What is biomedical engineering? Career, role & education
Biomedical engineering is an exciting and rapidly expanding industry. The increasing demand in healthcare means advances are being made in academic research, development and industrial sectors.
What is biomedical engineering?
Biomedical engineering focuses on the application of engineering principles and problem-solving techniques within biology and medicine. It is used to advance healthcare treatment, including diagnosis, monitoring and therapy.
Biomedical engineering career paths
There are many interesting and exciting career opportunities in biomedical engineering for graduates to explore. These include:
Medical device design
This career in biomedical engineering involves the process of creating devices that will be used for medical purposes. Biomedical engineers working in this role will design and develop medical devices such as prosthetics, implants and diagnostic tools.
Rehabilitation engineering is the application of engineering sciences to design, develop and adapt technological solutions to problems faced by individuals with disabilities. In this role, an engineer will be working on the development and application of mobility aids and assistive technology.
This biomedical engineering role studies the movement and mechanics of the human body. This is used to investigate how the human body works, with the aim of finding new and effective ways to improve health.
A biomaterials engineer applies their knowledge of biology and engineering to design, develop and test health systems and products, including the creation of synthetic materials and biological tissue. These materials are used to make implantable devices such as pacemakers, artificial joints and defibrillators.
Clinical engineering is a field within biomedical engineering that focuses on the use of medical technology and optimising healthcare delivery. These engineers work in hospitals and clinics to ensure that medical equipment is functioning properly and to develop new technologies that can improve patient care.
Role of a biomedical engineer
Biomedical engineers combine biology and engineering to create technical solutions to healthcare problems. The typical tasks of a biomedical engineer include:
- Design and develop medical devices such as prosthetics, implants and diagnostic tools.
- Conduct research to solve clinical problems and collect necessary data. This is done through interviews, conferences and questionnaires.
- Test and evaluate equipment to ensure it meets quality and safety standards.
- Liaise with technicians to ensure that products are viable in terms of design and practicality.
Study biomedical engineering at the University of Strathclyde
Begin your biomedical engineering education with a pathway programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre. Successfully completing a programme will allow you to progress to the University of Strathclyde for your degree study, which is ranked 6th in the UK for Bioengineering (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023).
At the University of Strathclyde, you will have access to state-of-the-art technology at The Wolfson Centre, home to Strathclyde's Department of Biomedical Engineering. The Wolfson Centre is believed to be the first dedicated biomedical engineering building in the world and the £15.5m refurbishment offers engineers excellent facilities, including:
- A Motek CAREN (extended) rehabilitation environment
- 12 camera Vicon Nexus
- Biomedical materials
- Medical devices
- Cell and tissue engineering facilities.
The University of Strathclyde’s Biomedical Engineering courses help students apply core engineering principles and knowledge to create technical solutions to real-world clinical problems. Strathclyde students gain training in biomedical engineering as well as core mechanical and electrical engineering subjects.
The Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Engineering and Sciences is an excellent place for international students to begin their engineering study. The pathway programme is expertly designed to give you the skills, academic knowledge and English language level required to progress to the second year of your undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Strathclyde.
To progress to an undergraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde, you will need to complete your pathway programme with qualifying grades.
If you want to continue your engineering education journey in the UK and don’t yet meet the direct entry requirements, our Pre-Masters programmes will prepare you for a postgraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde.
The Pre-Masters Programme in Engineering and Sciences, taught in two terms at the International Study Centre, is your pathway to a masters in biomedical engineering. Subject-specific core modules and an Academic English Skills module ensure you have the knowledge and language skills necessary for a postgraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde.
There is also the option of the Accelerated Pre-Masters Programme for those who meet the higher English language entry requirements. The 12-week programme offers modules to further develop your English language and academic skills in preparation for studying a masters at the University of Strathclyde.
Upon successful completion of the Pre-Masters Programme at the International Study Centre, you can progress to a postgraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde.
Is biomedical engineering a good career?
Biomedical engineering is a rapidly expanding industry, meaning there are always exciting roles and positions for graduates to explore. The increasing demands of healthcare allow for job security and the chance to better the lives of society is very rewarding.
What is the future of biomedical engineering?
Biomedical engineers are at the forefront of advancements in technology and medicine. They are able to make a real difference in the lives of many individuals. As the industry is constantly evolving, the possibilities are endless.
How many years does it take to become a biomedical engineer?
The typical biomedical engineering degree takes four years to complete at undergraduate level. You can also choose to further your study with a postgraduate degree for an additional one or two years. The length of your degree will depend on the subject, the level of study and whether you choose to do a placement or work experience.