Engineers Re-Tool for Growing BioE Market

The Office of Advanced Engineering Education and the Fischell Department of Bioengineering have launched a new master's program in bioengineering available on-campus and 100 percent online, geared towards professional engineers.

"Long before recent news articles listed bioengineers as one of the highest demand jobs for the next decade, we saw the signs and began the process to create this new master's program in bioengineering to meet the national need for exceptionally skilled engineering and technology professionals," said William Bentley, Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. "Being located inside the Capital Beltway and so close to major biotechnology research institutions gives us a unique opportunity to understand their needs and to service the large number of engineers, researchers, and medical professionals who have a desire to further their education in bioengineering and add more specialization to their background."

Industries and institutions served by the new program include: the chemical and materials, health care, biotechnology, electronics and devices, and defense and security industries, as well as federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization and various intelligence agencies.

The new program takes advantage of the Clark School's key strengths: its research and its experimental facilities. Students enrolled in the Graduate Program in Bioengineering will gain the knowledge base and skill sets to quantitatively measure and rationally manipulate cells, tissues and integrated systems.

The curriculum will include seven core courses:

  • Rate Processes in Biological Systems
  • Cellular and Tissue Biomechanics
  • Quantitative Cell Physiology
  • Transport Phenomena in Bioengineering Systems
  • Physiological Evaluation of Bioengineering Designs
  • Modern Methods of Drug Delivery
  • Biomedical Optics
  • Biosensor Techniques and Tissue Engineering

Three elective courses also will be available.

There is no thesis work required for the Master of Engineering degree and students will select electives, in consultation with the graduate director, to customize their education to meet their career needs.

"The Master of Engineering degree is applicable to engineering professionals as well as post-baccalaureate students who are preparing to apply to medical schools and others who can benefit from a highly focused and customizable graduate degree," said Peter Kofinas, professor, associate chair, and director of graduate students in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. "The flexibility to choose courses and delivery methods sets us apart for professionals who are working full-time or may not be close to campus."

Drawing upon the Clark School's Distance Education Technology and Services unit, the new program is able to offer working engineers and technical professionals access to the coursework and faculty at the forefront of biotechnology.

"An online degree program ensures that both existing bioengineers and engineers from other disciplines wishing to transition to this high-demand field have an opportunity continue their education from anywhere and on their schedule," said George Syrmos, executive director of the Office of Advanced Engineering Education at the Clark School.

The online master of engineering degree offers the same high level of education and training experienced by full-time, on-campus students. Delivering a truly interactive, virtual-classroom experience that allows for communication with faculty and other students and facilitates the formation of project groups, this online master's program is structured so that what students learn can be immediately beneficial in the workplace.

The Clark School of Engineering has a long history of developing online graduate-level programs that will meet the increasing market demand for niche engineering disciplines (i.e. fire protection engineering, reliability engineering, energetic concepts, nuclear engineering, sustainable energy engineering and project management).

Published August 10, 2010