The Best Biomedical Engineering Schools

An engineer with a prosthetic hand.

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Biomedical engineering is a growing field thanks to both technological advances and growing need by the aging population. As with most engineering fields, salaries are relatively high, with a median of $88,550 according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

To become a biomedical engineer, you're going to need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Your job opportunities will be best if you attend a university with a program that has experienced faculty members, excellent facilities, established collaborations with other science and engineering departments, and lots of opportunities for hands-on experience. The 11 schools on our list offer biomedical engineering programs that consistently place at the top in national rankings.

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Columbia University

Students In Front Of The Library Of Columbia University, Manhattan, New York, Usa
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Located in Manhattan, Columbia University is a prestigious Ivy League school that typical ranks among the ten best universities in the country. The school's department of biomedical engineering does similarly well in the national rankings. The interdisciplinary program collaborates with other programs in medicine, dentistry, public health, and the natural sciences. Students get plenty of hands-on experience working in the state-of-the-art wet lab, and all seniors conduct a two-semester capstone course in which they work on a real-world design project in a biomedical area.

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Duke University

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Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is home to one of the nation's best medical schools, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering is just a short walk from the School of Medicine. This allows for the prestigious research university to create meaningful collaborations between the health sciences and engineering. About 100 students graduate with bachelor's degrees in biomedical engineering each year. The university's 7 to 1 student/faculty ratio means undergraduates get plenty of opportunities to interact with their professors, and the university makes research and internship opportunities readily available. The program ranked #3 in U.S. News and World Report.

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Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech.

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Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia Tech is one of the least expensive universities on this list (especially for in-state students), yet its engineering programs are among the best in the country. The biomedical engineering program is unusual in that it works in partnership with nearby Emory University, a top-ranked private research university with a highly regarded medical school. The program prides itself in its entrepreneurial spirit and the creative problem solving skills students develop by working on real world problems.

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Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Johns Hopkins University is well known for its strong programs in health professions and medicine, and the School of Medicine ranks #1 in U.S. News and World Report for many specialties. It make sense that biomedical engineering is also strong at Johns Hopkins. Be sure to check out the school's new BME Design Studio—an open collaboration space where students work together to develop prototypes of the next generation of biomedical devices.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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MIT excels in nearly all engineering fields, and biomedical engineering is no exception. The institute graduates roughly 100 BME students each year between its undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduates should take advantage of MIT's UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) to get the chance to work on research with graduate students and faculty members for either pay or course credit. The biomedical engineering program at MIT is affiliated with 10 research centers.

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Rice University

Lovett Hall at Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA
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With its proximity to Houston's Texas Medical Center, Rice University's department of bioengineering provides students with plenty of collaboration opportunities with medical researchers and practitioners. The undergraduate program features small classes and hands-on, real-world experiences that are built into all four years of study. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research and entrepreneurial and problem-solving skills.

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Stanford University

Hoover Tower, Stanford University - Palo Alto, CA
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Stanford ranks among the nation's top engineering schools and top medical schools, so it isn't surprising that the university is home to a top-rated biomedical engineering program. Indeed, the interdisciplinary program resides jointly within the School of Engineering and School of Medicine, a feature that makes collaboration between academic units easy. Stanford truly is a research powerhouse and is home to facilities including the Biodesign Collaboratory, the Transgenic Animal Facility, and the Functional Genomics Facility. Each year the program graduates over 30 bachelor's degree recipients and an even larger number of graduate students.

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University of California at Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley
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Berkeley's department of bioengineering is one of the bigger programs in the country, with over 400 undergraduates and 200 graduate students. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs rank in the top 10 in U.S. News and World Report. The program's 22 core faculty members hold over 150 active or pending patents. Like most of the programs that made this list, Berkeley's bioengineering students are encouraged to conduct independent research, and students also participate in a 15-week capstone course in which students work in small teams to develop and test new medical technologies.

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UCSD, University of California at San Diego

Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego
Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego.

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Another member of the University of California system, UCSD has numerous strengths in engineering, including bioengineering. At the undergraduate level, the university graduates over 160 students each year across its four areas of specialization: bioengineering, biotechnology, bioinformatics, and biosystems. Students and faculty members take advantage of research collaborations with UCSD's School of Medicine. U.S. News and World Report ranks both the undergraduate and graduate bioengineering programs in the top 10.

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University of Michigan

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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The University of Michigan is another university with a top-ranked medical school and engineering school. The strengths in those two areas come together in the university's interdisciplinary department of biomedical engineering, one of the largest in the country. Hands-on learning is emphasized, and the university encourages and supports both summer internships and two-semester co-op experiences. Graduates from Michigan's undergraduate program go on to medical school, other graduate programs, and industry in relatively equal proportions. At the graduate level, students can choose from six concentrations including bioelectrics and neural engineering, biomaterials and regenerative medicine, and medical product development.

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University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
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Located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is home to one of the nation's very best medical schools—the Perelman School of Medicine—that is home to roughly 1,400 MD and medical Ph.D. students. The engineering program is within the same city block as the medical facilities, so it makes sense that over 80 percent of Penn's undergraduate bioengineering students conduct independent research. The program's 300 undergraduates are supported by a 7.5 to 1 student to faculty ratio, and both the graduate and undergraduate programs rank in the top 10 in U.S. News and World Report.

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Grove, Allen. "The Best Biomedical Engineering Schools." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 29). The Best Biomedical Engineering Schools. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "The Best Biomedical Engineering Schools." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 23, 2021).