BME Major FAQ

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Don't see FAQ you are looking for here? Email the Undergraduate Coordinator at bmeugrad@cornell.edu with any additional questions.

Visit the BME Minors page for BME Minor FAQs.

BME Major Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list and links to external to BME Major Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have any additional questions not listed here, contact undergraduate Student Services Coordinator Ryan Sauve.

What is the difference between biological engineering and biomedical engineering?

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Biomedical engineering is a unique field that develops engineering skills from a variety of disciplines and applies them to problems related to human health and disease. Biomedical engineering at Cornell has been designed to prepare students to deal with the variability of the human body and to engineer robust solutions in an uncertain environment.

If I do not complete the required courses to affiliate at the end of the third semester, can I complete them in the fourth semester and affiliate then?

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Yes! As of 2019-2020, BME officially accepts affiliation applications during the fourth semester. Please note, however, that for scheduling purposes ENGRD 2202/BME 2000 (a required affiliation course) is offered during fall semesters only.

Is there a limit to the number of students that can affiliate with a Biomedical Engineering major?

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During the start-up phase of the major, which is likely to be a few years, we (like any other major) have a maximum capacity in terms of faculty and classroom/lab space. It is possible, but unlikely, that a number of students all want to affiliate to BME but we cannot accommodate them all. To date, we have not denied anyone that qualified for affiliation.

I am an incoming freshman and have AP scores for multiple math and science courses. Any reason not to take the credits and skip those courses?

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We do not currently accept AP credit for Introductory Biology (BIOMG 1350), however we do accept credit for other math and science courses. It all depends on what you view as the quality of your preparation. Many students wish they hadn't passed out of courses because 1) they can solidify the material much better in a new setting, and 2) getting good grades in classes builds confidence for more difficult classes and should help your GPA. Reasons to take the AP credit are 1) to have lesser course loads each semester, and by extension more free time, or 2) to be able to minor or otherwise diversify your educational experience.

Is it possible to transfer into biomedical engineering from another college?

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The undergraduate biomedical engineering major for the College of Engineering was approved by the State of New York during summer 2015. During the start-up phase of the major, which is likely to be a few years, only incoming first-year students and rising sophomores in the College of Engineering will be eligible to apply for affiliation (i.e., internal transfer students and external transfer students will not be eligible to apply for affiliation with BME).

I want to get involved with biomedical engineering, but I was unable to affiliate. What can I do?

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There are a number of ways to gain a background in Biomedical Engineering outside of the major. We have a minor, a one-year Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) and many faculty research labs that take in students from various science and engineering disciplines.

Is there a preference for BIOMG 1350 over BIOG 1440 for the introductory bio course?

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As of Fall 2017, BIOG 1440 is no longer an option for the introductory biology requirement. Students must take BIOMG 1350.

Do you require a specific Introduction to Computing (CS 1110, 1112, 1114, or 1115) course in order to affiliate to BME?

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No. Any of these courses will satisfy the Engineering Common Core CS requirement. However, due to the nature of some upper-level courses and professor preferences, we strongly recommend students take a Matlab-based section (CS 1112 preferred).

Is there a recommended pre-med course sequence published?

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Yes, we have posted one example of a pre-med course path. The example allows students to graduate in four years with an undergraduate degree while satisfying pre-med requirements. Additional paths are possible depending on AP credit and if the student wants to take the full sequence of organic chemistry. Pre-med advising is available through the major, at the college level, and at the university level to help students create a plan that works best for them.

Will CHEM 3570 (Org Chem) be a suitable replacement for CHEM 1570 (Intro to Org/Bio Chem)?

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CHEM 1570 can be satisfied by the pre-medicine sequence, so those students who take organic chemistry and biochemistry do not need to take CHEM 1570.

What is the process for certification for the B.S. biomedical engineering degree?

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A completed graduation checklist will be reviewed by the student and undergraduate coordinator in the student’s second-to-last semester and again in the student’s final semester. Graduation dates are January, May, and August. Outstanding graduation-related paperwork is to be completed and submitted prior to graduation. All credits (including AP credits and petitioned credit) need to appear on transcripts or credit to be applied. 

Do BME students complete research as undergraduates?

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Yes, a large percentage of BME students complete at least one semester or summer of research! If you are interested in getting involved in some innovative BME research we will encourage and support you to do just that. Students will find openings for research opportunities with BME core faculty as well as with field faculty members in other departments whose research involves BME related applications.

What do Cornell Biomedical Engineering students do after graduation?

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Currently we have a small sample size with just two graduation classes, but so far our population of students has a fairly even distribution of post-graduation interests. Nearly one third of all students are interested in entering industry (including those seeking a 1-year professional Master’s degree), about one third interested in graduate school, and about one third interested in pursuing medical school.

What types of industry do Cornell Biomedical Engineering students go into?

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The opportunities are as diverse as the field itself thanks to the unique set of problem solving skills developed throughout the curriculum. Graduates are process engineers or regulatory affairs specialists at biomedical device companies such as Stryker, research scientists and engineers at pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Biogen, biomedical flight controllers supporting NASA, safety and crashworthiness engineers at Toyota, technical engineers at healthcare software companies like Epic Systems, as well as consultants with a variety of data/analytics-focused firms.

Can I complete a co-op or study abroad?

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During our start-up phase, BME does not have a formalized co-op or study abroad pathway but will work with students individually to create an academic plan that meets their experiential goals. We have created examples of such plans with current and past students that can serve as templates going forward.

I have additional questions. Whom should I contact?

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You can email the Undergraduate Coordinator (bmeugrad@cornell.edu) with any additional questions.

Students admitted to the Cornell College of Engineering can also find other frequently asked questions on their FAQ page for students from Cornell Engineering Advising.