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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Should Engineering Become A Staple Of Elementary and Secondary Education?

George Bugliarello certainly believes that engineering concepts should become part of the basic curriculum.   Engineering, as a discipline, instills a way at looking at things which is quite different from any other field.  In particular it differs from science in its focus on creating vs. investigating.  A number of engineering concepts are already being introduced in the primary and secondary schools in the form of small building projects ( building a bridge or a weight bearing structure with tooth picks, etc. ).  The subject matter is certainly introduced in many high schools today in the form of computer programming.  However, teaching a generalized structured thought process that can be used to consistently create a solution that meets the needs of a particular challenge is typically lacking.

Engineering is a creative art which is grounded in practicality.  It combines the use of the imagination with the discipline of science and mathematics.  In the most general sense engineering philosophy teaches how to use information logically to create durable solutions to problems or needs.  When you think about it in that broader sense engineering is what everyone attempts to do in their lives and their jobs at regular intervals.  I for one believe that adding engineering subject matter which introduces the engineering mind set to the primary and secondary education system should certainly be considered seriously.  What is you opinion?

George Bugliarello’s views can be learned below;

A New Trivium and Quadrivium

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Top 10 Biomedical Engineering PhD Programs Based on Student Support and Outcomes

Here is another make your own ranking webpage created at  It uses National Research Council generated data as well as public data.  The details get a little hairy.  My purpose is to get some insight into a university and a program  interest in supporting and learning how well their students are doing after they graduate.  Assuming that these programs follow their university internal guidelines one set of derived ranking data would be very revealing.  That calculated ranking data is  Student Support and Outcomes.   The key word is outcomes.   Within that calculated ranking is one piece of information which directly pertains to a university’s commitment to getting feedback about how their programs are doing.  That piece of data is called “Program Collects Outcomes Data” ( 1 for yes, -1 for no ).

Of course simply stating that your program collects outcomes data is one thing.  Actually focusing on getting quality data, analyzing it in a thoughtful manner with a group of professors and industry representatives and acting to improve student outcomes is another.  In this particular case there is also the uncertainty as to whether the undergraduate program collects outcomes data.  There are five variables used to create this ranking.  Each variable is weighted based on the survey results of 50 faculty in the Biomedical Engineering field.  Please note that there is no description of how these faculty have been chosen.  There is no information about the criteria each of them use to rank the variables.  However, this is the only data that I have seen that provides an outcomes data field so far.  I will keep on looking for an undergraduate specific public report.

Given the caveat above listed below are the top ten of 74 Biomedical Engineering PhD  programs based solely on “Student Support and Outcomes” ranking criteria of 5 and no other criteria.  If the ranking of the 50 professors is accurate then  these universities may also provide similar support to their undergraduates.

Top Ten Student Support and Outcomes

Thomas Jefferson University Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Oregon Health & Science University Biomedical Engineering
New Jersey Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering
Rice University Bioengineering
University of Utah Bioengineering
Emory University Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Biomedical Engineering
Purdue University-Main Campus Biomedical Engineering
University of Arizona Biomedical Engineering
Cleveland State University Engineering (Chemical and Applied Biomedical Engineering)

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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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Create Your Own College Rankings Using Forbes “Do It Yourself”

Engineers in general like the idea of defining how data is used to make decisions using scientific, statistical and engineering principles.  Here is a chance for an aspiring engineering student, parent or both to create their own college ranking system according to their own preferences using the metrics used by Forbes.   You get a list of the top 20 according to your criteria.

I have examined the tool and I would use the not important  and very important radio buttons only to get the widest range of choices.  Trying to use a combination  of the middle buttons tends to bring up pretty much the same colleges and universities in slightly different ranking positions.  Try it and you will see what I mean.

Do it Yourself

Rank Colleges Your Way

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