The MU College of Engineering will take one of its most popular Bioengineering tracks and transform it into its own degree program, one that will meet the needs of students and employers while having lasting benefits for the state of Missouri.
The College will offer a bachelor’s degree program in Biomedical Engineering (BME), which is set to begin accepting students for the degree program in Fall 2018. The program will be housed in the Bioengineering Department under its chair, Jinglu Tan.
Fortunately, MU already has the majority of faculty and resources needed to sustain a BME program already in place, with no new resources requested from campus. This will allow the College to grow its competitiveness with other schools and colleges of engineering both regionally and nationally.
“The BME track has attracted a large number of outstanding students — among the very best at MU by all measures — with approximately 40 percent of those students being women,” said Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering. “But accreditation is necessary for us to meet student demands and maintain the strong momentum of the program. With engineering, medicine, vet medicine, animal sciences and other life sciences disciplines on the same campus, MU is in a unique position to deliver a strong BME program.”
The BME degree program will be the first such program at a public institution of higher education in Missouri. The new program will allow MU to focus educational efforts on the intersection of engineering and medicine.
Forbes recently listed biomedical engineering as the most valuable college major. The ranking was based on data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also had the following to say about the growth of biomedical engineering:
- Jobs in BME are on track to grow by 72 percent from 2010 to 2018.
- The strong trend will continue, with a projected growth rate of 23 percent from 2014 to 2024.
- With a median entry-level salary at $61,815, mean annual salary at $91,230, and top-10 percentile salary at $139,520; BME is also one of the top fields in pay and pay growth.
BME has a strong history at Mizzou, having been the main track of the Biological Engineering bachelor’s degree program for more than 20 years. However, ABET, the national engineering accreditation association, is now accrediting biological engineering and biomedical engineering programs separately.
“We have efforts to do research and excel in that field. Students, faculty and staff across the state and hopefully the nation hear about the work that we do in biomedical engineering, so I think having an undergraduate plan to support that and have it be a concrete engineering major means a lot,” said Riley Short, an undergraduate student in bioengineering.
The state of Missouri also stands to benefit from the new degree program. The state’s biomedical industry will have a massive influx of in-state graduates to serve its employment needs, as the state’s best and brightest students grow into the kinds of high-paying jobs that drive innovation and stimulate the economy. And citizens would stand to benefit from an influx of talented alumni with unique expertise that will shape the future of the medical industry for years to come.
“This interdisciplinary capability will allow BME graduates to become leaders and entrepreneurs, and thus contribute to the pursuit for economic development and improved standards of living in Missouri,” said Jinglu Tan, chair of the Department of Bioengineering.
Established in 1849, Mizzou’s engineering excellence includes nine disciplines, more than 110 faculty members and more than 3,000 exceptional undergraduate and graduate students.