Improve Health and Fight Disease with a Biomedical Engineering Master’s Degree
Meghan Brown posted on September 24, 2019 |

School: Colorado State University

Program:  Master of Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Engineering

Description:  The Master of Engineering Online is a 30-credit, coursework-only degree program designed to provide students with flexibility and opportunities in different career fields. Areas of focus include Biomechanics and Materials, Materials with Engineering, and Tissue and Materials Engineering. This degree provides a transdisciplinary focus on improving health, fighting disease, and aiding persons with disabilities.

Where is it:  Fort Collins, Colorado

Format: Online, or on-campus

Degree you get: Master of Engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Engineering

Size of the Program: 32 online students

Credit hours: 30 credit hours

Thesis: N/A

Capstone Project: N/A

How long will the program take? 2.5 years on average

When to apply: Deadlines are November 15 for spring semester admission; June 1 for fall semester admission

Tuition:  $964 per credit  *This is the cost of bioengineering courses. Cost of courses outside of bioengineering - for example, statistics - may vary.

Prerequisites: Calculus 1, 2, and 3; Ordinary Differential Equations; Physics 1 and 2; one semester of a Life Science

Minimum Admission Requirements: Conferred undergraduate degree; 3.0 cumulative GPA from last degree earned; completed prerequisite courses.  (Students can conditionally be admitted without having met these requirements; applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.)

  • Transcripts: Yes, minimum GPA 3.0
  • TOEFL/IELTS: Yes, minimum scores 80  (Students are exempted from the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic requirement if the official language of their country is English or if they have recently earned a degree at an American university.)
  • Essay/Statement of Purpose: Yes
  • Resume: Yes; no minimum years of experience required
  • Letters of Reference: Yes, three letters required
  • GRE/GMAT: No

Who should take this course?

  • An ideal fit for our program is someone with a passion for learning and biomedical engineering who meets our prerequisite requirements with a science or engineering undergraduate degree.

Claim to fame:

  • A strong transdisciplinary program involving 70 faculty and 14 departments from CSU’s four colleges: the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, the College of Health and human Sciences, the College of Natural Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The Importance of Biomedical Engineering

An aging population in the U.S. and around the world means an increased need for advanced technologies and treatments to manage increasing healthcare demands.  Fighting disease, improving the health of individuals, and developing effective pharmaceuticals and devices for treatment and to improve quality of life are central needs—and biomedical engineers are ideally suited to develop and innovate these technologies.

Biomedical engineering exists at the intersection of medicine, engineering and biology, and primarily focuses on the development and research of innovative medical solutions for problems both within the human body, as well as development of treatments and devices.  This field is broad and varied, encompassing everything from drug development and delivery and the treatment and prevention of disease, to prosthetics, nanotechnology, and biosensors. 

Building a career in such a specialized industry calls for a specialized education, and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering can provide the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge in order to be successful.

Colorado State University and Biomedical Engineering

Colorado State University’s online Master’s of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering is a comprehensive 30-credit degree program aimed at professional engineers already working in the medical and biomedical engineering fields who wish to advance their career with a graduate level education.

CSU’s School of Biomedical Engineering is unique in that it stands on a foundation based on four colleges within the university: the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, the College of Health and human Sciences, the College of Natural Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  The result is a strong program involving more than 70 faculty members representing 14 departments, and which enables students enrolled in the School of Biomedical Engineering to explore a transdisciplinary focus on improving health, fighting disease, and aiding people with disabilities. 

While the online course instruction isn’t always directly matched to a research enterprise, online students learn from faculty who are industry experts and part of CSU’s rich environment of interdisciplinary research and collaboration.  Graduate-level seminars, in particular, can provide online students with direct insights into research happening in and around CSU’s labs and projects, thanks to lectures and presentations by faculty and other students.

CSU’s biomedical engineering master’s degree is a coursework-only program designed to provide online students with the flexibility and knowledge to enhance their work in many medical and engineering fields.  Students can choose to pursue the area of focus most closely aligned with their career goals, such as biomechanics and materials, materials engineering, or tissue engineering.  Students will also strengthen their knowledge and understanding of topics including the structure and function of biomaterials, material issues in mechanical design, design and data analysis, and both human and animal medicine.

Earning a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from CSU prepares students for high-level careers in many advanced medical-related fields, including:

  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Tissue engineering
  • Biosensors
  • Wound healing
  • Drug delivery
  • Nanotechnology
  • Military medicine
  • Prosthetics

The breadth and flexibility of CSU’s program means that every student can tailor their education to their interests and their career goals.

The Online Learning Experience at CSU

The online Master’s degree programs offered by CSU are tailored for engineers who are already working professionals, but who wish to pursue an advanced degree to support their career while balancing the needs of their employment and family life.

“There was a demand for online education,” said Sara Neys Mattern, graduate program manager for the School of Bioengineering at CSU.  “Working professionals waned an opportunity to earn an advanced degree to advance their career, make a career change, or grow as a person.  They wanted or needed to continue to work full-time, and by offering this degree online, we’re giving that demographic the flexibility to do so.”

