Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering Major, B.S.

Department of Biomedical Engineering

http://www.bme.unc.edu

Nancy Allbritton, Chair

Lianne Cartee, Director of Undergraduate Studies

lacartee@email.unc.edu

Sandy Henriquez, Faculty Advisor (students with last names beginning with A-F)

aphenriq@email.unc.edu

Naji Husseini, Faculty Advisor (students with last names beginning with G-J)

najihuss@email.unc.edu

Devin Hubbard, Faculty Advisor (students with last names beginning with K-P)

dhubbard@email.unc.edu

Richard Goldberg, Faculty Advisor (students with last names beginning with Q-Z)

r.goldberg@unc.edu

In this major, students learn to apply engineering principles to solve problems in medicine and biology. This is a field of great breadth that incorporates medical imaging, informatics, micro and nanosystems, prosthetics, medical devices, tissue engineering and genomics, drug delivery, and applications of signal processing and control.

Admission

Students may declare the biomedical and health sciences engineering major as early as their first year. However, students who wish to complete the biomedical and health sciences engineering major must apply for admission to the program. Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission to the program is granted to rising sophomores, and students will apply in the fall, spring or summer of their first year. Rising juniors may also apply, but admission to rising juniors will only be granted on a limited basis if space is available. Students who are not accepted to the program must select a different major. 

In order to apply, students must complete the following courses.

CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1
4
ENGL 105English Composition and Rhetoric 23
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 14
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 14
PHYS 118Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity 14
or PHYS 116 Mechanics
1

 With a grade of C or better. AP, IB, or transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

2

 With a grade of C- or better. Transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

More information about this process is available on the department Web site.

Advising

The department provides both curriculum advising and career advising. BME curriculum advisors provide guidance on course and curriculum issues. The advisors are a small group of faculty members and staff who have expertise in the BME curriculum. Students can meet with any of the curriculum advisors at any time. Starting in the sophomore year, BME students must get their planned courses approved by a curriculum advisor each semester in order to register for classes. Students can also schedule a meeting with an advisor for additional assistance. The department sends out instructions on this procedure every semester.

BME career advisors provide guidance on issues related to careers, internships, graduate school, etc. Starting in the sophomore year, each student is assigned to a BME faculty member as his or her career advisor.

First-year students receive advising through the Academic Advising Program. A first-year student can also meet with a curriculum advisor in BME by scheduling an advising appointment. BME curriculum advisors do not advise students on General Education requirements. Advisors from the Academic Advising Program can provide assistance with these requirements.

Other resources for help: The BME Club offers peer advising around the time of registration each semester. Through this program, seniors provide advising assistance to younger students. More information is sent out to students before these sessions.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the biomedical and health sciences engineering program, students should be able to:

General engineering outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • Demonstrate an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • Demonstrate an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
  • Demonstrate constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • Demonstrate an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • Demonstrate a recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of contemporary issues
  • Demonstrate an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

BME-specific program criteria:

  • Apply principles of engineering, biology, human physiology, chemistry, calculus-based physics, mathematics (through differential equations), and statistics
  • Solve bio/biomedical engineering problems, including those associated with the interaction between living and non-living systems
  • Analyze, model, design, and realize bio/biomedical engineering devices, systems, components, or processes; and
  • Make measurements on and interpret data from living systems

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill or North Carolina State University (N.C. State) courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill or N.C. State
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The first two years of study have many courses in common with the B.S. programs in chemistry, physics, computer science, or mathematical sciences. The curriculum, as for all sciences, is vertically structured, with experience and knowledge from each course serving as a foundation for subsequent courses. Students’ attention to prerequisites is important. The specific requirements are listed below. Students are also encouraged to engage in research in a laboratory at UNC–Chapel Hill or elsewhere, or have an internship experience in industry.

The degree program requires 124 hours.

Students who are admitted to the program may take courses at N.C. State. N.C. State course numbers are designated in parenthesis.

