FAQ Undergraduate


STT  Standard Timetable. Find more information under registration by clicking here.
BME  Biomedical Engineering program
PBME – Pre-Biomedical Engineering STT. This is a pre-BME first-year standard timetable.
PMAP  Pre-Med Alternative Path STT. This is a pre-med alternative standard timetable.
BASc – Bachelor of Applied Science

1st Year Pre-Medical Engineering Standard Timetable

How do I apply to the Biomedical Engineering program?

The Biomedical Engineering program starts in its second year.

Students interested in pursuing Biomedical Engineering must first apply to the Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc). More information about the application process, including minimum requirements, can be found here.

Once students have been admitted to the BASc, they will then be invited to fill out a supplementary form to be considered for registration into the Pre-Biomedical Engineering Standard Timetable.

What is the PBME STT?

The PBME STT is a slightly modified first-year standardized timetable that gives students access to pre-requisites required for the BME undergraduate program. PBME STT is available to students who have already been admitted into the first-year Engineering Program at UBC-Vancouver.

Taking the PBME STT does not guarantee placement into the BME undergraduate program, but it does make students eligible for priority placement (see below) and gives them all the pre-requisites needed for second year BME.

Is there a separate application process to register in the PBME STT (pre-biomedical engineering standard timetable)?

In addition to the normal application for admission process, for all Bachelor of Applied Science (Vancouver campus) programs, new students who are interested in BME are asked to complete an online supplementary form to declare their intent to register in the PBME STT.

As a competitive program, entry into the PBME STT will be based on academic standing, interest, and approval of the program director. In the supplementary forms, we are looking for two things in your responses: the first is a passion for BME and the second is an organized approach to problem-solving. In BME and in all engineering, our jobs involve solving complex, open-ended real world problems, so we are looking to select people who have sought out, practiced, and observed their effectiveness in solving complex problems in their school work, hobbies, jobs, volunteering, and everyday life. We look to see how you approach and solve problems, and we seek to be able to evaluate your interest in BME rather than for a right or wrong answer.

Individuals will be notified prior to their registration date if they have been approved to enter into the PBME STT for year 1. The instructions for the separate PBME STT application process are sent to students who have been admitted to UBC Engineering via email.

What is priority placement?

Students who are registered in the PBME STT may be eligible for priority second-year placement in BME. In order to qualify for priority placement, students who are in the PBME STT must meet the following conditions:

  • Have a sessional average at the end of the Winter Session of 72% or higher
  • Be eligible for year 2 standing as determined by Engineering Student Services
  • Successful completion of CHEM 123* by May 15th
  • Successful completion of BMEG 101 and 102 by May 15th

Submit a :

Students who complete the PBME STT but do not meet one of more of these conditions will still be considered for placement in BME through the normal competitive placement process.

*Students who took the PBME STT starting in September 2020 and will be applying for placement in May 2021 only need to have completed CHEM 120 and 130 to be eligible for priority. They will be expected to complete the lab portions (CHEM 115 and 135) when in person teaching has resumed and it is deemed safe to do so.
Students who are taking the PBME STT starting in September 2021 but are unable to travel to Canada due to visa issues or travel bans will take CHEM 120 (lecture in term 1) + CHEM 115 (lab) in the place of CHEM 121. Issues coming to Canada to take in person classes will be taken into account for priority placement in May 2022.

How many PBME timetables are given out to first year students each year?

We have 120 seats per year.

Will there be a waitlist for individuals who wish to take the PBME STT but do not get selected in the initial review?

BME is a competitive program. Students who applied but were not provided a PBME STT may be placed on a waitlist and will be notified by email if space becomes available.

Will students who take the Pre Med Alternative Path (PMAP) in year 1 also be eligible for priority second year placement in year 2?

No, students must take the PBME STT to be eligible for priority second-year placement in BME. Students who take the PMAP in their first year will be eligible for placement in BME through the normal competitive process.

Can you take the PBME timetable and pursue the PMAP at the same time during your first year?

The Pre Med Alternative path is for students who are interested in pursuing med school after graduation, but know that they do not want to pursue Biomedical Engineering. They are two separate time tables.

How does the PBME STT differ from the PMAP?

They serve two different functions. The PMAP is for students who are interested in pursuing med school after graduation, but know that they do not want to pursue Biomedical Engineering. They are two separate time tables. Students who do the PMAP take CHEM 121 and 123, but remain in APSC 101 and PHYS 159.

