Medical Engineering Degree Programs with Course and Training Info

Graduate degrees in medical engineering provide students with the knowledge and skill needed to advance healthcare. Students focus on such scientific studies as biology, epidemiology, and pathophysiology, while also real-world experience at applying what they have learned in school.

Essential Information

Medical engineering integrates engineering skills with medical activities and knowledge of the human body as it functions in various states. The study of medical engineering is focused on advancing healthcare. Medical engineering degree programs emphasize topics such as cell biology and epidemiology. They are designed to prepare students for engineering, consulting or research positions. Programs are available at the master's and doctoral degree levels, such as those described below.

  • Program Levels in Medical Engineering: Master's degree in medical engineering; Ph.D. in medical engineering.
  • Prerequisites: A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for a master's degree; a master's degree in medical engineering is required for a Ph.D.
  • Program Length: A master's degree takes two years; a Ph.D. takes five to seven years.
  • Other Requirements: A Ph.D. requires extensive research projects.

Master's Degree in Medical Engineering

A master's degree in medical engineering is generally geared towards engineering professionals. The program endeavors to instruct them in the fields of medicine and biology in order to design, develop and test healthcare products and technologies.

Students applying for a master's degree program in medical engineering must have received their bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Some schools may require professional engineering experience. Certain tests with minimum scores may be required. Within the application, students may need to include a personal statement, an academic statement of purpose and a curriculum vitae.

Medical engineering program coursework focuses on understanding current healthcare science in order to develop new technologies through research and laboratory work. Some medical engineering master's courses include:

  • Designing a medical device
  • Cell biology
  • Commercialization of a medical device
  • Biosensors
  • Epidemology
  • Biocompatiblity and biomaterials

Doctoral Degree

A medical engineering Ph.D. takes 5-7 years and seeks to train students as engineers or physical scientists while providing an extensive knowledge of medical sciences. These programs are often extensions of master's degree programs. Doctoral students often take classes with students receiving their master's degree, but with a complement core of electives and research courses focused on a specific area assigned or decided on with a faculty adviser. Doctoral students graduate with a detailed understanding of the healthcare industry, which prepares them for academic or industrial careers related to medical technology.

Students should have already received their master's degree in medical engineering or have applied to a joint master's and doctoral program with the intention of receiving their Ph.D. in medical engineering. Doctoral candidates should also be prepared for extensive research projects and have a desire to compete at the very top of the medical engineering field.

Coursework is dedicated to preparing doctoral candidates to work in research, laboratory work and academics. Courses taken by doctoral students include the following:

  • Medical engineering frontiers
  • Human Pathology
  • Biomedical systems
  • Clinical medicine
  • Clinical experience
  • Pathophysiology

Popular Careers

Most graduates of master's programs in medical engineering go on to work as engineers in the medical or biomedical field, developing new technologies. Popular career options for graduates of medical engineering master's programs include:

  • Medical engineer
  • Medical engineering researcher
  • Medical engineering assistant professor
  • Medical engineer sales and marketing person
  • Technical advisor
  • Consultant
  • Technical writer

Most Ph.D. students in all fields of academia prepare for careers in research and professorships with medical engineering being no different. The highest positions in medical engineering involve teaching, research and development, all of which are the responsibilities of many college professors. Some careers are as follows:

  • Professor of medical engineering
  • Medical engineering postdoctoral research fellow
  • Biomedical-clinical engineering manager

Employment Prospects and Salary Info

Employment opportunities for biomedical engineers were projected to grow 27% between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is much faster than average, and growth may be largely due to heightened demand for biomedical equipment. The median salary for this occupation was $86,950 as of 2014, per the BLS.

Training Information

Training for medical engineering involves actually working with technologies in a real world setting along side faculty. Mentored research opportunities help students develop their skills. In addition, training allows students to gain an in-depth knowledge of various disciplines (i.e. computers, probability theory or mathematical modeling) essential to their future careers.

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