Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Career in Biomedical Engineering.

  1. Apr 18, 2010 #1
    Hi everyone. I will get my BSc in physics next year and recently I started looking for possible further career moves. At the moment, biomedical engineering looks like a great choice. My question is, which would be better, to find a university with such programme and hope to get a scholarship from it or to try to get to a certain company, which has its own curriculum, probably with a stress on practice. Any thoughts are welcome.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I suppose it really depends on what you want to do in the field. With only an undergraduate degree going into industry you could end up doing sales or marketing or maybe some development, or technical support or service, but to get into the research side of things it will really require a graduate degree of some sort.
  4. Apr 20, 2010 #3
    Thanks for reply. I actually didn't mean to start working with a BSc but to study additional 2-3 years in some company. However, one negative side might be that you don't get a MSc diploma afterwards, maybe just some certificate and so such studies would have value only at this particular company.
  5. Apr 20, 2010 #4
    What sort of a scheme are you talking about? Do you mean a graduate training programme?

    Either way, when you're with a company, you're working for that company. No-one is going to employ you in something like this and have you training for 2-3 years - and training for a company is nothing at all like university. You would find some sort of training scheme, but it will be entirely focussed on whatever the company themselves do and would not be classes. On a graduate training programme, for instance, you might spend a couple of months working in each of the different parts of the business - this is your training. All this unless you're talking about some company initiative that I'm not aware of.

    In any case, if you can afford it and you're sure you're interested, I would go for the Msc. I graduated as a physicist and made the move to a sort of biomedical engineering through post-graduate study - I found that I really had to have this time to learn the language, so to speak. Learning the basics of biology and a little bit about different areas in bioengineering will be good preparation for entry to the field, as well as giving you an idea of what you might want to go into more specifically.
  6. May 23, 2010 #5
    Is there alot of physics and Maths in biomedical engineering?
  7. May 24, 2010 #6
    There can be. The field is incredibly diverse, there are many different things you can work on that would all be considered biomedical engineering. Some will be highly mathematical and involve modelling, fluid dynamics or something else to aid design. Others can be more chemistry/biology orientated and involve growing cells in the lab.
  8. May 24, 2010 #7
    Biomedical enginieering is a great field because it is interesting, the work has a direct impact on the health of people and it is realtively high paying. I own a medical imaging company and know that Ph.D. s in BME are tough to find. Most students graduating with a strong physics background are prepared to start in the field without any focused training in the medical fields. In fact, Siemens prefers a strong general physics background only, without prior medical so that you can learn the "Siemens way". I usually seek Ph.D. with a good background in general physics and a dissertation in a particular branch of medical imaging. The BS is not very helpful, but the Masters is enough to get in the door. Ph.D. is ideal.

    Here is what I recommend for course work:

    1) Thermo/statistical mechanics. Most of medical imaging is optimization problems, maximum likelyhood, bayesian analysis, etc. Good background in statistical methods is helpful.

    2) E&M. MRI is one of the fastest growing areas with most centers moving to 3 Tesla magnets. The quantum mechanics of spin 1/2 systems is also important.

    3) CT. Being comfortable with non-cartesian coordinate systems is helpful in cone-beam reconstruction problems. Also the physics of photon absorption-re-emission is helpful.

    4) Statistics for data analysis. T-tests, standard deviations, chi-square, population analysis, etc.

    Radiation safety is hugely important. If you can do an intership at a facility the routinely handles radiation to become familiar with how to protect yourself and the public from radiation, that is great. Any hospital that provides radiation therapy will have a staff physicist for therapy planning. Also many cities in the US have commercial cyclotrons. Look up "PETNET" on the internet for some of their facilities.

    Good luck!
  9. May 24, 2010 #8
    Some great programs in Medical Imaging are: Duke, UMASS (degree from Amherst, training in Worcester), University of Utah, Stanford, UCLA, Univesity of Wisconsin- Madison (MRI), Northwestern, University of Texas, Emory.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook