Biomedical/Prosthetic Engineering

Hey all…

I am a junior starting to look at colleges, and I would like some assistance from anyone majoring in Biomedical/Prosthetic Engineering, if you would not mind.

  1. I am going to look at RPI, Drexel, UMD, and BC. If anyone has gone to these colleges, what are they like? How was your experience?

  2. Does anyone have colleges that you would like to recommend, that have Biomed. Engineering as a major?

  3. Any ideas of classes that I should take in senior year?

If anyone can help me out, that would be much appreciated! Thanks! :slight_smile:

I would also look at WPI.

If your school has any good courses on anatomy and physiology, I would look at those. To truly understand biomechanics requires an appreciation of body tissues; for that you need to do some actual dissection, pictures and models alone aren’t enough!

Depending on your academic level, check out Case Western, Johns Hopkins, GA Tech, Cornell, Duke, and Cal Poly. PM if you wanna know how the visits to some of these went.

While you obviously know that not every University offers Biomedical Engineering as an undergraduate major, you should also keep tabs on if they offer it as a minor and/or concentration. A degree in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Biomechanics can often get you essentially the same career and graduate school opportunities if you want to look at different Universities.

Drexel offers both BME as a major as well as biomechanics as a concentration of MechE. Beware, biomed is very difficult and fast-paced here, and I know multiple students who have switched out of BME into other engineering fields because of it. Even as a BME major you will end up taking several MEM courses.

If you have specific questions about Drexel or MEM, I’d be happy to answer via PM.

Its a little far from home for you, and it is a post-graduate diploma (actually, by the time you could sign up it would be an MSc. program) but you might kind of like it on this side of the 49th.

Check out

BCIT also has a good 2 year diploma leading to a 4 year degree in robotics.


I’m a senior and i’m looking into bioengineering as a major. It turns out Johns Hopkins University and UCSD have the 2 best programs in the country

I’m currently an Aeronautical/Mechanical Engineering freshman at RPI. The core engineering program is the same for freshman, so I can help a little

  1. I am going to look at RPI, Drexel, UMD, and BC. If anyone has gone to these colleges, what are they like? How was your experience?

I like RPI. This is a pretty broad question, so I’ll give you some pretty broad answers. Anything more specific feel free, PM me.

The classes aren’t too bad. If you keep on top of things, it should go relatively smoothly. I have AP credit for Calc, Chem, & Physics, but my friends who are taking them are doing pretty well, and they seem pretty standard There are lots of clubs for the engineering types (I’m currently in Solar Car, Design/Build/Fly (we design/build/fly model airplanes for competition), and E-club (open access to the electronics build lab, currently involved in a high altitude weather balloon project). The food is pretty good for mass dining hall food (significantly better than the food was at my boarding high school). Troy is a sketchy town, no way around it. On campus, however, is perfectly safe. Public Safety does a great job.

  1. Does anyone have colleges that you would like to recommend, that have Biomed. Engineering as a major?

  2. Any ideas of classes that I should take in senior year?

I assume this is senior year in high school? If you’re in the position to do so, taking AP Calc BC, AP Physics C, and AP Chemistry is a huge help. It essentially knocks out most of your freshman year, letting you do things you’re interested in much faster. At the start of my sophmore year, I’ll be taking exclusively junior year classes in my major. Doing all 3 at once, might be a stretch, I took Calc BC & Chem as a junior, and Physics C as a senior. Be sure you actually get a good understanding of the material. RPI requires a 4 or a 5 for credit, but if you feel like you don’t get a very solid understanding of the material, take it over again in college.

This is the program for Biomedical Engineers at RPI

If you don’t have AP credits, then just take the hardest physics, math, and chemistry that you can.

Hope that helps!

I would recommend you do work in mechanical engineering and/or controls, with as many electives as possible in physics, biology, and anatomy. While you do need a good understanding of the human body, you have to be able to replicate the muscles, joints, and nerves with mechanisms - and you need a deep understanding of mechanical design to do that elegantly.

If you want to see some really interesting stuff, check out iWalk (who recently got $20M in venture funding for some seriously amazing robotic prosthetics), or Hugh Herr’s website from the MIT Media Lab. Look at the sort of work that’s been done there, the background of the people who’ve worked with him, the background of the people at iWalk, and the job descriptions for companies that do the sort of thing you’re interested in. That may give you a better idea of what you need for this field.

