You’ve decided to explore a career in biomedical engineering. You’re excited about the prospect of designing prosthetic limbs or artificial organs, or developing software to run medical equipment or simulations to test new drug therapies. Now you need to decide where to get started. When considering which of the top biomedical engineering schools make your list, you’ll want to find one that has the classes, professors, and environment that pushes you out of your comfort zone, yet makes you feel comfortable. But more importantly, you need to find an institution that costs you less after you have your diploma.
Tuition vs. Student Loan
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineers with a bachelor’s degree make, on average, $91,410 annually. That means, when you subtract state and national taxes, Medicare, and Social Security, your monthly take home is around $5,636. So what does that have to do with your tuition costs now?
Top 5 Biomedical Engineering Schools
|University of Florida
|Georgia Institute of Technology
|Colorado State University
|Fort Collins, Colorado
|Arizona State University
|University of Wisconsin
A lot it seems. Too many times, prospective college co-eds focus more on the costs while they’re in school as opposed to what it’ll cost when they’re out — justifiably so, since student debt is currently at a record $1.56 trillion. But unless you’re lucky enough to not have to worry about money (or you have a rich uncle), you’re going to have debt in one form or another (mortgages/rent, food, car payments, etc.) when you graduate. We’d like to offer a different way of thinking about the cost to go to school.
When considering tuition, take a look at how that will break down each month. For instance, if you find a job with a net income of just over $5,500, you can estimate what your student loan payment will be and how that impacts your monthly budget. If your baccalaureate costs $200,000 to complete, your monthly student loan payment might be over $2,000 or 36% of your expenses. But if your degree comes in around $40,000 over four years, then your student loan payment would be closer to $400 a month or 8% of your budget. Of course, there are many factors that go into what determines how much college will cost (financial aid, scholarships, loan interest rates and duration, additional fees, housing, etc.) and annual incomes (health insurance, 401k contributions, etc.), so these are just estimates.
Our list of top biomedical engineering schools that cost you less later
We’ve compiled the top institutions with a biomedical engineering bachelor’s degree that have ABET and regional accreditation, then sorted them by total tuition costs to complete the degree (using full time, first year rates) and what a monthly student loan payment would be. We then ranked them based on the percentage of the student loan payment with a monthly income of $5,636 (lowest percentage getting the highest scores). Take a look below and see if your prospective higher ed institution makes the grade.
The Top 15 Biomedical Engineering Schools in 2021
University of Florida
With an estimated student loan payment at just 5% of the monthly budget, the University of Florida secured the top spot on our list. But it’s not easy to make their list — only 120 are admitted into this popular engineering program each year. Applicants must have a 2.8+ GPA and three semesters of the BME study plan completed — which includes courses in calculus, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and integrated principles in biology. Students can walk away with a bachelor’s with 131-133 credits or apply for a combination degree (getting their bachelor’s and masters simultaneously).
Georgia Institute of Technology
In addition to being one of the low monthly student loan payments at 8%, Georgia Institute of Technology has a five-year undergrad program where students can get practical work experience and a paycheck through the country’s largest co-op program. Plus, undergrads can choose to include a research designator on their transcript (the special research can be for credit or pay) that requires a thesis. Georgia Tech engineering co-eds are almost 34% women, and come from 45 states and 78 countries around the world.
Colorado State University
Undergrads can get two degrees in one in just five years at Colorado State University — a BS in biomedical engineering with a BS in another engineering concentration: chemical and biological, electrical, or mechanical. Whichever pathway students choose, they can expect to have a heavy concentration of math, natural science, and engineering courses, as well as biomed, general ed, and tech electives. Plus, CSU offers a 7-week summer clinical immersion program and a 9-day prosthetic innovation seminar in Ecuador.
Arizona State University
In-coming students can be among the 120+ annual graduates in one of the two Southwest biomedical engineering schools on our list — Arizona State University. This Pac-12 university prepares students for careers in areas like business, public policy, biotechnology, cybernetics, or bioelectric phenomena. In addition to a rigorous admissions process and a traditional 120-credit baccalaureate path, ASU also offers an accelerated master’s in biomedical engineering (obtaining a BS and MS, simultaneously, in five years), saving time and tuition costs.
University of Wisconsin
It will take students 128 credits, one of four specializations, and seven semesters to complete a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin. During each semester of the program, co-eds are put into teams and guided through real-world projects that provide experience and a potential network after graduation. With at least a 3.0 GPA overall, they’re also eligible to apply for a one-year MS degree — a cost effective option, with the bachelor’s degree student loan coming in at only 8% of the monthly budget.
California Polytechnic State University
California Polytechnic State University offers two concentrations (bioinstrumentation and mechanical design), as well as a blended BS/MS biomedical engineering program. The 191-credit, four-year bachelor’s requires a 2.0+ GPA and a senior writing project to graduate. With an estimated $473 monthly student loan payment, it’s easy to see why this West coast institution made the list of the best biomedical engineering schools for the price.
