Bioengineering is the integration of physical, chemical, or mathematical sciences and engineering principles in an engineering approach to problems in the life sciences. Bioengineering is a broad interdisciplinary field that brings together engineering, sciences (biology and chemistry, especially) and medicine to create new techniques, devices, and understanding of living systems to improve the quality of life. Bioengineering has major fields specialization tracks such as biomechanics, biomedical science and engineering, biomaterials (including cell and tissue engineering).


The roots of bioengineering goes back as early as 1950’s with groundbreaking developments in contact lenses, plasma expanders, pacemakers, ultrasound, artificial hip joints, etc. Bioengineering was approved as a graduate program in the USA and UK in 1947 and 1958, respectively. European Commission decided to support research projects in bioengineering area with a budget of 5 million Eurobetween the period of 1994-1998. The annual budget of USA Federal Government in 1993 for supporting such research programs was around 5 billion dollars excluding national supported projects and the industrial support.

Student interest, industrial, scientific and medical advances point to highlight a growing need for trained bioengineers all over the world. Employment opportunities for people trained in multidisciplinary areas such as bioengineering are increasing. People with special expertise in bioengineering will be one of the determinants for guiding the nations to achieve scientific excellence and improve their quality of life in the upcoming decades.

The primary goals of the minor program in Bioengineering are to provide the fundamentals of engineering and life sciences, teach the students to apply engineering approaches to biological problems and enable them to further specialize in special tracks of bioengineering, and broaden their perspectives. Today, many universities in the world have already established or are in the process of establishing undergraduate and graduate level bioengineering programs. This list includes four universities in Turkey, Hacettepe, Ege, Sabancı, and Başkent (see the attached Table). As the top technical Turkish University, METU,should also lead bioengineering education and research. To fulfill this expectation METU needs to establish a Bioengineering program of its own. Initiation of a Minor Degree in Bioengineering  might be a modest step in this direction. This program is being proposed as an undergraduate program intended primarily for Engineering and Science majors. Students participating in Bioengineering Minor Program (BMP) will have the training and excellent background to pursue further education in relevant graduate programs such as Biomechanics, Biomedical Engineering, Biotechnology, Medical Informatics and also will have strong preparation for a career in industry in rapidly developing areas of bioinformatics, biomechanics, biotechnology, biomedical materials and medical industry. Today, research towards problem solving rather than discipline-restricted researches are prevalent. Problem solving and communication are essential aspects of many jobs; an exposure to bioengineering topics will be helpful to most students by familiarizing them with the dominant theme in engineering which is solving problems involving multiple objectives.

The METU Experience: The potential interest among students from different disciplines towards Bioengineering has been tested by means of two courses offered by the Department of Engineering Sciences; ES 494 Introduction to Bioengineering and ES 704 Tissue Engineering within the last two semesters. Many graduate and undergraduate students have shown tremendous interest in these courses, in spite of very short notices. There were 34 registered students in ES 704, 16 of which are from Engineering majors, 18 from Sciences in Spring 2002. In Fall 2002, there are 21 registered students in ES 494, 17 of which are from Engineering majors, 4 from Sciences and 4 unregistered PhD students from Engineering. In  704, there are 17 registered students, 8 from Engineering, 9 from Sciences this semester. 


The Objectives of Minor Program in bioengineering are:


  1. To teach students principles of bioengineering and their applications in the life and medical sciences,
  2. To give necessary background to pursue education in related graduate programs (Biomechanics, Biotechnology, Medical Informatics, and Biomedical Engineering), To develop their ability to communicate effectively and participate in interdisciplinary teams including the medical doctors, too
  3. To expose students to a broad based education that prepares them for diverse careers,
  4. To develop skills to handle engineering tasks related with medicine and biology, 
  5. To provide students with a fundamental understanding of mathematics and the natural sciences, life sciences and medicine; an approach to problem solving which will serve the student well throughout their lives,
  6. To allow student to develop his/her interest in medical engineering applications while pursuing a traditional undergraduate engineering degree such as electrical, mechanical, chemical, etc.




The main objective is to teach student bioengineering principles and their applications in the life and medical sciences. Engineering students will receive necessary background to pursue education in related graduated programs: Biomechanics, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Engineering. The curriculum will provide the fundamentals and specific applications of bioengineering.

