Best Online Biomedical Engineering Master’s Degrees for 2021

Discover how to advance your career with an online biomedical engineering master’s degree. This guide explores top-ranked programs, including their requirements and what you can expect to learn.

Biomedical Engineering

If you have a background in engineering and an interest in medical technology, earning an online biomedical engineering master’s degree could be the perfect next step for you. Programs in this area build interdisciplinary skills and technical knowledge in medical imaging, genetics, and systems biology, all of which are needed for more advanced roles in bioengineering. Those roles often come with a pay bump, and the flexibility of online learning makes that easier to achieve.

If you’re interested in expanding your career prospects by studying biomedical engineering online, this guide can get you started. It spotlights some best-in-class programs, discusses career paths and salary potential, and details both program requirements and popular curriculum offerings.

College Spotlights: Best Online Biomedical Engineering Master’s in 2021

Finding the perfect school that meets your needs takes time, so we’ve done some initial research to help you get started. Below is a preview of our full ranking of the best online biomedical engineering master’s programs arriving later this year. Each school listed is set apart by offering top-rated programming in accordance with the most important selection criteria of flexibility, affordability, accreditation, and student support.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve’s School of Engineering offers a master’s in biomedical engineering online that requires 30 credits from 10 courses. The curriculum covers core engineering principles and contemporary biomedical applications. It also includes a variety of technical electives in instrumentation, signal processing, medical imagining, and medical device design. Case Western tailors its program delivery to the unique needs of working professionals and online learners using cutting-edge simulation software and an innovative learning management system.

This program stands out among other online biomedical engineering master’s degree programs by pairing remote learners with on-campus students for presentations and design projects. Both sets of students receive the same course material administered by the same renowned faculty. Students and faculty work together in collaborative environments that enhance learning and offer additional professional preparation. Graduates often work in a range of industry sectors, including hospitals, laboratories, government agencies, and biotech companies.

University of Southern California

Full-time students in the University of California’s master of science in biomedical engineering program typically complete studies in 2 years or less. The program provides broad-based training, connecting physiology and engineering to prepare aspiring professionals for work in medical technology and other interdisciplinary fields. Students take 28 credits and have the option to complete thesis or non-thesis components near the end of the program.

Administered by USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, this online biomedical engineering degree prepares you for careers in biomechanics, systems physiology, bioinstrumentation, pharmaceuticals, and clinical engineering. The program delivers all coursework entirely online and does not differentiate between remote and on-campus students for academic purposes. Students can access material anytime they choose, completing interactive assignments in topics like nanomedicine and drug delivery, systems biology, and signal analysis. USC provides each student with a full range of support services in academic advising and course management. Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution.

Columbia University

Columbia University

At Columbia University, students can earn a biomedical engineering master’s degree entirely online through the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. This 30-credit program trains learners to solve applied medical and biological problems in a range of careers, developing knowledge in biomedical systems and devices, living systems, and the behavioral factors that impact them. Columbia accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year with no deadlines. Prospective students can enter the program at the beginning of any term.

Like other online biomedical master’s degrees, Columbia’s program offers a high level of convenience and flexibility. Students receive the same degree as their on-campus colleagues and learn from industry experts and experienced faculty members. The curriculum includes computational neuroscience, quantitative physiology, cardiac mechanics, and diagnostic imaging. Students can also choose from a robust array of electives and do not need to complete a thesis or capstone project.

Advantages of Earning an Online Master’s in Biomedical Engineering

Pursuing an online biomedical engineering degree at the master’s level has distinct benefits. Advantages like flexibility in study and more affordable tuition rates aren’t always available to in-person students. These benefits make it easier for working professionals to complete their studies without putting their lives or careers on hold. Some of the key benefits include the following.

  1. Professional Networking

    Online biomedical engineering degree programs are run by top-notch schools with expert faculty and researchers. They attract competitive students and professionals from around the world, bringing them together in an environment that transcends boundaries. These professional connections can make a huge difference in your career.

  2. Self-paced Study

    Not only are these programs offered entirely online, but they also extend customizable options. Most programs design their requirements and curriculum with busy learners and industry professionals in mind. This means you can work at your own pace in a completely online ecosystem to achieve optimal flexibility and convenience.

  3. Career Advancement

    An online biomedical engineering master’s degree will ultimately open more doors for you on the job. It solidifies expertise, demonstrates potential, and qualifies you for a broader range of roles with higher pay and more responsibility. These programs also allow you to specialize and build additional skills in engineering and biotechnology.

