Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Program Guide

Read more about the master's degree in biomedical engineering, and find out what kind of professional opportunities this advanced training has to offer.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published on March 8, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Program Guide

Biomedical engineers develop technologies and solutions that improve and support healthcare practices and capabilities. Advancements in medical technology, and an aging yet active population has created a demand for these highly skilled and specialized professionals. With a master's degree in biomedical engineering, graduates can access the most desirable positions in the field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of more than 20,000 new biomedical engineers between 2020 and 2030, plus an average of 1,400 annual openings. Master's graduates likely qualify for most of these positions. They also have the training and flexibility to pursue multiple industries, management roles, and further educational pathways.

In addition to their multiple postgraduate possibilities, biomedical engineering students enjoy a dynamic program. Here, we examine the course and concentration options within a master's degree in biomedical engineering, along with the career opportunities that follow.

Should I Get a Master's in Biomedical Engineering?

When contemplating graduate school, prospective students often consider the available career pathways. For biomedical engineering careers, the BLS projects 6% growth between 2020 and 2030, close to the projected growth rate for all occupations. The BLS projects the same growth rate for engineering occupations in general.

Programs at this level typically run for two years and feature between 30-45 credits. The training involves theoretical explorations of the medical and science fields, along with extensive research and practical applications. Learners considering a master's degree in biomedical engineering need to evaluate if the postgraduate opportunities justify the additional training.

While many graduates enter the workforce directly after completing their degree, continuing education can be a valuable option as well. A doctorate in biomedical engineering can lead to postsecondary teaching roles, along with more advanced research and development and medical scientist careers.

A master's degree in biomedical engineering offers plenty of promise for prospective learners, but the training can prove challenging. The engineering field emphasizes mathematics and physics training, which students may find difficult, particularly in the beginning. However, once they grasp the fundamentals, degree-seekers can tackle more complex concepts with greater ease.

Popular Online Biomedical Engineering Master's Programs

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

What Will I Learn in a Biomedical Engineering Master's Program?

The curriculum for a master's degree in biomedical engineering often varies by program. In general, students learn the processes and practices for designing and developing medical instruments, materials, and systems. They study biomechanics, biomaterials, and biotechnology, while also expanding on their engineering and healthcare foundations.

Biomedical engineering programs may award an MS, a master of applied science (MAS), or a master of engineering (MEng). MS programs tend to feature more intensive research and a thesis option, MAS programs are similar but may offer more practical training, and MEng programs provide a more technical coursework track.

Prospective students can choose their degree based on their postgraduate interests. For instance, MS and MAS degrees may lead to continuing education, whereas MEng degrees often lead to the workforce. In all three degree types, learners may also get a choice of concentration, such as those listed below.

Concentrations

Cellular and tissue

This specialization looks for engineering and technological solutions in regards to cellular and tissue repair. Students work with biomaterials and regenerative medicine to combat aging and damaged organs.

Wearable technologies

In this specialization, students strive to improve athlete performance, personal health, and patient outcomes with wearable devices. This technology can streamline the sharing of medical information and detect irregularities when they occur.

Clinical engineering

This specialization focuses on engineering solutions for hospitals and medical clinics. Students look to improve healthcare computer systems and databases, hospital instrumentation, and other practices.

Medical imaging

Students in this specialization learn to design and build medical imaging technologies for more effective diagnostic and image-assisted procedures. Students may also learn how to analyze these images in some programs.

Rehabilitation engineering

In this specialization, learners seek out new and improved ways to improve the quality of life for people with physical impairments. Students learn to design and build technologies that can enhance vision, cognition, and mobility.

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What Can I Do With a Master's in Biomedical Engineering?

After completing a master's degree in biomedical engineering, many graduates pursue careers as biomedical engineers, the most direct career pathway available to them. These professionals can work in various industries, including medical equipment manufacturing, research and development, healthcare, and instruments manufacturing. They can also specialize as biochemical, bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, or biomechanics engineers.

A master's degree enables graduates to take on leadership roles within these fields. Graduates may also choose to continue their training with a doctoral degree, which opens the door for more academic, medical science, and research and development careers.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continuing Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Biomedical Engineering?

