A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level
engineering jobs. Unlike many other engineering specialties, a graduate
degree may be recommended or required for some entry-level jobs in
College graduates with a degree in a physical science or
mathematics occasionally may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially
in specialties in high demand. Most engineering degrees are granted in
electrical, electronics, mechanical, chemical, civil, or materials
engineering. However, engineers trained in one branch may work in related
branches. For example, some biological engineers also have training in
mechanical engineering. This flexibility allows employers to meet staffing
needs in new technologies and specialties in which engineers may be in
short supply. It also allows engineers to shift to fields with better
employment prospects or to those that more closely match their interests.
At the college level, the student usually selects
engineering as a field of study, then chooses a discipline concentration
within engineering. Some students will major in bioengineering or
biomedical engineering, while others may major in a traditional field such
as electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering, with a specialty in
Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an
engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and science.
Most programs include a design course, sometimes accompanied by a computer
or laboratory class or both.
Admissions requirements for undergraduate engineering
schools include a solid background in mathematics (algebra, geometry,
trigonometry, and calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, and physics),
and courses in English, social studies, humanities, and computer and
information technology. Bachelor's degree programs in engineering typically
are designed to last 4 years, but many students find that it takes between
4 and 5 years to complete their studies. In a typical 4-year college
curriculum, the first 2 years are spent studying mathematics, basic
sciences, introductory engineering, humanities, and social sciences. In the
last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, usually with a concentration
in one branch.
Internships and Coops provide students with a great
opportunity to gain real-world experience while still in school. Click here for more information.
High School Prep
The high school preparation for bioengineering is the same
as for any other engineering discipline, except that some life science
course work should also be included.
Alternate Degree Paths
Some engineering schools and 2-year colleges have agreements
whereby the 2-year college provides the initial engineering education, and
the engineering school automatically admits students for their last 2
years. In addition, a few engineering schools have arrangements whereby a
student spends 3 years in a liberal arts college studying pre-engineering
subjects and 2 years in an engineering school studying core subjects, and
then receives a bachelor's degree from each school. Some colleges and
universities offer 5-year master's degree programs. Some 5-year or even
6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study and practical work,
permitting students to gain valuable experience and to finance part of
Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty
positions and many research and development programs, but is not required
for the majority of entry-level engineering jobs. Many engineers obtain
graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology
and broaden their education. Many high-level executives in government and
industry began their careers as engineers. It is important to select
a degree program that has been accredited.
Those interested in a career in Bioengineering/Biomedical
should consider reviewing engineering programs that are accredited by ABET,
Inc. If you choose to attend a program that is not ABET accredited, you
should be sure that the university is regionally accredited.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics and the Whitaker