Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering principles to biology and medicine to create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software to facilitate and improve healthcare. Biomedical engineering is sometimes referred to as biological or medical engineering as well.
Biomedical engineering is a new field that has emerged due to the proliferation of technology in healthcare. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development but the management of medical facilities and upholding industry standards remain equally important.
In this article, we will go over the difficulty of biomedical engineering and answer any questions that you may have regarding the subject.
Is Biomedical Engineering Hard?
Biomedical engineering is hard. Biomedical engineering is difficult because it is the study of two of the most challenging fields: medicine and engineering. Moreover, biomedical engineering focuses heavily on innovation, creativity, and research which makes it a challenging subject.
Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field. It combines biology with engineering principles. Engineering and medicine are considered some of the most difficult subjects in college.
The human body is an extremely complex and unpredictable living thing. The field of medicine attempts to find resolutions to human illnesses and ailments. Dealing with unknown conditions, side effects, and misdiagnosis increases the complexity of the task at hand.
Students of medicine must take into account potential complications and the medical history of the patient when making suggestions.
The sheer volume of content in medicine is enough to make the brightest of students tremble. Knowing by heart the names of hundreds of diseases, associated symptoms, and their potential cures is an arduous and demanding task.
Furthermore, each human body is unique in its way. Medicines that work perfectly on one individual may have adverse effects on another. Human bodies react in different ways to different treatments.
On the other hand, engineering is very predictable. External factors play a significant role but are easily foreseeable. For instance, like poles of a magnet will always repel whereas unlike poles will always attract one another.
The real challenge in biomedical engineering is coming up with an efficient, practical, and budget-friendly solution. Understanding engineering principles is hard but applying them effectively is even tougher.
Engineering is a highly demanding, mathematical, complex, and counterintuitive field. Biomedical engineers are required to apply the principles of two very tough fields together. Luckily biomedical engineering is not as mathematically complex as mechanical or electrical engineering but it is no walk in the park either.
Biomedical engineers focus on the advancement of technology and medicine to develop new devices and equipment for improving human health. They may have to design electrical circuits, create software to run medical equipment, or computer simulations to test new medical theories.
Is Biomedical Engineering a Difficult Major?
Biomedical engineering is a difficult major. A degree in biomedical engineering is hard because you will have to study increasingly complex material, learn advanced math, become proficient in your lab work, and combine engineering principles with medical theories.
It is important to note that biomedical engineering is not the same at every college. Some colleges offer a project-based degree that focuses on practical work. Other colleges offer a rigorous biomedical engineering program that places greater emphasis on math and science courses.
Due to the relative newness of biomedical engineering and the vastness of the field, universities tend to differ from one another in terms of what should be taught in a standard biomedical engineering degree.
Despite that, we have compiled a list of the common core courses and electives offered by universities today. During the first two years, you will spend a large portion of your time understanding the underlying theory behind engineering and medicine.
Here are some courses you can expect to take during your freshman and sophomore years:
- Calculus I and II
- General Chemistry I
- Biology I
- Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
- Mechanisms of Life
- Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science Fundamentals
- Electric Circuit Analyisis
- Waves and Fields
- Biomedical Physics
- Statics and Mechanics
- Electronics and Sensors
- Communication Skills
The courses in this list are quite quantitative or theoretical. Most engineering programs will have very similar courses in the first two years. The math, physics, and chemistry courses are easily transferrable to other engineering programs should you decide to do so.
These courses are considered quite challenging by most students. The classes are mathematically complex and require critical thinking and strong analytical skills. Mere regurgitation of the textbook will not do at this level.
After the first two years, you will move on to more technical classes which will be more relevant to biomedical engineering. You will also have a wider pool of courses to choose your electives from. It would be wise to select your electives based on your career inclinations and overall interests.
For instance, if you want to develop medical software then computer science electives will be most advisable. If you are more interested in designing the circuitry for medical devices then your best bet would be to look up courses offered by the electrical engineering department.
Some of the advanced compulsory courses in biomedical engineering include anatomy, bioinformatics, fluid mechanics, biomedical instrumentation, control systems, microprocessor systems, signals, and systems.
The advanced courses are not very mathematically complex but they come with their own set of challenges. They require specific and in-depth subject knowledge. Moreover, you will be expected to apply the skills and knowledge learned in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
These factors together make biomedical engineering a rather difficult major.
Is Biomedical Engineering Stressful?
Biomedical engineering is moderately stressful when compared to other engineering and medical fields. Biomedical engineering is stressful because you have to apply the principles of engineering and medicine to create, design, improve, and maintain medical equipment.
Engineering and medicine are both considered stressful fields since they require a great deal of perfection. Engineering is a highly mathematical field where you often have to think outside the box to come up with reliable, efficient, and budget-friendly solutions.
Medicine is a high-pressure field because you are constantly dealing with human lives. The slightest of mistakes could have disastrous effects.
A biomedical engineer’s life may not be as stressful as a surgeon but they are not free from strife either. Biomedical engineering requires you to be creative and efficient to improve healthcare facilities.
To be able to do that you must have a strong understanding of the existing system and be willing to upgrade your knowledge and skillset whenever required. If you are unable to provide adequate solutions to the problems in the industry then your job may be on the line.
Biomedical engineering is an extremely vast field hence you will not have the same level of knowledge regarding circuits as an electrical engineer. In such circumstances, it would be up to you to quickly learn the additional material as quickly as possible to stay competitive at your job.
Is Biomedical Engineering Harder Than Medicine?
Biomedical engineering is not harder than medicine. Medicine is considered more difficult than biomedical engineering since it is more involved, has more content, requires more years of studying, and is more challenging and complex.
Medicine is considered one of the most difficult subjects today. Students typically take up a major in biology, biochemistry, health sciences, and human physiology before enrolling in medical school.
Biomedical engineering is quite comparable in difficulty to biology, biochemistry, and health sciences. However, medical school is far more challenging than biomedical engineering at the graduate level and beyond.
Medical schools are extremely competitive since they only offer the brightest students a highly coveted seat in their institutions. Medical school is extremely taxing and demanding.
The material learned by students pursuing medicine is enormous. You will need to spend several hours understanding and memorizing all the content.
Is Biomedical Engineering Worth It?
Biomedical engineering is moderately worth it. Biomedical engineering is a good degree because the use of technology in medicine and healthcare is rapidly increasing. However biomedical engineering is not as specialized as other forms of engineering such as electrical or chemical engineering.
Advancements in technology are having an impact in practically every industry. Biomedical engineering has emerged due to the growth of technology in the health care sector. This is just the beginning. Biomedical engineering is expected to have an increasing role in healthcare in the future.
Biomedical engineers rely on innovation and research to bring about positive changes in health facilities. This makes their work largely future-proof and prone to the risks of automation and artificial intelligence.
Biomedical engineering is an extremely broad subject. The sheer volume of content makes biomedical engineers a jack of all trades. This proves to be a hindrance when they apply for jobs.
Employers might consider hiring an electrical engineer to fix the electrical circuitry of a machine and a software engineer to write code for a computer program. Employers may prefer hiring an expert in their field.
To stay competitive in the industry you will have to be on your toes. You may have to pick up new skills from time to time to meet the demands of your job. You must also develop good time management and interpersonal skills since you will be expected to work on complex projects alongside other experts.
Biomedical engineering is a hard major but you can tame the difficulty through consistent practice and hard work. Biomedical engineering is not particularly stressful but you will face the usual job pressure of short deadlines, challenging tasks, and upgrading your skillset.
Overall biomedical engineering is a great subject and you should pursue it if you are passionate about applying engineering principles to improve medical facilities.