Asee peer logo

Replace Math Taught Differential Equations Course With A Bme Taught Physiological Modeling Course

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Novel BME Courses and Course Adaptations

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1080.1 - 11.1080.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John Denis Enderle University of Connecticut

visit author page

John D. Enderle, Ph.D.
Received the B.S., M.E., and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering, and M.E. degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1975, 1977, 1980, and 1978, respectively. He is the program director of biomedical engineering at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Enderle is a Fellow of the IEEE, BMES and AIMBE, and a Teaching Fellow at UConn. He is also an ABET Engineering Commission Member for the Biomedical Engineering Society.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Replace Math Taught Differential Equations Course with a BME Taught Physiological Modeling Course

ABSTRACT Traditionally, a course in differential equation taught by the Math department is required in most engineering programs. With the less prescriptive requirements by ABET and Criterion 8 for Biomedical Engineering programs, programs can be more creative than ever before in offering differential equations. The only ABET requirement dealing with differential equations in BME is Criterion 8 “the capability to apply advanced mathematics (including differential equations and statistics), science, and engineering to solve the problems at the interface of engineering and biology”. A physiological modeling course conveniently satisfies both requirements. Here it is proposed that a differential equations based physiological modeling course replace the more traditional differential equations course taught in the math department. The motivation for exploring this possibility is that: (1) the differential equation course can be replaced by a math/science elective and (2) students see differential equations applied in modeling physiological systems. We have been teaching a physiological modeling course at the University of Connecticut’s BME program over the last four years developing the curriculum, and after the proof of concept is approved, will implement the replacement.

INTRODUCTION Designing and updating a biomedical engineering (BME) curriculum is a daunting challenge. BME is unlike most engineering programs with the need for more life science courses as a core component of the curriculum. Described here is the rationale for using a differential equation based physiological modeling course as a substitute for a math taught differential equations course, and the subsequent flexibility it allows in the curriculum.

In addition, many BME programs prepare their students for more options than the usual engineering program. Approximately one-third of BME students in our program plan to attend medical or dental school and expect that the medical and dental school requirements be a part of the basic program. We have accomplished this challenge with basic medical/dental school requirements of one year of biology and organic chemistry in our curriculum. An additional course in the curriculum like genetics, molecular biology or biochemistry would be an asset.

Many universities are requiring engineering programs to reduce the total number of credit hours, while increasing the number of general education credit requirements. In the past year at the University of Connecticut (UConn), we were forced to reduce the number of semester credit hours in BME from 133 to 127 . This has caused us to rethink our curriculum and to optimize our course offerings.

Another consideration in a BME curriculum is ABET, the organization that accredits all engineering programs. ABET's Engineering Criteria 2000 allows programs to define themselves with great flexibility. With this flexibility in mind, BME programs can be more creative than ever and maximize course double counting to construct a more expansive curriculum. Details on ABET requirements and how BME programs can leverage courses are described in the next section.

Enderle, J. D. (2006, June), Replace Math Taught Differential Equations Course With A Bme Taught Physiological Modeling Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--350

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015