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Biomedical Science Vs. Biomedical Engineering

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Biomedical science and biomedical engineering share a common foundation of knowledge in biology. Both fields develop an intensive understanding of the complexities of the human body. But where biomedical science focuses on research or in preparing candidates for medical school and professions with direct-patient care, biomedical engineering identifies areas where engineering applications can be used to create devices and tools that improve patient health.

Biomedical Science

Biomedical science is the study of the life sciences. The field encompasses areas such as stem cell biology, virology, molecular genetics, cellular biology, structural biology, biodefense, microbial pathogenesis and in developing a deeper understanding of how these areas function. Many candidates for medical, dental, veterinary, physician assistant or chiropractic school major in the biomedical sciences to take advantage of its broad curriculum in the health sciences.

Biomedical Science Degrees

With its focus on topics such as physiology, anatomy, epidemiology, biochemistry, nutrition and kinesiology, a major in biomedical science prepares students for various health care professions. Biomedical science programs include courses in biology, chemistry, calculus, anatomy and physiology, cellular and molecular biology and statistics. Concentrations in areas as diverse as genetics, microbiology, immunology, neuroscience, biophysics and cancer biology help prepare students for advanced study in medical, dental, veterinary or chiropractic school -- or for careers in research.

Biomedical Engineering

The crux of biomedical engineering is to combine an understanding of the human body with the principles and dynamics of engineering to design and develop devices, therapies, and diagnostic tools that improve the quality of life and aid in bettering human health. The human body is an integrated, comprehensive system. Using their knowledge of how the parts of this system work together, biomedical engineers develop medical instruments and systems that improve treatment options for individuals suffering from chronic conditions or serious illnesses. Biomedical engineers have created groundbreaking medical innovations, such as prosthetic limbs, artificial joints, in vivo imaging, microscopic surgery, dialysis machines and the pacemaker.

Biomedical Engineering Degrees

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Biomedical engineers begin their educations with a comprehensive understanding of both biology and engineering applications. Courses in general biology, molecular and cellular biology, physics and the biomedical sciences provide students with an understanding of the human body. Engineering courses from a range of engineering disciplines, including chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering, introduce students to the foundations of engineering and their applications. Students graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of how engineering integrates with the biomedical sciences, enabling the development of a wide array of biomedical solutions.


Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.

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