In the progression of our planet from the bunch of elements it was to the living, breathing entity it is today, many species have come and gone. Multitudes of them have ruled over their respective timelines but have eventually been moved to extinction owing to climate change, natural calamities and other such forces that they couldn’t fight. The species that have survived have done so because of their ability to adapt. The human race is the most prominent of them, and it is defined by its problem-solving abilities. Over time, human beings have invented and developed tools and technology to work on the inconveniences troubling their species. It is there that the significance of engineering as a branch comes into the fore.
Over time, human beings started falling victim to the cruelties of the world they inhabited and realized the significance of knowing their bodies and the elements around. They started learning more about the ailments troubling them, their causes, their effects, their symptoms, their cures and ways of prevention. With the progress of time, they learned more about a variety of diseases and illnesses that could trouble their species, and it became crucial that constant developments had to be made in that perspective and thus, medical science assumed paramount importance in the scheme of things.
Any modern medical facility in concurrent times is expected to have two main constituents – an expert medical professional and efficient machinery. Biomedical engineering thrives on this constituent.
What is Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical engineering is the branch of engineering which combines the principles and concepts of engineering to medicinal and biological sciences. It seeks to integrate the problem-solving and designing tendencies of the former to the requirements and functioning of the latter. It consists of inventing and developing new technology and upgrading the existing ones to be able to diagnose, analyze and cure diseases, ailments and illnesses. In addition to these activities, biomedical engineering also consists of the efficient management of current medical equipment by sanitary requirements and industry standards. This activity consists of regular testing, recommendations, and disposal. It is essential to note that biomedical engineering is a relatively new field as it used to be considered as an interdisciplinary element of another branch of engineering. However, keeping in mind the vast array of information and scope in the subject, and realizing its importance as a branch of science, it was recognized as a separate branch, to ensure more attention and specialization in the field. Over time, the branch has gone on to assume paramount importance as a branch of engineering.
Eligibility criteria to study Biomedical Engineering
Students need to have completed their 10 + 2 with an aggregate of at least 50% to be considered for admission into biomedical engineering. Their major subjects of study should be Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and Physics at the +2 level. Students can be selected by merit, or they might have to take the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission.
Degrees offered in Biomedical Engineering
The field of biomedical engineering is too vast to be covered under the ambit of one branch or discipline. Experts in the field have sought to divide it into various disciplines to ensure that each discipline gets an apt amount of attention and research. Some of the branches that biomedical engineering is divided into are:
This branch uses mathematics, computer sciences and statistics to invent and upgrade tools to procure, process, analyze and interpret biological data.
This branch studies the mechanical elements of an organism to foster a better understanding of the biological structure of living beings.
This branch is involved in the study of any exterior element, material or particle that interacts with human beings and might affect their biological structure.
This branch studies the interaction between any tissue in living creatures and light. It aims to see whether this interaction can lead to better imaging or cure.
Tissue engineering primarily consists of genetically creating biological tissue to create entire organs from small quantities of biological material. It is a relatively new branch as scientists work on new developments each passing day.
The branch of genetic engineering aims to use modern facilities to alter and change the molecular structure of organisms for better protection from or cure of any ailments.
This branch utilizes the concepts and principles of engineering to restructure, repair or alter neural tissues.
Often considered as a branch of pharmacy, this discipline is involved in the development and delivery of a multitude of drugs and the invention and development of pharmaceutical technology to better the development and delivery of drugs.
This is the branch that deals with training and supervising in the gambit of the actual use of biomedical technology and equipment.
This branch consists of implementing engineering principles and techniques to invent technologies, implants, bionics, and equipment to help differently-abled people to cope with their disabilities.
The scope of Biomedical Engineering
Most degrees offered in the field concentrate on a certain branch or discipline more than the others to ensure specialization and development in the branch, both academically and professionally. Education in the subject is provided at all levels – bachelors, masters, and doctorates. The undergraduate degrees offered in the subject are Bachelors of Technology (B. Tech), Bachelors of Science in Engineering (B.S.E), Bachelors of Engineering (B. Eng.) or Bachelors of Science (B.S). The post-graduate degrees offered in the field are Masters of Technology (M. Tech), Masters of Science in Engineering (M.S.E), Masters of Engineering (M. Eng.) or Masters of Science (M.S). Doctorate degrees are also offered in the same subjects. Most professions in the field require at least postgraduate degrees as it is widely accepted that the subject matter of a bachelor’s education is not enough to provide apt expertise in the field.