Compulsory Courses (minimum 12 credits)


BIO 252  



ES 223   

Statics and Strength of Materials


ES 441   

Introduction to Biomechanics


ES 443   

Introduction to Bioengineering (ES 494)




Elective Courses (minimum 6 credits)


(At least 1 course must be from ES department)


EE 209   

Fundamentals of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


EE 415   

Introduction to Medical Imaging


EE 416   

Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering


CHE 220   

Principles of Transport Phenomena


METE 222   

Material Science and Engineering


METE 229   

Materials Science and Engineering


BIO  414   

Biomedical Materials and Instrumentation


BIO  461   



ES 442   

Advanced Biomechanics


ES 444   

Advanced Bioengineering (New)


ES 445   

Tissue Engineering (ES 704)


ES 446   

Surface Engineering for Medical Applications  (New)


ES 450   

Human Factors in Engineering Design


BIO 514   



CHEM 568   

Biomedical Materials



EE        209      Fundamentals of Electrical and Electronics Engineering  (3-0)3
Fundamental circuit laws. Resistive circuit analysis. Sinusoidal steady-state response of circuits. Three-phase circuits. Magnetic circuits and transformers. Electromechanical energy conversion. Semiconductor elements, transistor biasing and amplifiers. Operational amplifiers. (Offered to non-EE students only).

Prerequisite: PHYS 106 or consent of the department.


EE        415      Introduction to Medical Imaging            (3-0)3
Fundamentals of X-ray, generation and detection of X-rays, X-ray diagnostic methods, X-ray image characteristics, biological effects of ionizing radiation. Fundamentals of acoustic propagation, generation and detection of ultrasound, ultrasonic diagnostic methods, biological effects of ultrasound. Fundamentals of radionuclide imaging, generation and detection of nuclear emission, radionuclide imaging methods, radiation dosimetry and biological effects. Fundamentals of magnetic resonance imaging, generation and detection of NMR signal, imaging methods, biological effects of magnetic fields.

Prerequisite: EE 301 or consent of the department.

EE        416      Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering           (3-2)4
Introduction to cell physiology: The neuron, synapses and the neural models. Sources of bioelectrical potentials and theory of ECG, EEG, EMG. Electrodes for bioelectric and related instrumentation.Physiology and measurement of the neural, circulatory, respiratory and metabolic systems. Phonocardiography. Patient care and monitoring. Introduction to the principles and instrumentation of medical imaging systems and computerized tomography.
Prerequisite: EE 311 or consent of the department.


CHE    220      Principles of Transport Phenomena                                                            (3-0)3
Introduction to basic concepts of momentum, heat and mass transfer. Transport by molecular motion and in laminar flow in one dimension. Transport between two phases and in large flow systems. (For non-CHE students only).


METE  222      Materials Science and Engineering                                                              (3-0)3
Classification of materials. Atomic bonding in solids. Amorphous and crystalline structure of solids. Imperfections in crystals. Mechanical properties of materials. Deformation and fracture behavior. Phase diagrams and phase transformations. Metal alloys. Thermal processing of metals. Nonmetallic materials. Corrosion and degradation of materials. (Oriented for Chemical and Food Engineering)


METE  229      Materials Science and Engineering                                                              (3-0)3
Classification of materials. Atomic structure and interatomic bonding. The structure of crystalline solids. Crystalline and noncrystalline materials. Imperfections in solids. Mechanical properties of materials.Phase diagrams and phase transformations. Metal alloys. Structure and properties of ceramics, polymers and composites. Electrical, magnetic, thermal and optical properties of materials. Performance of materials in service. (Oriented for Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Computer Engineering)


BIO     252      Physiology                                                                                                 (3-0)3
This is a compact physiology course which covers a general survey of operation and functions of the nervous system, special senses and skeletal muscle system, digestive system and liver, the heart and circulatory endocrine system with particular emphasis on homeostatic control mechanisms.