The salaries available to graduates with a master's degree in biomedical engineering vary greatly by location, title, and employer, among other factors. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for biomedical engineers was $92,620 in May 2020, more than $50,000 higher than the median annual salary for all occupations.

Depending on their industry, biomedical engineers may encounter large salary ranges. In May 2020, instrument manufacturing professionals earned median annual wages of $104,050. In colleges and universities during that same period, engineers made median annual wages of $71,820.

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

To choose the right program, prospective students need to consider many different factors. In addition to looking for schools with regional college accreditation, they can look for programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Programmatic accreditation is not always mandatory, but many employers give preference to students from these programs.

Degree-seekers should also find schools that offer the appropriate student services for their individual needs. They can compare schools and programs based on their accommodations for full-time vs. part-time students and online vs. on-campus students. Other considerations might include the available graduate financial aid and location. Prospective learners can even search the best colleges by state.

Find the Best Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

How Do I Get Into a Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?

The admissions process for a master's degree in biomedical engineering may differ slightly between programs, but it should look similar to the standard process outlined in our graduate admissions guide. Prospective students usually need a bachelor's degree and the appropriate grades to qualify for admission. Some programs may ask for specific medical or engineering prerequisites as well.

Most applications also require three letters of recommendation and an essay. For assistance asking for letters of recommendation and writing grad school essays, prospective students can review our respective guides on those topics. Additionally, applicants may need to submit GRE scores, which they can anticipate with GRE preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs

What is biomedical engineering? true

Biomedical engineering is the intersection between engineering, biology, and medicine. Professionals in this field use engineering principles and practices to make advances in the medical field. Biomedical engineers require an in-depth knowledge of engineering, science, technology, and medicine to perform at their best.

Biomedical engineers can work in many industries and specializations. They may work in manufacturing, academia, hospitals, or life sciences. They can specialize in working with microscopic systems, electronics, biomaterials, genes, or biological systems.

How much does it cost to get a master's in biomedical engineering? true

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average graduate degree cost $19,792 per year in 2019-20. The true program cost likely totals higher than that. To accurately estimate their study costs, prospective students need to identify all the program and study fees, including travel, materials, room and board.

They should also think about what income they will lose out on as a result of their training. Yet, graduate students can find ample support. In addition to the widely accessible federal financial aid, many schools, programs, and organizations offer scholarships and grants. Students can also access work-study programs, paid internships, and flexible study options that accommodate full-time jobs.

What is the average salary of a biomedical engineer? true

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for biomedical engineers was $92,620 in May 2020. The top 10% of earners in the field made more than $149,440, while the lowest 10% made less than $56,590 during that same May 2020 period.

The industry an engineer is employed in plays a large role in determining their salary range. For example, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing paid median annual wages of $104,050, medical equipment manufacturing paid $94,960, research and development in the life sciences paid $93,630, healthcare paid $79,870, and colleges and universities paid $71,820.

Do biomedical engineers make a lot of money?

Yes. Biomedical engineers can make very competitive salaries compared to the average earnings. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for these professionals of $92,620 in May 2020 more than doubled the median annual wage for all occupations.

With experience and more training, these professionals can access even higher salaries. For example, engineering managers made median annual salaries of $149,530 in May 2020, as per the BLS. That was more than $100,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations. The top 10% in this field made more than $208,000.

Is biomedical engineering hard?

A master's degree in biomedical engineering can be challenging for some students. The programs often include mathematics and science courses, which can be difficult. These topics often prove hardest in the introductory stages, but they become more manageable as students progress through the programs.

Biomedical engineering is a very technical discipline and requires a solid understanding of several fields. Yet, the practical nature of the programs give students a chance to apply their learning in practical ways and see concepts in action, which can make things easier for some.

Feature Image: Sunwoo Jung / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Engineering is one of the broadest STEM fields. Discover the five main types of engineering and get tips on whether you should pursue an engineering degree. Are you interested in learning more about careers in Mechanical Engineering? Click for information about opportunities at all levels of education. Start planning today. As master's degree programs have grown in popularity, graduate student loan debt has increased substantially.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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