Top Universities offering Biomedical Engineering
Multitudes of universities across the world provide a variety of courses on the subject of biomedical engineering. Among these, the USA is the preferred destination. Indian students prefer to choose foreign locations for their further education owing to the technological developments in the countries. Access to better technology is integral to pursuing a good medical education, and thus, Indians seek to move to other countries for this purpose.
Along with this, these countries are also home to better employment opportunities.
Moreover, the multicultural and diverse environment on offer in foreign universities fosters an exchange of ideas and thoughts, leading to higher standards of learning. In comparison to European countries, USA fares better in the field of biomedical technology as it has at its disposal a large number of universities, technological advances, and relatively few internal hindrances. While Europe is replete with educational prosperity, it has faced obstacles in the form of creating a uniform structure of education across its geographical boundaries. Among other locations, Australia and China are rapidly developing in the area of biomedical technology. The best educational institutions in the world in the field of biomedical engineering are:
Harvard University is a private research university that is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The university’s 30 percent of the faculty has ties with researchers in the fields of Science. It’s School of Engineering, and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is best known for its courses in bioengineering.
Georgia Tech or Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university that is situated in Atlanta, Georgia. Popular for its courses in Engineering, Georgia Tech provides one of the best curricula when it comes to biomedical engineering with an excellent program structure.
The university specializes in biomedical engineering. It conducts several research programs and seminars that create a wider scope and a perspective towards the course. The faculty also includes major researchers and socialists in biomedical engineering.
John Hopkins University’s undergraduate program for biomedical engineering ranks number 1. It has been titled the ‘Best Biomedical Engineering Programs’ for 2019 by U. S. News and World Report Rankings. The university was founded in 1961, and it is the world's one of the oldest biomedical engineering university. Each year the university introduces a new curriculum designed to provide integrated learning for the students.
Duke University was founded in 1967 with its division for biomedical engineering. The university ranks 4th according to the U. S. News and World Report Rankings for its biomedical engineering program. It is the second largest program in the university. It provides an outstanding research environment to train better engineers.
Stanford University also ranks 4th for its course on biomedical engineering by the U. S. News and World Report Rankings 2019. The university trains students to combine engineering with life sciences in advanced scientific ways with healthcare, medicine, education, and policy.
Most of these universities conduct entrance examinations wherein a candidate’s interest and capability towards biology, mathematics, and physics are tested, with the latter two subjects being given special attention. Universities might ask candidates to submit a Statement of Purpose (SoP), Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) and scores of tests such as GRE, GMAT, SATs, TOEFL or IELTS as proof of English-speaking abilities. Some universities might also conduct interviews with candidates, either at the campus or digitally. Some foreign universities require applicants to submit financial records of the previous years to ascertain the ability of candidates to pay for education and other expenses. Education in this field usually costs around 25 lakh rupees annually, with accommodation, traveling and stationery costs ranging from around 4-5 lakh rupees. Many universities offer scholarships and incentives to students by various grounds, ranging from academic performance to extra-curricular activities.
The jobs that are available after pursuing degrees in biomedical engineering are :
A biomedical engineer designs biomedical devices and equipment, like, machines to diagnose medical problems, replacements for body parts and artificial internal organs. They also necessitate adjustments, repair or maintenance to provide any technical support for the biomedical devices.
Orthopedic bioengineers are mainly involved in designing and developing medical products for bones, ligaments, muscles and joints. These products consist of implants that help with the movement of bones or completely replacing them.
A software engineer in the field of biomedical engineering is responsible for designing and developing computer programs that will be used in the medical application. These programs allow the medical personnel to change or modify medical data that was recorded by other medical devices.
A researcher in biomedical engineering looks for a solution to properly design medical products so that they do not pose a threat. Some researchers also teach at university levels.
A manufacturing engineer develops and designs medical products. These would include all kinds of medical instruments and equipment, prosthetics, imaging devices and more.
A quality engineer examines medical products after it has already been manufactured to make sure that it meets the necessary standards and specifications. They also offer suggestions to modify certain products by becoming responsible for it themselves.
Career Prospects in Biomedical Engineering
Most of the jobs in the field range around research and development, with a manufacturing engineer, quality engineer, researcher, and software engineer being some of the jobs online. These particular titles exist in all the aforementioned inter-disciplines. Jobs in the biomedical engineering sector offer extremely high packages as it combines two extremely prosperous job fields – engineering and medical sciences. Holders of doctorate degrees often range into the world of academia as well, a prospect that is just as promising. Hence, the area of biomedical engineering holds bright scope both in the range of education and employment. It is of little doubt, then, that it is so popular among students the world over.
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