MEng in Bioengineering Guide for the USA

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Prodigy Finance - June, 18 2024

7 min read

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At Prodigy Finance, we're committed to helping international talent to achieve their education dreams. We offer international student loans to qualified individuals attending top master's programmes in the US.

  • MEng in Bioengineering programmes emphasise practical, industry-focused learning through capstone projects and internships
  • The USA boasts top universities and a booming bioengineering industry, making it a prime destination for aspiring bioengineers
  • To help cover the costs, international students can explore private student loan options like those offered by Prodigy Finance

Do you want to use your engineering skills to solve problems in the medical world? Then a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Bioengineering in the USA might be the perfect fit for you! This program is like a bridge between engineering and biology, giving you the knowledge to create amazing things that can improve people's lives. The course focuses on rigorous technical coursework along with fundamental business training to propel your career in developing new bioengineering technologies.

In this guide, we'll break down everything you need to know – what the coursework includes, why the USA is a great place to study it, how to get in, and even how to finance your studies.

Why Consider an M.Eng. in Bioengineering in the USA?

A Master of Engineering (MEng) in Bioengineering in the USA offers a unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen, making it an attractive option for individuals aiming for technical and managerial careers in the healthcare industry. The programme at the University of Illinois, for example, equips graduates with bioengineering technical skills and a big-picture business perspective, enabling them to tackle complex problems in healthcare with creative solutions.

Here are some factors that make an MEng in Bioengineering a lucrative course in the USA:

  • Quality Education: The USA has some of the world’s leading universities in bioengineering research and education. By studying here, students get exposure to the latest technologies and a chance to learn from the experts in the field.
  • Diverse Career Options: The bioengineering sector in the USA is thriving, with a high demand for skilled professionals. Pursuing an M.Eng. in the US positions you to tap into this dynamic job market.
  • Focus on Practical Approach: The curriculum focuses on practical applications and hands-on learning through labs and projects. It equips you with the necessary skills to hit the ground running in your chosen field.

MS or MEng in Bioengineering: Which to Choose?

The MEng in Bioengineering is a professional, practice-oriented graduate degree, unlike the more research-focused MS. The curriculum is more structured with a focus on building skills in areas like engineering design, product development for biomedical purposes, and regulatory affairs.

MS, on the other hand, has extensive coursework in basic science and theory. It usually requires students to submit and defend their thesis. The MS students usually take up careers in research or further study towards a Ph.D.

The decision totally depends on individual career goals and preferences. A Master of Engineering in Bioengineering is more suitable for you if you want to build a career in medical device development, commercialization, and translating scientific discoveries into tangible products for patients and clinicians.

Admission Requirements for MEng in Bioengineering in the USA

If you have made up your mind to enrol in an MEng in Bioengineering programme in the USA, there are a few things graduate schools typically look for. This is, however, a general overview. Every university has its own set of requirements, so be sure to check the programme website you're interested in for specifics.

Here's a breakdown of what you'll need to apply:

  • A bachelor's degree in engineering or a related science field
  • Academic transcripts with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Test scores like the GRE (not all programmes require them)
  • If English isn't your first language, you might need to take the English language proficiency tests (TOEFL/IELTS)
  • Other application components like recommendation letters and a Statement of Purpose

Many leading MEng in Bioengineering programmes in the USA may not require a GRE score and focus more on factors like undergraduate GPA, work experience, letters of recommendation, and fit with the programme for assessing eligibility.

Choosing the Right University

This professional master's degree programme combines the strengths of engineering and business education, providing a well-rounded skill set for success in the healthcare industry. Choosing the right university involves careful consideration of various factors like programme curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, location, university reputation, student life, etc. We have compiled a list of some highly-ranking schools in the USA for the bioengineering field.

University of California, Berkeley

This one-year programme places a strong emphasis on engineering and entrepreneurship together. It is most suitable for students planning to transition directly into industry after completion. The curriculum covers a variety of areas within bioengineering, including biomaterials, cell mechanics, bioMEMS, drug delivery, synthetic biology, neural engineering, and medical imaging.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

It is a professional master's degree that combines bioengineering technical skills with a business perspective. Students cover a range of practical topics like engineering design, regulatory affairs, pre-clinical/clinical studies, and commercialisation, rather than extensive coursework in basic science and theory. UIUC's Department of Bioengineering is ranked 30th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

The Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering at UCSD is known for its interdisciplinary approach, combining outstanding resources in biomedical and clinical sciences from UCSD with the physical and life sciences at Berkeley. The course is designed to prepare design and project engineers for careers in the medical field. Students can take courses in Life Science, Tissue Engineering, Imaging, and other technical elective courses.

