BS in Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering is a broad, interdisciplinary field that applies the art of engineering to problems in biology, medicine, and biotechnology. These problems include the design and analysis of physiologic measuring and diagnostic systems as well as quantitative analysis and experimentation directed toward obtaining a clearer understanding of the human body’s normal and abnormal functions.

The undergraduate curriculum provides students with rigorous training in engineering, mathematics, and the basic sciences. It incorporates a strong interdisciplinary component that combines the quantitative aspects of engineering analysis and design with the full spectra of biology and physiology, from the molecular and cellular levels to entire systems and organisms. All premedical requirements can be satisfied in this program of study. Our graduates are well prepared for engineering positions in the medical and biotechnology industries, as well as for advanced study in engineering, science, medicine, business, law, or other health-related disciplines.

The mission of the Biomedical Engineering Department is to pursue excellence in biomedical engineering education, research, and innovation; creating and imparting knowledge for improving society, human health, and health care.

To achieve our educational mission, we cultivate our students’ problem-solving and communication skills, nurture their creativity, promote their ability to think critically and independently, and help them to understand scientific and engineering approaches.

Graduates of our undergraduate program are expected:

  • to become successful practitioners of biomedical engineering or other professions (e.g., medicine, law, management), drawing upon and guided by their knowledge of biomedical engineering;
  • to continue improving and expanding their technical and professional skills through formal or informal means (e.g., continuing education and training, attending conferences, learning new tools and methods); and
  • to contribute to community and professional groups using the unique competencies provided by their biomedical engineering educational experiences.

The undergraduate curriculum provides integrated training in science, engineering, and mathematics as preparation for a variety of careers in the broad range of areas in engineering, science, health care, and business. The program focuses on providing students with the skills necessary to solve problems that impact a wide range of economic, environmental, ethical, legal, and social issues.

The undergraduate program begins with a broad foundation in engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Foundational work is followed by more advanced engineering coursework and laboratory experiences. During the freshman and sophomore years, students complete preparatory courses in mathematics (calculus, differential equations, and probability), physics, chemistry, and biology. This preparatory work is complemented by parallel training in engineering computing and introductory courses in electric circuit theory and engineering mechanics. In the junior year, the foundation is used to study electronics, physiology, signals, systems, controls, biomechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics. The junior year also incorporates two design-oriented laboratory experiences. The senior year includes a two-semester capstone senior project. Advanced electives allow opportunities for specialization in instrumentation, sensory and neural systems, mechanics, signal processing, and biomolecular engineering.

In a rapidly changing technological landscape, one of the most important aspects of engineering is the creation of new approaches and solutions. To this end, the Biomedical Engineering Program trains students who are equally comfortable with design and analysis. Design experiences begin in the introductory electric circuit theory and engineering mechanics courses and continue through the restricted electives in the junior and senior years, culminating in the two-semester senior project. The specific goals, methods, results, and conclusions for each project are designed by each student, in conjunction with his or her faculty supervisor. Student progress is documented in a series of written and oral reports. The concluding department-wide senior project conference, which draws representatives from more than sixty biomedical companies and local hospitals, provides a professional-style forum for every student to present his or her project orally.

A total of 136 credits is required for graduation. In addition to satisfying all BS requirements as listed below, a minimum of 48 credits of coursework must be taken at Boston University in the upper-division program. The upper-division program consists of the program requirements and/or program electives as listed below for the junior and senior years. Social science, humanities, and/or writing courses taken during the junior or senior years cannot be counted toward this requirement.

Required Courses

Freshman

First Semester (16 credits)

  • CAS CH 101 General Chemistry (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 123 Calculus I (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 100 Writing Seminar (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 100 Freshman Advising Seminar
  • ENG EK 127 Engineering Computation (4 cr)

Second Semester (16 credits)

  • CAS CH 102 General Chemistry (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 124 Calculus II (4 cr)
  • CAS PY 211 Physics I (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 131 Introduction to Engineering (2 cr)
  • ENG EK 131/132 Introduction to Engineering (2 cr)
  • Linear Algebra elective (ENG EK 102 or CAS MA 142) (2 cr)

Sophomore

First Semester (18 credits)

  • CAS MA 225 Multivariate Calculus (4 cr)
  • CAS PY 212 Physics II (4 cr)
  • ENG BE 200 Introduction to Probability (2 cr)
  • ENG EK 301 Engineering Mechanics I (4 cr)
  • CAS WR 150 Writing and Research Seminar (4 cr)