I am a Senior at RPI, dual majoring in Computer Systems Engineering and Computer Science.

  1. I am going to look at RPI, Drexel, UMD, and BC. If anyone has gone to these colleges, what are they like? How was your experience?

Like I said, I go to RPI now and I love it. Classes are tough, but that is a given for any of the big engineering schools.

The two biggest criticisms I hear about RPI are complaints about Troy and that every one is anti-social. Now in my 4th year here I don’t think either of these are valid complaints. First, Troy is not that bad, the area around RPI is fine, I have always felt safe here, this is my 3rd year living off campus and I have never had a problem. Down town is not that bad either, the City is rally starting to revive the area and between Troy Night Out and the Farmers Market they have some cool city wide events. That being said, and going along with Ian’s description of Troy being sketchy, I would say that I would not reccomend walking through South Troy at 2am alone, but I would not reccoment walking through any city at 2am alone. I regularly walk to and from campus, and other apartments at night and have never been botherd by anyone.

The claim that RPI is anti-social is absolutely false. Surelike anyengineering school there are kids who only leave their rooms to go to class and then go straight back to play WoW. However there are also tons of activities on campus, there are Engineering and Gaming clubs like the ones Ian mentioned. But there are also Sports clubs and other things that can help to give you a break from all engineering all the time. Personally, I play Rugby for RPI and also work on FIRST robotics and the Battle Bots Team. If anything RPI is balanced. Also if you have heard of the ratio (of guys to girls) it really isn’t as bad a advertised, when you factor out allof the kids who never go out the Ratio evens up.

  1. Does anyone have colleges that you would like to recommend, that have Biomed. Engineering as a major?

  2. Any ideas of classes that I should take in senior year?

Any Science and math classes will help, even if you can’t get credit for them having the background knowlege will help you keep up when you take them in College

I agree that a more general Engineering major will get equivalent if not more career options than a specific BME major.

In Texas, UT-Austin and Rice University have very prestigious bio-medical undergraduate programs. Rice is located next to the largest medical research center in the world. Texas Medical Center - Wikipedia

From the left coast, north quadrant…

The University of Washington has a BioengineeringDept, and an associated Neurobotics Laboratory. I know of several Pacific Northwest FIRST’ers that have spent summer internships at the lab.

I appreciate the help everyone. If anyone can PM me their experiences when visiting Engineering Colleges, that would be great. I also took a look at a list of some colleges with my mother and my brother.
We narrowed it down to…
-Drexel, NJIT, RPI, Rutgers, Clemson, Univ North Carolina, UConn, Stony-Brook Univ, Penn State, SUNY at Binghamton, WPI, Lehigh, and Univ Rhode Island.
If anyone had any experiences with any of these colleges, please PM me.

Im actually a junior this year. I plan on taking AP physics and AP calc AB (maybe BC) next year.

When I was at the University of Rhode Island, I spent my first 2 years in the Biomedical Engineering program. If interested, I could put you in contact with someone that completed the program. I changed out of Biomedical, not because I didn’t like the program, but because I became really interested in URI’s Ocean Engineering program. I know they also have a dual degree program that combines Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, which is something to look into. Something to think about is availability of majors if you’re not 100% sure of what you want. That’s what I liked about URI over smaller schools like WPI…if I decided to change majors, there were plenty of options.

It sounds like you have a lot of great schools in mind. Send me a message if you would like me to give you a contact.

Good luck with your decisions ahead!


I was floored by the quality of RPI’s programs when I visited, but one thing that I absolutely hated was the demographics there. Yea its RPI and there’s bound to be “nerdy” kids, but it wasn’t right for me in terms of social activity on campus. Male:Female ratio is a bummer, but luckily there’s an all girls school close by.

Keep in mind what type of social setting you want in college and visit for a full weekend if you can. I did this for RPI and I realized I would love the course work, but I probably wouldn’t fit into the campus life all that well. (Then again, we hung out with freshmen…what’d they know anyway right?) On the other hand there’s schools like U Illinois that are awesome in the academic and social setting (being a Big 10 helps). Same goes for Penn State, Lehigh, etc.


I would not directly go for the interdisciplinary degree right off the bat. Get a degree in electrical engineering degree. Why electrical engineering? Its much more versatile than a mechanical engineering degree in terms of being able to do biomedical engineering with it.