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Biomedical Engineering vs Chemical Engineering with Bio specialization?

I have been interested in pursuing a Biomedical Engineering major. However, people argue that biomedical engineering is the jack of all trades and master of none. This has been concerning for me as I would very much like to major in something and feel that I have mastered what I am learning without needing to go back to school for a Master's Degree. I aim to be successful in an engineering career once I have graduated my bachelor's degree. What is the difference between graduating with a Biomedical Engineering major and graduating with a Chemical Engineering major with a concentration in bio? Are potential careers different for these two? Is one better than the other? #engineering #biomedical-engineering #chemical-engineering #biotechnology #biochemistry #chemical-engineer #stemcareers #stem16


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Luis "Lou"’s Answer

Each of these two majors stands in it's own right. As a matter of fact, Chemical Eng. is more of a "generic" degree than Biomed.
Ch.E. is a very wide field (which encompasses part of Biomed.), whereas Biomed. is more focused.
So if you are sure you want to work in the Biomedical field, then go for Biomed., but if you want to keep your options open (i.e.: food, plastic, petro., pharma., etc), go for Chem.
Good luck.


Thank you very much! I appreciate your help. Gillian C.

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Christos’s Answer

Hi Gillian,
From my experience in the industry I think it would be more prudent to pursue chemical engineering with an emphasis in bio. I have seen both biomedical engineers and chemical engineers in the industry. However, the individuals that have biomedical engineering degrees usually have to pursue graduate degrees to solidify their theoretical bases while chemical/bio engineers tend to have a bit more flexibility about when to pursue graduate degrees. In general, this is an industry that heavily favors graduate degrees. It doesn't mean you won't be able to get a job or have professional development without it but a disproportionate number of people pursue it so keep that in mind. Just to wrap things up a bit:
a) Biomedical engineering: Greater probability of helping you find an entry level position in the industry. Not flexible enough for you to go to other industries. You'll be lagging a bit in theoretical fluids/bio/chem/physics knowledge compared to peers.
b) Chemical engineering: Harder to find entry level position without strong internship experience. Easier to switch to other industries. The theoretical knowledge you will gain will make you a faster learner in the biomedical engineering field with greater potential for career advancement.
No matter what you choose the most important thing will be to have good grades and to pursue internships while still in college which is a different discussion.
Good luck!
Christos

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Jayavignesh’s Answer

The main reason I see that Biomed engineers get the label "jack of all trades" is because the undergraduate degree is very multidisciplinary. You learns bits from mechanical engineering, material science, electrical engineering, biology. The application of the knowledge at a medical device company can be very varied, so over the course of your career you could master a couple of the elements (i.e. you could specialize in mechanical design of prosthetics and implantable technologies) or you could develop a wide breadth of knowledge in the different areas.

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