“We have students at various stages of life and in different professional areas in our program,” she added.  “Students may be promoted thanks to their graduate degree, or they may make a career change once they’ve earned the degree.”  Most students come into the program with backgrounds in science or engineering, and with a strong interest in medicine and biomedical technologies.

Many of these students are employed full-time, so the flexibility offered by an online program is ideal.  CSU’s online graduate degrees are available through the Canvas online learning platform, where students can access their course content.  This includes all lecture content, in the form of video recordings of live lectures, and all assignments and course readings.  Some exams are also completed through the Canvas platform. 

Canvas also enables online students to communicate with their graduate program manager, faculty advisor, instructors and student peers, fostering interaction and collaboration between online students and their on-campus counterparts.

“The classes taught on-campus are recorded and posted online for the online program,” said Neys Mattern.  “So students can expect the same quality as if they were on campus sitting in a classroom.”

By offering all course content online, remote students are able to study and learn at their convenience and watch the class lectures at their own pace.  Canvas supports this asynchronous learning schedule, as well as synchronous learning where online students can watch live lectures and participate using text or video chat in order to ask questions and contribute to classroom discussions.

Courses and Study Scheduling

CSU’s biomedical engineering master’s degree can be completed entirely online, though students who compare the online and on-campus courses may notice that not every on-campus course is available online. 

“We are constantly working with faculty to bring their courses online, and expect to offer more online courses in the future,” said Neys Mattern.  “As we continue to add courses to our online curriculum, we are also in the process of creating two 12-credit graduate certificates.  One certificate will be in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, the other will be in Cardiovascular Engineering.”  Completing one of these certificates will give students the opportunity to take classes in the Biomedical engineering program, after which they can choose to continue on to complete the full master’s degree if they wish.

While pursuing their master’s degree online through CSU, students can expect to spend nine to twelve hours per course per week on coursework, including lectures, readings and assignments.  Though the time commitment can vary depending on students’ personal learning and studying styles, for those students who have been away from the academic setting for several years, this can still be a significant adjustment.

Whether students are working full-time, or have been out of school for awhile, it’s advisable to take a lighter load – one or two courses – to get comfortable with the workload and study schedule.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and learn to prioritize your time,” advises Neys Mattern.  “Earning an advanced degree, especially while working full-time, can be challenging.  A student with a plan who is managing their time well can find it a smooth transition and a fun experience.”

“I also don’t recommend students take more than six credits (2 courses) per semester, if they’re working full-time.  Nine credits is considered full-time in graduate school, and trying to balance a full-time job and full-time graduate student status could be incredibly daunting,” she added.  “I suggest starting out with only six credits or less in the first semester, and reassess for future semesters depending on the experience.”

Thirty credits are required to complete the degree, and students are required to take a combination of core and foundational courses, as well as electives to satisfy breadth and depth requirements.  These electives allow students to focus their studies in the areas most interesting to them, and most relevant to their careers. 

Sample Course List

Core (7 credits required)

  • BIOM 570 – Bioengineering (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 576 – Quantitative Systems Physiology (4 cr.)

Foundation (12 credits required)

  • BIOM 525 – Cell/Tissue Engineering (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 526 – Biological Physics (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 531 – Materials Engineering (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 532 – Material Issues in Mechanical Design (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 573 – Structure and Function of Biomaterials (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 574 – Bio-Inspired Surfaces (3 cr.)

Depth (minimum of 8 credits required)

  • BIOM 431 – Biomedical Signal and Image Processing (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 532 – Material Issues in Mechanical Design (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 537 – Biomedical Signal Processing (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 579 – Cardiovascular Biomechanics (3 cr.)
  • BIOM 592* – Seminar (1 cr.)  *Can be repeated 1 time, for a total of 2 cr. at 1 cr. per semester.
  • CBE 430 – Process Control and Instrumentation (3 cr.)
  • ECE 512 – Digital Signal Processing (3 cr.)
  • GRAD 550 – STEM Communication (1 cr.)
  • MECH 502 – Advanced/Additive Manufacturing Engineering (3 cr.)
  • MECH 530 – Advanced Composite Materials (3 cr.)
  • MECH 543 – Biofluid Mechanics (3 cr.)

Breadth (3 credits required)

  • BIOM 592* – Seminar (1 cr.)  *Can be repeated 1 time, for a total of 2 cr. at 1 cr. per semester.
  • STAT 511A – Design and Data Analysis for Researchers I (4 cr.) OR STAT 512 – Design and Data Analysis for Researchers II (4 cr.)
  • STAA 551 – Regression Models and Applications (2 cr.)
  • STAA 552 – Generalized Regression Models (2 cr.)
  • STAA 562 – Mathematical Statistics with Applications (2 cr.)
  • STAA 572 – Nonparametric Methods (1 cr.)
  • STAA 573 – Analysis of Time Series (2 cr.)


Interested in pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering?  Check out our Graduate Degree Finder Tool and discover your program!


Colorado State University Online has sponsored this post.  All opinions are mine.  --Meghan Brown

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