BIO     414      Biomedical Materials and Instrumentation                                                   (3-0)3

This course is designed to familiarize the students with two important aspects of the biological field at an introductory level. The first part deals with biomedical applications of materials obtained from natural and synthetic sources and covers interactions between the body and the material, guidelines for biocompatibility and selection of appropriate electronic apparatus, etc., used in biomedical instrumentation systems.


BIO     461      Biophysics I                                                                                               (3-0)3
An introduction to some selected topics in biophysics, with emphasis on molecular background of structure and function is aimed. The course content includes; introduction to molecular biophysics, radiation biophysics, medical imaging techniques, microscopic and sub-microscopic methods in biological structure and function analysis.


ES        223      Statics and Strength of Materials                                                                (4-0)4
Principles of mechanics. Elements of statics in two dimensions. Centroids and moments of inertia. Analysis of simple plane structures. Internal force diagrams. Concepts of stress and strain. Axially loaded members. Torsion. Laterally loaded members.
Prerequisite: MATH 156 or MATH 158.


ES        441      Introduction to Biomechanics    (3-0)3
Structural and physical properties of bone, muscle, tendon and cartilage. Mechanics of joint and muscle action. Body equilibrium. Mechanics of the spinal column, of the pelvis and of the hip joint.Panhomechanics.

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.


ES        442      Advanced Biomechanics           (3-0)3
The knee joint, foot and ankle, shoulder-arm complex, the elbow joint. Pathomechanics. Gait analysis.

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.


ES        443      Introduction to Bioengineering   (ES 494)                                                   (3-0)3

Introduction of the concept of bioengineering. Application of fluid mechanics, mass transfer, bioheat transfer, control theory to physiological systems and artificial organs. Structure-property relationships of biomedical materials. Problems associated with the selection and function of biomedical materials. Design principles for biomaterials. Basis for the molecular therapeutics and drug delivery systems. Engineering of biomaterial structures and surfaces. Biomechanics of human musculoskeletal system.


ES        444      Advanced Bioengineering   (NEW)                                                            (3-0)3

Biomimetics. Material Selection, Design and Processing for Bioengineering (films, foams, coatings, nanotechnology, etc). Biosensors. Neuroengineering: Neuro modeling and simulation system. Nerve guides and nerve regeneration. Biomechanics of soft and hard tissues (hip replacement). New areas of medical treatment (cell and gene therapy, etc.) Separation methods; chromatography. Diagnostic materials.


ES        445      Tissue Engineering   (ES 704)                                                                    (3-0)3

Fundamentals of Tissue Engineering, Challenges in tissue engineering. Principles of  adhesion. Mechanics and Tissue Engineering. Mechanics of tissues/ mass transfer. Biomaterials in Tissue Engineering (Scaffold processing). Load Bearing Tissues: Cartilage and Bone Engineering (design and evaluation of mechano-active scaffolds). Engineering of vascular grafts.


ES        446      Surface Engineering for Medical Applications  (NEW)                                (3-0)3

Surface Chemistry. Molecular adsorption. Corona and flame treatments. Plasma treatments. Micropatterning techniques. Chemical Modifications (Wet treatments, Surface grafting). Biomedical Materials (Blood contacting devices and contact lenses, scaffolds for tissue engineering, drug delivery). Spectroscopic Methods (Secondary ion mass spectroscopy, X-ray electron spectroscopy, Auger Electron Spectroscopy). Surface Energetics and Contact Angle. Microscopy  (Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy).


ES        450      Human Factors in Engineering Design                                                         (3-0)3

Perceptual, central and motor processes in man-machine systems. Human capabilities and limitations. Use of anthropometric data. Body mechanics and posture. Man-machine interface design. Physical work capacity. Thermal stress and comfort. Vision and illumination. Noise, vibrations. Fatigue, vigilance and accidents. Technological skills and training.
Prerequisite: Consent of the department.


BIO     514      Biomaterials                                                                                               (3-0)3

The multidisciplinary subject of biomedical application of materials obtained from natural and synthetic sources. Various applications and developments in the field with special emphasis on biopolymers.


CHEM 568      Biomedical Materials                                                                                 (3-0)3

Classification, and characterization of materials which are used in biomedical area. Metals, metal alloys, ceramics, polymers and their structure-property relationships. Tissue and blood response to implants and their tests.


