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At the UW, Bioengineering is not Engineering

I kept hoping that Bioengineering would get better. It hasn’t.

If you are interested in doing bioengineering and you plan to attend the University of Washington, I suggest that you avoid the Bioengineering Department. Instead, pursue a real engineering degree* and then employ those skills towards a biological or medical project towards the end of your studies. This can be done by taking one of the many joint courses with Bioengineering, or by choosing a capstone project that lets you become involved in the field you are really interested in.

The problem with Bioengineering here is not that it is useless (It may be; I really don’t know). Rather, the problem is that it is not engineering. As an example, Bioengineering 481 is the class where soon-to-be-senior bioengineers are supposed to come up with their capstone projects. Almost every student in that class who already has a capstone project figured out (I am not one) basically reformulated a research project into a design project. The result isn’t really engineering. Its just trickily worded scientific research.

Now, I’m all for scientific research, but it is not engineering. The department’s new focus on “design” is due to the upcoming ABET accreditation. I can only imagine that unless the ABET representatives pull some serious wool over their eyes, they will see right through the many “design” projects that are really research in disguise and choose not to accredit the school.

Thank goodness for my second degree.

* real engineering degrees at the University of Washington:
– Computer Engineering
– Electrical Engineering
– Chemical Engineering
– Aeronautical Engineering
– Civil Engineering

One Response to “At the UW, Bioengineering is not Engineering”

  1. Alice Says:

    Oh Ryan, I know, I know. It sucks. But on the bright side, even though your BIOE degree won’t be ABET accredited, at least your CSE degree will be. And maybe along the way you will get to see some really interesting research, though not really engineering, and develop an interesting perspective to help you do whatever it is you will be doing in 14 months…

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