In focus: Biomedical engineering master’s programs open options

// Biomedical Engineering

Tags: 2019, News, students

Photo of students working on project

Students in Biomedical Engineering 462: Medical Instrumentation construct circuits and take measurements. The course is one students can take to satisfy requirements for either of the department’s accelerated master’s degree programs. Photo: Tom Ziemer.

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Undergraduate students and young professionals looking for either a deeper dive into biomedical engineering or an entrepreneurial approach to the discipline are in luck. The Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has launched two one-year master’s programs in the fall 2019 semester.

Students can choose an accelerated version of the department’s traditional master’s program, minus the research requirements, or opt for a master’s in biomedical innovation, design and entrepreneurship through a partnership with the Wisconsin School of Business.

“I think it’s going to give them more specific, focused, advanced training in an area that matches their career goals, be it entrepreneurship or biomedical engineering,” says Beth Meyerand, professor and associate chair of graduate advising for biomedical engineering.

The department created the offerings based on feedback from students, alumni and companies that recruit biomedical engineering students, such as Medtronic, General Electric and Siemens.

The inherent interdisciplinary nature of the field means undergraduate students must juggle coursework in biomedical engineering, chemical and biological engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and more, depending on their chosen area of focus. But gaining that broad experience can make it challenging to take many advanced biomedical engineering courses. The accelerated master’s program allows students to study topics such as tissue engineering, medical imaging or instrumentation in greater depth.

“This allows them to get that specific training,” says Meyerand, who also sees the accelerated program as an effective forerunner to medical school.

The innovation, design and entrepreneurship option pairs advanced biomedical and other engineering courses with business offerings on topics like intellectual property rights, strategic management and venture creation.

“They already have these fantastic courses in the business school that are related to technology and innovation,” Meyerand says. “This is going to serve our students well who want to go into industry or start their own companies.”

Author: Tom Ziemer