Program Highlights Engineering’s Role in Biology, Medicine
By Edwin L. Aguirre
To help achieve the University’s goal of creating interdisciplinary programs with a focus on real-world challenges, the Francis College of Engineering will offer a Biomedical Engineering Minor for undergraduate-degree programs starting this fall.
The new minor, which will be administered in cooperation with the College of Sciences and the School of Health and Environment, will provide students with the education and training they need to apply engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology.
“We seek to close the gap between engineering and medicine by combining the design and problem-solving skills of engineering with biological sciences to improve health-care diagnosis, monitoring and therapy,” says Engineering Dean John Ting.
The biomedical engineering minor will help prepare undergraduates interested in entering medical school. It will also serve as a gateway program for those pursuing graduate studies in the University of Massachusetts’ Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEBT) program, which is offered jointly by the campuses at Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester.
A Growing Demand by Industry
The demand for biomedical engineering graduates is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Occupational Outlook” notes that employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, and that the aging of the population and the focus on health issues will increase the demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers.
“For example, computer-assisted surgery and molecular, cellular and tissue engineering are being more heavily researched and are developing rapidly,” the report states. “In addition, the rehabilitation and orthopedic engineering specialties are growing quickly, increasing the need for biomedical engineers. Along with the demand for more sophisticated medical equipment and procedures is an increased concern for cost efficiency and effectiveness that also will boost demand for biomedical engineers.”
This means a lot of employment and job growth opportunities for qualified graduates.
The biomedical engineering minor requires 20 credits of coursework, 14 of which will cover the core subject areas of biology, physiology and anatomy, statistics and biomedical engineering. The rest of the credits will consist of technical elective courses, including assistive technology, biochemistry, biomaterials, biomechanics, bioprocessing, forensics, genetics, immunology, medical devices, medical imaging, molecular biotechnology and toxicology.