University of Rochester

Two New Degree Programs in Biomedical Engineering to be Offered

September 23, 1996

The University of Rochester recently received approval from New York State to offer a master's degree and a Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering, and will begin enrolling graduate students in these programs as soon as next fall.

"The pressure to reduce rising health care costs has steadily increased demand nationwide for biomedical engineers, who can develop new technologies that improve care while lowering costs," said Professor Richard Waugh, the director of graduate studies for the new programs. "This field is also the fastest growing engineering discipline in U.S. higher education. Within the last three years, graduate programs were introduced or enlarged at the University of California at San Diego, Rice University, the University of Pennsylvania, and SUNY Stonybrook, among others."

Rochester is ideally positioned to offer advanced training in this field, given the expertise in engineering analysis and design that faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have, and the biological expertise and clinical knowledge that faculty from the School of Medicine and Dentistry have. In fact, River Campus engineers often collaborate with Medical Center colleagues on developing new technologies to improve diagnosis and treatment of illness and to advance biomedical research. Just one recent example of a biomedical breakthrough at Rochester, for which a patent is being sought, is a new method for standardizing ultrasound images.

Rochester's graduate program has three main emphases, to take advantage of clusters of expertise among its faculty. Graduate students would concentrate in molecular, cell, and tissue engineering; in biomedical imaging; or in medical optics.

"Graduate programs in the U.S. have not kept pace with the demand for training or prospects for employment in this field," said Duncan Moore, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Schools with biomedical engineering programs have had to turn away highly qualified candidates because there haven't been enough spaces for them. We think our new programs will meet a growing need in the country, and will offer outstanding training to those who want a career in the field."