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Graduate Programs in Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Science, and the Crossover Program

The following are answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by applicants about Drexel's Graduate Programs in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Science.

 

Q. What distinguishes Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering graduate program from those of other universities?

Q. What distinguishes Drexel's Biomedical Science program from those of other universities?

Q. What is the background needed to qualify for admission into the graduate Biomedical Engineering program?

Q. What is the crossover program?

Q. Who should take the crossover program?

Q. What is the background needed to qualify for admission into the graduate Biomedical Science program?

Q. After I have been admitted to the graduate biomedical engineering program, what topics should I study in order to prepare for my graduate studies?

Q. What is the difference between the non-thesis master's and the regular master's program?

Q. I was informed that the school appointed an advisor for me. Do I have to do my thesis research in the appointed advisor's research area?

Q. Will graduating with a biomedical engineering or biomedical science degree be an advantage in pursuing medical studies?

Q. I was notified by Drexel's Admissions Office that I was accepted to the program and that I should contact the department regarding financial aid. Does that mean I will be receiving a teaching or research assistantship?

Q. If my GPA drops below 3.5, will I lose my Dean's Fellowship?

Q. What's the Philadelphia region like?

Q. Who can I contact for more information?

 


Q. What distinguishes Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering graduate program from those of other universities?

A. Most other universities have their biomedical engineering program either in their respective engineering or medical colleges. The School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems is a university-level interdisciplinary unit, which enjoys close working partnerships with Drexel's College of Engineering and the College of Medicine . This school framework facilitates appointment of faculty with diverse backgrounds in the school and creates a true multidisciplinary environment. It also facilitates interaction and collaboration between different professionals (biologists, physicians, chemists, mathematicians, etc.). In other universities, such interactions rely on inter-departmental collaboration, which may be influenced by non-professional considerations and different departmental goals.

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Q. What distinguishes Drexel's Biomedical Science program from those of other universities?

A. A typical graduate program in the biomedical sciences focuses on providing depth within a subdiscipline of biology. For example, such programs may provide advanced work in microbiology or pharmacology. Drexel's program has a very different goal: to cross-train life science students in quantitative analysis, systems, modeling, and computational sciences. It is a value-added approach designed to enhance the ability of the individual to understand, interact with, and model living systems at the whole organism level by providing students with knowledge and skills normally found in the engineering disciplines. Students with master's or Ph.D. degrees in biomedical science have gone on to establish new companies, or lead new laboratory efforts in such areas as human performance; man-machine interface design; neural network modeling, or pharmaceutical sciences.

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Q. What is the background needed to qualify for admission into the graduate Biomedical Engineering program?

A. You have to be a graduate of an accredited program in one of the engineering disciplines. Students wishing to earn a biomedical engineering degree that have background in life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics, but not an engineering degree, may be admitted through our crossover program.

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Q. What is the crossover program?

A. The crossover program is intended for students who want to earn a master's degree in biomedical engineering but have no prior engineering qualifications. If you applied for admission into the master's program in biomedical engineering and your bachelor's degree is not in engineering, you may be admitted to the Biomedical Science (BMS) program and transfer to Biomedical Engineering (BME) via the crossover program. The graduate committee will review your qualifications and will outline a plan of pre-required undergraduate engineering courses that you will need to take before you can be officially transferred to the Biomedical Engineering program. Please be aware that any undergraduate courses taken to fulfill the crossover requirements will not be counted toward master's degree credits.

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Q. Who should take the crossover program?

A. Crossing over from science to engineering requires the acquisition of basic engineering skills. Consult the graduate advisor (or your BMS thesis advisor, if you have one) to review your requirements. You will have to spend one to two years taking undergraduate classes before you start to take the required graduate courses.

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Q. What is the background needed to qualify for admission into the graduate Biomedical Science program?

A. You must have a degree in one of the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. If you are uncertain, please contact the School's Graduate Advisor.

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Q. After I have been admitted to the graduate biomedical engineering program, what topics should I study in order to prepare for my graduate studies?

A. You can relax and save your energy for the school year.  However, if you have not decided in what area to specialize, you can read and talk to professors about the different specializations and choose the area that best suits your interests.

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Q. What is the difference between the non-thesis master's and the regular master's program?

A. The traditional master's degree involves acquisition of knowledge in curricular material and some structured research experience that constitutes the basis of a written thesis. Since science and technology have been progressing and expanding at a high rate, engineers often need to catch up with the knowledge gap created. The non-thesis option is designed to primarily address the needs of individuals who are working in industry or hospitals and who need to supplement their knowledge with advanced curricular material.

