Top 20 Biomedical Engineering Programs Which Have The Highest Percentage of Women Graduates in 2011

The Biomedical Engineering programs attract a higher proportion of women than any other engineering programs.  I thought it would be interesting to show just how high the proportion is in some programs.  I am not aware of any definitive explanation for the high participation rate.  My guess is that the opportunity to contribute to the health of the community may be an important motivating factor.   The technical factors in the field are actually more challenging than other engineering fields given the multidisciplinary manner in which problems are addressed.   People who work in the healthcare field are typically attracted to the prospect of helping patients in need.   Biomedical Engineering positions hold the promise of working on projects that will positively impact the lives of many patients if they proceed to commercialization.  The following list is created from Biomedical Engineering programs graduating 20 or more Bachelor of Science graduates.

Institution Name Total % Female
Brown University 26 69%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 102 57%
CUNY City College 34 56%
Santa Clara University 20 55%
Florida International University 49 53%
Oregon State University 21 52%
Wayne State University 64 52%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 39 49%
Stevens Institute of Technology 66 48%
Yale University 33 48%
University of Rochester 81 48%
Columbia University in the City of New York 73 48%
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 46 48%
University of Virginia-Main Campus 89 47%
Rice University 66 47%
University of Pennsylvania 121 46%
Mississippi State University 39 46%
University of Toledo 37 46%
Vanderbilt University 83 46%
Michigan Technological University 35 46%


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National Statistics on the Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating in 2011 vs. Job Projections

The following table was created from degree completion data available at the NCES website. The graduating statistics are important to know because there has been a consistent issue described by B.S. BME graduates seeking industry jobs in their field. It’s very difficult to get one with a baccalaureate degree. The number of graduates holding that degree in 2010 hold a clue to the problem and the challenge that B.S. graduates face. The baccalaureate numbers are troublesome for the graduate because the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for new and replacement BME jobs 2010-2020 is approximately 1300 per year.

Of course the B.S. BME graduate numbers do not reflect how many graduates had been accepted to graduate school and medical school after graduation. For example, I received a personal communication from the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) reporting 573 BME graduates were accepted into medical school in 2006. Graduate school enrollment numbers also impacts the number of B.S. graduates looking for work considerably because a significant number of graduates could be enrolling into M.S. programs if the number of M.S. graduates reported in 2008 is any guide. Unfortunately a number of those M.S. and Ph.D. BME graduates would also be competing for the the BME jobs counted and projected by the BLS. Additional research and analysis would be needed to get a better estimate of the number of BME graduates actually looking for work outside the academic and medical fields. It is interesting to note that females make up approximately 39% of the B.S. graduates and 39% for M.S. degree in this cohort. These are percentages which traditional engineering ( electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering ) programs can not match.

Check out a particular programs graduation rates at The Academic Program Information Resource


Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating in 2011
Men Women Total
B.S. 2445 1581 4026
Degree M.S. 907 604 1511
Ph.D. 507 316 823
Total 3859 2501 6360

Note: This chart is based on institutions reported primary and secondary degree completion data not reported total completion data so it may differ slightly in content from other reports of this type.

The Entry Level B.S. Biomedical Engineer’s Dilemma

Collected Views of What You Need to Know to Impress an Engineering Hiring Manager in Biomedical Industry

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Top Ten Schools Patenting Multicell Organisms or Parts

So why do we want to know who is patenting multicellular organisms or their parts?  That will depend on whether the reader is interested in getting into a school that is actively considering commercialization possibilities in this particular area or a Research/Development  Engineer trying to determine who in the academic world is actively patenting.  Agricultural companies are particularly active in this area.  Next several posts will cover top ten schools and corporations in the area of medical devices, prosthetics, drugs, etc.  These articles will be of interest to any job seekers who want to narrow down their list of possibilities as well as practicing engineers, program managers looking for competitive intelligence.  Actual number of patents over a five year period is available for all the schools and companies listed.  Contact me if you are interested.

