(College of Engineering)
Steven George, Ph.D., Chairperson of the Department
Soichiro Yamada, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Education
Department Office. 2303 Genome & Biomedical Sciences Facility; 530-752-1033; https://bme.ucdavis.edu
The Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Major
The Biomedical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; see http://www.abet.org.
Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge of engineering principles with the biomedical sciences. It is a very diverse field with biomedical engineers working in areas ranging from medical imaging to regenerative medicine. Some major contributions of Biomedical Engineering include the left ventricular assist device (LVAD), artificial joints, hemodialysis, bioengineered skin, coronary stents, computed tomography (CT), and flexible endoscopes. Students who choose biomedical engineering are interested in contributing to human health and quality of life, but do not routinely interact directly with patients, as do physicians. Due to the need to complete additional coursework beyond BME degree requirements, this major is not a primary route for pre-medical studies.
The mission of the BS degree program of the Department of Biomedical Engineering is to combine exceptional teaching with state-of-the-art research for the advancement of technologies and computational techniques that meet medical and societal challenges.
The educational objectives of our program are that a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering should prepare students to:
1) Be successfully engaged in their chosen career through engineering practice, academic or clinical research, healthcare, education, service, or related activities, or through pursuit of graduate or professional degrees; and 2) Contribute effectively to society through responsible professional practice, fostering of cross-disciplinary collaboration, generation of innovative solutions to problems, and continuous pursuit of knowledge for personal and technological advancement.
The biomedical engineering curriculum has been designed to provide a solid foundation in mathematics, life and physical sciences, and engineering, and to provide sufficient flexibility in the upper division requirements to encourage students to explore specializations within the field. Our instructional program is designed to impart knowledge of contemporary issues at the forefront of biomedical engineering research. Employment opportunities exist in industry, hospitals, academic research and teaching institutes, national laboratories, or government regulatory agencies. The major also provides excellent grounding in the skills necessary for professional or graduate-level studies in biological and health sciences. Exclusive of General Education units, the minimum number of units required for the Biomedical Engineering degree is 157.
For information about graduate degree options, see Biomedical Engineering (Graduate Group).
Areas of Specialization
As Biomedical engineering is a broad field, specializing in a subfield of engineering can provide more in-depth expertise in a focus area. Through the judicious selection of upper division engineering and science electives, students can create this depth in one of our suggested areas of specialization or in an area of the student's choosing. One of the strengths of the UC Davis program is the flexibility to design one's own emphasis of study. These specializations are neither required nor degree-notated.
Biomechanics. This is a broad subfield that includes orthopedic/rehabilitation engineering (including the design of wheelchairs and prosthetics) and the study of mechanical forces produced by biological systems. This subfield helps us understand the fluid dynamics of blood flow and the forces acting on tissue in the artery allowing us to design better cardiovascular interventional devices. This field involves a more intensive study of mechanics, dynamics and thermodynamics.
Cellular & Tissue. The cellular and tissue specialization applies biomedical engineering principles to control behavior at the gene, protein, cell, and tissue level. Engineers in this area work with cellular therapies, protein production, gene therapy, tissue engineering and regeneration, and biomaterials development. This subfield draws heavily from the chemical and biological sciences and can involve studying biomedical transport, natural or synthetic biomaterials, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
Imaging. Visualizing anatomical structure, physiological processes, metabolic activity and molecular expression in living tissues is essential for the diagnosis of disease, development of new therapeutics, evaluation of the response to therapeutics, and guidance of interventional procedures. An imaging biomedical engineer can develop instruments for imaging, create algorithms for three-dimensional reconstruction of imaging data, and generate new contrast agents to enhance image quality. Our program has a particular strength in molecular imaging, which involves detecting molecular-scale events within living systems. Depending upon your area of interest, the imaging specialization can require further study in electronics, signal processing, chemistry or computer programming.
Medical Devices. Biomedical engineers can develop devices, instruments and implants ranging from the nano- to macro-scale that can be used in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease. This involves combining technologies like pharmaceuticals, electronics and mechanical devices to develop combination medical treatments.
Systems & Synthetic Biology. In systems and synthetic biology, students apply engineering principles to better understand, design and build biological systems at the cellular level. They integrate cellular, biochemical, genetic, electromechanical and computational approaches in their work, which can be applied to health and other applications. Systems and synthetic biology specialists can build engineered or artificial cells for fighting cancer or antibiotic resistance, improve tissue engineering and drug production approaches and study how complex and dynamic molecular systems control cellular behavior.
Pre-Medical Student. As engineering is playing an increasing role in the practice of medicine, students can focus on the intersection of engineering and medicine for future careers as physician-scientists. Please note that to meet admission requirements for medical school, students must complete extra coursework in addition to the listed Department of Biomedical Engineering curriculum requirements.
The Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering. Doctoral and master's degrees in Biomedical Engineering are offered through the interdisciplinary Graduate Group in Biomedical Engineering. Please see http://www.bme.ucdavis.edu and Biomedical Engineering (Graduate Group).