Bioengineering is a relatively new field of study combining the domains of biology, engineering and medicine. What do bioengineers do from day to day? They might assist in the development of modern pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other treatments by leveraging their detailed knowledge of biological systems and applicable technologies. Alternatively, they could also work as medical scientists who perform research on specific diseases and conduct accompanying clinical trials.
Overall, bioengineering – also known as biomedical engineering in some graduate and undergraduate programs – is a wide-reaching discipline, with many applications across the healthcare economy, which, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, totaled $3.3 trillion in 2016. Bioengineering schools offers the essential academic and hands-on preparation for potential careers in a large, rapidly evolving economic sector.
Overview of a typical bioengineering master’s program
A degree in bioengineering, biomedical engineering or a related field is a basic requirement for most employment opportunities in the professions discussed above. An online Master in Bioengineering from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) can further help differentiate candidates by demonstrating their understanding of advanced topics in the field.
Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) students in bioengineering at UCR need to complete 36 total credit-hours for graduation. Of these credits, 16 are general engineering requirements (i.e., for all engineering students, regardless of chosen specialty), while another 16 are concentration-specific classes within the department of bioengineering/biomedical engineering. The latter’s course titles are:
- Engineering Analysis of Physiological Systems.
- Cellular and Molecular Engineering.
- Integration of Computational and Experimental Biology.
- Biotransport Phenomena.
In addition to these classes and the core ones, bioengineering students must also finish a project design project, consisting of four 1-credit courses. This capstone serves as a replacement for a residency, with the flexibility and rigor that is ideal for busy working professionals.
Overall, the program’s design ensures maximum convenience without any compromise in quality. The degree is available in a 100 percent online format that can be finished in as soon as 13 months, quicker than many multi-year master’s tracks. No residency is ever required, and three different start dates are available during each academic year.
Key outcomes of the bioengineering master’s program
As the course requirements reveal, the graduate program in bioengineering helps develop a diverse set of skills in life sciences. Students get in-depth insight into genetics, computational biology and physiological systems. Through the engineering core courses, they also sharpen their technical engineering proficiency and background knowledge through the following broadly focused classes:
- Engineering in the Global Environment
- Technology Innovation and Strategy for Engineers
- Introduction to Systems Engineering.
- Principles of Engineering Management.
Moreover, students learn how to apply what they learn, from general engineering techniques to the ones particular to bioengineering, across the many different environments of the healthcare sector. By the end of the program, they are in prime positions to explore careers advancing the cause of population health.
What does a bioengineering degree translate to, in terms of actual professions? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected strong employment prospects for individuals with credentials in bioengineering, including:
According to the BLS, biomedical engineers are expected to see 7 percent growth in employment between 2016 and 2026 while earning a median salary of more than $85,000, far above the national average. Biomedical engineers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some openings require a graduate credential.
The outlook is even better for medical scientists, who conduct the essential research into health conditions as well as corresponding medicines and treatments. Their median yearly pay is over $80,000 and their total employment should grow 13 percent over the BLS’s measured time frame – faster than the mean for all professions. Medical scientists usually have professional degrees, meaning they earned at least an MS and often a Ph.D. along the way.
Students with master’s degrees in bioengineering are also qualified to work as pharmaceutical engineers, a subset of the broad chemical engineering profession. These engineers oversee clinical trials to verify the efficacy and safety of medicines in developments. Median salary is just below $100,000 and the overall number of positions is set to expand 8 percent from 2016 to 2026.
For all of these options and many others, having a master’s degree along with practical experience is a necessity. Fortunately, the online master’s degree program at UCR goes beyond typical MS tracks by offering an in-depth curriculum that can be completed without having to quit your current job. As a result, you can continue developing your engineering skills both in and outside the classroom.
Why the online MSE from UCR with a specialization in bioengineering is your best option
Medicine is rapidly changing as innovations such as biosimilars and immunotherapies become more prominent. New challenges – such as rises in rates of diabetes, a chronic disease that could affect one-third of Americans by 2050 – demand effective solutions. In this context, biomedical engineers, medical scientists and pharmaceuticals professions are all in high demand, as they stand at the intersection of biology and medicine. Employment opportunities are numerous, but require highly specific education and training.
The MSE track at UCR with a specialization in bioengineering offers this exact preparation. It provides the comprehensive background needed for understanding today’s biggest population health issues and how they can be practically approached. Plus, the flexibility of its online format gives you the freedom to work when and where you prefer, all while getting the same rigorous instruction you would expect from a traditional engineering education.
Are you ready to learn more about the program and advance your opportunities in the biomedical sphere? Visit our main MSE page or the bioengineering specialization page for an overview. Be sure to request our free brochure for additional details.