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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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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The 20 Smallest Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Graduating Classes of 2009

There are any number of reasons why these are small graduating classes.  The most likely is that the listed schools have only recently inaugurated their Biomedical Engineering programs.   A number of schools took advantage of the Biomedical Engineering program grants by the now defunct Whitaker Foundation before it ceased to exist in 2005.   The foundation supported the creation of at least 30 programs.  Personally I don’t believe that a small graduating class has anything to do with the quality of a program.  It would be wise for prospective students and their parents to ask about plans for accreditation at these schools if they are new programs.

20 Smallest Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Classes of 2009

School Men Women Total
Catholic University of America 8 6 14
University of the Pacific 8 5 13
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis 7 5 12
University of Houston 9 3 12
Brown University 8 3 11
University of Louisville 4 6 10
University of Memphis 5 5 10
Tufts University 6 3 9
University of Central Oklahoma 5 2 7
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo 3 3 6
Western New England College 3 3 6
Alfred University 2 3 5
Lawrence Technological University 4 1 5
University of Idaho 3 2 5
Florida Gulf Coast University 3 1 4
Indiana Institute of Technology 4 0 4
The College of New Jersey 3 1 4
LeTourneau University 2 0 2
Oral Roberts University 1 0 1
Walla Walla University 1 0 1

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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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The Top 20 Schools With Largest B.S. Biomedical Engineering Graduating Classes for 2008

Top 20 schools which offer B.S. Biomedical Engineering degrees by graduating class size.  These schools represent 1650 graduates.  They represent about half the total number of B.S. BME graduates for 2008.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects approximately 1500 new Biomedical Engineering jobs every year between 2008 and 2018.   As can be seen there is a significant mismatch  between the actual number of graduates and the projected number of jobs.  Anyone interested in these programs should note that the size of a department does not necessarily indicate a high level of quality when it comes to preparing a student for a corporate  career.

How to increase your odds;

Experience Will Help Get You That Biomedical Engineering Position

School Male Female Total
University of California-San Diego 83 47 130
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus 83 39 122
Duke University 73 37 110
Washington University in St Louis 61 32 93
Arizona State University 54 38 92
Vanderbilt University 56 35 91
University of California-Davis 60 27 87
The University of Texas at Austin 54 29 83
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 44 37 81
University of California-Irvine 53 28 81
Rutgers University-New Brunswick 58 21 79
University of California-Berkeley 44 34 78
Boston University 53 25 78
Case Western Reserve University 52 24 76
Johns Hopkins University 45 27 72
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 41 22 63
Northwestern University 38 24 62
University of Virginia-Main Campus 29 30 59
University of Southern California 35 22 57
Texas A & M University 32 24 56

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Top 20 Schools With The Largest B.S. Biomedical Engineering Graduating Class in 2007

Top 20 schools by graduating class size which offer B.S. Biomedical Engineering degrees .  These schools represent 1641 graduates.  They represent about half the total number of B.S. BME graduates for 2007.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects approximately 300 new Biomedical Engineering jobs every year between 2006 and 2016.   As can be seen there is a significant mismatch  between the actual number of graduates and the projected number of jobs.  Anyone interested in these programs should note that the size of a department does not necessarily indicate a high level of quality when it comes to preparing a student for a corporate  career.

How to increase your odds;

Experience Will Help Get You That Biomedical Engineering Position

Additional information;

The Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating into Job Market in 2007 vs. Job Projections

For 2008 Update Go To Following Link:

The Top 20 Schools With The Largest B.S. Biomedical Engineering Graduating Class in 2008″

Top 20 Schools By B.S. BME graduating Class Size in 2007

School Total Graduates Male Female
University of California-San Diego 166 113 53
Duke University 118 86 32
Johns Hopkins University 110 65 45
Case Western Reserve University 101 61 40
The University of Texas at Austin 91 49 42
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus 91 53 38
University of California-Irvine 84 52 32
Vanderbilt University 83 55 28
Drexel University 72 43 29
University of California-Davis 71 46 25
Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus 71 36 35
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 71 45 26
University of Virginia-Main Campus 70 42 28
University of California-Berkeley 70 51 19
Northwestern University 69 48 21
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 66 40 26
University of Pennsylvania 61 35 26
Washington University in St Louis 60 42 18
University of Southern California 60 38 22
Marquette University 58 40 18

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Job Experience Is Key To Getting That First Biomedical Engineering Job

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Getting a job in the medical products area is typically more difficult than in the consumer field for a number of reasons.  Although growing the medical products industry is relatively small compared to the consumer product industry.  Engineering hiring managers at large corporations tend to require more experience because of the high risk involved in creating a medical product.  They can afford to be choosy because they get a lot of applications.  Smaller companies are less demanding but will still put a premium on experience because errors that can be absorbed by a large corporation can sink a small one.  They would also be much more interested if you demonstrate skill in one of the traditional engineering fields.  Remember you are not only competing against other BME’s but are also competing with traditional engineers with several years of experience because they have in depth knowledge in a particular engineering field critical to the position.  An internship or co-op experience is definitely a plus because it gives you insights and skills.  They increase your attractiveness if you perform well, fit into the culture and there are current openings in the company you are interested in.   Recent graduates from traditional engineering fields will also be sending resumes in an attempt to expand their possibility of being hired.   See Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Graduating in 2007 vs. Job Projections

Look at it from the hiring managers point of view.  What would you want to see if you were hiring an engineer to help develop a project that your future career depends on?  Who would you have hired for that senior project if it had been for real?  What, in addition to your biomedical background, would you have wanted an engineer to know?   How much more could you have contributed if you had more mechanical engineering knowledge, more manufacturing knowledge, more electronics knowledge, more knowledge of programmable controllers, chemical engineering, more hands on, etc.?  So how do you get this experience or knowledge?

Don’t let your expectations get in the way of considering entry level jobs that will help you work up to your goal.  Keep those resumes going to the larger biomedical corporations but also take a close look a the smaller companies that produce the subsystems or competing low cost, high quality products.  There are a number of them.  Positions as field service engineers, and product specialists continue to be available in a number of medical product areas.  Two or three years of work experience in the electronics, software, computer, wireless companies that sell medical products or product used in a medical facility by medical staff or in a medical facility working to maintain medical equipment would be a way of bolstering a resume and will give you a fall back position.  Entrepeneurial startups that are created by professors or graduates students would be another way to go. I would not overlook manufacturing.  Knowing manufacturing processes is a key ingredient in designing a product.  Test engineering and quality control positions provide important insights into the product development process.  Sales or sales support of medical equipment can also be a way of entering a medical device corporation if you are particularly talented or experienced in this area.  Sales personnel are often the source of product ideas within a corporation. They pick up ideas from the medical professionals or are the first contact.  Sales support engineers would typically have access to the product development personnel.

Read what professionals in the field have to say Biomedical Industry Feedback

Potential medical device related hiring and internship sites in several states are listed in posts found on the page linked below.  I have also included advice and links showing how you can use the medical device site information.   I have this information for every state.  It is available at a nominal fee to support this blog. Contact Form

Here are a few potential medical device related companies that you can call to see if they are hiring or offer a internship. Don’t overlook general manufacturing experience such as assembly, testing, etc. in other industries. The key is to get your hands dirty and show what you can do.

Medical Device Job Sites

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