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