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?
|Cambridge, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 96%||
The Ivy League institution Harvard University was founded in 1636 and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard's Extension School offers a variety of continuing education options, including a master of liberal arts in bioengineering and nanotechnology.
The curriculum consists of 12 courses -- including life sciences, ethics and trends in biotechnology, and engineering science -- many of which can be taken online. At least four classes must be taken on campus, providing opportunities for face-to-face access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community. On-campus courses are clearly listed as such in the extension catalog.
Prospective students must have an undergraduate degree in physical, life, or computer sciences and a background in cellular, molecular, or organismal biology. They also need at least a year of postbaccalaureate scientific research experience. Applicants earn their way into the program by earning at least a "B" in two graduate-level classes. During the second course, students apply for admission into the program. Those two courses count toward the degree.
Students have five years to complete program requirements, which include a statistics credit, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a thesis. Degrees are conferred in November, March, and May; graduates participate in the Harvard Commencement in May.
Campus resources include a writing center, computer labs and email accounts, career advising and counseling, libraries, and the Harvard Extension Student Association, which offers mentoring and career development.
Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
Boasting 27 Nobel Prize winners among its past and present research staff, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland offers an online master of science in applied biomedical engineering. The program is geared toward practicing scientists seeking additional engineering skills to help them solve problems in biology and medicine.
Applicants must have taken classes in mathematics through ordinary differential equations; calculus-based physics, including mechanics, heat and energy, electricity and magnetism, and elementary quantum concepts; chemistry; and molecular biology. Applicants without those prerequisites may be admitted under provisional status until the courses are completed.
The 10-course program focuses on imaging, instrumentation, or translational tissue engineering. Graduates develop a strong background in medical physiology and can apply engineering principles to physiological and medical problems, design laboratory experiments and equipment, and obtain and analyze data.
Coursework must be completed within five years and is mostly online. However, one course -- biomedical engineering practice and innovation -- combines online preparation with two weekends of lab, design, and clinical work on campus and at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, both in Baltimore, Maryland.
The university offers online access to campus resources, including advising, course planning, and tutoring. Faculty and staff work with students to help them balance studies with full-time jobs. The online program fosters an interactive environment with a practical, project-based curriculum and opportunities for networking and professional collaboration.
Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education.
|Columbia, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 95%||
New York City's Columbia University offers a fully online master of science in biomedical engineering. The part-time program is designed for working professionals and explores the relationship between engineering and the physical and biological sciences, covering biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, and biomedical imaging. Students address problems in modern engineering through data acquisition and analysis, simulation, and systems identification. Graduates have the skills needed to develop biomedical systems and devices.
Applicants need an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, mathematics, computer science, or another related field. Other requirements include a 3.0 GPA, GRE test scores, and one year each of calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics. Applicants lacking a prerequisite class may be admitted with the stipulation that they complete the course alongside program classes.
Students have five years to complete the 30-credit program and must maintain a 2.5 GPA. Required course topics include quantitative physiology, computational neuroscience, and biomechanics. While degrees can be earned 100% online, students are encouraged to visit campus, meet with their professors, and attend graduation. They can also use the campus career center and have remote access to library resources.
Columbia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
Located near downtown Los Angeles, the University of Southern California (USC) offers an online master of science in biomedical engineering through its Viterbi School of Engineering. The program aims to prepare students for interdisciplinary careers in medical technology or pursue further graduate work. Graduates can pursue careers in cellular, tissue, and genetic engineering; bioinstrumentation; biomaterials; biomechanics; drug design and delivery; medical imaging; orthopedic surgery; pharmaceuticals; and systems physiology.
This 30-credit program offers concentrations in medical imaging and imaging informatics or medical device and diagnostic engineering. The online option provides flexibility for working engineering professionals, and courses may be taken completely online or use a hybrid model. The virtual learning environment is highly interactive, allowing students to view courses live or on-demand, and online students have full access to advising, career services, library resources, writing workshops, and the USC bookstore and email.
Students can choose to pursue a thesis or to graduate with coursework only. The program takes 1.5 to two years with full-time enrollment and 2.5 to 3.5 years part-time. Residential and online students pay the same tuition.
Prospective students need an undergraduate degree in engineering, mathematics, or another hard science from a regionally accredited university. Applicants must submit GRE test scores unless they are enrolled in or have completed a degree program at the Viterbi School of Engineering.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
University of Washington
|Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
The University of Washington (UW) offers an online master of pharmaceutical bioengineering that is jointly administered by its College of Engineering and the UW School of Medicine. UW's main campus is in Seattle, but this online program enables working engineers, scientists, and researchers to earn their degrees and advance their careers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and related industries from anywhere in the world. Students can focus on molecular and cellular biology, drug discovery and design, or translational pharmaceuticals.
Students should be able to complete the 38-credit program in two years, and a 3.0 GPA is required to graduate. All students take basic bioscience classes and a clinical development capstone course, plus 10 credits in molecular and cellular biology, drug discovery and design, or translational pharmaceutics.
Priority admission applicants must apply by May 10 deadline, while space-available admission is available until September 1. Applicants need a bachelor of science in science, engineering, or biometric-related public health. A BS in an unrelated field is also acceptable with two years of relevant work experience. Students need a minimum 3.0 GPA , and students lacking any prerequisites can seek admission through work experience, coursework, and GRE scores.
Online students have the same access to libraries and other services as on-campus students, including IT support and online ordering from the University Bookstore.
The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign County, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
Offered jointly by the College of Engineering and College of Business, the University of Illinois (U of I) master of engineering in bioengineering equips students with technical and business skills. The one-year, non-thesis master's program offers concentrations in bioinstrumentation, computational genomics, and general bioengineering. Students must complete 32 credits, and may do so online.
