Building the Future of Medicine

Students choose to become biomedical engineers because it is complex, challenging, and rewarding in ways that few fields can equal.

Biomedical engineers create new methods to explore life and treat disease. It is not too much to say that modern medicine was invented by biomedical engineers. Virtually every piece of equipment that physicians use to diagnose and treat disease was invented by a biomedical engineer—whether it is an MRI or a pacemaker or a robotic surgery system. In each case, biomedical engineers combined their knowledge of human physiology and tools from a spectrum of engineering disciplines to solve a particular clinical problem.

Thanks to advances in computation and data science, biomedical engineers have taken on even more ambitious challenges. Biomedical engineers are not only creating smart devices, but they are using tools like machine learning and modeling to accelerate the pace of medical discovery, to lay the foundations for precision medicine, and even to engineer new tissue and organs.

Why BME at UVA

  • Biology First

    BME at UVA builds its engineering curriculum on a solid base of biological knowledge. As part of our “biology-first” approach, BME students take a two-semester physiology course for engineers and a customized cell and molecular biology course during their first year as majors. Our graduates leave UVA with a fundamental understanding of the biological origins of disease that sets them apart from their peers.   

    BME Student Guide
  • Emphasis on Data Sciences and Modeling

    Biomedical engineering has become increasingly data driven and is inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative. The undergraduate program at UVA embodies these trends, preparing graduates to make valued contributions from the very start of their careers.

    Advances in data science and systems modeling have already produced dramatic advances in research, drug development, and treatment—and much more is yet to come. BME at UVA is known throughout the world for being at the forefront of this revolution. As a result, our students have an unprecedented opportunity not simply to master new computational approaches but to learn from faculty who are creating them.

    Not only is data science and systems modeling integrated into the curriculum, but students have ample opportunity to join faculty labs and take a meaningful role in advancing their research. You will find BME students helping to identify biomarkers for cancer, contributing to models for building human tissue, and applying computational approaches to advancing the treatment of disease in scores of ways.

  • Co-Location is a Critical Differentiator

    The UVA Biomedical Engineering program starts with an advantage that most programs cannot hope to equal: co-location with the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the UVA Medical Center. Proximity has a pervasive impact on every aspect of our students’ education.

  • High-Touch Immersion in Design and Discovery

    Engineers learn by doing. That is one reason why BME at UVA emphasizes design from the first year of the program. The other is that by the time our students graduate, we want them to have hands-on experience identifying a clinical problem and working in teams to create a workable solution. At UVA, students learn to ideate and create.

    This emphasis on design starts in the first semester and continues through Capstone. One of the highlights is the year-long Ideas Lab, where students practice design thinking approaches and master computational and experimental approaches for measuring and analyzing real medical data at multiple scales.

    Undergradaute Research in BME

    Design and Clinical Immersion in BME

  • Collaboration Across Disciplines

    Biomedical engineering is inherently interdisciplinary, but cross-disciplinary collaboration is a learned art. It requires the ability to appreciate viewpoints of colleagues who approach design and discovery from different perspectives and to meet the expectations of stakeholders with different interests. Our graduates’ facility as collaborators gives them a jumpstart on their careers.

    Careers and Exit Data
  • BME Program Educational Outcomes

    Educational Outcomes for the UVA BME Undergraduate Program

    • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
    • An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
    • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
    • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
    • An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
    • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
    • An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.


    Additional UVA BME-specific program outcomes

    • A demonstrated motivation toward free inquiry and creative technical expression
    • An ability to apply statistics to solve problems at the interface of biology and engineering
    • An ability to apply differential equations to solve problems at the interface of biology and engineering
  • BME Program Educational Objectives

    The Program Educational Objectives for the Undergraduate Program in BME reflect not only the breadth and biological skills expected of this discipline, but the principles of free inquiry, ethical conduct, creativity, and continuous personal growth.

    BME Program Educational Objectives

    • Graduates draw upon their biomedical engineering foundations to perform experimental measurement, quantitative analysis, and engineering design.
    • Graduates use tools and methods at the current state-of-the-art in biomedical engineering.
    • Graduates apply problem solving abilities and multidisciplinary perspectives to understand and advance scientific discoveries and technological innovations.
    • Graduates act to improve global and human health.
    • Graduates exhibit intellectual curiosity, creativity, leadership and continuous personal growth.

BME Student Guide

The BME Student Guide is the main advising tool for BME students and advisors.