How is the PBME STT different from the regular engineering timetable?

There are a couple main differences as highlighted below:

Regular STT




APSC 100


APSC 100


APSC 101


BMEG 101


APSC 160


APSC 160


CHEM 154


CHEM 121 & 123


WRDS 150


WRDS 150


MATH 100


MATH 100


MATH 101


MATH 101


MATH 152


MATH 152


PHYS 157


PHYS 157


PHYS 158


PHYS 158


PHYS 159


BMEG 102


PHYS 170


PHYS 170


Humanities/Social Sciences Elective





BME Students take their humanities/social sciences elective in their 3rd year.

Do PBME students not get to choose a humanities elective in their first year?

Students in the PBME STT don’t take a humanities elective in their first year, but they will be able to chose one in later years.

What if I choose to take the PBME STT but decide not to pursue BME in second year?

You would apply for placement in a different specialization at the end of your second year. The only thing you would need to make up is taking your humanities/social sciences elective as it is built into the BME program in later years as PBME STT students do not take it in 1st year.

After being accepted into the PBME STT, what are the typical next steps?

Register for an STT and choose your English course!

Are there any high school courses required for permission to register in a PBME STT?

Beyond the admission requirements to the Bachelor of Applied Science, students who are entering first year and intend on pursuing Biomedical Engineering are not required to have any additional high school courses, although we do recommend BC Biology 12 or equivalent.

Are you at a disadvantage if you haven’t taken Biology 12 or equivalent course in high school?

You don’t need a biology background or to take biology courses, but we do recommend it. Biology, anatomy, and physiology is a very dense subject and you might find yourself in a better position to success if you have some biology background. We do teach our year 1&2 classes with the assumption that students haven’t taken biology courses, but it does move fast.

How do you define and measure First Year Standing?

This is defined by ESS. We suggest you contact them about standings and year promotions.

Does UBC accept AP transfer credit? For which courses?

This is a question for Engineering Student Services as we do not deal with 1st year admission requirements or transfer credits.

Why is there a need for a pre-biomedical STT for first year engineering which is different from the rest?

Because of the need for organic chemistry and upper level CHEM/BIOC courses, our students need to take CHEM 121 and 123 instead of CHEM 154. As a result, we created the path so students could take CHEM 121 and 123.

Further, while chemistry and physics are taught there isn’t any biology taught in first year engineering. Since our program has its foundation in biology, we advocated for a path for students to take if they knew they were interested.

2nd Year Placement

What is the average needed for placement into Biomedical Engineering? How competitive is placement?

It varies year to year and depends on how many students want to enter Biomedical Engineering each year.

Like any engineering program, the more students who want to enter Biomedical Engineering in their 2nd year, the higher the cutoff average will be for that year.

So far, we’ve only had two placements as a new program so the data isn’t necessarily reliable since we only have two data sets.

Once students have been admitted to the BASc, they will then be invited to fill out a supplementary form to be considered for registration into the Pre-Biomedical Engineering Standard Timetable.

Can we apply for placement into Biomedical Engineering if we did not do the Pre-BME STT?

Absolutely! All students are able to apply to Biomedical Engineering through the regular competitive placement process. There are a couple courses that you will need to take: CHEM 121, CHEM 123, and BMEG 200, in order to have the same knowledge base as students who have taken the PBME STT.

Yes, after the priority placement for students currently enrolled in the PBME STT has been completed, the remaining seats in the program will be filled through the normal competitive placement process.

Students who do not have credit for CHEM 121 and 123 (or equivalent) may receive a placement in BME but may experience a delay of normal program progression due to missing pre-reqs for the second year courses.

We’re a second year entry program, so our placement process for Year 2 is the same as all other departments.

Will it be harder?
Students who completed the PBME STT are eligible for something called “Priority Placement” if they meet certain conditions. After those students are placed, the remaining seats in our program will be filled through the regular competitive placement process.

How many seats are there in Biomedical Engineering?

Can accept a maximum of 120 students per year.

How many students who took general first year engineering will be placed in Biomedical Engineering each year?

It depends! It’s hard to know this number without knowing the number of students who have taken the PBME who want to continue on into Biomedical Engineering. We anticipate that we will accept a number of students who have not taken the PBME STT. Students in the PBME STT still have to fulfill the remaining requirements (completion of CHEM 121 & 123 and BMEG 101 & 102, choosing BME as their first choice, and being promoted to 2nd year).

