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The Development Of A Bioengineering Degree Program At A Primarily Undergraduate Institution

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

BME Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1248.1 - 9.1248.14

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Paper Authors

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Daniel Walsh

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

Session 1109

The Development of a Biomedical Engineering Degree Program at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution

Daniel W. Walsh, Lanny Griffin California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

The College of Engineering at Cal Poly has developed a degree granting Biomedical Engineering Program. This structure evolved from the Biomedical Engineering Specialization in the General Engineering Program. This paper describes the approaches we have used to establish this program, and to ensure that it will persist and flourish at the university.

I. Introduction Although a wide array of existing campus activities supported the Biomedical Engineering Specialization, the prior informal arrangement did not have the unifying organizational structure, nor the dedicated faculty associated with a formal BS degree granting program. The University and the College of Engineering Strategic Plans both identified Biomedical Engineering as a critical emerging technology for the coming decades. It is also recognized as a crucial growth area for the college. The University and the college are prepared to make the changes necessary to meet the identified and articulated needs of industrial partners and our students. Our vision is to create an internationally-recognized, premier undergraduate Biomedical Engineering degree program. The program mission is to educate our students for careers of service, leadership and distinction in biomedical engineering or other fields by using a participatory, learn by doing, “hands-on” laboratory, project and design centered approach.

The program will accomplish this goal by building on the historic strengths of the college at the bachelors level and the individual strengths of participating faculty. The application of engineering to medicine and biology underpins a strong and growing segment of the industrial sector, is the basis for a number of federal conversion efforts and continues to be an area of inherent interest to students. The need for well educated professionals in this interdisciplinary area has become more acute as the technology being applied has become more sophisticated. Evolution in computing, electronics, signal analysis and mechatronic systems have been harbingers of improvement to diagnostic efforts, therapeutic approaches and bioindustrial applications. Studies of biological materials, physiological mechanisms, biochemical kinetics and heat and mass transport in biological systems require engineering expertise. With the advent of research into artificial organs and prosthetic devices, applied medical research and applied biological research has taken on a distinct engineering aspect. The growth of MEMS and nanosystems, each particularly pertinent in the biomedical realm, has further reinforced the role of the engineer in medical and bioengineering application.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Walsh, D. (2004, June), The Development Of A Bioengineering Degree Program At A Primarily Undergraduate Institution Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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