Biomedical Engineering: What to Expect
Biomedical Engineering majors at the University of South Carolina will benefit from challenging coursework, hands-on laboratory experiences, and distinguished faculty. As a Biomedical Engineering major, you will develop the ability to identify, formulate, and solve open-ended problems at the interface of engineering and medicine using skills acquired in mathematics; biological, chemical, and physical sciences; and engineering. You will also learn how to communicate technical material, function on a multi-disciplinary team, demonstrate professional and ethical responsibility, continue along a path of lifelong learning, and recognize economic, social, and global issues related to the profession. Biomedical Engineering is a highly focused interdisciplinary program on the improvement of human health. While at USC, you will enjoy courses with hands-on laboratory components as well as a senior capstone design sequence, during which you will work on problems defined by doctors or biomedical engineering industries. You will also be encouraged to get involved with research opportunities to enhance your educational experience while at the University. The Biomedical Engineering major at USC is a new and growing program, having graduated its first class of students in 2010.
The following courses fulfill some of the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Biomedical Engineering:
- Chemical Engineering Fluid Mechanics
- Professional Development and Ethics in Biomedical Engineering I, II & III
- Mathematical Modeling in Biomedical Engineering I
- Introduction to Biomechanics
- Introduction to Biomaterials
- Biomedical Circuits and Systems
- Transport in Biological Systems
- Biomedical Measurement and Instrumentation
- Capstone Design of Biomedical Engineering Systems I & II
There is a 5 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Enhancing your Experience
Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can compliment any academic program or major. Biomedical Engineering students have engaged in study abroad semesters at universities in various locations including Thailand, Australia, Ireland, and England. Study abroad allows students to appreciate the role that biomedical engineering plays in the global marketplace and the manner in which biomedical engineering problems might differ, or remain the same, between cultures. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Website for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Biomedical Engineering student, you can get involved in the Biomedical Engineering Society and Theta Tau. Joining these organizations will give you the opportunity to interact with biomedical engineers practicing in industry, attend a research-based and a career-based conference, present research findings to a national audience, and engage in community service activities. You may also wish to get involved in annual industrial internships at companies such as Phillips Corporation and PharmaTech. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. The Biomedical Engineering program at the University offers qualified students the opportunity to enter into an accelerated BS/MS program, where they can complete requirements for both a bachelor and master’s degrees in five years. Biomedical Engineering majors have often entered into dental, pharmacy and medical school.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Dr. Abdel Bayoumi has been twice awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. Dr. Michael Matthews received the Golden Key Honor Society for Creative Integration of Research and Undergraduate Education and Dr. Melissa Moss was awarded an “Excellence in Teaching” award by the USC Mortar Board Society.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Scholarships that incoming freshman are eligible for include the Cassidy Fae Pendley Memorial Scholarship in Engineering; Engineering Faculty, Student, and Alumni Scholarship; Harold S. Wrenn Bicentennial Scholarship; and the Michelin North America, Inc., Endowed Scholarship. The College of Engineering and Computing offers more than 60 additional scholarships each year.
Living and Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience. These communities provide you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. First-year students in the College of Engineering and Computing may choose to live in the Engineering and Computing Community. Students will benefit from increased interaction with faculty and go on excursions to places such as Bose and BMW’s plants in South Carolina.
Internship and Research Opportunities
Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.
As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The USC Career Center operates a satellite office in the College of Engineering and Computing providing convenient access for students to obtain career guidance, as well as to participate in employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.
Biomedical Engineering major Nicholas Metrakos was drawn to the Biomedical Engineering program at USC because of its interdisciplinary approach to analyzing and solving current medical challenges. As a Biological Engineering major, Nicholas has had the opportunity to conduct cancer-related microfluidics research with Dr. Guiren Wang and fellow undergraduate students. He has also had the opportunity to travel to regional and national conferences to present his work and learn about other advancements in the field. He furthered his research experience by traveling to California to participate in the Bioengineering summer research experience at the University of California at Berkeley. Nicholas plans to pursue a PhD following graduation and work with biotech start-up companies. Through the courses and opportunities at Carolina, Nicholas believes he has been given the technical tools to accomplish his future career goals.
Biomedical Engineering majors typically work in manufacturing industries in the design, development, and manufacturing of medical devices and procedures, pharmaceuticals, and biologics. Graduates may also choose to work for a hospital in the selection of medical equipment or assembly of custom devices for individual patient use. Other career opportunities include working for federal agencies such as the FDA or the US Patent and Trademark Office, establishing and enforcing testing and safety standards for biomedical products. In 2006, the average starting salary for a biomedical engineer was $51,110. An engineer’s salary will increase between 50 percent and 100 percent within the first five to ten years of employment.
You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.
The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach
Kaleigh Lindeman graduated from the first Biomedical Engineering class in May 2010. After graduation, Kaleigh put her skills to use as a student at UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. Her degree helped prepare her for the challenging curriculum in medical school. During her first year, her volunteer experiences included serving as a Medical Mentor to help undergraduate students at UNC prepare for medical school. She also volunteered in the Pediatric Playroom at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, where she spent evenings playing with the children who had extended hospital stays. These experiences led her to become a co-leader for the Pediatric Playroom for the upcoming year. She was also elected by her classmates to be an MS2 Advocate, in which her main duties are to organize and lead orientation, and serve as a mentor to incoming first year medical students. She is currently working at UNC as a Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Scholar. She received a grant from the American Federation for Aging Research to continue working on a research project titled, “Urinary Incontinence and Overactive Bladder in Patients with Heart Failure.” In the future, she is interested in becoming a radiologist. She feels that her understanding of CT and MRI technology, which she has from her background in Biomedical Engineering, will serve her well in this field.
About the College of Engineering and Computing
The College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina is composed of five departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The College offers nine undergraduate degree programs. The College of Engineering and Computing has been undergoing an unprecedented growth in research and scholarship and its faculty excel in a variety of areas including Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, and Atomic Level Engineering. The College also offers several options for graduate studies including a Certificate of Graduate Studies, Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering.
Points of Pride
- A national report issued on September 28, 2010 shows that USC and the College of Engineering and Computing are home to some of the South’s best doctoral programs including Chemical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South), Electrical Engineering (ranked 7th nationally and first in the South), and Mechanical Engineering (ranked 7th in the South).