How does the priority placement work compared to a general first year engineering STT?

Priority placement is for students who have taken the PBME STT in their first year. They have to meet a number of requirements in order to be eligible. For students who took a general engineering STT in their first year, they will be part of the regular competitive placement process, along with students in the PBME STT who did not meet the priority placement requirements.

If I am currently registered in the PMAP STT in first year, am I guaranteed placement in BME in second year?

No, students must take the PBME STT to be eligible for priority second year placement in BME. Students who take the PMAP in their first year will be eligible for placement in BME through the normal competitive process.

If I am registered in the PBME STT and decide not to pursue BME, will I be considered for the other second year programs?

Yes, by completing the PBME STT, students will be eligible for placement in any other second year program provided they are eligible for second year by end of April. However, students must complete both CHEM 121 and CHEM 123 to be exempt from CHEM 154, or complete CHEM 154 at a later date for degree completion.

Are there extra CHEM courses that need to be taken if I have only taken CHEM 154?

Yes – unfortunately as we have upper level Chemistry and Biochemistry courses, our students need to take CHEM 121 and 123. CHEM 154 is not part of our program.

How does the program scheduling work if you’ve not done the PBME STT? Are there first year BMEG courses that need to be taken in Year 2?

If you join our program not having taken the PBME STT, there are a couple courses you’re missing. We allow students to come into our program with APSC 101 and PHYS 159 – however there is a content and credit difference between those two courses and BMEG 101 and 102. As a result, students need to take a newly created 1-credit course called BMEG 200 during the summer after they are accepted into our program. You’ll also be missing CHEM 121 and 123. We do not accept CHEM 154. The good news is that you don’t need to extend your degree. Chemistry allows our students to take CHEM 121 and 123 in the summer between their 2nd and 3rd year, so anticipate staying in Vancouver over the summer to catch up on those courses. CHEM 123 is recommended for BMEG 210, but is taught with the understanding that some students may not have it. Therefore, you don’t need to modify your year 2 schedule to accommodate Chemistry.

Will it take longer to finish the degree for students who did general first year engineering?

It may – students who did not take the PBME STT are missing 2 key courses – CHEM 121 and CHEM 123. CHEM 154 unfortunately does not count for credit in our program. If you take CHEM 121 and 123 during the summer, you would not need to adapt your winter session timetable to make up those courses.

Students who did general first year engineering will also have to make up the 1 credit difference between BMEG 101 & 102 and APSC 101 & PHYS 159. They do this by taking an online bridge module (BMEG 200) during the summer before their 2nd year.

If we haven’t taken the PBME STT, is it necessary to do summer school or is it possible to fit the courses in second year?

It’s not recommended to take CHEM 121 & 123 during your school year. It’s a substantial amount of credits, and while some students have done it, it adds a substantial amount of stress on the student. We instead suggest that you take it during the summer before your 3rd year.

BMEG 200 is only available in the summer and must be completed before you start 2nd year.

Do I need a biology background? Do I need to take biology courses prior to applying?

You don’t need a biology background or to take biology courses, but we do recommend it. Biology, anatomy, and physiology is a very dense subject and you might find yourself in a better position to success if you have some biology background. We do teach our year 2 classes with the assumption that students haven’t taken biology courses, but it does move fast.


Where is the BME undergraduate program offered?

The BME undergraduate program is offered in the Faculty of Applied Science, Vancouver campus, and it is collaborative with the Faculty of Medicine.

Is BME a good pathway towards medical school? Does it cover all the pre-req courses for med school?

It’s definitely a good path, but whether or not it covers all pre-req courses will depend on the medical school. Our program specifically looked at the courses that are strongly recommended by UBC med school, but UBC med school only has 1 actual pre-req – 6 credits of first year English. The courses in our program will provide a strong foundation for students to take the MCAT.

Are there any additional fees associated with the BME program?

Effective 2022W, BMEG students are expected to pay their program fee a total of 3 times in their undergraduate degree: when they enter year 2, 3 and 4.

Is the BME program accredited?

Yes! The SBME undergraduate program was accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) in June 2021.

What are my options for international exchange in the BME program?

Students who pursue the BME program will be part of the Coordinated International Experience (CIE) program. UBC has partnered with top institutions in Europe, Australia and Asia to ensure students can continue their BME studies in one of the partner countries. Students who wish to study abroad in a CIE partner institution will do so in 4th year.