What You’ll Learn in an Online Biomedical Engineering Master’s Program

Quality biomedical engineering master’s programs cultivate technical knowledge in engineering fundamentals and bring them into sharper focus for future work in medical science or biotechnology. When you study biomedical engineering online, you learn how to connect engineering principles, biology, and physiology in applied interdisciplinary contexts.

While each course of study is different, offering its own methods and approaches to the field, most online biomedical engineering master’s programs follow a similar plan of study that achieves shared learning outcomes. The courses described below give a sense of what to expect and cover an array of topics in engineering, mathematics, and science.

Popular Courses

  • Introduction to Bioengineering

    This class surveys the core concepts and main research methods specific to biomedical engineering. It looks at how systems biology, molecular cell biology, and medicine interact with basic engineering principles. It also provides a scientific basis for contemporary applications in research and industry. Additional topics may include physiological signals and control theory.

  • Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Technology

    Students in this class study the biological, technological, and physical factors impacting modern diagnostic tools and imaging devices. It covers an array of modalities like nuclear imaging, x-rays, ultrasounds, and adaptive optics. It also builds a scientific knowledge base in mass spectrometry and tomography.

  • Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering

    This course examines the role stem cells play in tissue growth and how engineering concepts can inform development and regenerative intervention. Students consider the recent and contemporary ethical issues related to these processes along with the laws and regulations affecting them. Additional topics include stem cell integration, disease modeling, and commercial demand.

  • Mathematical Methods

    A core requirement in most online biomedical engineering programs, this class surveys the primary quantitative techniques used by professionals in the field. It covers differential equations and series integrals and builds to more advanced methods of analysis using polynomials and other special functions. Experience with vector analysis, calculus, or linear algebra may be required.

  • Biosensor Applications

    Students in this course receive a high-level overview of the broad field of biosensors and their implantation in modern bioengineering practice. It develops skills in device design and performance evaluation from a quantitative perspective. Students assess existing devices while considering food safety, biosecurity, environmental, and privacy concerns.

Specialization Pathways

Specialization lays the foundation for future professional work and builds additional expertise that qualifies you for more technical roles with increased responsibility and room for growth. Depending on the school, biomedical engineering could itself be a specialization within a broader engineering master’s degree. In most cases, though, you can choose from a range of available options like those listed below.

  • Bioinstrumentation

    This subfield focuses on the engineering concepts that inform sensing and excitation in medical imaging technology. Specialists in this area create bioinstrumentation products per FDA rules and other risk assessment factors (e.g., microscopy tools, MRIs, etc.). Study may also involve organizational issues like project management, supply chain management, and product development.

  • Computational Genomics

    This specialization focuses online biomedical engineering study on the main algorithms used in genome annotation, network analysis, and phylogenetic reconstruction. It also develops a solid knowledge base in the primary data management and information processing tools used in genomic biology, including common file formats and software packages.

  • Biomaterials

    A biomaterials specialization builds technical expertise in designing and assessing materials suitable for medical use within the human body. Professionals in this area evaluate potential material for toxins using regulated safety protocols informed by scientific investigation. They also design new devices that integrate materials such as polymers, carbons, and other composites.

  • Biomechanics

    Biomechanics operates at the intersection of biomedical engineering and orthopedic or rehabilitation efforts. This specialization prepares you for work devising, correcting, and evaluating implements like prosthetics and wheelchairs that augment the human body’s locomotive processes. It builds knowledge in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and the cardiovascular system.

  • Surgical Instruments and Medical Devices

    This concentration cultivates knowledge and skills in the tools, devices, instruments, and implants medical professionals use daily. Students learn to use engineering insights to improve these tools and design new ones at scale. They also receive training in the diagnostic and disease prevention concerns, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and basic medical science.

Accreditation for Online Biomedical Engineering Master’s Programs

Accreditation is a key indicator of solid, reputable academic programming. Schools without institutional accreditation are not widely regarded, and the degrees they confer suffer as a result. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation establish guidelines for this quality assurance measure and recognize the independent agencies that administer it.

Most academic-oriented schools receive regional accreditation, and most for-profit or technical schools obtain national accreditation. Any school you consider should have one of these forms of institutional accreditation.

