Special to the MBJ
The Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University in Starkville has expanded its undergraduate degree offerings to include a new opportunity in biomedical engineering.
The approval made by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees will allow Mississippi State students to formally enroll as biomedical engineering majors during the 2017 fall semester.
With the introduction of a biomedical engineering degree, the Bagley College of Engineering now offers 12 different undergraduate degree opportunities across eight departments of study.
“The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is one of the fastest growing, most diverse departments in our college and also within Mississippi State University,” said Jason Keith, dean of the Bagley College of Engineering. “The addition of the biomedical engineering degree should lead to even greater student interest, while also aiding with faculty recruiting.”
The inclusion of biomedical engineering (BME) as an undergraduate degree program is not a new concept for MSU engineering faculty or students. In addition to an existing graduate degree in BME, Bagley College’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has also offered a degree in biological engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering since 2004.
Steve Elder, MSU’s graduate coordinator for biomedical engineering programs, was active in preparing the curriculum and the new program proposal to the IHL Board of Trustees. He has high hopes for how an undergraduate program in biomedical engineering will enhance the Bagley College of Engineering.
“I believe it will have a strong, positive impact (on MSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering),” said Elder. “The new program has the potential to enhance student recruitment by presenting a clearer career path in regard to pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering, compared to a concentration in BME.”
To expand engineering electives, and in anticipation of potential degree opportunities, the BME concentration curriculum was altered in 2015, therefore requiring no additional changes to become an undergraduate degree-granting program.
“Because they are following the exact same curriculum, we expect many students to transfer to the BME major from the concentration and graduate in the spring of 2018,” said Elder.
The growing interest and enrollment in biomedical engineering courses made its inclusion as a degree program a natural progression for the MSU engineering program. Elder also thinks the addition will increase opportunities for students, after they obtain a BME degree from MSU.
“I believe an actual degree in biomedical engineering will increase the competitiveness of our students in the job market, and will increase our visibility to the biomedical industry, which may lead to more opportunities for students, such as internships or research partnerships,” Elder said.
Career opportunities look bright for biomedical engineers, as the development of new medical technology pairs with an aging population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth of 23 percent in the employment of biomedical engineers from 2014 to 2024, with potential employment environments ranging from government regulatory agencies and manufacturing facilities to medical, educational and research institutions.
For more information, on biomedical engineering at MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering, visit abe.msstate.edu, or go online at bagley.msstate.edu and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for @msuengineering.