University Of California, The Regents Of
Michigan State University
North Carolina State University
Iowa State University Research Foundation Inc.
Rutgers University
University Of Arizona
Louisiana State University
Ohio State Research Foundation
University Of Arkansas
University Of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

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Regulatory: FDA Is Equipping The Park Doctrine

The FDA has become increasingly active in its determination to discipline apparently unrepentant pharmaceutical firms.  Now its getting personal, again.  After years of neglect the usefulness of the Park Doctrine has been rediscovered by the FDA.  The evidence needed to apply it to a “responsible corporate official” appears to be nil.  The definition of a “responsible corporate official” is nearly as vague.  It would seem to be a good time for anyone attempting to skirt FDA regulations to tread lightly.   Although the initial violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is considered a misdemeanor a second violation is a felony.  It should be noted that transgressions in the Food and Cosmetics areas are also included by default if not intent.

From 6-5-3 – Special Procedures and Considerations for Park Doctrine

Recommending Park Doctrine Prosecutions

The Park Doctrine, as established by Supreme Court case law, provides that a responsible corporate official can be held liable for a first time misdemeanor (and possible subsequent felony) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“the Act”) without proof that the corporate official acted with intent or even negligence, and even if such corporate official did not have any actual knowledge of, or participation in, the specific offense. A Park Doctrine prosecution, for the purposes of this section, refers to a recommended prosecution of a responsible corporate official for a misdemeanor violation of the Act.

Misdemeanor prosecution under the Act can be a valuable enforcement tool. Such prosecutions are referred to the Department of Justice. Once a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor under the Act, any subsequent violation of the Act is a felony, even without proof that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud or mislead. Misdemeanor prosecutions, particularly those against responsible corporate officials, can have a strong deterrent effect on the defendants and other regulated entities. In some cases, a misdemeanor conviction of an individual may serve as the basis for debarment by FDA.

When considering whether to recommend a misdemeanor prosecution against a corporate official, consider the individual’s position in the company and relationship to the violation, and whether the official had the authority to correct or prevent the violation. Knowledge of and actual participation in the violation are not a prerequisite to a misdemeanor prosecution but are factors that may be relevant when deciding whether to recommend charging a misdemeanor violation.

Other factors to consider include but are not limited to:

  1. Whether the violation involves actual or potential harm to the public;
  2. Whether the violation is obvious;
  3. Whether the violation reflects a pattern of illegal behavior and/or failure to heed prior warnings;
  4. Whether the violation is widespread;
  5. Whether the violation is serious;
  6. The quality of the legal and factual support for the proposed prosecution; and
  7. Whether the proposed prosecution is a prudent use of agency resources.

As the Supreme Court has recognized, it would be futile to attempt to define or indicate by way of illustration either the categories of persons that may bear a responsible relationship to a violation or the types of conduct that may be viewed as causing or contributing to a violation of the Act. In addition, these factors are intended solely for the guidance of FDA personnel, do not create or confer any rights or benefits for or on any person, and do not operate to bind FDA. Further, the absence of some factors does not mean that a referral is inappropriate where other factors are evident.”

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Innovation: Don’t Be Afraid To Question The Accepted Theory

Apparently the gyroscopic and caster effects are not the only mechanical forces working on a bicycle to keep it upright as it rolls along.   According to a Cornell University based team a bicycle with a high center of gravity at the rear and low center of gravity up front can keep itself upright while rolling along a flat surface even if gyroscopic and caster effects are eliminated or cancelled. The explanation given is that once a suitably designed bicycle with the described characteristics, no caster and minimal gyroscopic effects, is set in motion the front end will always “fall” first and cause the bicycle to steer into the direction of the fall.

This is a striking example of how a commonly accepted engineering theory can turn out to be incomplete.  It shouldn’t be a surprise.  It happens in science all the time as old theories are found to be incomplete and new ones take their place.  This incomplete aspect of accepted theories can delay certain types of innovation.  Typically it takes a focused look by motivated engineers and scientists to tease out the most complete explanation and insights into the phenomenon in question.   Much of this learning is lost as experienced engineer retire and are not considered for lecturing or teaching positions.

