Frequently Asked Questions

Is Biomedical Engineering qualitative, involving a lot of memorization, like biology?

Biomedical Engineering is similar to other engineering disciplines in that it involves the application of mathematics, physics, and engineering approaches to tackle complex challenges. To tackle complex medical problems effectively, some knowledge of basic concepts in cell biology and physiology is required. The majority of the courses in the Biomedical Engineering Major integrate engineering analysis with critical life science concepts. There is an emphasis on engineering model development, quantitative analysis, and problem solving skills, rather than memorization of facts.

What are the cutting edge topics in Biomedical Engineering that I will learn about?

As a student in the Biomedical Engineering Major you will learn how to apply principles and tools from engineering and the physical sciences, integrated with knowledge of the life sciences, to address problems in medicine and biology. Your instructors will be renowned professors who teach core and technical elective courses in their areas of expertise, including the following “hot” topics:

  • Biomaterials, Stem Cell Engineering, Tissue Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine
  • Neural and Sensory System Engineering
  • Micro/Nanotechnology, Biosensors, and Bioinstrumentation
  • Systems Biology
  • Rehabilitation Engineering

What makes the Engineering Science Biomedical Engineering Major unique compared to the  Biomedical or Bioengineering Minors in U of T Engineering, or other biomedical engineering programs at other schools?

There are several features of the Biomedical Engineering Major that make it distinct from other programs:

  • The Foundation and Major curricula provide a strong foundation in science, mathematics, technology and design that is applicable to a wide range of engineering disciplines;
  • The third and fourth year curriculum immerses students in Biomedical Engineering through a ‘systems level’ approach and provides more depth, breadth, and rigor than can be achieved through a minor or most other programs;
  • The curriculum prepares its students to address problems with a systems-level perspective that integrates multiple engineering and life science disciplines; thus, Biomedical Engineering Major students are well prepared to solve the most pressing challenges in medicine and biology, which are inherently complex;
  • The curriculum is flexible with a large number of technical elective choices that allows students to best satisfy their interests in particular areas of biomedical engineering;
  • The professors, facilities, resources, and extracurricular opportunities in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto and its affiliated medical centres are among the best in the world.

What are the graduate and professional school opportunities for students from the Biomedical Engineering Major? What about job opportunities?

Many students are accepted to top graduate school programs in biomedical engineering or related disciplines worldwide. Other students pursue professional degrees including medicine, pharmacy, law, and business. Whether our graduates go on to work immediately or earn a graduate degree first, over half of our recent graduates ultimately ended up working in the biomedical, biotechnology, or healthcare fields: 34% in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical companies; 15% in universities or research institutes; and 7% in healthcare (medicine, pharmacy, etc.). The remaining graduates are equally split between jobs in other engineering disciplines and jobs in consulting and finance.

Job opportunities for Biomedical Engineers are expected to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics forecasts that because rapid advances in technology continue to change what biomedical engineers do, there will be continued creation of new areas for them to work in and should translate to into favorable job prospects. In addition, an aging population and retirement of a substantial percentage of biomedical engineers is likely to help create job openings “much faster than average” between 2014 and 2024 (http://www.bls.gov/oco/).

Can I get into medical school from the Biomedical Engineering Major?

Yes. The flexibility in the Biomedical Engineering Major curriculum allows students to satisfy at least some medical school pre-requisites as part of their normal course load. However, students must typically take one or more additional courses to meet all pre-med requirements (depending on the medical school).

While one or two outstanding students are typically admitted to medical school directly from the Biomedical Engineering Major every year, most students complete a graduate degree or other post-graduate training before being accepted to medical school.