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How hard is biomedical engineering?

I'll assume this question is mainly referring to how difficult it is to get a degree in BME. As with most things in life, it is difficult to generalize, especially with BME because it is such a broad field. It intersects with almost every major engineering discipline, and therefore there are a variety of paths you can take on BME. Although it varies at different universities, these are some of the major subfields and the corresponding most similar degrees (plus other areas you need to be strong in). Imaging: Electrical engineering/computer science/medical physics, anatomy, physiology. Biomechanics: Mechanical engineering, anatomy, physiology. Bioinstrumentation/BioMEMs: Electrical engineering, anatomy, physiology. Biomaterials/Tissue engineering : Chemical engineering, cell biology, anatomy, physiology. Rehabilitation : Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, anatomy, physiology. Bioinformatics : Computer science, genetics. You'll notice that anatomy and physiology are important for every subfield except bioinformatics (those people often view data in a purely abstract manner). So you'll need to feel comfortable with basic chemistry and some complicated human biology. I took physiology at the University of Michigan and I remember one of our professors told us that we were going into much more depth than medical students typically do (for example, we studied the non-newtonian physics present in capillaries). It wasn't a cake-walk. On the other hand, you may not go into as much depth as the corresponding engineering major that is most similar to your chosen BME subfield. For example, you may get away with avoiding some of the most challenging upper-level classes. Furthermore, the "core" classes are often the dumbed-down version. For example, at Michigan, BME undergrads took the "easy" circuits course, while EE majors took a much more difficult version. I did electrical engineering at the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree and it was definitely a lot harder than the BME classes I took for my master's degree. I was introduced to BME in my 3rd year of undergrad when I took a bio-instrumentation/neural engineering class that was cross-listed as BME and EE. The topics and applications were fascinating and fun, which is what made me decide to focus on BME for my master's. But that course was definitely the easiest engineering class that I took during undergrad. I also took all of the pre-med classes required to apply for medical school, including organic chemistry 1 and 2. None of of them came close to be as hard as EE courses, and only organic chemistry 2 came close to being as difficult as my BME classes. If you think pre-med courses are hard, BME courses are even harder. Considering my experience with an undergraduate degree program in EE, plus having completed the full pre-med curriculum, a Master in BME, and a PhD in BME that was heavily focused on computer science, I would rank of difficulty as: Electrical engineering: That was a humbling experience. It was probably most difficult because I had never been challenged like that in my life; school had been easy until I took these classes. Furthermore, they were "weeder" classes - large classes without much time for individual instruction and utterly ruthless exams. Computer science: Also very challenging. It was easier for me because I was much more mature when I studied CS and the courses I took were all upper level and consisted of challenging but fun projects and no exams. BME: I mostly took upper level courses that were project-based. The courses I took that were lecture-based and included exams were anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Anatomy was easy, physiology and biomechanics were both more challenging than any pre-med courses I took. Usually the core undergraduate BME curriculum doesn't require you to take the advanced courses that other majors are required to take. Pre-med: Pretty easy compared to the above. Organic chemistry 2 was the only hard one. Please remember that BME programs vary widely between institutions and individuals, so your mileage my vary.

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