As one of the fastest-growing engineering fields, careers in biomedical engineering are expected to increase 23% by 2024, which is well above average. Additionally, biomedical engineers earn an average of $85,620 per year, which is almost $50,000 more than the median annual wage for all occupations. If you are interested in improving people's health by fighting disease, helping the aging population, or improving medical technology, you may want to consider our list of online master's degrees in biomedical engineering. Read on to learn more about the online master's programs that will prepare you for this rapidly expanding field.
What Are The Best Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs?
|1||Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 7%||
Columbia is a world-renowned Ivy League research institution highly regarded for its school of engineering and applied science. Its rigorous programs are at the forefront of engineering education and research, and recognized for developing the engineering leaders of tomorrow.
The master of science in biomedical engineering is offered fully online through the Columbia Video Network. Online learners have the same challenging classes and assignments, and earn the same degree as their on-campus counterparts.
Columbia's online master's degree in biomedical engineering prepares students to find solutions to real-world problems in biology and medicine using engineering and applied science methods. The program fosters interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering and the physical and biological sciences. Applicants for the biomedical engineering online master's program must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, mathematics, computer science, or a related field approved by the university's biomedical engineering program. Transfer credits are not eligible. Students must complete all degree requirements within five years of beginning the first course.
|2||Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 7%||
Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is America's first research university, welcoming scholars from around the world to its renowned Baltimore campus. Its applied biomedical engineering program caters to practicing scientists who want to use engineering skills to tackle critical issues in biology and medicine.
Engineers and scientists pursuing a master of science in applied biomedical engineering have the flexibility to tailor the program to their busy schedules. They can complete coursework fully online, or online and on-campus. Distance learners can take online courses asynchronously, allowing them to complete work when and where it's convenient for them.
Students pursuing the online master's degree in biomedical engineering must complete ten courses within five years, and choose from one of three focus areas: imaging, instrumentation, or translational tissue engineering. They must also complete the biomedical engineering practice and innovation course, which combines online preparation with six days of intensive lab, design, and clinical work on campus and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
|3||University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 2%||
USC, located in the heart of Los Angeles, CA, is one of the world's top private research universities. Its master of science in biomedical engineering program links physiology with engineering science, and prepares students to enter interdisciplinary careers in medical technology. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, math, or a hard science from a regionally-accredited university to be considered.
The USC program is fully online with the option to visit campus. Online learners view the same lectures as on-campus students through USC's proprietary online platform. The system enables online and on-campus students to collaborate with faculty members in and out of the classroom.
Full-time students take about two years to complete the 28 unit online biomedical engineering master's program; part-time students take about three-and-a-half years. Learners can complete the biomedical engineering online master's degree with or without a thesis, and graduates earn the same degree whether they are on-campus or online.
|4||University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 8%||
Bioengineering addresses today's unmet challenges in biology, health, and medicine. The University of Washington's online master of pharmaceutical bioengineering program prepares students to explore healthcare solutions in exciting areas such as smart therapies for cancer, adaptable prosthetics for amputees, and engineered heart cells for cardiac patients. Bioengineering is the only degree that links engineering, biology, and physical science.
This 38-credit fully-online master’s program is ideal for working engineers, scientists, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical professionals. After completing the core curriculum, online learners choose one of two advanced tracks: drug discovery and design or translational pharmaceutics. Students then complete a clinical development capstone course and departmental seminars. The program can be completed within two years.
Applicants must have a BS in a relevant science, public health, or engineering-related field. Those with a BS in a non-scientific field must have two years work experience in a related industry. UW will also consider applicants with clinical degrees or those with a BA and prerequisite coursework.
|5||Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 0%||
Case Western Reserve University is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, only minutes from downtown Cleveland, OH. In 1968, CWRU founded one of the first biomedical engineering programs in the world, and is now highly respected for its innovative approaches to technology.
CWRU's master of science in biomedical engineering is offered fully online, and students complete the same curriculum offered to on-campus students. Online coursework is asynchronous and grounds students in the fundamentals of instrumentation and analysis, while expanding their knowledge-base in physiology and specialty courses. Students taking two courses per semester can typically complete the 27-credit online biomedical engineering master's program in about two years. As a practice-oriented program, the degree does not require a thesis.
Applicants must have a BS in engineering, and those with a non-engineering degree must show proficiency in calculus and differential equations. CWRU will consider up to six semester hours of graduate-level transfer credits in program-related studies.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program?
Biomedical engineering online master's programs vary among universities, with some offering the degree as a master of science and others offering it as a master of engineering; many also have thesis or non-thesis tracks available. Curriculum requirements are specific to each university, with some programs allowing students to tailor the degree to their interest, while others are fairly prescriptive. Though courses vary, many online biomedical engineering master's degrees include classes like those listed below.
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
- Quantitative Systems Physiology: This course introduces a quantitative, model-oriented approach to physiological systems -- a function of human body systems. Students should have completed prerequisite courses in basic physiology, math, and chemistry. In some programs, this course is taken as a two-semester sequence. This is a foundational course for anyone entering the biomedical engineering field.
