Best Online Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Programs

The higher education experts at BestColleges have compared the best online master's in biomedical engineering programs. Read on to get a better understanding of these programs ranked by affordability, flexibility,...

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by Marisa Upson

Published on May 13, 2022

Reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE

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Biomedical engineering is a specialized field in bioengineering that applies engineering design processes to biological principles to increase the quality and extend the length of human life. This field consists of many subdisciplines, including diagnostic and therapeutic tool development, orthopedic implant design, and tissue and stem cell engineering.

Many graduates work in the rapidly-growing field of medical devices, designing and developing life-saving equipment that may assist in surgery or help create artificial organs. Deciding to go to graduate school and earning a master's degree may also qualify graduates for managerial roles. According to Payscale, those with a master's of science in biomedical engineering earned an average annual wage of $80,000 in April 2022.

An online master's in biomedical engineering usually takes about two years to complete. Some programs offer accelerated options, including dual degree programs that enable students to complete a bachelor's and master's degree in five years. Others require a thesis or internship, which may extend the time to completion. Tuition rates for online programs range from about $800-$1,940 per credit.

For busy students or professionals, enrolling in a top online college can offer a quality education while enabling learners to fulfill their other obligations.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?

Most online master's in biomedical engineering programs require students to complete 28-30 credits and take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete. Because of the subject's broad nature, many programs offer specializations, enabling students to pursue a path that aligns with their educational and career goals. A few of the concentrations in this field include:

These online programs may offer thesis and non-thesis tracks, and some require on-campus participation. On-campus requirements may include short residency courses or labs.

Students in this field need strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Traits such as persistence and patience can help learners stick to challenging projects and experiments. Additionally, a solid understanding of research, advanced math, and science can prepare students for a graduate program in this groundbreaking field.

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Popular Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?

Biomedical Signal Processing

This course explores extracting information from physiological signals, such as cardiac rhythm, neural activity, and other physiological activities. Covered topics include Fourier, Laplace, and Z transforms, the linear-algebraic view of filtering, and statistical inference on signals.

Advanced Biomedical Imaging

This class covers the fundamental engineering and physics principles of magnetic resonance, ultrasound, X-ray computed tomography, and other biomedical imaging systems. Students learn the methods for targeted molecular imaging, including contrast mechanisms.

Ethical Engineering of Medical Tech

This course examines the regulatory and ethical concerns and challenges in emerging medical device development. Students develop decision-making skills and practice ethical analysis to prepare them for dealing productively and ethically with these issues.

Neural Engineering

This course provides an overview of the human nervous system and new approaches in measuring brain activity. Covered topics include the cellular, structural, and molecular changes that correlate with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Cell and Tissue Engineering

Students explore regenerative medicine at the cell and whole-organism level as well as the medical engineering tools used in this rapidly growing field. Covered topics include stem cell engineering, wound healing, and in vitro organogenesis.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?

While graduate admission requirements vary by program, candidates typically hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, biology, chemistry, or another technical field. Many master's in biomedical engineering programs require applicants to earn their undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program.

Depending on their undergraduate education, some applicants may need to take additional prerequisite coursework in advanced mathematics, biology, chemistry, or engineering. For selective programs, applicants should expect an on-campus or virtual interview as part of the admissions process.

Application

Candidates usually submit their college applications through a school's online portal or website. The application form may request general contact information, a student's academic record, and the names of their references. Prospective graduate students also need to submit the following items.

Test Scores

Some online master's in biomedical engineering programs require GRE test scores. However, at many schools, submitting these test scores is optional. In those cases, applicants should consider if the scores enhance their admissions package. International students may need to submit proof of proficiency in the English language, usually through submission of TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Most graduate programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Applicants should consider asking people who can speak about their academic and career achievements and their potential to succeed in this challenging program. Consider asking for letters of recommendation from past professors, particularly those in a related field, and supervisors.

Resume and Work Experience

Most online master's in biomedical engineering programs request a college application resume or curriculum vitae. These should outline a candidate's professional experience, including volunteer positions, research positions, and internships. Additionally, these forms should contain any research or publications the applicant contributed to, any awards they received, and a list of their academic achievements.

Essays

Most graduate programs ask candidates to write a grad school essay in the form of a personal statement or statement of purpose. These help admissions officers get to know the person behind the test scores and academic achievements. Some schools request specific information, while others leave it fairly open-ended.

Official Transcripts

Applicants must request official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. Generally, programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0. These transcripts also indicate whether an applicant completed all the necessary prerequisites. Additionally, while transfer credit policies vary by program, transcripts can demonstrate proof of complete credits.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Degree?

Career Outlook

Biomedical engineers work in numerous specializations within healthcare and medicine. They may develop orthopedic implants, prosthetics, and pacemakers or test medical equipment for safety. Some design equipment that is used in surgery or for medical diagnostics. The continued advancements and emerging biomedical technology make this an exciting field with expanding opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% job growth for biomedical engineers from 2020-2030. This equates to about 1,400 job openings each year. As healthcare demands increase with an aging population, the need for biomedical engineers is expected to rise. 

