From the design of implantable biomedical devices to stem cell research and the mapping of the human genome, biomedical engineering (BME) is a fast-growing career whose growth is set to continue as technological innovation in the medical sector expands over the next decade. The entry-level degree for a biomedical engineer is the bachelor’s, although many students choose to go to graduate school for advanced study or even to get their M.D. ABET is the accrediting body for biomedical engineering schools. There are around 330 accredited BME programs in the United States.
To get a premium education in biomedical engineering, students need to choose their school wisely. This means assessing schools’ strengths and weaknesses in depth, learning as much as you can about what they have to offer. Here’s a list of America’s best biomedical engineering schools in 2014 to get you started, courtesy of U.S. News & World Report.
1. Johns Hopkins University
Offered by the Whiting School of Engineering and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the pricey BME program at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland is demanding, but can pave the way toward a gratifying career in biomedical science. JHU has one of the best medical schools in the world. Students can study on either the Homewood and East Baltimore campus. There are four main areas of biomedical research: Biosystems, Tissue Engineering, Sensors & Microsystems, and Computational Biology. Degrees include a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, an MSE, and a unique one-year MSE from the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) with a special focus on device design and technology commercialization. There’s also a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering.
2. Georgia Institute of Technology
A highly-rated public school in Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology or ‘Georgia Tech’ administers the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, an opportunity-rich collaboration between Emory University’s prestigious School of Medicine and Georgia Tech’s Colleges of Engineering and Computing. Georgia Tech imparts a top-tier education at public school rates; it has the largest engineering division enrollment on this list, but one of the lowest price tags. At the undergraduate level, students earn a B.S. BMED. For graduate students, the BioE Interdisciplinary Graduate Program issues the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, as well as a popular Master of Biomedical Innovation and Development (MBID).
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts is known globally for its groundbreaking initiatives in science and technology. MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering (BE) is fully loaded with research-ready facilities like the Center for Biomedical Engineering, Center for Neurobiological Engineering, and Synthetic Biology Center. Undergraduates can earn an SB (Bachelor of Science) in Biological Engineering. There are strong doctoral options available, too: the basic Ph.D. in Applied Sciences or Bioengineering, and more specialized doctorates in Computational & Systems Biology and Microbiology. MIT costs more than $43,000 a year to attend.
4. University of California at San Diego
California’s leading institution for the study of biomedical engineering, UC San Diego presents an unparalleled education at relatively low cost. Located in the coastal city of La Jolla, California, the Department of Bioengineering (BE) in the Jacobs School benefits from UCSD’s leading role in the world’s foremost public university system. The White House recently awarded Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien the 2014 National Medal of Science. The Department says 4 undergraduate majors are possible: Bioengineering, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, and Biosystems – although the latter two are not yet accredited. For graduate students, there is a M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D.
5. Duke University
For students who have yet to choose their specific area of interest in biomedical engineering, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina is an excellent choice. Its liberal arts emphasis and smaller, more tightly knit student body make it appealing to those who prefer close interactions with faculty and the freedom to explore their options. Based in the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke BME affords access to a world-renowned medical school, and extensive study abroad opportunities. Degrees include the B.S., M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. – the latter one of the first of its kind to be established in the States. Accelerated and dual degrees are available, too. Tuition is high at more than $47,000 a year.
6. Stanford University
California’s Stanford University is an ideal pick for committing to independent scholarly research and a customized biomedical engineering curriculum. Stanford is number two in the nation for Bioinformatics and steals the number two spot for the best research-based medical school, as well. Stanford’s Department of Bioengineering, a collaboration of the Schools of Medicine and Engineering, furnishes three undergraduate B.S. degrees in biomedical engineering: Bioengineering, Biomechanical Engineering, and Biomedical Computation. For grad students, there is an M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering. Students can also design their own majors here. In 2013, the West Coast Ivy League school had some of the narrowest admission rates in America at about 5.7 percent.
7. Rice University
Rice University is ranked among the nation’s top 20 and the world’s top 100 colleges. It’s a private school with a forested, 300-acre campus in Houston. Students can expect a high-quality education in Rice’s Brown School of Engineering. Multiple science and engineering sections play a role in the formation of the Bioengineering curriculum here. Much research occurs in the BioScience Research Collaborative, a massive interdisciplinary workspace where faculty and students conduct research with institutions connected to the Texas Medical Center. Rice offers a B.S. in Bioengineering, Master in Bioengineering (MBE), and limited-enrollment Ph.D.
8. University of California at Berkeley
A top-three school for Engineering, UC Berkeley extends a reputable, well-funded BME education. Its College of Engineering dispenses undergraduate degrees, graduate credentials, and all the opportunities that come with them, from co-op internships and undergraduate funding to entrepreneurial graduate degrees afforded by the school’s close working relationship with UC San Francisco. Berkeley is particularly strong in bioinformatics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Degrees include a B.S., M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. in Bioengineering, plus a unique Master of Translational Medicine (MTM).
9. University of Washington
Known for its medical breakthroughs, translational work and industry outreach, UW Bioengineering has been an historic leader in biomedical technologies. Under the aegis of the University of Washington in Seattle, the Bioengineering Department boasts faculty members of the National Academy of Engineering and state-of-the-art facilities like the Center for Commercialization. Offering relatively affordable tuition, the University of Washington is a popular public school for getting a B.S. or accelerated B.S./M.S. in Bioengineering. There’s also a Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering available.
10. University of Pennsylvania
A private Ivy League research university located in historic Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is last but not least. As a premier hotspot for biotechnology and nanotechnology and home to one of the top medical schools in the world, Pennsylvania is surprisingly affordable. The Department of Bioengineering is one of the oldest BME programs in the nation, having issued the first doctorate in the field. Penn’s prolific research areas range from molecular and tissue engineering to orthopedic bioengineering, computational neuroengineering, and injury biomechanics. Degree options are varied:
- Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Biomedical Science
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) in Bioengineering
- Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Bioengineering
- Master of Biotechnology (M.Biot)
- Ph.D. in Bioengineering
- Ph.D./M.D. or V.M.D. or D.M.D.