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BME- Mechanics, Complex Analysis, Thermodynamics, Quantum

  1. Feb 15, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone,
    I'm a biochemistry major hoping to go into BME (ideally PhD). Besides taking a bunch of extra math courses, I made a list of engineering and intermediate level physics classes that grad schools seem to be looking for, and also kind of figured out what courses offered by my school would be a good idea to take. There isn't much engineering guidance at my school, and certainly not BME, so I had a bunch of questions I was wondering if you guys could answer.
    1. A course in classical mechanics (4 cr, offered by the physics dept at my school) vs. engineering mechanics (3 cr, offered the ME dept at a nearby college)- a physics prof at my school thinks the former might even give me a more thorough exposure to the topic. I'm worried about application though.
    2. Mathematics of complex variables- is a new course being offered at my school, sort of as a concession from the math dept to the physics department. The idea is for the students planning on going into to engineering/applied math/physics to have a better working knowledge of application, again. (I'm trying to load up on the applied courses, since I'm most worried about that.) Anyway, should I take it?
    3. Thermodynamics and quantum mechanics- how different are these courses taught as physics compared to physical chemistry? I was advised to take thermo as a physics and quantum as a pchem (I need one pchem for my major anyway). What do you think? Grad schools don't usually stipulate quantum as an incoming prereq, but I figure in case I want to go into imaging it would be a smart idea.
    4. The other more advanced courses I plan on taking- mathematical physics (might be called methods or something like that in other schools), fluid mechanics, and electrical circuits. Does this sound right? Also- what do you think about physiology and molecular biology- as far as the latter, I'm taking biochemistry, so I don't see much point- but physiology might be a good idea.
    Thanks in advance for your input!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2009 #2


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    A lot would depend on what type of research you'd like to do. For medical imaging (e.g. MRI), quantum would definitely be a must and maybe some engineering mechanics/signal processing classes so that you could better understand how the MRI machines are made and the signals are processed (disclaimer: I'm not an engineer so I don't know what info is offered in a lot of engineering classes).

    If you're more interested in the molecular side of things, fluid dynamics, statistical thermodynamics/statistical mechanics, and mathematical modeling courses would be important.

    On the biology side of things, it is generally easier to pick these up in grad school. Since you're taking biochem, you will already have some foundation in biochemistry so that if you want to learn more molecular biology/physiology in grad school, you can take a graduate course at that level. That said, physiology/anatomy courses are very important if you want to do medical imaging (since you need to know about what you want to image).
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