I would also like to note that appropriate depth of theoretical and applied knowledge is very important to create an engineering solution.  Just knowing the correct equations to apply is not enough.  If that were the case then the CAD designed and FEA modeled automobiles of today would never have recalls for design defects.  An engineering team must see, feel and smell the results of their designs first hand in the laboratory to ascertain the limits of their engineering theories and tools.  Only then can they correct the identified shortcomings and eventually deliver a well designed product.

For a more complete explanation see below.

A Bicycle Can Be Self-Stable Without Gyroscopic or Caster Effects

Stable Bicycle

History of thoughts about bicycle self-stability

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Colorado State Opts For 5 Year Dual Degree B.S. Biomedical Engineering Degree

Colorado State University is introducing a new dual degree the Fall of 2011.  The decision was made in large part as a direct response to industry adviser input.  Creating a B.S. BME curriculum in this manner addresses a long standing issue regarding a lack of significant technical depth found in a large majority of baccalaureate Biomedical Engineering degrees.   The expectation is that the degree will provide graduates with the depth of knowledge industry wants and the  needed specialized knowledge required to address creating new products in the health care field.  The added technical depth is expected to make these graduates more attractive to graduate programs as well.  Here are a few quotes from the program adviser comment and director e-mail communication.

“Our industry advisers agree with you – they said they wanted the depth of a traditional engineering degree AND the breadth of BME. Typically, the problem with a “standalone” general degree is that it doesn’t have the depth they wanted. They felt that, generally, it was more effective to teach the biomedical side of things to a traditionally-trained engineer than to hire a broadly-trained BME who didn’t have enough depth.

Either way, though, the ramp-up time for a freshly minted bachelors’ degree grad was significant.  So, with the dual degree, we are predicting that ramp-up time will decrease, the students will be better prepared, and, in fact, it should open some more doors to their employability (or future grad school).”

Brett Beal, BME program Adviser, Colorado State University

“We believe the dual-degree approach is a good way

to accomplish that while also leveraging the existing resources in our

traditional chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering departments. Another primary motivation for going the dual-degree route was that our external advisory board strongly recommended it. ”

Kevin Lear, PhD, Director of the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Program


Colorado State Dual Degree B.S. BME

Industry Advisory Board Feedback about Colorado State Dual Degree B.S. BME

The Colorado State University Biomedical Engineering Program currently has 50 graduate students enrolled. The expectations are that about 50 freshman will enter the dual-degree bachelor’s program Fall ’11.

Related Links:

The Entry Level B.S. Biomedical Engineer’s Job Dilemma

Biomedical Industry Feedback On Engineering Graduate Preparation

Overcoming B.S. Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Deficiencies to Obtain a Medical Industry Position

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MDIF#12: Anecdotal Feedback From Medical Device and Manufacturing Show

The Medical Device and Manufacturing show was last week in this part of the country. As I was walking out of the parking garage I met a representative of a contract manufacturing firm and struck up a conversation. As we talked the subject came up that his group designed everything in the U.S. and manufactured it in China. He noted, however, that recently the Chinese manufacturing work force has received a 30% hike in wages on the heels of a previous similar hike a number of months before. He felt that although not yet significant these hikes were beginning to get industry wide attention for their eventual impact on product cost. The implications were that corporations would begin thinking about other locations if the trend continues. This may herald the first glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. manufacturing.

I made the rounds of the floor and found a few other interesting items of note. Speaking with a CEO of one of Michigan’s medical device companies I learned that a new B.S. level engineering offering which focuses on Biomedical Engineering is being created in Michigan which will apparently have a heavier than typical emphasis on meeting the needs of the medical device industry. Grand Valley State University has a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering and also is gearing up a minor for student engineers in the traditional engineering programs. In a separate discussion I also spoke with a representative of a engineering consulting firm and found that they exclusively hired from their internship program. They appeared to take internships exclusively from Rose Hulman. One of the reasons was the level of preparation the students had in Solidworks. I didn’t see any specific reference to computer aided design in the Rose Hulman Biomedical Engineering Program although I did notice and CAD/CAM course in the catalog that could be taken as an elective.

Grand Valley State University to offer minor in biomedical engineering

Q+A-Is China finished as a low-wage manufacturer?

Rose Hulman Biomedical Engineering Program

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