University of California
Biomedical engineering undergrads at the University of California will have a heavy load of math and science (at least 48 units), 28 engineering units, plus core courses, like cell and molecular engineering, sensory motor systems, and quantitative physiology in their pursuit of a bachelor’s. For those unsure if biomedical is the engineering avenue they’d like to pursue, UC offers an Engineering Gateway Curriculum, giving them the chance to sample the waters before fully taking the plunge.
The Ohio State University
One of the four Big Ten schools represented on our list of biomedical engineering schools, The Ohio State University has a standard curriculum for most of their four-year program, plus individually selected technical engineering electives, and a two-semester team project. These 4-5 member teams represent all disciplines of engineering, working together to help a local community client. If students are among the approximate 110 admitted each year into the BME program, they will join other co-eds in the newly opened, 124,000 square foot Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex.
The University of Texas at Austin
Over 80% of all biomedical engineering undergrads at The University of Texas in Austin participate in research, both on and off campus. Organizations like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center offer summer programs and internships, as well as cancer research. In addition to the bachelor’s and doctoral programs, UT Austin offers an integrated bachelor’s/master’s degree and several summer overseas classes, including international perspectives on biomedical engineering in Portugal, engineering communication and global challenges in Italy, and transport phenomena in living systems in England.
Pennsylvania State University
Rounding out the top 10 low cost biomedical engineering schools, Pennsylvania State University offers four degree majors — biochemical, biomaterials, medical imaging and devices, and biomechanics. Undergrads enrolled in the program have the opportunity to partner with engineering students in China to develop real-world solutions, as well as study abroad and do research — supported by organizations like the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association — that counts toward the undergrad thesis, an independent study, or part-time employment.
University of Virginia
The biomedical engineering program at the University of Virginia focuses on data science and modeling, with a yearlong Ideas Lab and the opportunity to do research alongside faculty, grad students, and post-doctoral fellows — for credit, pay, or as a volunteer. The four-year degree has a “biology-first” approach — with a heavy emphasis on physiology, and cell and molecular biology — and application areas in cardio, infectious, and musculoskeletal diseases, cancer, fibrosis, and brain disorders.
University of Minnesota
Ranking fourth in the College of Science and Engineering for total enrollment, biomedical engineering baccalaureates are among the 95% of graduates at the University of Minnesota that found a job or started grad school within 6 months of getting their degree. Undergrads have the chance to do research for organizations like Center for Neuroengineering, Stem Cell Institute, and the BioTechnology Institute, as well as get hands-on learning from professionals in the field from companies like Eastman Kodak and Honeywell.
University of Rhode Island
After submitting an application, high school transcripts, an essay, and at least one letter of recommendation, first year students at the University of Rhode Island can anticipate being part of the 380 freshman engineering class or the 175 accepted in the biomed bachelor’s program each year. As part of their senior capstone, URI students have the option of working on projects, such as developing a 3D model of a lower-limb prosthetic that detects the person’s balance or creating adaptive equipment to help disabled veterans relearn golf.
Wentworth Institute of Technology
At Wentworth Institute of Technology, biomedical engineering students will focus on medical devices and systems, preparing for careers in healthcare-related industries, dentistry, law, and business. In addition to a rigorous four-year degree, this private institution also has an innovation and entrepreneurship center where co-eds can participate in extra-curricular programs and workshops, as well as meet and work with mentors and industry leaders to create prototypes, solve real world issues, and build connections for their future.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Photo by Bryan Cantwell/Rose-Hulman
The last in our list of the best biomedical engineering schools for the price is Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Students pursuing a bachelor’s will have access to labs for hands-on research, instrumentation, tissue culture, and orthopaedics, along with courses like systems accounting and modeling, design leadership and teamwork, technical and professional communication, and four semesters of capstone projects. The STEM college also offers Rose Squared, a program where eligible students can earn a bachelor’s and Master of Engineering Management in just four years.
Our Ranking Methodology
First, we compiled the top biomedical engineering schools (bachelor’s degree) from three sources. We eliminated those from the list of 60 whose program wasn’t accredited by ABET and whose regional accreditation appeared to be expired, was TBD, or their review date was 2019 or before. For the remaining 30 schools, we calculated what the total tuition cost would be to complete a bachelor’s (minus fees and other expenses, like housing, books, or financial aid) and the estimated monthly student loan payment (using a 10 year loan at 4.66% interest). Based on the percent of the student loan payment to total monthly income (assuming that would be 74% of $91,410 to account for taxes and other withholdings), we ranked the top 15 (lowest received 30 points to the highest with 1).
Have Problems With Your Ranking?
If you’re employed by one of the schools listed and disagree with the information we’ve provided, please feel free to contact us and we’ll make the correction.