Bioinstrumentation or general bioengineering applicants need undergraduate degrees in engineering or a related discipline. Computational genomics applicants must have a bachelor's degree in science, engineering, or a related field and a basic understanding of statistics, molecular genetics, and computer programming. All concentration tracks require a 3.0 minimum GPA in the last two years of undergraduate coursework, and GRE scores are optional. Personal essays and letters of recommendation are also required.
The bioinstrumentation curriculum teaches engineering concepts used in medical imaging, microscopy, and biodetection, including methodologies for the development of product requirements, the FDA approval process, software/hardware validation, risk analysis, and project management. The general bioengineering option allows students to tailor the curriculum to their areas of interest.
Classwork in computational genomics includes concepts and algorithms for gene finding, genome annotation, sequence alignment, phylogenetic reconstruction, gene expression and network analysis, and Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS). The program is self-funded, and students are not eligible for tuition-waiver-generating assistantships. Students have access to online writing support, distance library services, and online ordering from the campus bookstore.
The University of Illinois is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Case Western Reserve University
|Cleveland, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Students can earn a master of science in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University either online or at its campus in Cleveland, Ohio. Degrees can be earned 100% online in less than two years and are tailored to individual student schedules. There is no thesis requirement, and online discussion boards and live study sessions are available.
In this program, all students take biomedical instrumentation and signal processing, and can choose between cellular and molecular physiology or quantitative analysis of physiological systems. In addition, they take two courses in technical electives and two in engineering core, bioengineering specialty, or translational courses.
Prospective students need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with a 3.0 GPA or rank in the upper third of their graduating class. Undergraduate coursework should include four semesters of math including differential equations, two semesters of physics with electromagnetics, two semesters of chemistry, and a programming course. GRE scores are required, and up to six semester hours of graduate-level transfer credits are accepted.
All new online students receive reduced tuition via a scholarship from the university's College of Engineering. The funds -- up to $10,000 -- are automatically applied toward tuition. The curriculum consists of 10 courses spanning 30 credits. Students have online access to the university library and are paired with a student success coordinator, who offers support, provides resources and information, and answers questions.
Case Western Reserve University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Maryland
|College Park, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
The University of Maryland (UMD) offers bioengineering programs that prepare students to develop new technologies to improve human health, fight disease, and alleviate disability. In addition to its College Park, Maryland on-campus programs, UMD offers an online master of engineering in bioengineering.
Program prerequisites include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in engineering, biology, chemistry, or physics. Applicants must have completed calculus I-III, differential equations, and biology, and non-engineering degree holders need high grades in molecular biology and/or physical chemistry. GRE scores are recommended, but not required. Those with inadequate preparation in engineering must take a course covering the fundamentals of thermal systems during their first semester.
This 30-credit program spans 10 courses, three of which are core courses -- cellular and physiological transport phenomena, application of biomaterials, and physiology for bioengineers -- with seven electives. Academic advising works with each student to design a course plan during the first semester. There is no required research or thesis project to graduate, but all coursework must be completed within five years.
Remote learners use online forums to participate in class discussions, work on group projects, and engage with professors. Online students also have access to electronic textbooks, library resources, and interactive exercises. Both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition, and departmental fellowships and assistantships are not available.
The University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|New Brunswick, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Students at Rutgers University can study full or part time to earn an online master of engineering in biomedical engineering degree. Established in 1766 in colonial New Jersey, Rutgers is the eighth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
Program applicants need a bachelor's degree, preferably in engineering science or pharmacy with a minimum 3.0 GPA, three semesters of calculus, and at least one semester of physics. The following GRE scores are required: 150+ verbal; 160 quantitative; and 4.0 analytical writing.
The 33-credit program can be completed in two years, but part-time students take longer. Once enrolled, students train in quantitative biomedical engineering, focusing on professional development and problem solving. The program explores six areas: Biomaterials and tissue engineering; biomechanics and rehabilitation engineering; computational bioengineering and biomedical imaging; molecular, cellular, and nanosystems bioengineering; neuroengineering; and physiological systems and bioinstrumentation.
Students work one-on-one with faculty for independent studies, which are tailored to meet individual academic and professional goals. The online platform provides opportunities to network with peers across the country with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Applicants can request information on the school's website in order to be contacted by an enrollment coach, who will help with the admissions process. Once enrolled, students can meet with executive coaches to address concerns and access resources.
Rutgers University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Colorado State University
|Fort Collins, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado, offers an online master of engineering with a biomedical engineering specialization through its School of Biomedical Engineering. This 30-credit, interdisciplinary programs does not require a thesis, and its graduates gain skills in biomaterials, pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, tissue engineering, biosensors, wound healing, drug delivery, nanotechnology, military medicine, and prosthesis. Students can specialize in biomechanics and materials engineering; materials; or tissue and materials engineering. Advising staff can help students identify a plan and select courses.
Courses are 100% online and asynchronous, and students interact with faculty via email and discussion boards. The online learning process consists of downloading and reviewing lecture notes, assigned readings, individual and group projects, exams, and written papers. Students communicate with one another through email, chat rooms, and discussion board threads.
Applications are due twice a year, on June 1 and November 15. Admission requirements include a bachelor of science in engineering, life sciences, or natural sciences from a regionally-accredited institution; a minimum 3.0 GPA in relevant courses; and coursework in calculus I-III, ordinary differential equations, physics I and II, and at least one life science course. GRE scores are not required, but may be submitted to strengthen the application. Colorado residency is not a factor in online tuition rates.
Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
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.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
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Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Columbia University New York, NY 2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4 University of Washington Seattle, WA 5 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH