Engineering For Society: Biomedical & Civil Engineering

Have you ever looked at a sturdy bridge over a turbulent river and wondered how it was designed to hold up against the current? Or perhaps you read about a new surgical procedure and marveled at the technology behind it. If you’re curious about the design that goes into these achievements, you can now explore those possibilities at Elizabethtown. Biomedical Engineering and Civil Engineering are the two newest concentrations for our Engineering major.

Students in the Biomedical concentration build a foundation in engineering and, then, narrow the focus of their coursework with classes such as biomechanics, biomaterials, fluid dynamics and biomedical device design. The overall emphasis is on creating medical devices for use in surgery and clinical settings.

Civil Engineering focuses on the design of structures, including bridges, buildings and transportation systems. Safety, reliability and efficiency are the top design considerations that students are taught. Coursework includes the fundamentals of design, such as structural engineering and strength of materials as well as courses that take environmental factors into consideration and focus on green designs.

Maybe you’ve already decided that you want to study engineering, but you’re not sure which concentration to choose. You might be considering either Biomedical or Civil Engineering but are not sure about job outlook after graduation. You want an answer to the all-important question: “What can I do with this degree?” Here’s a brief overview of what, exactly, biomedical and civil engineers do.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers, like most engineers, design things. What they design is the intriguing part. You’ve heard of scientists dreaming of creating artificial organs; biomedical engineers actually do it. They also create prosthetics; medical equipment such as MRI machines and ultrasound equipment, and devices to help patients with mobility issues and other physical or cognitive impairments. In other words, what they do is improve quality of life and tackle some of science’s biggest questions.

If designing and building isn’t what you’d like to do, there is also the option of taking a more research-based career path. Biomedical engineers work with scientists to study the mechanical aspect of human functions, such as the way the heart pumps blood through the circulatory system. The insights gained through this research can lead to ground-breaking developments. After gaining some experience in this field, you might even go back for a graduate degree and become a professor, training the next generation of engineers.

Civil Engineering

Most people don’t give a second thought to the roads they travel on every day. The truth is, a lot of careful thought and deliberate design went into those roads, along with every other structure we tend to take for granted. Civil engineers devise those structures and are constantly striving to improve upon existing designs. It’s not just a matter of creativity, however. They also have to be able to work out solutions to problems that crop up from every angle. Some of the biggest issues include budget constraints, government regulations and environmental considerations. In a world that is moving toward more green and energy-efficient designs, civil engineers are fundamental to making necessary innovations.

The daily tasks of a civil engineer include a mixture of technology and hands-on ground work. Literally. Soil testing is just one of the many factors taken into account when planning construction. And, then, there is the work of maintaining infrastructure. Civil engineering is a complex but rewarding career.

What Can You Do With Your Engineering Degree?

If you want to design the vital structures that we use every day or create devices as intricate as an artificial organ, then Civil Engineering or Biomedical Engineering might be the right concentration for you. You will learn the fundamentals of design and then branch out into coursework that varies greatly between concentrations. Though a public subway system and the human circulatory system might not seem to have a lot in common, these vastly different concentrations are both fields in which you will be able to live out our motto: “Educate for Service.”

Elizabethtown College