Biomedical Engineering; Hardest Major Ever

This writing actually from, a student asking his/her decision on majoring BME. Below is the best answer that I cited from the web, which most of them are true. Biomedical Engineering is complex subject. We learn everything or lack off (as said in the answer below). Enjoy your reading.BMENOT


Do NOT major in biomedical engineering in college, unless you want to go into biomedical consulting, medical school, or anything that does not actually require you to do real engineering. Nobody told me this when I chose my undergrad major (well my mom told me, but I didn’t believe her). I am telling you now.

I wanted to build medical devices, so I chose a biomedical engineering major. This is a serious career mistake that I am still trying to make up for, nearly 6 years after I made that fateful decision.

Your friends are right. Very few companies (even medical device or pharma) will hire a ‘biomedical engineering’ graduate over an electrical or chemical or mechanical engineer. A BME major cannot design a product, build electronics, or model a process half as well as an ME/EE/ChE major.

As a BME major, I did not even know or learn Maxwell’s equations. For a person who claims to be passionate about medical devices, this is an incredible embarrassment.

Christopher is right. In graduate school, you will find that the meager (if any) real technical skills that you were superficially trained in as a biomedical engineering undergrad will serve you no meaningful purpose, except to expose you as a fraud to your peers who were trained in traditional engineering disciplines and actually know how to build stuff and make things work. You may be able to make up for lost time in the course of your graduate work but you will be stressed and miserable.

Biomedical engineering graduates know a little about everything and nothing about anything. This is essentially career suicide, unless you want to be a consultant, in which case you will be very effective due to your broad perspective.

A BME major teaches you perspective – a strong understanding and instinct for the biomedical industry, what clinicians and patients need, what makes good medical design. This is extremely helpful for a medical student or a consultant in this field. But none of this is useful for a junior engineer or graduate student who simply needs real, concrete skills to execute an idea. No combination of glorious disruptive whims in a BME major’s head can beat a single idea that you can actually realize with your own hands and not just talk about.

It is absolutely true that biomedical engineering requires an extremely broad range of engineering abilities, so there appears to be a rationale for a broad engineering curriculum that a BME major is known for. However, this is the worst possible start for a young budding engineer.

An engineering student should be developing a core proficiency to as advanced a level as possible. Branching out after that as your work requires becomes relatively easy. It is very important to attain an advanced level in something. Anything. Once you miss that short undergraduate window during which you are allowed to learn and grow at your own pace and screw up gently with little consequence, you will find yourself rudely thrown into the deep end of the pool, and if you only know how to dog paddle then you are in big trouble.

If you enjoy biology, take 1-2 more courses in the biology department. If you enjoy chemistry, take 1-2 more chemistry courses. If you enjoy physics/math, take courses. If you enjoy medicine, borrow Robbins and Cotran from the library and try reading the first chapter. BUT DO YOUR CORE TRAINING IN AN ENGINEERING SPECIALTY.

EE/ME/ChE is indeed ‘broad’ as you say, in a sense that you will learn a range of skills at a relatively basic level for a bunch of different applications, although you will typically end up focusing on a sub-area, especially in a senior year design project. But imagine if you tried to learn stuff about all these different types of engineering in a single major (BME). That is actually really hard. BME is a hard major. It is also mostly useless.

Imagine if you knew how to say hello in 20 different foreign languages, but couldn’t say “help” or “I’m hungry” in even one. Maybe you could get a job in a circus (which is a perfectly fine job, mind you) but you certainly couldn’t even begin to live in a foreign country, let alone become a writer or an interpreter in that language. Would you choose to be a writer, or a clown? Choose wisely.

Additional context: I attended a highly ranked BME program as an undergrad. I was lucky and privileged to have enjoyed an amazing research opportunity and mentorship under a brilliant professor, which got me into a strong graduate program. But you can access great undergrad research with a biomedical slant in any engineering department. I deeply regret my undergraduate coursework and training (or lack of), and would do it completely differently if I could turn back time.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s