Biomedical Engineering @ UMich COE

Hi All,
I have been admitted into UMich COE Class of 2019 and I intend to pursue Biomedical Engineering. I also want to pursue the premed track. To those who have experience or knowledge on this could you please help me with the following questions:

  1. Can both premed requirements and those of COE/BME be met without stretching out the program length? If not what are the difficulties?
  2. Is it easy to get undergraduate research opportunities?
  3. Is it easy to volunteer at the Medical School and shadow medical professional?
  4. If medical route does not work out for me I intend to take a job or go to grad school. Do biotech/pharma companies hire UMich undergrads? What are the early steps I need to take to ensure good placement through the Career Center?

My dad was a Wolverine and I am excited to become one too. Go Blue!!!

Thanks for your help.

Congratulations on your acceptance! I was neither a Biomedical Engineering major, nor premed at Michigan. That being said, I can answer some of your questions.

  1. Completing the premed requirements and those of the CoE/BEM without stretching out the program length should be relatively easy. Many premed classes are also CoE/BME requirements, such as 2 semesters of Physics, basic Mathematics and Statistics, and 4 semesters of Chemistry (2 Organic which are not required by the CoE and 2 inorganic which are required by the CoE). So far, that's two Organic Chemistry (Chemistry 215/216 and either 230 or 260) above and beyond the regular CoE/BME requirements. Additionally, many top Medical Schools require a class in Biochemistry. Finally, you will probably have to take 2-3 additionally Biology classes too. So altogether, we are looking at 5-6 classes that are not covered by the CoE/BME requirements. That should easily be managed without stretching the program length.
  2. Most students who seek out research opportunities find them. There are unusual circumstances, but they are unusual.
  3. I am not sure about volunteering at the Medical School/Hospital, or shadowing medical professionals. You will have to wait for others to weigh in.
  4. Most of the major Biotech and pharmaceutical firms recruit at the CoE. That includes Baxter, Medtronic, Stryker, Genentech, GE, Siemens, Amgen etc...The obvious way to improve the odds of landing a job with one of those companies is to maintain a high GPA (over 3.4) and secure internships in the summer after Sophomore and Junior years.

Thanks a lot Alexandre for your inputs… Could someone with specific knowledge on UMich BME- premed program help?

try this forum kurinji:

I’m in CoE as a member of the class of 2018- started out in biomedical engineering and switched to chemical engineering. Here’s what I know!

  1. I have a lot of friends following the exact same path that you are. As far as I understand, courses you need for pre-med that aren't under BME curriculum include organic chemistry II and lab (Chem 215/216), statistics, you might need an English class somewhere in there? (Engineering 100 counts as English credit for CoE, not sure if med schools allow that), probably a couple more biology/biochem courses...BUT, CoE requires that you have 16 credits of general electives, which can be covered by these extra classes (or AP credit! Yay!). It's very very common to be a BME major on the pre-med track these days, and there's a lot of guidance available to help you.

(Be warned- your GPA will likely be lower than your non-engineering pre-med applicant counterparts, as engineering classes are…well, very difficult. Don’t let that freak you out too much, I’ve heard that med schools really like BME majors.)

  1. Apply for UROP- undergraduate research opportunity program. It's a class that allows you to get started with research right off the bat your freshman and sophomore years. However, it is not uncommon to get research without UROP if you reach out to labs and professors, it just takes a little more initiative.
  2. I don't know about volunteering at the med school, and I don't think it's probably very common to shadow medical professionals (or maybe it is...what do I know, I'm a ChemE!). However, it is absolutely possible to volunteer at the UM Hospital.

Also, I DEFINITELY recommend that you sign up for Engineering 100 - Section 500 for Fall semester your freshman year! I did it this year and loved it- it’s a BME based freshman engineering design class (that, like I said before, counts for your English credit because you write a few papers. So no English classes, woohoo!). For the project I did, 4 teammates and I worked with a really accomplished clinician at the UM Hospital to create a paper design of a diagnostic test for a genetic disorder. It was a super cool experience, and now I have a pretty esteemed doctor as a contact.

  1. There are several huge career fairs throughout the school year where pretty big name companies come to recruit students for jobs or internships. Do research, get internships, and definitely get involved in clubs/leadership positions on campus.

Just a forewarning…from what I’ve been told, many job recruiters today tend to see a bachelor’s degree in BME as “not enough”. BME is a fantastic path for pre-meds or somebody going to grad school, but as just an undergrad degree alone it covers a huge amount of material in not a whole lot of time, and I’ve heard it can be tricky to find job placement in specifically BME fields post-graduation without a graduate degree (“why should I hire somebody with a little bit of training in biochemical engineering when I could just hire a chemical engineer?”). I only know 2 people who have graduated with just a bachelor’s in BME, but both of them are in random programming positions and not “BME fields”…which isn’t a bad thing per say, just not what they pictured themselves doing! But the BME program is very good at Michigan- of course it is, because it’s Michigan.

I’m sorry for the block of text, and I’m also sorry that a lot of this was just me guessing at stuff because I’m not actually pre-med. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Go Blue, and welcome to the family!

I am not sure if this program is still around but when I was a student they had a 5 year combined BS/MS program that would be right up your alley. The BS is in Cell and Molecular Biology and the MS is in Biomedical Engineering. Doing CMB for your BS will cover all the pre-reqs you could possibly need and getting the MS would give you the opportunity to go directly into the workforce and forego medical school. Plus, as another poster has mentioned, it is pretty much a requirement to have an advanced degree for BME anyways.

You may have to technically transfer to LSA to be in this program but I am not sure. The only people I know who did it were already in LSA and then had to apply to CoE later on to finish the master’s degree. I imagine it would be easy for you to do this though since CoE is usually more difficult to get into than LSA.

Hi there! congrats on being accepted! Umich is an amazing place. I currently a biomedical engineer and pre-med so i can give you a little bit of insight. First, BME is hard. The CoE is notorious for being hard. I mean the average ACT and GPA of a Umich COE student last year was a 33/3.9 but the average GPA after freshman year is a 2.8! That might seem incomprehensible, but it happens to a ton of smart people so there are no guarantees. If you are a 100% going to be a doctor but only sorta like engineering DO NOT DO IT. Every thing you’ll have to do will be harder. While your pre-med friend majoring in psych or bio is taking orgo, english, anthropology, and psych you’ll be taking physics, orgo, Calc, and programming, which will make it a 100x harder to do well. Also, it is hard to get a job with a BME undergrad if everything falls through. I don’t care if you got your BME from Hopkins, its still going to be a pain.

Ok, now that the negative stuff is out, BME is really cool! There are some amazing research opportunities and it will really make you a better doctor and overall smarter person. So if you love it go for it!