What skills will I obtain by completing a BASc in Biomedical Engineering compared to other engineering disciplines?

Biomedical Engineering is a young and broad field which focuses on solving problems and designing and developing technology associated with human health, biology, pathology and injury. Students in the BME program may choose to focus on particular areas that correspond with the four defined streams in the BME program, which are: Biomechanics & Biomaterials, Biomedical Systems & Signals, Bioinformatics, and Cellular Bioengineering.

BME is an interdisciplinary profession which combines the theory and design principals of engineering, with additional knowledge base in core areas of human physiology, biology and medicine. In contrast, fields like Mechanical Engineering or Electrical and Computing Engineering or Chemical and Biological Engineering can be said to combine theory and design principals of engineering with additional knowledge base in mechanics and mechanical engineering (for Mechanical Engineering) and so on.

Can I just take a general BME undergrad?

Biomedical Engineering is an incredibly broad field. With a general 2nd year and specialized 3rd and 4th years, the BME degree at UBC is both sufficiently broad to supply the biomedical technology sector and comprehensive enough for development, commercialization, and research careers. A non-streamed BME degree would not accomplish this.

How do I apply for a minor?

The Minors in Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Arts, Honours Mathematics, and Science are coordinated by Engineering Student Services. Please see their website for more details.

How do I minor in Biomedical Engineering?

Minors in Biomedical Engineering are not available.

Why did Applied Science feel it was necessary to create an undergraduate biomedical engineering program?

Biomedical engineering undergraduate program was created after consultation with various bioengineering companies in BC and a deficient was identified in graduates to fill jobs unique to the biomedical engineering skill set.

What streams are available in BME?

In their third year, students choose a specialized stream. These include: Biomaterials & Biomechanics, Biomedical Informatics, Biomedical Systems & Signals, or Cellular Bioengineering.

I registered for a BMEG course waitlist. Now what?

Students will be moved off waitlists whenever space becomes available. As space frees up in the course (students dropping the course, students not having the prerequisites, additional seats becoming available, etc.), we will manually move students from the wait list to the lecture section. We do not do this every day. It is your responsibility to check SSC to confirm if you have been added to the lecture section, and if so, to register yourself in a lab and/or tutorial section (where applicable). Note that you cannot register for a lab or tutorial section until you are off the wait list and in a lecture section. Please note that we do not send out email confirmations when we move students from the waitlist into the course, so be sure to check your registration regularly until the add/drop deadline to keep up to date on your registration status in that course.

Program Content

What are the full, second-year requirements? Where can these be found?

We have a detailed curriculum page on our website:

Is there a time limit of how many years I can take to complete the Biomedical Engineering Program?

Students are advised that the BASc degree should normally be completed in a maximum of 7 years from admission to the Faculty, inclusive of interruptions in study. Failure to complete the degree in this time may result in a requirement that additional courses be completed in order for a student to be eligible for graduation.

Will there be any entrepreneurship/business minors or concentrations offered in the program? Are there any entrepreneurial-focused courses in BME?

Students in any engineering program can do an entrepreneurship minor.

About how many hours a week does a student spend working with the PBME STT? How would you describe the workload?

This ultimately depends on the student.
The workload for any Engineering STT will be high, and the PBME STT is no exception to that.

In BME do students take similar courses as they would with the Biomedical Engineering Options in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering?

Sometimes! It depends on where your interests lie, but you can take technical electives in the Biomaterials and Biomechanics or the Biomedical Systems and Signals streams that are similar.

One of the main differentiators of Biomedical Engineering from traditional engineering biomedical options is the integration of life sciences. In the core courses all of our students take, there’s a focus on organic chemistry, anatomy, and physiology that students who pursue a Biomedical Engineering option in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering won’t get.

How is materials engineering incorporated into biomedical engineering?

Biomaterials is incorporated into several of our courses and is of particular importance in Biomechanics, Cellular Bioengineering, and Biomedical Systems & Signals. Since Biomedical Engineers working with the human body, it’s imperative that you’re using the materials that will be similar to the materials you’re replicating (i.e. bone), while not being rejected by the body or interfering with its other.

Is it mandatory to take the CPEN 221/223 course in second year?

It’s not mandatory to take it in your 2nd year specifically, but it is a program requirement and you do need to take it before you will be allowed to graduate. Please note that CPEN 221/223 may be pre-reqs for courses in your 3rd and 4th year and delaying taking it may result in your program length being extended. Students who have not completed CPEN 221 are not eligible for the Biomedical Informatics Stream.

