Investigation of factors promoting competitive candidates for entry-level bioengineering positions

Marcia Pool, Madeline R. Darling, Gabriella Rose Dupont

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Well-established fields of engineering (e.g. electrical engineering) typically support curriculums that cover the same foundational topics, regardless of offering institution. Identifying these key foundational areas in a field and integrating them into multiple institutions’ curriculums ensures students have been exposed to consistent concepts and may be evaluated with standardized exams such as the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE). Additionally, hiring managers can expect a student with a degree in the established fields can perform well in key foundational areas. However, biomedical (BME) or bioengineering (BIOE) programs span a wide array of material; some programs focus on biological aspects (e.g., tissue engineering) while other programs focus on applying traditional engineering to living systems (e.g. medical device development) [1]. Lack of standardization amongst biomedical and bioengineering curriculums creates a lack of transparency in the hiring process, as differing institutions’ biomedical or bioengineering degree programs may not teach the same competencies and skills to their graduates.

At our institution, the bioengineering curriculum offers five specialized track areas: biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, therapeutics engineering, computational and systems biology, and imaging and sensing. Each track consists of fifteen engineering credit hours of track focused coursework. Post-graduation, students are divided amongst career pursuits; averaged self-reported student data from 2008-2015 indicates students’ career path as industry (48%), graduate school (23%), medical school (19%), and other (10%). While we know students’ first post-graduate destination, we now seek to identify (1) is there a correlation between students’ selected track and internship or co-op opportunities, (2) is there a correlation between track choice and students first destination post-graduation, (3) does undergraduate research experience influence competitiveness for entry-level BME/BIOE jobs, and (4) does possessing internship or co-op experience negate any difference (if it exists) in preparation due to specified track.

Alumni data will be analyzed to identify factors affecting career placement. Current students will be tracked through mandatory advising sessions each semester to identify interest in industry positions as well as co-curricular experiences contributing to increased competitiveness for industry. Results from this study will serve as an advising tool for students in our department, as well as inform the BME/BIOE field of key foundational skills expected of industry bound BME/BIOE students.

[1] D. W. Gatchell and R. A. Linsenmeier. “Similarities and Differences in Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Curricula in the United States,” in American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN 2014.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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