According to the BLS, biomedical engineers earned a median annual salary of $97,410 as of May 2021, with the top 10% earning $154,750. Biomedical engineers in New Mexico were the highest paid in the country, earning an average yearly wage of $134,120. 

See where a master's in biomedical engineering can take you.

Learn more about STEM careers

Career Paths

Biomedical Engineer

Many biomedical engineers work in the healthcare field, developing, designing, or improving medical devices or artificial organs and prosthetics. They may conduct research using clinical trials, collaborate with manufacturers, and use statistical software to develop models. Biomedical engineers commonly work for medical equipment and supplies manufacturers and in research and development.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $97,410

Tissue Engineer

Tissue and stem cell engineers may perform stem cell research or develop functional tissues that help restore, improve, or replace damaged organs or tissues. These engineers combine cells and biomolecules with scaffolds, structures that mimic real organs. Tissue engineering is used in skin grafts, dentistry, and cardiovascular repair. These engineers may work in research institutes and pharmaceutical firms.

Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $70,830

Biomaterials Engineer

These engineers study and perform research on artificial and naturally occurring substances that can be used in implants and medical devices. They may test for biocompatibility with implantable devices like artificial joints and pacemakers. In medical diagnostics, they might design and develop sensors that recognize pathogens.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $97,410

Rehabilitation Engineer

A rehabilitation engineer focuses on developing and designing devices that help assist people with physical or cognitive impairments. They help people with disabilities achieve greater independence in areas like adaptive driving, wheelchair use, and augmentative and alternative communication devices. These engineers may work in rehabilitation agencies, hospitals, or research facilities.

Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $69,390

Independent Consultant

Consultants provide research facilities, medical institutions, and manufacturers guidance and recommendations on equipment and processes used in the biomedical field. They may troubleshoot problems and recommend tools or methods. These consultants may work with one organization for an extended time or consult several companies simultaneously.

Average Annual Salary (April 2022): $91,930

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Continuing Education

This degree readies students to continue their studies at the doctoral level in numerous fields, including engineering, science, medicine, and business. Some students pursue the pre-medical track and continue their education in medical school, hoping to start careers as physician-scientists.

Others may earn a doctorate in business and move into high-level management positions. Some earn their Ph.D. and pursue roles in advanced research and development or as professors at the postsecondary level. The following represent some common continuing education paths for this degree.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?

Cost

The costs for online master's in biomedical engineering programs vary, with tuition ranging from about $800-$1,940 per credit. Private schools usually charge more, while public colleges often charge less. Students should consider the true cost of an online program, including technology and nonresident fees. Make sure to compare the cost of online versus on-campus programs before applying.

Program Format

Online master's in biomedical engineering programs may offer asynchronous or synchronous learning formats. The former provides greater flexibility, while the latter usually entails weekly scheduled virtual class sessions. While these programs generally take about 1-2 years to complete, some offer part-time options or accelerated pathways, leading to longer and shorter completion times.

Location

Because of the hands-on nature of this subject, some biomedical engineering programs require on-campus participation. This may involve a two-week intensive or optional in-person coursework. Additionally, some online programs charge out-of-state fees for nonresidents. There are many additional considerations when choosing between on-campus or online college education.

Accreditation

Online colleges and programs receive accreditation from third-party accrediting agencies. This ensures that schools and programs meet the highest quality standards in education. ABET accreditation is the gold standard in engineering programs. This accreditation ensures that employers will recognize your degree and that the credits you earn are transferable.

Student Support

Student support services play a significant role in students' success, whether they are enrolled in an online or on-campus program. Make sure to research online student services, as all schools offer different levels of support. Some important services include mentorship programs, support finding local internship opportunities, tutoring, and career guidance.

Best Accredited Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

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Best Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

  1. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $27868

    Johns Hopkins delivers 21 academic programs through its School of Engineering. Offerings include an online master of science in applied biomedical engineering that comes with five track options. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum or take some classes on campus.

    Core classes include molecular biology and mathematical methods. Students take advanced coursework in their focus areas, choosing from options like biomechanics, imaging, instrumentation, and neuroengineering. They may also pursue the translational tissue engineering track to explore the science, technology, and applications of neural prosthetics.

    To enroll in this master's in biomedical engineering program, applicants must possess an undergraduate engineering degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Although this program does not require GRE scores, candidates are encouraged to submit these results to bolster their application.

  2. Columbia University in the City of New York
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $21220

    Columbia enrolls about 31,000 students each year, many of whom obtain certificates and degrees remotely. Options for distance learners include a fully online master of science in biomedical engineering. By completing this 30-credit program, graduates prepare to occupy leadership positions in fields like biomedical imaging, cell and tissue engineering, and biomechanics.