Programme Structure for MEng in Bioengineering in the USA

The programme typically spans 1-2 years and can be completed on a full-time basis over 3-4 semesters. The specific programme length, semester structure and curriculum may vary slightly between different universities.

To provide students with a well-rounded education, the programme structure includes a combination of core and elective courses. Here is an overview of what a typical course structure looks like:

Core coursework

The core courses aim to provide students with a strong foundation in bioengineering principles and applications, preparing them for advanced studies and careers in the field. Subjects like Engineering Physics, Mathematical Methods for Bioengineering, and Thermodynamics lay the foundation for understanding bioengineering principles. Additionally, students take approved graduate core electives during the spring semester to complete their training in graduate bioengineering fundamentals.

Technical Specialisations

Students are required to take technical elective courses to deepen their knowledge in specific areas of bioengineering. The coursework offers practical skills and real-world applications. Students can choose from concentrations like:

  1. General Bioengineering
  2. Biomedical Engineering Design
  3. Biomedical Imaging
  4. Biomaterials & Biomedical Devices
  5. Mechanobiology
  6. Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
  7. Synthetic Biology

Capstone Projects

Many MEng programmes include capstone projects where students apply bioengineering principles to solve real-world industrial problems. These projects are typically team-based and involve collaboration with industry partners, teaching hospitals, and clinicians.

Career prospects for MEng in Bioengineering Graduates

The course emphasises practicality and hands-on experience. This equips graduates with the skills needed to solve real-world problems. The courses often include a mandatory capstone project or internship that is done in collaboration with industry partners, making students career-ready.

Bioengineering graduates are in high demand in various industries. Many top companies like Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, etc hire bioengineering graduates in the fields of healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and more. They can also take up R&D roles for universities, research institutes, or government agencies. Some common job titles for bioengineering graduates include:

  • Biomedical engineer
  • Biomaterials scientist
  • Medical device designer
  • Prosthetics and orthotics engineer
  • Biotechnology engineer
  • Research scientist

The salary for bioengineering graduates can vary depending on factors such as job location, experience, and the specific industry. However, on average, bioengineers in the USA can expect to earn a competitive salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $100,730 in May 2023.

Financing Your MEng Education (US Student Loans for International Students)

The cost of MEng in Bioengineering can easily go up to $100,000 or even more for international students. Some universities, like UC Berkeley, offer limited financial aid to international MEng students in the form of merit-based scholarships and grants, such as the Fung Excellence Scholarship and MEng Opportunity Grant.

International students may consider applying for private student loans to arrange for finances to cover the entire cost of attendance. While many lenders may require collateral or a US-based co-signer, Prodigy Finance offers an alternative solution for international students. They offer loans without requiring collateral or a co-signer. Their eligibility criteria focus on your academic profile and future earning potential. This approach to student lending provides international students with a more accessible and streamlined path to financing their master's studies in the field of bioengineering.


1. What are the average GRE scores required for MEng programmes?

There is no single set of average GRE scores required for admission to the Master of Engineering (MEng) in the USA. Requirements vary by university. Some programmes might not require them at all, like at the University of California, Berkeley, where applicants are not required to submit GRE scores.

Can I complete the MEng programme part-time while working?

It is typically offered as a full-time programme, but some universities also provide alternate options to accommodate working professionals. For example, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) conducts this programme online. It can provide flexibility for students to complete the degree at their own pace while working.

Do I need to have any research experience to get admission into MEng programme?

Having previous research experience is not an eligibility criteria admission to this programme. The MEng provides a more practical, industry-focused alternative to the research-oriented MS degree.

**What type of visa is required for international students pursuing an MEng in the USA? **

International students would require an F-1 student visa for this programme. To be eligible for an F-1 visa, international students must be enrolled full-time in an MEng programme at an accredited U.S. college or university and maintain their student status throughout their studies. The university will issue an I-20 form, which is required to apply for the F-1 visa.

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