Many people have a narrow concept of engineering, and it often involves buildings and bridges. The truth is that engineering is much broader than that. There are many different types of engineering, including biomedical engineering, which represents a fascinating combination of biology and engineering.
What Is Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical engineering is a field that merges aspects of both biology and engineering. What you create as a biomedical engineer is very different from most other engineering fields. For example, you will spend time working in the healthcare field, creating medical devices and developing technology that can help save and improve people’s lives.
This field can be better understood if you view the human body as a machine. Like other machines, the body has a variety of deeply intricate and related systems. These systems often need repair or replacement. That’s where biomedical engineering comes in. Individuals who get a master’s degree in biomedical engineering (also known as a BME degree) can become qualified to work in such areas as medical robots, prosthetics, drugs, and artificial organs.
Career paths in this area are numerous, and you can find yourself working for various organizations, including research facilities, hospitals, and drug manufacturers. This will allow you to work directly on products and services designed to help people.
Why Get a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering?
There are many potential benefits associated with getting a master’s degree in biomedical engineering:
- The field is highly technical and requires advanced knowledge that may not be available with just a bachelor’s degree. A BME will allow you to specialize in certain areas, such as biology, imaging, biomaterials, and more.
- Individuals who earn a master’s degree typically earn more than people who only have a bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a master’s degree could allow you to demand additional salary.
- Doctorates in Biomedical Engineering are in demand. This makes sense, given the extremely cutting-edge nature of this field and that advanced knowledge and research are so necessary. Earning a master’s degree is an important stepping stone on your way to getting a Ph.D. It can also serve as a stopping point for people interested in entering the medical field but may want to explore different areas, like public health or physical therapy.
- Biomedical engineering has a variety of different applications. Earning a master’s degree can help you figure out what you want to do within the biomedical engineering field.
How Much Does a Biomedical Engineering Degree Cost?
Tuition for a degree in biomedical engineering can vary wildly. For example, in Pennsylvania, you can earn your master’s degree at Penn State University for $16,090 if you live in the state. On the other end of the scale is a degree from Carnegie Mellon University, which will cost you $46,070. Typically such degrees cost anywhere from $13,000 – $60,000.
Even the “cheap” end of this scale is expensive. Fortunately, there are options for reducing your costs. All schools should be able to help you identify potential scholarships and loan programs that can help you manage your expenses. Engineering scholarships are also available, and you should spend some time researching to see if there are engineering scholarships available for your specific need. Finally, if you are already working for an engineering or healthcare organization, you may want to ask them if they have potential tuition assistance programs. Many organizations have these options as employee incentives.
If you are looking to keep costs down, get your degree on a flexible schedule, or keep working while earning your degree, you may consider getting a master’s degree in biomedical engineering online. Such programs allow you to continue working while receiving your education. Online schools come with many benefits, but chief among them is that they are sometimes less expensive. Students can save on travel, food, room and board, and certain supplies.
10 Biomedical Engineering Online Degree Programs
There are hundreds of biomedical engineering programs available, and many of them are now online. These programs will allow you to get your master’s degree in biomedical engineering online, and they come with a variety of other benefits. This list provides a sample of schools that may fit into your career plans and lifestyle.
A BME degree from Colorado State University offers numerous facets unique to the school than those you find in other places. Its degree program is managed by an Advisory Board of experts in the field, ensuring that the courses are constantly tweaked to reflect the needs of the real world. It also offers three interest areas: Biomechanics, Materials, and Tissues with an engineering focus.
Columbia University has a fully online program that allows students to get their online BME in 30-course hours. A GRE is required for admission, and students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 before enrolling. This is one of the more expensive programs, with courses costing $2,272 per course hour.
Johns Hopkins has a broad array of focus areas, including Biomechanics, Imaging, Medical Devices, Neuroengineering, and Translational Tissue. They also have almost 100 different courses in this area, making their program one of the largest and most diverse. This can dramatically help individuals interested in this field but unsure of what they want to do with their degree.
Purdue starts all students with a meeting with their academic advisor, who will help them create a specific study plan. This allows you to determine your areas of interest better and make sure that they align with your courses. It also helps to ensure that all students receive individualized attention, even if they are attending part-time and online.
Stevens allows individuals to do more than take classes — students who attend Stevens can also participate in research opportunities. These opportunities are largely related to Stevens’s location near New York and New Jersey. This gives students an excellent opportunity to participate in prescription drug research.
The University of Houston has one of the more inexpensive programs on this list, with a master’s costing only $22,350. A Certificate program is also available, and this will only cost $6,705. Courses are taught exclusively online, but students have the option of coming on campus at any time. Furthermore, prospective students can meet with an online recruiter to discuss customized and personalized options.
The University of Illinois offers multiple concentrations, including Bioinstrumentation and General Bioengineering. Students have a Capstone research requirement, and online students have many options for completing this requirement, enabling them to apply what they have learned to a real-world scenario.
You can get your Master’s in Biomedical Engineering in thirty-course hours at this school. The University of North Dakota is quick to note that they help their graduates get employment upon graduation. They go as far as to list where their graduates work upon graduation. In addition, they offer three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. This is a more flexible schedule than many other schools.
The University of South Florida offers a variety of potential research opportunities, even for online students. This includes biomedical imaging, cell and tissue engineering, drug delivery, rehabilitation engineering, etc. In addition, students who obtain a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering can potentially use this master’s as a springboard to a Ph.D., which is also available at the University of South Florida.
The University of Southern California allows individuals to get their BME Degrees in as little as 1.5 years or three years, depending on their career goals and flexibility. Its online faculty is identical to its faculty in the real world, and students can take classes part online and part full-time. This flexibility can be very useful for students who want to take certain courses.
Common Courses in Master’s Biomedical Engineering Degree Programs
Different schools have different requirements regarding what courses you have to take. Furthermore, various educational institutions have other focus areas and specializations. These specializations require that you take different courses to obtain your master’s. However, most educational institutions will offer many of the following courses:
- Cellular and tissue structure and regeneration
- Clinical engineering
- Biological engineering
- Medical imaging
- Medical devices
- Biological engineering philosophy and ethics
Other FAQs About Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Degrees and Programs
What is a common Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Salary?
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, individuals who enter this field can expect a Median pay of $92,620. This salary is a very high number. However, the field is growing rapidly, expanding at roughly 6% every year. Given the continued advancement in medical technology, it seems plausible that this field will continue to expand.
More specific examinations of the pay in this field have found similar information. For example, Salary.com notes that individuals with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering can expect a salary between $97,829 and $105,872.
What is a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Requirements?
Different programs have different requirements. To be enrolled in a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering program, most programs require individuals to have obtained a bachelor’s in a related field. Programs typically also have minimum GPA and letter of recommendation requirements. Schools tend to vary in whether or not they require GRE results.
In terms of graduation, most master’s programs require 30-course hours, which equals ten courses. Whether or not you must do any research projects or internships depends on the specific program.
Can you get a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Without a Bachelor’s?
No. As noted above, you need to at least have a bachelor’s degree. Most master’s programs will require minimum prerequisites to study biology, health care, or another related field. Furthermore, you cannot get a master’s degree in any field without obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Is a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Worth It?
There is never a set answer to this question. However, this is clear: This is a good and growing field. The expansions occurring in technology, combined with the high salary and job growth in this area, are dramatically expanding the ability of individuals to do well in this field. It seems possible that more growth will occur in this field in the future, further increasing the demand for highly qualified individuals. If you are interested in biology and engineering, this field would be a perfect fit.