Second Semester (18 credits)

  • ENG EK 210 Introduction to Engineering Design (2 cr)
  • ENG BE 209 Cellular and Molecular Biology (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 226 Differential Equations (4 cr)
  • ENG EK 307 Electric Circuits (4 cr)
  • Social science/humanities requirement (4 cr)

Junior

First Semester (18 credits)

  • CAS BI 315 Systems Physiology (4 cr)
  • ENG BE 401 Signals and Systems in Biomedical Engineering (4 cr)
  • ENG BE 491 Biomedical Measurements I (2 cr)
  • ENG EK 424 Thermodynamic and Statistical Mechanics (or EC 410) (4 cr)
  • Humanities requirement (4 cr)

Second Semester (18 credits)

  • ENG BE 402 Control Systems in Biomedical Engineering (4 cr)
  • ENG BE 492 Biomedical Measurements II (2 cr)
  • Fields elective (either BE 419, BE 420, BE 435, or BE 436) (4 cr)
  • Biomedical elective (4 cr)
  • Social science/humanities requirement (4 cr)

Senior

First Semester (16 credits)

  • ENG BE 465 Senior Project (2 cr)
  • ENG BE 467 Senior Project (2 cr)
  • Engineering elective (4 cr)
  • Professional elective (4 cr)
  • Social science/humanities requirement (4 cr)

Second Semester (16 credits)

  • ENG BE 466 Senior Project (4 cr)
  • Biomedical elective (4 cr)
  • Biomedical elective (4 cr)
  • Professional elective (4 cr)

Related Courses

Biomedical Electives

Every student must take three 4-credit biomedical engineering (BE) courses. Specific courses to fulfill this requirement can be found on the program planning sheets.

Professional Electives

Professional electives are intended to provide additional technical and professional depth in areas of special interest to individual students. Most BE courses at the 500 level are acceptable for fulfilling this requirement. Specific courses to fulfill this requirement can be found on the student’s program planning sheet. Please note that a course cannot be used to fulfill both a professional and biomedical elective. CAS CH 203 and CAS CH 204 may be used as professional electives.

Engineering Elective

Every student must take one 4-credit engineering elective. Specific courses to fulfill this requirement can be found on the program planning sheets.

Design Elective

Every student must take at least four credits of design as part of his/her elective choices (biomedical, engineering, or professional elective). These credits can be comprised of one 4-credit or two 2-credit courses from the Design Elective list on the Biomedical program planning sheets.

Linear Algebra Elective

Every student must take one 2-credit course in linear algebra. Students may take either ENG EK 102 Introduction to Linear Algebra or CAS MA 142 Introduction to Linear Algebra.

Fields Elective

Students must take one of the following 4-credit courses:

  • ENG BE 419 Principles of Continuum Mechanics and Transport
  • ENG BE 420 Introduction to Solid Biomechanics
  • ENG BE 435 Transport Phenomena in Living Systems
  • ENG BE 436 Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics

Premedical Requirements

Medical schools require applicants to take certain courses in college. The required writing sequence CAS WR 100 and CAS WR 150 satisfies the requirement for one year of English. Students who place into CAS WR 150 as a result of their performance on the BUWA will need to take an additional English course, either writing or literature. Students choosing to satisfy the premedical requirement with an English literature course may also use that course to fulfill one course requirement in the humanities.

Two courses in organic chemistry are required, CAS CH 203 and CAS CH 204. These courses should be taken in lieu of social science and humanities courses during the sophomore year; the social science and humanities courses will be taken during the junior and senior years. The two organic chemistry courses can satisfy professional elective requirements.

Most of the other courses necessary to fulfill premedical requirements are incorporated into the biomedical engineering curriculum. Biomedical engineering majors who are planning to attend medical school should visit Pre-Professional Advising, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 for further information.

Modular Medical Integrated Curriculum (MMEDIC)

The Modular Medical Integrated Curriculum is an early assurance program to the Boston University School of Medicine. The MMEDIC program offers an integrated curriculum composed of undergraduate and medical school-related courses, enabling students to enhance their transition to the curriculum at the School of Medicine. The MMEDIC program is open to students enrolled in undergraduate degree-granting programs at all Boston University schools and colleges. The MMEDIC program does not accelerate the premedical-medical sequence but rather permits an enhanced educational transition from undergraduate to graduate professional study.