The undergraduate program in biomedical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (

What Do Biomedical Engineers Do

A biomedical engineer uses traditional engineering expertise to analyze and solve problems in biology and medicine, providing an overall enhancement of human health. Students choose the biomedical engineering field to be of service to people, to experience the excitement of working with living systems, and to apply advanced technology to the complex problems of medical care. Biomedical engineers work with health care professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, therapists, and technicians) and may be called upon in a wide range of capacities such as designing instruments, devices, and software.  Biomedical engineers incorporate knowledge from many technical sources to develop new medical procedures and conduct research in an effort to solve clinical problems.

Why Biomedical Engineering at Iowa?

Biomedical engineering links biology, medicine, and engineering to improve human health. Many engineering students choose this major as preparation for medical school.

The department offers students great flexibility in career preparation. With the proper selection of elective courses, the curriculum affords numerous engineering specialties, or the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, or law.

Typical responsibilities for biomedical engineers include working closely with physicians to design and evaluate prosthetic devices such as heart valves or spinal and hip implants; working with new materials for implants and tissue-generated implants; performing computer analysis of medical images; and using computers to analyze genetic structures and functions.

The BSE program in biomedical engineering is one of eight undergraduate engineering programs offered by the College of Engineering, which offers excellent opportunities for students to participate in undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, and student organizations.

Students choose to study engineering at Iowa because of the college's academic excellence, individual attention, small-college environment, camaraderie, and tremendous opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa's undergraduate program in the top 20 percent of engineering programs nationwide.

Iowa admits incoming first-year students directly into engineering. It does not have a pre-engineering year or the "weed-out" philosophy that many other programs have. About 475 first-year students and 100 transfer students enroll each year. Women account for over 27 percent of Iowa's engineering students; the national average is 20 percent.

How To Apply

You may start the application process by following the instructions on the Office of Admissions website.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are over 2,000 scholarships offered to undergraduates by the University of Iowa and the College of Engineering. The Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering awards the following scholarships:

Bea Park Scholarship – this scholarship is awarded to students (either undergraduate or graduate) who are studying Biomaterials in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).

Clarence H. Clark Fund – this award is given to a biomedical engineering major at the beginning of their senior year. The recipient must be a United States citizen who has demonstrated an interest in pursuing graduate work in biomedical engineering and is in good academic standing with the preference given to those with financial need. At the suggestion of the department, the recipient will be asked to work five to ten hours a week in a teaching assistant role.

Frazee Biomedical Engineering Scholarship – this scholarship is awarded, through the College of Engineering, to a deserving student with preference given to a biomedical engineering student. The award is renewable as long as the recipient continues to qualify under the specified criteria.

Biomedical Engineering Student Aid – this award is given to first-year undergraduate biomedical engineering students who demonstrate financial need. It is renewable for four years. Individuals, organizations, and various members of the B.M.E. industry donate the funds for these scholarship awards.  Additionally, students receiving Presidential Scholarships or Dean’s Scholarships are offered the opportunity to work in a research laboratory within the Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering also offers scholarships to deserving students after their first year of study in biomedical engineering. These scholarships offer selected students the opportunity to work in a research laboratory within the department.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Biomedical engineers likely will see more demand because of growing technology and its application to medical equipment and devices. Smartphone technology and three-dimensional printing are examples of technology being applied to biomedical advances.

As the aging baby-boom generation lives longer and stays active, the demand for biomedical devices and procedures, such as hip and knee replacements is expected to increase. In addition, as the public has become more aware of medical advances, increasing numbers of people are seeking biomedical solutions to their health problems from their physicians.

Biomedical engineers work with scientists, other medical researchers, and manufacturers to address a wide range of injuries and physical disabilities. Their ability to work in different activities with workers from other fields is enlarging the range of applications for biomedical engineering products and services.

The industries that employed the most biomedical engineers were as follows:

  • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing 23%
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 16%
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 12%
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing 8%
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private 8%