New Minor is Enriching Engineering Program

by Marketing Services - Cedarville, OH

“The aging of the population and the focus on health issues will increase the demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers.”
—U.S. Department of Labor

With that reality before us, Cedarville University is now offering a minor in biomedical engineering (BME). Spearheaded by faculty members Tim Tuinstra and Dr. Tim Norman, the minor is a win-win program. Besides enhancing their career opportunities and education by taking engineering electives related to BME, engineering students can fulfill the minor requirements with only seven additional hours beyond their major requirements.

What is biomedical engineering? Simply speaking, it’s where engineering meets anatomy and medicine. Biomedical engineers apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design and development of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, and medical information systems.

Cedarville is one of only a few Christian institutions offering a BME minor.
A feature of the program is its multi and interdisciplinary components. The minor is interdisciplinary in that electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering students are learning together, studying topics that are not traditionally taught in the individual fields of study. It is multidisciplinary in that the students are gaining additional training in courses relevant to but outside of engineering. At Cedarville, BME students are required to take a course in bioethics. “This will teach them that there is a human component to engineering and help them to see that just because you can invent something doesn’t mean you should,” explained Tuinstra.

Along with being multi and interdisciplinary, the BME program is discovery-oriented. Norman explained, “Biomedical engineering is always changing, and so students need to learn and appreciate how to be on the cutting edge.”

Adding this minor to an engineering degree enhances career prospects by opening employment opportunities in the biomedical device industry or at a health care facility working with medical equipment. Additionally, a BME minor creates a foundation for medical school aspirations along with additional graduate training options.

U.S. Department of Labor statistics anticipate that employment opportunities for biomedical engineers in the next decade will increase faster than the average for other occupations. Currently the average salary for biomedical engineers is $75,000, and the demand is nationwide.

Norman said that about half of the prospective students who were interested in Cedarville’s engineering program at a recent campus visit event expressed an interest in biomedical engineering. Besides attracting new students to Cedarville and the engineering profession, a BME minor makes sense, especially since the University already has qualified faculty to teach the courses. Norman and Tuinstra will be teamed up with their colleague, Jay Kinsinger.

With this new minor, Cedarville University is on the cutting edge of a changing workforce. Tuinstra said, “Because BME offers a human component to the engineering profession, it makes the career more attractive to women.” He noted that other schools with BME programs have experienced an increase in female students. By offering a BME minor, Cedarville’s engineering program will not only attract women but also others who are interested in a career in biomedical engineering. “I expect this minor to bring a different breed of students to Cedarville. Our current engineering majors did not come here for BME. In the future, Cedarville will become another option for students interested in biomedical engineering,” explained Norman.

Learn more about the Cedarville University minor in biomedical engineering.