Do you have to learn a lot of chemistry?

More than, say, Electrical or Mechanical. After taking CHEM 121 and 123, students then have to take CHEM 233, 235 and BIOC 202. Beyond that, it depends on the stream you take. Some streams, like cellular bioengineering and biomedical informatics, will have more chemistry incorporated into them than other streams.

Is Biomedical engineering only biology?

Nope! Biomedical Engineering is an interdisciplinary profession where we combine the theory and design principles of engineering with human physiology, biology, and medicine. Students take courses in other departments like Math, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Statistics, Computer engineering, and Chemical and Biological engineering. They also take courses in biomechanics, biomedical informatics, thermodynamics, circuits, instrumentation, communication, transport phenomena. Additional courses that are taken depend on your stream.

What do you do if you are interested in the field, but are extremely squeamish?

We do try to prepare students for the Anatomy lab, but there is cadaver work associated with our undergraduate courses as early as Year 2 in our Biomechanics course. We have a 3rd year anatomy course where students have many labs in the Anatomy lab.

That being said, once you’ve completed the program, you could have a career path where you only work with human tissue on a cellular level, or don’t work with human tissue at all! There are many labs where you don’t have to work on animal subjects as well. If you’re really interested in biomedical engineering it might just be a case of “try it out, see if it’s for you” and if you realize that you would prefer not to work in that kind of environment, try another engineering discipline.

What does a biomedical engineer do?

It depends! Biomedical Engineers can have a wide range of jobs. We prepare our students for what we consider four main focus areas – Biomechanics & Biomaterials, Cellular Bioengineering, Biomedical informatics, and Biomedical Systems and signals. Because Biomedical Engineering is so broad, it’s common to focus on a single discipline or area of application.

What type of person should go into Biomedical Engineering?

Because biomedical engineers work with a wide range of professionals (other engineering specialties, basic laboratory scientists, doctors, nurses), strong communication is essential. Biomedical engineers sometimes act as a translator between engineers and medical professionals. Biomedical Engineers should also be able to work with people from various disciplines and educational backgrounds.

Students should also have an interest in the human body and how it intersects with engineering design and can think analytically and solve problems. Many people are drawn to Biomedical engineering since this industry directly benefits the health and wellbeing of the individual and the humanistic aspect of the discipline appeals to them. It’s a field where you can see the direct (and generally positive) impact on an individual.

But more importantly, students should be excited by the prospect of the unknown and the ability to forge their own path. Biomedical Engineers are trailblazers and innovators. They’re able to not just be problem solvers but problem definers. Because it’s not a traditional field of engineering, there is no one set path biomedical engineers follow.

What makes biomedical engineering unique?

Biomedical Engineering incorporates life sciences and medical knowledge that is not part of the traditional engineering education. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, students need a solid foundation in math and science but a willingness to embrace these other areas.

A lot of what biomedical Engineers do is on the forefront of their field and is considered a cutting edge industry. Think about the recent innovations in the field – bionic arms, magnetic hearts, CRISPR, induced pluripotent stem cells, 3D printed organs – these types of innovations have exploded in the past 10-20 years and every week there are new advancements in Biomedical Engineering. A lot of what our students do has not even been defined yet. There is enormous opportunity for innovation.

Biomedical Engineers also have the opportunity to see their work make a direct impact on the individual. Anyone who has ever had imaging done is the beneficent of biomedical engineering. Defibrillators, dialysis, drug deliver, prosthetics – all of these items are the result of biomedical engineering.
We’re also the only dual-faculty School (medicine and applied science) at UBC. We’re able to pull on expertise from both our engineering faculty and our medicine faculty.

Will choosing our specialization stream in third year be a competitive process? Or is it just a matter of selecting the appropriate courses?

As with averages for placement, it’s really hard to say how competitive it will be until we’ve had a few cohorts go through stream placement. Students must apply near the end of their second year to pursue specific streams and be given permission to pursue said stream as we need to coordinate with other departments to negotiate seats in their classes. Our ideal situation is every student getting their first choice, but until we’ve gone through a few cycles, it’s hard to say if that will be the case.

Research | Co-op | Jobs

What kinds of jobs are BME students expected to get after completing their bachelor’s degree, and what is the job market like for these students?