- Biomedical Engineering Seminar: A component of nearly every biomedical engineering program, this course may be a non-credit requirement or a one-credit course. Usually focused on guest lectures, faculty presentations, and career-related topics, some programs allow the seminar to be repeated several times as the lectures vary each term. This class offers a good introduction to the available topics and careers in the field.
- Advanced Mathematics: While some programs stipulate completion of a statistics course or a discipline-specific course such as mathematical methods for biomedical engineering, others allow students to choose from a variety of advanced mathematics courses including calculus, computer science, or math classes specifically related to engineering or physics.
- Master's Thesis/Project: Some programs provide students with a choice between a thesis or non-thesis track. The non-thesis track often requires a final project or practicum, while the thesis or practicum topic is approved by a committee. The project focuses on research strategies and concludes with a presentation; the thesis involves a specific project, dissertation, and thesis defense.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING?
The time it takes to complete an online master's degree varies by program and student, and generally depends on the program's credit requirements, a student's previous coursework, and whether a student takes courses on a full- or part-time basis. Biomedical engineering online master's programs have different requirements, and degrees range from 27-36 credits. In some cases, students need additional time to complete their thesis, which may not be reflected in their earned credits. If a student has not completed certain science and math courses prior to entering a biomedical engineering program, they may also be required to complete additional credits beyond those required for the master's degree.
The choice to pursue coursework as a full- or part-time student will greatly impact how quickly one can complete their degree. Some programs are self-paced, where students complete courses at their own pace. Others require students to proceed through the program in a cohort; everyone who enters the program at the same time will take the same classes each term and graduate as a unit. Full-time students can usually complete a program in one year, while part-time students may take several years; some biomedical engineering programs are even designed to be completed in two years or less.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Degrees
There are two main types of institutional accreditation, regional and national. Regional accreditation requirements are fairly standard due to the small number of regional-accrediting agencies, and regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. National accreditation generally applies to career and trade-based institutions; due to the diversity of institutions, national accreditation requirements vary greatly. It is easier to transfer credits from a regionally accredited college, and graduate or doctoral admissions may require applicants to hold degrees from regionally-accredited colleges. Credits from an unaccredited college will likely not transfer.
Along with certifying the quality of education, accreditation is also an important factor in financial aid. The Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize both regional and national-accrediting bodies. If a student attends a college that is not regionally or nationally accredited by an agency recognized by the ED, they will not be eligible for federal grants or financial aid. The ED and CHEA oversee all of the accrediting agencies, and prospective students should determine if an institution is accredited on the ED's website before applying.
There is also program-specific accreditation, which applies to particular degrees and subjects within schools. Biomedical engineering programs may be accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, which ensures that a program meets rigorous standards established by the profession. Prospective students can search for an accredited program on their website.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Biomedical Engineering Graduates
Online biomedical engineering master's graduates are prepared for careers in engineering science and physiology, which directly apply to positions within pharmaceuticals, medical technology, and multiple aspects of engineering. With these credentials, degree holders can pursue many fast-growing careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineering and medical laboratory technologist jobs are growing at a faster-than-average rate. Other career paths include biostatistician, tissue engineering, and nanotechnology.
- Biomedical Engineer
These professionals combine engineering and science to design and create healthcare equipment. The largest employer of biomedical engineers is medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, and engineers also work in hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturing. They generally work in teams with scientists, other engineers, and healthcare workers.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $61,882
Late Career: $102,829
- Medical Laboratory Technologist
Technologists perform tests that analyze body fluids and cells. The median annual wage for technologists in May 2016 was $61,070, and the employment of technologists is expected to grow at a faster than average rate within the next decade. Over half of all technologists are employed by hospitals.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $48,443
Late Career: $61,712
- Biological Technician
Primarily working in teams, technicians help scientists conduct tests and experiments. Over a quarter of biological technicians work in research and development, and others are employed by colleges and universities, the government, and chemical manufacturing. Most technicians work in a lab, but some also perform fieldwork.
- Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists study processes such as cell development, growth, and disease, and often collaborate with bioinformaticians to analyze their data. Online master's degree biomedical engineering graduates qualify for some entry-level positions in this field, but to work in independent research and development, a PhD may be required.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $70,736
Late Career: $103,529
- Engineering Manager
These managers plan and coordinate activities in an engineering firm. While most work in offices, some also work in laboratories. This position is usually reserved for engineers with more than five years of experience. Over half of all engineering managers work in manufacturing and engineering services.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $82,349
Late Career: $128,467
Almost all jobs within biomedical engineering require at least a bachelor's degree in the field. According to Payscale, however, a master's is preferred. Several careers, including biostatistician, may require a graduate degree. Students with bachelor's degrees in other engineering-related areas can also pursue a biomedical engineering graduate degree to move into this rapidly-growing field. Most jobs have median entry-level salaries well above the median annual wages for all occupations, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists as $37,040. Additionally, those who remain in this field experience higher earning potential as they move through their career, and they may also advance to management roles.
Financing Your Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Program
Students interested in pursuing a biomedical engineering online master's degree should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is required for students to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid and work study. In addition to financial aid and loans, other financial support may be offered via scholarships and grants to incoming students. Some colleges of engineering also offer their own scholarships. Students should research any other outside financing that may be available for those pursuing biomedical engineering or graduate engineering degrees.
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