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 biomedical engineering programs of 2020? Here are our top 5:
|1||Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|2||Columbia University in the City of New York||New York, NY|
|3||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|4||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL|
|5||Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland, OH|
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
Johns Hopkins delivers 21 academic programs through its School of Engineering. Offerings include an online master of science in applied biomedical engineering that comes with five track options. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum or take some classes on campus.
Core classes include molecular biology and mathematical methods. Students take advanced coursework in their focus areas, choosing from options like biomechanics, imaging, instrumentation, and neuroengineering. They may also pursue the translational tissue engineering track to explore the science, technology, and applications of neural prosthetics.
To enroll in this master's in biomedical engineering program, applicants must possess an undergraduate engineering degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Although this program does not require GRE scores, candidates are encouraged to submit these results to bolster their application.
Columbia University in the City of New York
|New York, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 96%||
Columbia enrolls about 31,000 students each year, many of whom obtain certificates and degrees remotely. Options for distance learners include a fully online master of science in biomedical engineering. By completing this 30-credit program, graduates prepare to occupy leadership positions in fields like biomedical imaging, cell and tissue engineering, and biomechanics.
The curriculum covers topics like quantitative physiology, partial differential equations, and computational neuroscience. Students use six guided and free electives to pursue specialized topics like solid biomechanics and ultrasound in diagnostic imaging. They can also delve into cardiac mechanics, learning how to develop and sustain artificial organs.
Master's in biomedical engineering applicants must have a relevant undergraduate degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Each candidate needs to submit GRE scores, a current resume, three recommendation letters, and a personal/professional statement.
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
USC provides a comprehensive slate of remote certificates and degrees, including an online master of science in biomedical engineering. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum, students gain the physiological knowledge and engineering skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree or an advanced medical technology career.
Required coursework includes signal and systems analysis, physiological control systems, and advanced studies of the nervous system. Candidates may use nine elective credits to pursue their academic interests and professional objectives. This master's in biomedical engineering program culminates with thesis research, a presentation, and a defense.
USC offers spring, summer, and fall start dates. Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree in a related field, and they must submit a personal statement, a resume, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
U of I offers more than 90 remote academic programs. Its graduate catalog contains an online master of engineering in bioengineering that students can earn in five semesters. Graduates have gone on to find employment as associate product managers, regulatory affairs specialists, and microfluidics engineers.
The 32-credit curriculum covers required topics like managing business operations and genomics data analysis. Master's in biomedical engineering candidates take advanced classes in one of three concentrations: general bioengineering, bioinstrumentation, or computational genomics.
Prospective students must possess a relevant bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should submit a 500-word personal statement, a resume, and three recommendation letters.
Case Western Reserve University
|Cleveland, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
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.
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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