Students who train in biomedical engineering can find careers in biomedical and biotechnology industries, complete additional graduate training to obtain a MSc or PhD, or go on to take additional training in clinical professional programs such as medicine.

What kinds of jobs can a Biomedical Engineering have?

Biomedical Engineers can work in mechanical design, electrical design, manufacturing, biotech investment advising, patient testing, product testing, project management, consulting, research, regulatory approval, research and development, data analysis, medical device application, assay design, entrepreneur. Some Biomedical Engineers supplement their degree by continuing on to graduate school or medical school.

What does the salary look like for a Biomedical Engineer (entry level and mid-career)?

As with any new and expanding discipline, it’s not as easy to predict as a traditional engineering stream where the path is well established. Trying to find a definitive number ranges from $60K to $100K. Estimated salaries for 2025 can reach as high as $122K. But this is really dependent on the type of job you’re in and area of specialization.

What are co-op placements?

Co-op placements provide students with co-funded job opportunities to gain skills and experience in the professional environment. UBC Engineering’s co-op program is the largest in Western Canada and one of the most successful in the country. It is the first choice for industry leaders when recruiting engineering talent, and our students benefit from paid, relevant, and technical work experiences that help them become the engineers of tomorrow.

Examples of Biomedical Engineering Co-Op Placements Below:

  • Verathon Medical
  • Starfish Medical
  • DiscernDX (US)
  • Zandstra Lab
  • Konrad Walus (ECE)
  • Texavie – Dr. Peyman Servati (ECE)
  • University of the Fraser Valley – Abbotsford
  • Geering Up
  • StemCell Technologies
  • Precision Nanosystems
  • TTT Studios
  • Foothills Hospital (Calgary)
  • Coombs (Math Department)
  • Intel
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • BC Children’s
  • Dr. Oxland – UBC Orthopaedic and Injury Biomechanics Group
Do many biomedical engineering jobs require a graduate level education?

Not necessarily. This is a common misconception because Biomedical Engineering is a relatively new degree program and hasn’t been offered as its own degree in Typically these programs have been more medtech device program and students pursued Biomedical Engineering at the graduate level. Since 2012, four new biomedical engineering programs have been created in Canada. In the states, over 40 new departments and programs (double the previous number) have been started in the past 5 years. This number is expected to continue to grow. Traditionally biomedical engineering has been restricted to graduate school because it’s cutting edge, not necessarily because it’s restricted to that level.

Ultimately it does depend on the individual student’s goals and preferences. Up to 2/3 of biomedical engineering undergraduates in USA have gone onto advanced degrees in either graduate school (MASc/PhD), or to professional schools for an MD, DDS, JD. It’s hard to say if this will be the case for Biomedical Engineering since we don’t have a lot of graduate data to pull from. One of the other differences between our program and US schools is that our school will be accredited, meaning that students with an undergraduate degree can go on to obtain their PEng.

We are also the only program in UBC Engineering that offers a , so a large number of students interested in both medicine and engineering may choose to pursue a BASC in biomedical engineering as opposed to a traditional pre-med option in the Sciences.

Is pursuing biomedical engineering more limiting in the future as compared to taking mechanical engineering which has a stream of biomedical engineering?

If you want to design electrical generators, turbines, refrigeration systems, yes, you will be limiting yourself in biomedical engineering. But biomedical engineering is much more than mechanical engineering and if you’re interested in the larger field (cellular, bioinformatics etc), then you’d be limiting yourself by pursuing mechanical engineering. It ultimately comes down to what you want your foundation in.

Our program will teach you to understand and recognize most biological systems. They don’t adhere to the fundamental laws that dictate electrical, mechanical and chemical systems. Instead, they operated and respond in a variety of ways an even vaster array of inputs and stimuli. We delve into why, so that you can follow the science to reasons why treatments that were successful for one person may not be successful for everyone. No, we can’t necessarily predict these systems, but understanding them and having the skillset to intervene and manipulate them for better therapeutics, clinical delivery and general treatment is what it means to be a Biomedical Engineer.

What are my options for Co-op in the BME program?

The BME program has an integrated experiential learning component built into the program to include 4 separate optional Co-op terms for students. Please visit the BME website for more information.

Is research part of the BME undergraduate program?

Research is included as part of the integrated experiential learning and students will have an opportunity to conduct research as part of a fourth year project. These details will be provided at a later date.

What research opportunities are there for BME students, and are any available for first years?