Core Requirements
BMME 150Introduction to Materials Science (MSE/BME 203)3
BMME 160Statics (CE 214 or MAE 206)3
BMME 210BME Design and Manufacturing I2
BMME 310BME Design and Manufacturing II (BME 352)2
Choose one of the following (additional courses taken count as a BME specialty elective):3
Thermodynamics and Kinetics Applied to Solids (MAE 201 or MSE 301)
Biomechanics of Movement
Biofluid Mechanics (CE 382 or MAE 308)
Transport Processes
Skeletal Biomechanics
BMME 410Systems and Signals (BME 311)3
BMME 465Biomedical Instrumentation I4
BMME 697Senior Design Project I (BME 451)3
BMME 698Senior Design Project II (BME 452)3
BIOL 202Molecular Biology and Genetics (GN 311) H4
BIOL 252
252L
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory (BIO 212)
4
MATH 528Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences I (MA 501)3
BMME 350Electronics for Biomedical Engineers (BME 210)4
BMME 351Human Physiology and Biological Measurements for Engineers4
Choose one statistics class from:3
Introduction to Probability (ST 370)
Statistical Methods I
Additional Requirements
A choice of four biomedical specialty electives (any BMME course above 400 excluding BMME 691H and BMME 692H)12
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their first two years:
BMME 201MATLAB for Scientists and Engineers (BME 201 or CSC 113)3
or COMP 116 Introduction to Scientific Programming
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory (BIO 183) H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I (CH 101 + 102)
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II (CH 201 + 202) H
4
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I (MA 141)4
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II (MA 241)4
MATH 233Calculus of Functions of Several Variables (MA 242) H4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 116Mechanics (PY 205 + 206) H4
or PHYS 118 Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
PHYS 117Electromagnetism and Optics (PY 208 + 209) H4
or PHYS 119 Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
Remaining General Education courses and electives to reach 124 hours25
Total Hours124
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Students must satisfy all Foundations, Approaches, and Connections requirements, as outlined elsewhere in this catalog. Some General Education requirements should be met with specific courses as listed above.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
BMME 101 Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering 1 1
MATH 231 Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 2 4
MATH 232 Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 2 4
PHYS 116
Mechanics 2, H
or Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 2
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
ENGL 105 English Composition and Rhetoric 3 3
Foreign Language level 3 3
Approaches and Connections (2 courses) 6
Lifetime Fitness 1
Hours 34
Sophomore Year
MATH 233 Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H 4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 117
Electromagnetism and Optics H
or Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
4
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
BMME 210 BME Design and Manufacturing I 2
BIOL 202 Molecular Biology and Genetics H 4
COMP 116
Introduction to Scientific Programming
or MATLAB for Scientists and Engineers
3
BMME 160 Statics (Fall only) 3
BMME 150 Introduction to Materials Science (Spring only) 3
Approaches and Connections (1 course) 3
Hours 34
Junior Year
BMME 310 BME Design and Manufacturing II 2
BIOL 252
252L
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
4
MATH 528 Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences I (lab section is optional) 3
STOR 435
Introduction to Probability
or Statistical Methods I
3
BME Specialty Elective 1 3
BMME 350 Electronics for Biomedical Engineers (Fall only) 4
BMME 351 Human Physiology and Biological Measurements for Engineers (Spring only) 4
BMME 465 Biomedical Instrumentation I (Spring only) 4
BMME 410 Systems and Signals (Spring only) 3
Hours 30
Senior Year
BME Specialty Elective 2 3
BME Specialty Elective 3 3
BME Specialty Elective 4 3
Choose one of the following (additional courses taken count as a BME Specialty Elective) 3
Thermodynamics and Kinetics Applied to Solids (Fall only)  
Biomechanics of Movement (Spring only)  
Biofluid Mechanics (Fall only)  
Transport Processes (Spring only)  
Skeletal Biomechanics (Fall only)  
BMME 697 Senior Design Project I (Fall only) 3
BMME 698 Senior Design Project II (Spring only) 3
Remaining General Education courses and electives to reach 124 credits 8
Hours 26
Total Hours 124
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

1

 Strongly recommended, but not required.

2

 With a grade of C or better. AP, IB, or transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

3

 With a grade of C- or better. Transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

Special Opportunities in Biomedical Engineering

Honors in Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering

Students who successfully complete a research project and have a sufficiently outstanding academic record are eligible for graduation with honors or highest honors. The requirements for graduation with honors or highest honors include

  1. overall grade point average of 3.3 or higher;
  2. completion of a two-semester research project, with course credit given in BMME 691H and BMME 692H;
  3. presentation of the research to a committee of three faculty members, both as an oral presentation and a written honors thesis; and,
  4. approval by that committee.

Additional requirements for BMME 691H and BMME 692H are given to students in those classes. For consideration for highest honors, the research project must be judged to be of publishable quality.

Students wishing to be considered for graduation with honors should apply to the director of undergraduate studies by September 15th. Additional information is sent to all students at the start of the fall semester.

Departmental Involvement

Student organizations include the BME Club. This is an official UNC–Chapel Hill club that organizes speakers, outreach to industry and the medical school, and mentoring, among other activities. This is also a joint club with the BME students at North Carolina State University.

Experiential Education

All students in biomedical engineering participate in a capstone design experience in which they develop a device or system that has biomedical applications. This project fulfills the General Education experiential education requirement. There are also opportunities for experiential education outside of the curriculum. These opportunities include Helping Hands, which develops 3-D printed prosthetic hands, and Engineering World Health, which develops medical equipment for under-resourced populations.

Undergraduate Awards

Awards are given to students in the graduating class each spring.

Undergraduate Research

Students are strongly encouraged to undertake a research project at any time during their education, but particularly during their junior and/or senior years. Through the challenge of a research project, students come face to face with the leading edge of an area, gain expertise with state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation, and experience a professional scientific career firsthand. Many undergraduate students work in the research laboratories of BME faculty members. In addition, faculty across campus conduct BME-related research, and many undergraduate students take advantage of these research opportunities in the School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy, and in the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Computer Science, and Exercise and Sport Science.

The BME department helps to coordinate research activities and facilitates connections between students and research laboratories. This is accomplished through communication via e-mail and the department Web site. Also, the department organizes laboratory open houses, enabling students to visit faculty laboratories and learn about their research opportunities. The UNC–Chapel Hill Office for Undergraduate Research is also an excellent resource for finding research opportunities.