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Biomedical Engineering for Undergrad

angeltalkangeltalk 57 replies8 threads Junior Member
My son is trying to decide between Purdue, Upitt and Case Western for Biomedical Engineering. Cost wise it is the same. Can someone provide some pointers to help us decide which one to commit to?

We understand the different settings of each of the universities and Case/Upitt has good hospitals near the campus. Purdue is ranked high in engineering (Top 10). Any pointers to help make the selection would be great.
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Replies to: Biomedical Engineering for Undergrad

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8738 replies82 threads Senior Member
    My daughter is a freshman at Purdue in CoE and is loving it!

    That said, Purdue's program is very career focused. If your child is planning on being pre-med, be aware that Purdue is definitely not known for grade inflation.

    All engineers start out in a common first year engineering curriculum and transition to major requires a 3.2 engineering index for be guaranteed first choice major. Here are the details: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ENE/Academics/FirstYear/T2M

    As much as I adore the experience my DD is having at Purdue, if med school is the plan I'm not sure Purdue would be the best option... Of the three, I would pick Case.
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Pitt has alot of opportunities for research as an undergrad - #4 nationally for $$ funded by NIH. I’ve had 3 kids go to Pitt for engineering - great academics, no gating for enrollment in bioE and very good outcomes. Ds is a scientist in pharma, dd is in Berkeley/UCSF bioE phd program, dd#2 is doing a coop year in Pittsburgh at a biotech firm.
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  • pittsburghscribepittsburghscribe 447 replies14 threads Member
    What were your kids' experiences with class sizes in engineering at Pitt, @amandakayak? And any feedback on quality of professors? My D is facing a similar choice to the OP and one of my concerns about Case is that, although BME is highly rated there, I've heard mixed things about the professors in the program.
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  • angeltalkangeltalk 57 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @pittsburghscribe .. do you mind sharing about what you heard about professors in case?
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    @pittsburghscribe I am asking my kids to give me some input - intro classes are around 70-80 people and then class sizes after that around 10-30 people. Pitt's engineering school is like that college within a big college feeling - 265 total undergraduates (from stats book 2017) in BioE - assuming that is soph-sr, you really have a small cohort of about 90 kids. I can't overemphasize the amount of research going on. When I toured Case (2x) with my dds, it was an entirely different feeling. Lab space seemed old, small and limited. All my kids were able to get involved early, around mid-freshman year. Take a look through one of their stats books, there is a lot of good info in there. https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/statistics/
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    The intro core classes like calc chem physics can range up to 120 people in a class. I don't believe they go higher but I've asked my kids to give me that answer.
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Ok here is from my dd#2 who is currently on co-op but will start her sr year this fall. "Mahboobin who's the head of bioe undergrad is awesome and super easy to talk to. He teaches the lab portion of signals which is a lot of programming and hes really helpful and nice. Bioe is like 100 ppl per class so classes are small and you really get to know your classmates. Other classes in the sciences dpt which theyll have to take are large. Intro to chem is all engineers freshman yr so probs 50 a class. Calc is all grads and any major so usually around 130 I think?"
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  • pittsburghscribepittsburghscribe 447 replies14 threads Member
    @angeltalk -- I'm so sorry, but I can't recall where I read it and what exactly was said. I think there were two lines of comments -- one to the effect that the professors in the BME department weren't very nice; and second that they were more focused on their research than teaching.
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  • carachel2carachel2 3020 replies25 threads Senior Member
    My daughter and I toured Purdue. It was interesting when we asked for a tour of the BME department like literally three people couldn't figure out how to get us there. Finally we were given a campus map and the BME building/department was wayyyyyyyy on the edge of campus. That was a huge turn off.

    I'm thankful for the First Year Engineering program at Pitt where she was exposed to all of the different engineering disciplines and allowed to choose her major (not apply, not compete...but choose). She realized BioE was not for her. But she has friends in BioE and the research opportunities that are available and literally right in their backyard are incredible.
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  • pittsburghscribepittsburghscribe 447 replies14 threads Member
    Thanks so much @amandakayak -- very helpful! Is your daughter enjoying her coop? Is it in Pittsburgh? If you wouldn't mind sharing the kind of work she is doing, I would love to hear.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8738 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Curious as to when you did your tour @carachel2? The BME building opened in '17 and is near the life sciences and other lab buildings. My daughter is often there and while not on the engineering mall, less than a 10 minute walk from many of the dorms.
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  • carachel2carachel2 3020 replies25 threads Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 we were there in March of 2016 so it looks like we missed it! It was really weird when no one could figure out how to get us there or arrange a tour!
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  • angeltalkangeltalk 57 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @momofsenior1 we visited Purdue last year and saw a new building for BME.. But did they expand that building further? I know they said that they are going to expand the student strength this year for BME due to the expansion.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8738 replies82 threads Senior Member
    @angeltalk - I'm not sure. Something to ask the department directly?
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  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2401 replies58 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    "But did they expand that building further? I know they said that they are going to expand the student strength this year for BME due to the expansion."

    Yes it's Martin Jischke Hall. I believe the expansion is scheduled to be completed this year.

    https://engineering.purdue.edu/BME/AboutUs/News/2018/Construction-begins-for-Weldon-School-of-Biomedical-Engineering-building-expansion
    edited February 2019
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    Biomedical Engineering and medicine is a mainstay the big hurrah at Case Western Reserve University.
    Class sizes will be smaller. Students in that program often go on to take degrees in orthodics design or work
    for medical device companies. Case Western offers a more intimate college experience in a city very similar to Pittsburgh. Between Pittsburgh and Cleveland some might say Cleveland has the better orchestra, better art museum and more lively neighborhoods. Some might not like Cleveland as well, its more east coast feel compared to midwestern Pittsburgh. The rest of Ohio is the midwest, but Cleveland has the look of Cambridge MA, with red brick roads, big Greek Orthodox churches, and synagogues, and lots of small independent restaurants. Pittsburgh area is pretty nice too near Pitt.
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    @pittsburghscribe my dd's co-op has been for a full year - she started right after jr yr - came up with the thought to do co-op late so specifically she wanted somewhere that would be an entire year and local to Pitt if possible. She is working at a biotech start up (spun out of CMU) in Southside which is like a 10 min bus ride from Pitt. She's been doing lab work for them to submit a new product for fda approval. So it's been challenging, exciting and she's learned alot. And Pitt has been terrific - her merit holds until she returns FT so for this past year, she had to pay just regular fees (for health center, gyms, transportation) and a small (<$500) coop fee per semester).
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  • amandakayakamandakayak 2396 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Another thing to look at when deciding between schools is the extent they provide the track your dd is interested in. My kids haven't been wanting to focus on devices/ortho/mechanical but were more cellular. BioE is a very broad discipline so make sure that school covers that interest both in classes and research.
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