There are many research opportunities for BME students – many of our faculty members regularly take on our students into their labs.

Doing research in your first year is relatively rare. Faculty members tend to look for students who have a stronger foundation and have taken more classes. It would be more common for students to do research in a lab after their 2nd year.


Could nanotechnology and biomedical engineering mesh well together?


We have faculty working on the intersection of nanotechnology and biomedical engineering right now! The Microsystems and Nanotechnology group includes research on

  • bio-photonics (use of light (photons) to study biological material – used for early cancer detection, glucose monitoring for diabetes patients)
  • bio-sensors (sensor technologies to measure quantaties with relevance for biomedical field)
  • Biological imaging (Optical imaging provides a noninvasive way to visualize cellular and tissue structures, observe their functions, and potentially detect dysplasia and cancer)
  • Biomaterials (engineered biomolecular interface between implantable biomedical microdevices and the surrounding tissue is one of the key issues for long-term implant functionality.)
  • Drug delivery (development of drug delivery vehicles and targeted and timed drug deployment strategies.)
  • Implantable devices (therapeutic applications – cochlear implants, deep brain stimulators. Current efforts include targeted drug delivery systems, visual prostheses, electrodes for nerve regeneration, and microelectrodes for neural recording and stimulation.)
  • Lab on a chip, micro total analysis systems (The miniaturization and integration of traditional benchtop assays onto microscale “lab on a chip” platforms promise advantages in cost-efficiency, lower reagent consumption, and faster analysis times)

Drs. Hong Ma, John Madden, Karen Cheung, Kenichi Takahata, and Shuo Tang all work in the MiNa group and are associated with our faculty. They all supervisor graduate students and some take on undergraduate research associates.

Do biomedical engineers work directly with patients or are they more active behind the scenes?

It depends! Some biomedical engineers do work with patients directly with regards to testing, prototyping, problem identification etc. They certainly don’t work as closely with patients as physicians would. It likely depends on how closely you want to work with patients.

Do Biomedical Engineers work on technological advancements?

Biomedical Engineers create technological advancements!

How closely do Biomedical Engineers work with doctors?

It depends, but consultation with doctors is needed depending on your field. Collaboration is a key part of biomedical engineering. Since doctors are on the forefront of patient interaction, they’re sometimes best suited to identify problems that need solutions. The same goes for nurses who may be able to identify areas of improvement and innovation due to their daily interaction with patients.

How will biomedical engineers affect the next generation(s)?

Biomedical engineers don’t have to wait to affect the next generation – they affect all generations with their innovations. Ultimately biomedical engineers make life easier, and in many cases, less painful. They have the opportunity to make life-changing and life-saving devices.

Is it possible to pursue a masters in medicine with a BASC in Biomedical Engineering?

There isn’t a strict “Masters” in medicine, but there are a variety of graduate programs students can pursue after receiving their BASC beyond engineering – Experimental Medicine, Genome and Science Technology, Medical Genetics.
Students are also prepared to pursue medical school. Our program is designed to align with UBC Medical School admissions and prepare students for the MCAT.

Is the field mostly research based?

Nope! There are opportunities to work in industry or the hospital setting or even consulting or regulatory approval. Biomedical Engineers aren’t just restricted to research.

Why does biomedical engineering require a background in computer science?

Biomedical informatics, and big data in general, is on the rise and is used in virtually all Biomedical Engineering disciplines. Having the ability to understand and utilize biological and medical data to decode complex biological processes will be an integral part of being a biomedical engineer in the future. Using patient health care information to understand disease and pathophysiology and improve patient outcomes is a new and growing field.

What differentiates a Biomedical Engineer from a Bio-Scientist/Researcher?

Some biomedical engineers are researchers! But what differentiates biomedical engineers from traditional biologist is their ability to think like an engineer and approach medical problems with that analytical and design lens.

What kinds of specializations could biomedical engineers go into?

Our School has focused on four main streams that we believe will be the main areas for Biomedical Engineers in the future – Biomedical Systems & Signals, Biomechanics & Biomaterials, Cellular Bioengineering, and Biomedical Informatics.

Is Biomedical Engineering related to making medicine?

Drug delivery is definitely one field of Biomedical Engineering that you could pursue!


Are there any Biomedical Engineering design teams in UBCV?


