Biomedical (Mechanical) Engineering in My Own Words

claire-2012 Viterbi Class Leave a Comment

As a senior finishing my degree in Biomedical-Mechanical Engineering, I’ve taken a variety of courses that connect and crossover between departments and disciplines.  I actually blogged about this same topic last year so you can read that blog here.

Within biomedical engineering, there are actually four different emphases you can choose: no emphasis, mechanical, electrical, and biochemical.  I have friends in each of these four options and many didn’t choose their emphasis until their sophomore year, so don’t feel like you need to choose right away whether or not you want to declare an emphasis when you apply or before you get to campus.  To gain other perspectives on BME and different emphases, check out Steve’s blog (BME-Electrical), Gordy’s blog (BME-Electrical), and Soumya’s blog (BME-Biochemical). To read about other majors from student’s perspectives check out blogs about Academics.

One of my favorite things about BME is the number of options students have after they graduate.  I have friends who are graduating this year or that graduated last year and are pursuing the following post-grad plans: Medical school, Dental School, engineering graduate school at other universities, PDP at USC in BME, PDP at USC in another type of engineering (me!), Law school (typically patent law), PhD programs, or working in the biotech/BME industry (Aboott, Amgen, Covidien, Medtronic, Pharmaceuticals and more!), consulting, Teach for America, and more.  Basically, its a great degree that can prepare you for a number of future opportunities.

Student organizations like Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME) who put on a variety of events for BMEs to network with industry, discover post-grad opportunities, meet older BME students, and more.  Research is another great way to work on a specific BME topic that interests you and get some hands on work–for example I’ve worked in a biomechanics lab since my first semester here!

One of the best ways to understand the course curriculum of a BME student is to break down the classes into general categories.  For me that means some BME classes, AME classes, Math/Science classes, and some other relevant courses, some which I added on myself and others which were part of my required set of classes.  Here are some of my favorite classes I’ve taken from each of those categories (you can check out the course bulletin if you want the full break down!).

BME Classes:

  • Intro to BME, Biomedical Computer Simulation Methods, Statistical Methods in BMECommunication and Control in the Nervous System, Physiological Systems, Biomechanics (my favorite BME class!), Senior Design: Measurement and Instrumentation

AME Classes:

  • Statics, Strength of Materials, Dynamics and Dynamic Systems, Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Computer Aided Analyses for Mechanical Design (all in Solidworks and SolidEdge!)

Math/Science Classes:

  • Calculus I, II, III, Differential Equations, Cell Biology and Physiology, Molecular Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Three physics classes covering Mechanics, E&M and Optics!

Other Relevant Classes

  • Engineering Computational Methods (Matlab and C++), Electrical Engineering Systems, Biomechanics (from the kinesiology perspective!)

If you have any other questions about BME here at USC, please don’t hesitate to send me an email or comment below!

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