    The curriculum covers topics like quantitative physiology, partial differential equations, and computational neuroscience. Students use six guided and free electives to pursue specialized topics like solid biomechanics and ultrasound in diagnostic imaging. They can also delve into cardiac mechanics, learning how to develop and sustain artificial organs.

    Master's in biomedical engineering applicants must have a relevant undergraduate degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Each candidate needs to submit GRE scores, a current resume, three recommendation letters, and a personal/professional statement.

  3. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $36161

    USC provides a comprehensive slate of remote certificates and degrees, including an online master of science in biomedical engineering. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum, students gain the physiological knowledge and engineering skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree or an advanced medical technology career.

    Required coursework includes signal and systems analysis, physiological control systems, and advanced studies of the nervous system. Candidates may use nine elective credits to pursue their academic interests and professional objectives. This master's in biomedical engineering program culminates with thesis research, a presentation, and a defense.

    USC offers spring, summer, and fall start dates. Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree in a related field, and they must submit a personal statement, a resume, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores.

  4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $15829

    U of I offers more than 90 remote academic programs. Its graduate catalog contains an online master of engineering in bioengineering that students can earn in five semesters. Graduates have gone on to find employment as associate product managers, regulatory affairs specialists, and microfluidics engineers.

    The 32-credit curriculum covers required topics like managing business operations and genomics data analysis. Master's in biomedical engineering candidates take advanced classes in one of three concentrations: general bioengineering, bioinstrumentation, or computational genomics.

    Prospective students must possess a relevant bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should submit a 500-word personal statement, a resume, and three recommendation letters.

  5. Case Western Reserve University
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

    Tuition

    $34061

    Based in Cleveland, Ohio, CWRU enrolls approximately 11,800 students annually. The school offers an online master of science in biomedical engineering that teaches candidates the research skills needed to occupy leadership positions in healthcare facilities, government agencies, and private companies. Distance learners access asynchronous classes through Canvas.

    Coursework includes biomedical signals and systems, tissue biomechanics, and quantitative analysis of physiological systems. Candidates who want to pursue healthcare careers can take electives like nanomedicine and biomaterials for drug delivery. To earn their online master's degree in biomedical engineering, students also complete a capstone research project.

    CWRU requires all applicants to submit GRE scores. Each candidate must send in a resume or CV, a 1-2-page personal statement, and three recommendation letters.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

Is a master's in biomedical engineering worth it? true

Yes, for students passionate about engineering and its place in medicine and healthcare, a master's in biomedical engineering is well worth it. On-campus and online degrees are comparable and accepted by most employers.

Biomedical engineers apply their knowledge in engineering and biology to the design and development of health systems and products. This may include prostheses, artificial organs, and products that help make life easier for those with disabilities.

Graduates in this field may also find themselves on the cutting edge of technology solutions in medicine and engineering, with ongoing advancements and applications that help humans live longer and improve the quality of their lives.

What can I do with a master's in biomedical engineering? true

With a master's in biomedical engineering, students can pursue careers in numerous industries. They may work for government agencies, healthcare facilities, nonprofit organizations, and manufacturing companies. Some specialize in designing and developing medical devices used to treat and prevent diseases.

Others may specialize in medical imaging and work at developing less invasive products for diagnosing diseases. Still, others perform stem cell research and tissue engineering. Some biomedical engineers pursue careers in neuroengineering, focusing on the regeneration of the human nervous system. As technology advances, the field continues to expand.

Are biomedical engineering graduates in demand? true

The BLS projects an average of 1,400 job openings a year for biomedical engineers from 2020-2030. This corresponds to the average job growth rate for all occupations in the U.S. These engineers should see further employment growth as older generations age and the demand for biomedical devices increases.

Biomedical engineers create equipment and devices for medical imaging, surgeries, monitoring vital signs, treatment, and prosthetics. These products will continue to be in demand. A master's in biomedical engineering may also offer opportunities in managerial roles.

How much money can I make with a master's i biomedical engineering?

Biomedical engineers' salaries vary based on their specialization, specific position, years of experience, and location. For example, the BLS reports that the median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $97,410 as of May 2021. However, those who work for research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences earned $98,610, while those employed by colleges made $62,650.

Other top industries for biomedical engineers include medical equipment manufacturing and healthcare. The professionals in these fields earned $97,090 and $79,400 in May 2021, respectively.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in biomedical engineering?

According to the BLS, biomedical engineers who work in navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing earn some of the top salaries, with a median annual wage of $108,690 in May 2021. Additionally, the top 10% of these professionals earned a median annual salary of $154,750.

States that reported the highest wages for biomedical engineers as of May 2021 include New Mexico, Arizona, Minnesota, and Connecticut. Biomedical engineers in these states earned an average annual wage of $134,120, $120,970, $119,250, and $115,670, respectively. With experience, a master's in biomedical engineering may also qualify graduates for managerial positions. The BLS reports that engineering managers earned a median wage of $152,350 per year in May 2021.

Image Source: Ted Horowitz, Getty Images

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