Many, and the opportunity for students to start their own as well.
We have a long established history of Biomedical Engineering design teams – most notably BEST (Biomedical Engineering Student Team) and Biomod. Two teams that were started since the School started: MIST (Medical Innovations Student Team) and BEAR (Biomedical Engineering Analysis and Research).

How large is the program?

We welcomed our first cohort in September 2018 of 60 students. Each year we now welcome 120 students as part of 2nd year placement into our program.

Our graduate program, established in 2006, generally has over 100 students. We anticipate this will continue to grow as we gain more new faculty members.

Transferring to BME

Will transfer students applying to the Bachelor of Applied Science program be considered for second year placement in BME?

Students who are applying to the BASc program (Vancouver campus)

, and are admitted to second year, will be considered for BME through the 2nd Year Placement process. Placement in BME or another engineering program is not guaranteed. Placement is based on the available seats in the program, competitive average and a personal statement.

Transfer students who receive a placement in BME may be deficient in the first-year requirements. They will be required to meet with a program advisor to ensure pre-requisites for second year courses in BME are met. For more information, please visit our website.

Will students from other engineering programs be eligible to transfer into the BME program?

Students who have completed a year or more in another Vancouver campus engineering program and who wish to transfer to BME must submit a Request for Engineering Interdepartmental Transfer. The form will open in mid-March.

Fourth year BMEG (bio-medical engineering) courses will not be available until Winter Session 2020/2021. If the request is successful, students will need to meet with a program advisor to determine which courses from their current program would be transferable to the BME program.

BME Options Outside of the BME Program

What are the different options for undergraduate students to study Biomedical Engineering at UBC?

In addition to the new BME program, the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering offer undergraduates a Biomedical Option.

Students who pursue this option are looking for a strong foundation in either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, but have an introduction and focus on solving biomedical engineering problems that are related to the electrical or mechanical engineering focus of their main program.

Students who wish to apply to the Biomedical Option in either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering are asked to check their respective websites for additional information, application process and deadline.

Students in a Biomedical Option will receive a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. As a reminder, students in the BME program will receive a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering.

What is the difference between the biomedical options in electrical and mechanical engineering and the biomedical engineering?

Students may pursue the options in ECE/MECH or the streams in CHBE/MTRL if they are looking for a strong foundation in ECE/MECH/CHBE/MTRL, but have an introduction and focus on solving biomedical engineering problems that are related to the ECE/MECH/CHBE/MTRL engineering focus of their main program.

BME is an interdisciplinary profession which combines the theory and design principals of engineering, with additional knowledge base in core areas of human physiology, biology and medicine. In contrast, fields like Mechanical Engineering or Electrical and Computing Engineering or Chemical and Biological Engineering can be said to combine theory and design principals of engineering with additional knowledge base in mechanics and mechanical engineering (for Mechanical Engineering) and so on.

Biomedical Engineering bridges the gap between medicine and engineering. Our students learn to approach complex medical problems with engineering methodologies. Biological systems are different from mechanical, chemical, and electrical systems. While those systems are governed by more strict physical laws, biological systems tend to be less predictable – biological systems don’t always have just one response to stimuli. Biomedical Engineering students understand these unpredictable systems and gain the skills to design and manipulate them.

How are students currently enrolled in a Biomedical Option affected by the BME program?

The new BME program will not affect students who are currently enrolled in a Biomedical Option. Students will continue in their chosen program following the guidance of their home department.

If I am a student in a Biomedical Option, am I classified as an Electrical, Mechanical or Biomedical Engineering student?

Students in a Biomedical Option will be classified as either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering students. Only students who are placed in the BME program will be classified as Biomedical Engineering students.

Are students allowed to take BMEG courses if they don’t end up choosing BMEG as a specialization or will these courses be restricted for BMEG students only?

Some courses will be open to non-BMEG students, provided they satisfy the pre-reqs and there are seats available. Other courses, like BMEG 245, 250, and 350, are only available to our students.

Can we enter BME through Mechanical/Electrical Engineering?

You can do a biomedical option in Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, but unless you apply to transfer, you can’t enter our program through Mechanical/Electrical Engineering. We are different programs with different requirements. Some of our courses are not available to non-BME students, particularly our lab courses.

Further Questions

Questions about the Biomedical Engineering program can be directed to our Student Services team. Learn how to reach out to us through our contact us page.

Questions about admission into Applied Science should be directed to Engineering Academic Services. SBME Student Services is unable to answer questions regarding UBC and BASc admission.