Sometimes, a course of study will hold something called programmatic or specialized accreditation. This is an additional credential providing extra backing specific to the discipline and is no substitute for institutional accreditation. Organizations like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology provide programmatic accreditation in engineering broadly construed.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering?

Online biomedical engineering master’s graduates benefit from a range of lucrative and growing career opportunities. Each profession listed below draws on core engineering fundamentals – including design principles, quantitative reasoning, and scientific analysis – and most use those principles to solve real-world problems in applied contexts.

These careers have plenty of room for growth. They also see earnings well above the median annual wage for all occupations nationwide. Find out more about which one fits your interests and skillset below.

Biomedical Engineer

One of the most popular career paths for this degree, biomedical engineers work at the intersection of engineering and medical sciences. They use engineering principles to create equipment, design medical devices, and maintain large-scale computer systems. Most biomedical engineers work in manufacturing or for hospitals, research facilities, and biotech companies.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$55,280

$91,410

$148,210

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers are often tasked with eliminating waste and increasing efficiency in production. They create integrated systems that help workers and machines generate products from energy, information, or raw materials. Industrial engineers with a background in biomedicine help optimize manufacturing processes for medical equipment and digital imaging devices, among other things.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$57,290

$88,020

$134,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers plan and implement programs that enhance the skills and knowledge base of their organization’s staff. They work in every industry and develop programs based on executive mandates and long-term organizational goals. Biomedical engineers in this role ensure that colleagues are up to speed with the latest developments in medical science and design applications.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$64,720

$113,350

$196,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Engineering Manager

Earning an online biomedical engineering master’s degree qualifies you for leadership and management roles like this one. Engineering managers plan and oversee design operations for their organization. In biomedical engineering, this typically means coordinating efforts to design new tools and technologies that help improve medical outcomes or support research and development projects.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$92,510

$144,830

$208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Electrical or Electronics Engineer

Electronics engineers test, develop, and oversee the creation of a variety of electrical equipment, including medical tools and devices. They research ways to improve equipment and conduct calculations to determine new applications and future efficacy. They recommended design modifications based on consumer needs, government regulations, and organizational goals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$63,020

$98,530

$155,880

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Biomedical Engineering

Cost is always a factor for any graduate program, including online biomedical engineering master’s degrees. Fortunately, there are many options for financial aid. Most programs extend scholarships or fellowships to incoming students, and some are merit or need-based. Industry stakeholders also often offer private scholarships to help cover costs.

In addition to financial aid, several factors impact total education cost. For instance, private schools are more expensive than public universities on average, but some public schools charge different rates depending on residency. Others may charge a special flat rate for online students. The table below gives a sense of the overall price range.

What Your Online Master’s in Biomedical Engineering Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Colorado State University

30

$993/credit

$29,790

Purdue University

30

$1,139/credit (Resident)

$1,382/credit (Nonresident)

$34,170 (Resident)

$41,460 (Nonresident)

Case Western Reserve University

30

$1,300/credit

(scholarships automatically applied)

$39,000

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Biomedical Engineering Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in biomedical engineering?

Studying for a master’s degree in biomedical engineering online usually requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering earned at an accredited institution, and most schools include this in their admissions criteria. There could be exceptions, but certain course prerequisites will apply. Most schools require the following for admission.

  • Official academic transcripts evidencing a competitive GPA
  • Recent GRE test scores (optional or waivable in some cases)
  • A professional resume outlining any relevant employment experience
  • Recommendation letters from individuals assessing your readiness for study
  • A personal statement detailing your background, qualifications, intent to study, and professional goals

Each school is unique, so consult individual departments for specific admissions processes.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in biomedical engineering online?

Program pacing and timeframes for completion vary depending on factors like enrollment status, outside responsibilities, and potential transfer credits. Most full-time students earn their online biomedical engineering degree in 2-3 years with some schools offering accelerated pathways completable in just one year. Part-time students likely extend that timeframe by a year or two. Either way, you have the freedom to study at your own pace within the school’s time limits, usually under 5 years.

Can I earn a master’s in biomedical engineering 100% online?

Most programs are offered entirely online. There could be a few exceptions requiring select hybrid or in-person components, but these are rare. In most cases, you won’t need to visit campus.

Some online biomedical engineering degree programs make optional residential experiences available, and these can provide useful program supplementation. Overall, though, expect to receive instruction and engage course material using synchronous and asynchronous learning tools.