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Engineering Impact: Summer 2022

Summer 2022

Remapping Biomedical Engineering Pathways

by College of Engineering

Undergraduate Education

Recent events, including the worldwide pandemic, have reinforced the need for a diverse and well-trained biomedical engineering workforce. In response, the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering (BME) is implementing significant curriculum reforms.

The Weldon School has increased undergraduate enrollment by 50% over the last two years, while simultaneously implementing an Agile Reform of Curriculum over the next three years. Beginning last year, BME embarked on a complete redesign of the undergraduate curriculum. The goal is to maintain the School’s unique balance of teaching fundamental engineering knowledge and hands-on and experiential training, while simultaneously increasing training and skill-set attainment in specialized areas of biomedical engineering. To do this, the School introduced the concept of a “Pathways” curriculum. All students will take the same foundational courses in their sophomore year and begin specialization in their junior year by declaring a BME specialization (Bioelectronics and Bioinstrumentation, Bioimaging, Engineering Biomechanics and Biomaterials, or Quantitative Biomedicine). Students will be required to complete two Pathway-specific courses to learn the fundamentals of their area of BME specialization. Students also will be required to complete one of the courses in a different BME Pathway to maintain the breadth of their training.

A broad approach has been taken to increase the quantitative and computational competency of students. Generally, BME undergraduate students have reported being limited in their programming skills, so programming requirements will now include CS 190 - Introduction to Python Programming, and Cybernetics, a new BME 200-level course with a focus on Python programming. Additionally, the College is reinforcing students’ programming skills by introducing Python programming throughout the curriculum by implementing the use of Google Colab and Jupyter notebooks in a wide range of sophomore- and junior-level courses.

The new undergraduate curriculum will increase depth of training in specialized areas of BME, improve student identity, and allow for earlier focus on a sub-field of BME and greater flexibility for students.

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