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Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering


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What to Expect

Hard work and a great deal of study are key parts of the biomedical engineering curriculum.

A typical day consists of lectures, labs and working with peers on a project. Many students are also involved with engineering organizations on campus.

Marcel Roy worked on his PhD at the University of Memphis. While most of his days were spent doing his dissertation, he spent about two to three hours on reading and writing assignments each night.

Fees in these programs include books, technology access fees and student fees. Many engineering organizations charge a membership fee as well.

"Books are criminally expensive here and everywhere," says Roy. "We try to borrow books whenever possible." He estimates textbook costs at several hundred dollars per year.

Although there is a lot of coursework, hard work and research that goes into biomedical engineering, many students remain focused on what is really important -- helping people.

"It is possible to invent something that will help people!" says Elise Fear. She took a PhD in biomedical engineering. "I find this very rewarding and challenging, as the human body is a very complex system."

Survival Tips

"Just do your best, and find an outlet for your frustrations, be it basketball, playing an instrument loudly, etc.," Roy says.

Fear also sees a need to enjoy things different from engineering subjects. "I think that it's also good to have hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with engineering -- for example, swimming, playing soccer -- so that you can take an hour break, do something that you enjoy and return to work more focused," she says.

How to Prepare

Roy recommends taking all the science, biology, chemistry and math classes you can, both in high school and in undergraduate coursework.

"Calculus, physics, chemistry, biology. Between those four classes, you set yourself up for everything to come in biomed," he says.

Biology, physics, chemistry and math are the core courses many universities require to enter into an engineering curriculum. Aside from these subjects, it is also good to sharpen your communication and writing skills. Many of the projects done in engineering are group projects, and exams tend to be essays and explanations.


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