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Definition of "Bio & Engineering" terms from the MIT Biological Engineering Division:

Bioengineering (BioE) -- an APPLIED FIELD of engineering in biological materials and systems.

Biomedical Engineering (BME) -- an APPLIED FIELD of engineering in medicine and biomedicine, generally inter-disciplinary in nature.

Biological Engineering (BE) -- a new engineering DISCIPLINE grounded in biology, particularly mechanistic biology at the molecular and cellular levels, with novel applications to biomedicine as well as biotechnology; it also enables new approaches to fundamental discoveries in bioscience.

BE vs. BME at MIT -- The crucial distinction is that Biological Engineering (BE) is a new engineering discipline, distinguished by having biology (particularly molecular cell biology) as its foundation science, just as how Mechanical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, for example, have theirs in physics and chemistry. Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Bioengineering (BioE), on the other hand, are application fields for any engineering disciplines. This is why MIT will be offering a MAJOR in BE, but only a MINOR in BME for students majoring in other departmental disciplines.

The Biomedical Engineering Minor

The Biological Engineering department at MIT offers two undergraduate minor programs:

The Biological Engineering Major

The Biological Engineering SB Degree was approved by MIT Faculty on Wednesday, February 16, 2005. Detailed information regarding the program is available on the MIT Biological Engineering Division website, including course description and requirements, and enrollment procedure. Please contact Professor Linda Griffith for more information. The first class will graduate in 2008.

Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering (MEBE)

The Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering (MEBE) degree is offered jointly by the MIT Biological Engineering (BE) Division and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Techonlogy (HST) as a fifth-year program to MIT undergraduates.  The MEBE program offers two tracks: Biological Engineering Track and Medical Engineering Track.

Ph.D. Program in Bioengineering

The Biological Engineering (BE) Division offers a Ph.D. program with two tracks: Bioengineering Track and Applied Biosciences Track.

A Breadth of Opportunities

The MIT School of Engineering has pioneered an expansion and redefinition of “Bio/Medical” Engineering, and now has over 100 faculty members conducting research and teaching in areas where engineering impacts medicine and biology. The classical focus on engineering applications in medicine (“Medical” Engineering) has a distinguished history at MIT, and remains vibrant with current course offerings reflecting cutting-edge research in telemedicine, vision enhancement, medical informatics, brain-machine interfaces, device design, and many other areas as part of the curricula of several departments.

The molecular and genomic revolutions in biology place it as a new foundational science for engineering, joining the well-established engineering foundations of physics, chemistry and math. MIT is an international leader in forging a disciplinary connection with biology – “Biological” Engineering -- that has applications ranging from biotechnology to electronic materials (and of course, medicine!). As with other revolutions in basic science, engineering analysis, design, and synthesis are needed to translate breakthrough discoveries into products and create new industries. Biological applications are integrated into the core curricula of most MIT engineering departments, and are the entire focus of the Biological Engineering Division (BE). BE was created in 1998 to foster development of innovative new degree programs that fuse biology and engineering by bringing engineering faculty together with biology faculty in one academic unit that is seamlessly integrated with departments.

Departmental Programs in the School of Engineering

Course 1:  Civil & Environmental Engineering

The 1-E major includes several core subjects that couple biological processes with analytical and engineering skills to address crucial human-environment interactions. Selection of additional biology subjects and electives allows students to focus on human health issues, premed, or biology.

UG B/ME Subjects: 1.018, 1.080, 1.081, 1.096, 1.107
Contact: Prof. Edward DeLong

Course 2: Mechanical Engineering

The accredited Bioengineering degree specialization allows students to build a custom program combining departmental subjects in biomedical device design; molecular, cell and tissue biomechanics; biological imaging, and others with biology or physiology subjects for careers in medical devices, drug discovery technologies, diagnostics, medicine, or advanced study in bioengineering.

UG B/ME Subjects: 2.772, 2.797, 2.782, 2.785, 2.79
Contact: Prof. Peter So

Course 3: Materials Science & Engineering

The newly revised curriculum infuses state-of-the-art examples of materials in medicine and includes biomaterials chemistry as a core subject; students desiring further in-depth study may choose as restricted electives subjects in biomedical materials, biomaterial nanomechanics, and various graduate offerings.

UG B/ME Subjects: 3.034, 3.051, 3.052, 3.96, 3.961, 3.97
Contact: Prof. Anne Mayes

Course 6: Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

EECS students can customize their educational programs by choosing advanced subjects from seven departmental concentration areas, one of which is Bioelectrical Engineering. This concentration applies engineering principles, approaches and tools that are characteristic of EE and CS to understanding living systems and their capabilities (including speech and hearing), to the design of related technical devices (such as biosensors and biomedical devices), to associated operations (such as signal and image processing), and to computational aspects (such as those that underlie bioinformatics and medical informatics). The systems of interest range in scale from molecules and cells to tissues, organs and organisms.

UG B/ME Subjects: 6.021J, 6.022J, 6.087
Contact: Prof. Dennis Freeman

Course 10: Chemical Engineering

Starting in 2004-2005, chemical engineering students can register for the new S.B. Chemical-Biological Engineering degree (Course 10B). This major combines core strengths in chemical engineering with cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics, leading to lab and design topics like tissue engineering, drug delivery, and production of chemicals through genetic engineering.

UG B/ME Subjects: 10.02, 10.702, 10.28, 10.29
Contact: Prof. Greg Rutledge

Course 16: Aeronautics & Astronautics

Students pursuing either the 16-1 or 16-2 option can minor in biomedical engineering. The humans and automation division has significant overlap with the biomedical engineering discipline. Human factors engineering, physiological control systems, human spaceflight, and bioinstrumentation are emphasized.

UG B/ME Subjects: 16.400, 16.423J
Contact: Prof. Dava Newman

Course 22: Nuclear Engineering

Hands-on lab and design experiences allow students to develop a broad understanding of the applications and engineering of low energy nuclear physics and apply these to biomedical problems through a set of restricted electives that can be combined with biology and chemistry subjects to create a program with a biomedical engineering or premedical focus.

UG B/ME Subjects: 22.01, 22.058
Contact: Prof. Jeffrey Coderre