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Q. I was informed that the school appointed an advisor for me. Do I have to do my thesis research in the appointed advisor's research area?

A. The Office of Graduate Admissions automatically assigns all newly admitted students to the person responsible for the graduate studies in the particular school or department. This person is the administrative "graduate advisor" of that unit. This person is involved in your admission process and administrative advising, as well as in helping you get oriented to Drexel. The advisor assigned is a temporary administrative advisor, and once you enroll, you will have the opportunity to meet with faculty members to identify a "thesis advisor" whose research coincides with your own area of interest.

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Q. Will graduating with a biomedical engineering or biomedical science degree be an advantage in pursuing medical studies?

A. The biomedical engineering and biomedical science programs prepare the student for medical school by enhancing his or her knowledge of mathematics, physics, and medical science courses.

Biomedical engineering is a natural course of study leading to successful enrollment in medical, dental, or veterinary schools. It prepares students for rewarding and productive careers in modern medicine, which is technology driven and research based. Recent statistics indicate that biomedical engineering majors outpace majors in all other disciplines in admission to medical schools.

The goal of the Biomedical Science graduate program is to cross train life science students in quantitative analysis, systems, modeling, and programming. It is a value-added approach designed to enhance the ability of the individual to understand, interact with, and model living systems at the whole organism level by providing students with knowledge and skills normally found in the engineering disciplines. Students educated in this way are better prepared for the technological aspects of modern medicine and are able to apply a more holistic approach to diagnosis and patient care. The program functions in collaboration with the Interdepartmental Medical Science program in the Drexel College of Medicine to provide further preparation for applying to medical school.

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Q. I was notified by Drexel's Admissions Office that I was accepted to the program and that I should contact the department regarding financial aid. Does that mean I will be receiving a teaching or research assistantship?

A. No. There are four types of financial assistance for which you will be automatically considered:

        Dean's Fellowship This fellowship is awarded only to master's students whose bachelor's level GPA is 3.5 or higher and whose GRE scores total at least 2,050 in the old system, or above 1,300 in the new system, with a writing score of at least 3.5.

        Calhoun Fellowship This is a competitive fellowship that is only awarded to the best candidates of the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. The fellowship covers full tuition and an additional stipend. The stipend may vary between individuals, as determined by the Calhoun Fellowship committee. Preference in awarding the Calhoun Fellowship is given to students who explicitly express an intention to pursue doctoral studies. The school awards an average of five such fellowships per year to new incoming students. To compete for a Calhoun Fellowship, you must have at least a 3.5 (out of a possible 4.0) GPA and very high GRE scores. Students who are awarded Calhoun Fellowships are expected to spend about one month in each of the relevant school research laboratories prior to selecting a research topic and advisor. While support from the Calhoun endowment is guaranteed for the first year, the school expects that the students will pursue their research in the faculty laboratory that is willing to sponsor them.

        Teaching Assistantships (TAs) These are awarded based on the same criteria as the Calhoun fellowships. The recipient of a teaching assistantship will be expected to work 20 hours per week.

        Research Assistantships (RAs) These are based on a contractual agreement between the student and a faculty member who is facilitating the assistantship from his or her own research grant. The full-time load for TAs and RAs is based on 20 hours of work per week.

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Q. If my GPA drops below 3.5, will I lose my Dean's Fellowship?

A. Yes, you may loose your eligibility to receive your Dean's fellowship. However, you may be able to recover such eligibility if your GPA returns to be 3.5 or higher.

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Q. What's the Philadelphia region like?

A. The Philadelphia region is ideal for studying biomedical engineering, since our region boasts one of the highest concentrations of medical universities and hospitals, biomedical device and systems companies, bio-pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and health systems industries in the United States . Our School takes advantage of this richness by forming academic alliances with regional academic and research institutions and by partnering with a large number of corporations. Our urban setting and our proximity to a vast array of cultural centers in and around Philadelphia are a bonus for those students who wish to grow not only academically, but also intellectually and socially during their graduate studies.

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Q. Who can I contact for more information?

A. For more in-depth answers to your questions, please e-mail Caryn Glaser at glasercb@drexel.edu

 

To learn more, please visit Drexel University General Admissions web site: www.drexel.edu/ecm

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This FAQ Last Revised 8/4/03.

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