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BS in IE to PhD in BME prospects


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Hi, I'm currently a second year undergraduate at a public state school. I'm majoring in industrial engineering (ABET accredited). I will be participating in an engineering REU (biomedical focused) this summer and hopefully, I will be offered a slot in another REU/research internship for the summer of 2017. By the time I graduate, I will have completed an undergraduate thesis (required for graduation) in industrial engineering. 

If all things turn out well, I will have 3 strong recommendation letters from research professors by the time the fall of my senior year approaches.

Has anyone had any experience in getting your undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline that is different than your PhD engineering discipline? I'm not sure if applying to a PhD program in biomedical engineering with an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering will hurt my chances in admissions. I have taken a year of biology and one general chemistry course, and I'm not sure I have enough biology-related electives. Would you be able to recommend more biology/chemistry electives that would prepare me for a PhD in BME?


Are PhD BME programs typically funded? I know that BME is still a relatively new engineering discipline, so I am unsure if I am likely to be funded.

What schools (public US universities) would you recommend for an IE undergraduate from a medium-sized public school? My school is not particularly prestigious for engineering (famous for music and education) and I'm unsure whether or not the prestige/reputation of my undergrad institution will hurt my chances in admission.

Here is a list of schools I have been researching for PhD BME programs:

UT Arlington
UT Dallas
University of Illinois at Chicago
Colorado State
University of Minnesota
University of Delaware
University at Buffalo

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about these schools PhD BME programs?

I know this is rather early to start posting on this forum now, but I'm trying to get a good start on preparing for graduate school (admissions, "fit" schools, etc.)

Any advice is much appreciated 

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Sorry, I just now saw I accidentally posted the same post twice! If there's an active moderator for this discussion board, please feel free to delete my duplicate post.

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BME is an incredibly broad field, so it's not uncommon that people switch interest areas from another type of engineering to BME. I would say that BME allows it more than, say, a chemical engineer trying to switch to mechanical engineering, just because biology is so complicated that you can find an application for any STEM field. As an example, my BME PhD program, we have many people who majored in mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering as well as computer science, biology, chemistry, and math majors. As long as you can demonstrate to an admissions committee that you have a reason for making the switch and highlight what your experiences could bring to the table, it wont be a problem. I majored in biochemistry in undergrad and found a good fit for doing a BME PhD. I know that it's even easier for people with any engineering background at all to get into a BME program than it is for a biologist, because some BME departments think that biologists can't do math (I was actually told this during an interview). 

If you're planning on doing a BME PhD, definitely take more biology relevant to your area of interest if you can. Not only will it help your research and coursework in graduate school, admissions committees like to see that you've gone above and beyond your degree requirements to prepare for their program.

BME PhD programs are as well funded as any other engineering program, which are (generally) much better funded than science or math. You'll get a stipend (can vary widely between 18-37k), tuition waived, and probably health insurance. 

You still have a lot of time and I wouldn't limit your search to only public US universities. Since PhD programs in STEM waive tuition, public vs private isn't really an issue. I don't have any advice on the schools mentioned, but I wish you good luck in your future applications!

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