Welcome to the Biomedical Engineering Option!
There has been considerable growth of the North American and world biomedical and biotechnology sectors in recent years. The aging population is increasingly putting pressure on health care services, demanding improvements in health care efficiency, as well as novel engineered medical devices and procedures. The Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Option gives students a solid start in this fascinating field.
Whether you want to work in industry, go on to graduate school in biomedical engineering, or head off to medical school, the Mech Biomedical Option can open doors for you. In the option, a sound foundation in mechanical engineering is complemented with training and practical experience in biomedical and biomechanical engineering.
The specialized skills, explicit training, and documented interest provided by the program will make students more competitive when applying to biomedical engineering graduate programs, or when entering the work force. The explicit concentration in biomedical engineering may also help those who wish to enter medicine.
For more information about the Mechanical Engineering Option in Biomedical Engineering, please download the Biomedical Option Brochure , see the links at the left, or contact the Undergraduate Secretary.
A Comparison between the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Biomedical Options
The Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Biomedical options have similar academic structures and have similar goals within their respective programs. Both options aim to add a concentration in Biomedical Engineering without eroding the strong foundation in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering inherent to each department’s general program. The main difference in the options is that the Electrical Engineering Option aims to provide a concentration of study in electrical and electronic applications in Biomedical Engineering while the Mechanical option focuses on biomedical engineering applications in mechanical engineering.
The Mechanical Engineering Biomedical option subtracts three courses form the third and fourth year curricula and adds four core courses as well as providing biomedical engineering focus to the design project courses in third and fourth years. The Electrical Engineering option adds biomedical content to the existing project and laboratory courses in year two, deletes three courses and three electives, and adds six new courses in biomedical engineering plus a biomedical engineering focus to the design project courses in years three and four. The Mechanical Engineering option requires the students to take biomedical courses for three out of four of their required fourth year technical electives while the electrical option students have no particular biomedical engineering requirement associated with their remaining technical electives.
The most substantial differences between the two options mirror the differences between the fields of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering themselves. Electrical Engineering students study electrical and electronic devices and circuits, electromagnets and microcomputers as they are used in medical devices such as physiological monitoring devices (ECG, EEG, respirators, blood pressure), electrode designs, and signal analysis such as frequency domain analysis, filter design, and sampling theory as it relates to biomedical devices and problems. Electrical Engineering Biomedical option students also learn about the design, optimization and use of medical imaging devices such as ultrasound, x-ray, computed tomography (CAT scan) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines. Electrical engineers are also central in the design and certification of implantable electronic and electrical devices such as pacemakers, external prosthetic devices such as powered hand, arm and lower leg devices, and micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) devices such as for bio-sensing and bio-nanotechnology.
In contrast, Mechanical biomedical engineering learn how the principles of solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, dynamics and kinematics and mechanical design are applied in the design of implantable and external biomedical devices and in the study of biological tissues. Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Option students learn about the mechanical properties (strength, stiffness, viscoelastic response etc.) of biological tissues such as bone, ligaments, tendons, muscle and intervertebral discs in the spine. General mechanical engineering techniques that apply to the study of solid mechanics are brought to bear on this study of biological materials. Mechanical Engineering students also study how orthopaedic implants such as total hip or knee replacements or bone fracture fixation pins are designed and how they are attached to and incorporated into the human skeleton. In the fluid realm Mechanical Engineers study the function of the heart and circulatory system, the joints and joint lubrication and the lungs and respiration. Safety devices such as helmets, seat belts, ski bindings and airbags are also devices that are primarily mechanical in operation and that can be studied in the Mechanical Engineering Biomedical Option course.
Both options include material on human anatomy and physiology, the regulation of medical devices in Canada, ethics and working in multi-disciplinary environments. This document not meant to list every topic that either type of option student will learn nor every topic that would be considered the electrical or mechanical part of biomedical engineering. Both areas are very broad and there are many areas of overlap. However, it is hoped that this description will give the student that is comparing the two options a general overview of the differences between the two academic programs and between the two disciplines themselves. For further information please contact the director of the Biomedical Option in either department.
Requirements for Medical School
It should be noted that the Biomedical Engineering Option in Mechanical Engineering does not fulfill all the academic requirements needed for admission to most medical schools. Students who are interested in applying to medical schools with a background in engineering should look into the Pre-Med Alternative Path . Note that the Path may be combined with the Option if you wish.
Last reviewed 12/15/2009 10:12:28 AM