Co-Location is the 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. Our students see patients and physicians every day. They interact with them, shadowing physicians and working as scribes. They employ their engineering problem-solving skills in clinical settings. Even something as fundamental as the organization of our faculty reflects our co-location: half our professors have primary appointments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and half in the School of Medicine. Clinical faculty members serve as mentors for our capstone projects.
Undergraduates also have the opportunity to apply to the BME Clinical Scholars program, a 10-week summer program that immerses undergraduate BME majors in clinical settings alongside third-year medical students. BME Clinical Scholars gain a firsthand view of how hospitals really work, observe clinicians in action, and perhaps identify overlooked clinical problems.
Colocation is particularly valuable for premed students who see in BME a productive alternative to a traditional course of study. Quantitative approaches to diagnosing and treating disease are spreading throughout medicine. In addition to working with BME faculty members who are developing these approaches, co-location gives students the opportunity to observe how they are applied in a clinical setting.