From UBC Wiki

Below are frequently asked questions and answers relating to the BMEG program.


What is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical Engineering brings together engineering, medicine, life sciences, computer science and mathematics to address issues affecting human health. Widespread use of quantitative approaches to fundamental problems in life sciences and medicine, together with advances in materials science, computational modelling, nanotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence permits innovative, improved, cost-effective innovations in health care.

What are examples of the typical types of work or tasks that someone in Biomedical Engineering does?

Biomedical Engineering graduates pursue careers in a wide range of fields – from health care, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to biomedical contexts in government, non-profits, consulting and finance. In addition, it is an excellent foundation for graduate studies or professional degrees in medicine, engineering, pharmacy, law or business. 


What are the typical courses that someone in Biomedical Engineering takes?

Biomedical Engineering consists of core courses common to all Biomedical Engineering students. These courses provide a solid foundation in Engineering, Biology, Math, Chemistry, and design. Courses include traditional, online and “mixed” instruction, and hands-on studios, laboratory and design work.

What is a typical course load in Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical Engineering is an intensive program. The typical work load in Biomedical Engineering is about 20 credits per term, or six to 7 courses per term.


What is the difference between streams and specializations in Biomedical Engineering?

The Biomedical Engineering program used to offers four streams for students to customize their degree to their one area of interest area. Students take common core courses for their second year that introduce them to the four streams, followed by specialization an application process in one of the streams starting in third year – biomechanics and biomaterials, cellular and molecular bioengineering, biomedical systems and signals, or biomedical informatics. Students do take a limited number of common core courses, common to all BME students, in their third and fourth years in addition to stream-specific core and technical elective courses.

Effective 2023W, BMEG is introducing Specializations to 3rd year students where they will have the flexibility to pick their own technical electives based on their own interest allowing for more customization. They can pick and choose courses previously limited to other streams as their technical electives. Students are still expected to take their core courses but have more customization to their specialization. Students can find out more on our courses page.

What makes BME different from the biomedical options in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering?

While the Biomedical options in Mechanical and Electrical engineering offer a good introduction to biomedical engineering, the Biomedical Engineering degree provides both a broad curriculum to supply the biomedical technology sector as well as comprehensive preparation needed for development, commercialization and research careers. Students will gain more detailed background and skills in biology, human anatomy and physiology and be able to apply these in engineering design contexts and to solve engineering problems.

Further, students enrolled in a BME option are accredited as engineers according to their home degree (i.e. as Electrical or Mechanical engineers); whereas students in the BME program will be accredited as Biomedical Engineers by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).

What is Cellular Bioengineering?

Cellular Bioengineering applies engineering principles of design, analysis and methodology to cellular and molecular biology for the development of cell-based therapeutics in regenerative medicine and drug delivery. Students will use biology, chemistry and engineering to discover how essential molecular level interactions can benefit human health. Examples of cellular bioengineering range from gene therapy, synthetic biology, tissue engineered organs, protein engineering and nucleic acid engineering.

What is Biomechanics & Biomaterials?

Biomechanics & Biomaterials focuses on the application of principles of classical mechanics to problems in biological systems and views the body as an engineered structure. Students will learn the role mechanics plays in both injury and disease and use this knowledge to develop better prevention and treatment approaches. Biomechanics and biomaterials play a vital role in the design of novel safety devices, surgical implants and surgical instrumentation for organs, soft tissues, hard tissues and articulating joints by addressing how natural and synthetic materials interact with biological systems.

What is Biomedical Informatics?

Biomedical Informatics involves the application of computationally-intensive analysis and statistical techniques to increase the understanding and utility of biological and medical data and focuses on using data and analytics to understand and decode highly complex biological processes. This stream explores the use of patient health care information to understand disease and pathophysiology, and to improve outcomes. Key application areas include pattern recognition, data mining, machine learning algorithms, drug design and gene finding.

What is Biomedical Systems & Signals?

Biomedical Systems & Signals provides an understanding of the fundamental processes that produce and transform signals in biological systems, and the method by which these signals are transformed to generate information. Students will explore imaging and electronic sensing technology and analyze the measurements that supply clinicians with empirical evidence to enable informed decisions. Key application areas include X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, MRI, ventilation and cardiac function sensing, neural engineering and wearable sensors.


How does Co-op work with the program?

Undergraduates can apply for the Engineering Co-op Program at the beginning of their second year of their Engineering degree. The year-round program entails one spring and one fall work term as well as two to three summer work terms. Participation in the program will require an extra year of study for undergraduates to finish their BASc.

The BME Co-op schedule differs slightly from the regular Co-op schedule:

More information on the Engineering Co-op Program is available on the website here.

What types of industries and jobs does someone in Biomedical Engineering work in?

Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering students take several different pathways upon graduation. These primarily include industry, Medical School, research, graduate/advanced/professional degrees and entrepreneurial activities.

For those that go on to employment, biomedical engineers work in biotechnology companies, hospitals, education and medical institutions, industrial and government research facilities, government and regulatory agencies, and biomedical device manufacturing. They design, develop, and evaluate biological and health systems in medical facilities or industrial research laboratories. This translates into careers working with artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and healthcare management. They analyze problems within the medical environment and coordinate with other professionals to design solutions that improve patient care, health and quality of life in the community, and increase caregiver efficacy.

Student Experience

What is it like to be a student in Biomedical Engineering?

“As a second year BMEG student, I’m enjoying the breadth of content we get to learn. So far, I’m taking cell biology, software design, thermodynamics, biomechanics, and of course, a bunch of math! The program is super interdisciplinary so you get to learn about various aspects of the field and then choose what you want to focus on in later years. We also have a tight-knit community, and I’ve been able to make new friends with my peers and upper year students through our undergraduate events!” - Benjamin, Year 2 BMEG Student.