Facility Needs of  Minor Program in Bioengineering:

Classroom Need: Classrooms in the Department of Engineering Sciences and in general use will be sufficient for the program.


Laboratory Need: Additional laboratory facilities will not be needed.


Personnel Need: The department has to recruit one instructor whose degree is from medical school but is also equipped with necessary knowledge in mathematics and mechanics in order to maintain the present graduate program in biomechanics. This instructor can also serve for the Minor Program in Bioengineering. No additional recruitment is necessary.

Typical Examples of Undergraduate and Graduate Bioengineering Programs 



Bioengineering Dept.


Research Areas (Strong Areas)


Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health

(Undergraduate major)

-Toxicology and Environmental  Health

-Biomedical Engineering

-Cell, Tissue Engineering

-Therapeutics Development and Delivery

-Environmental and Endogenous Chemicals

-Molecular Engineering

-Environmental and Molecular Pathogens

-Genetic Diseases and Diagnosis

- Physiological modeling

- Biological Imaging and Measurement

UC, Berkeley

Bioengineering Department

(Undergraduate major)


-Biomaterials and Molecular Eng.

-Biomechanics and Physiological Fluid Mech.

-Biomedical Imaging and Medical Physiology

-Biomedical Inst. And Signal Process.

-Biomedical Sensors

-Medical Computing and Expert Systems

-Molecular and Cellular Biology


-Vision Science


Cornell U.

Field of Biomedical Engineering

(Undergraduate and Graduate)

10 Engineering Fields


-Drug delivery, design, production


-Biomedical Instrumentation and Diagnosis

U. Utah

Bioengineering (Undergraduate and Graduate)

-Bioelectrical Eng. Tr.

-Biomaterials Science and Eng. Tr.

-Biomechanical Eng. Tr.

-Biomolecular Eng. Tr.

-Computational Bioeng. Tr

-Bioinstrumentation and Imaging



-Neural Interfaces

U. Pittsburgh

Bioengineering (Undergraduate Minor)



Penn State U.

Bioengineering (Undergraduate Major and Minor)

-Chemical Eng Opt.

-Materials Sci.and Eng. Opt.

-Mechanical Eng. Opt.


-Drug Delivery

-Engineered Tissues

-Mechanics of Human Body


Clemson U.

Bioengineering Dept. (Undergraduate Major and Minor, Graduate)




-Biomedical Eng.

-Cellular Biology


-Cardiovascular Applications and Tissue Eng.

-Development of New Implants

-CAD/CAM based Prosthesis Design

UC, San Diego




-Vascular Molecular Bioengineering

-Tissue Remodeling Mechanics


-Cellular Simulation and Modeling


-Cardiac Mechanics

-Genetic Circuits

-Cartilage Tissue Engineering



-Molecular Bioengineering

SUNY, Stony Brook

Bioengineering (Undergraduate Major and Minor)



U. Michigan Med. School

Bioengineering (Graduate)




-Bioelectric Sciences,

-Medical Imaging,


U. Washington

Bioengineering (Undergraduate, Graduate)

-Cellular Bioengineering,

-Molecular Bioengineering,






-Distributed Diagnosis and Home Healthcare

-Engineered Biomaterials

-Molecular Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

-Medical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy

-Computational Bioengineering

Rice U.

Dept. Bioengineering (Graduate)



Georgia Inst. Tech., Emory U.


(Undergraduate and Graduate)


-Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering

-Bioinstrumentation and Medical Imaging

-Medical Informatics and Telemedicine

-Biomaterials and Drug Delivery


-Cellular Engineering

-Interactive Biomedical Technologies

-Medical Imaging

-Quantitative Analysis and Modeling

-Tissue Engineering


U. Illinois, Urbana Champaign

Bioengineering (Undergraduate Minor, Graduate),

-Biomedical Eng. Specialization

-Bioprocess Eng. Specialization

-Cell and Tissue Eng. Specialization.


U. Illinois, Chicago

Bioengineering (Undergraduate and Graduate)


-Cell and Tissue Engineering

-Bioinformatics and Genomics

-Neural Engineering


U. Syracuse

Dept of Bioengineering and Neuroscience (Undergraduate, Graduate)




U. Toledo

Dept. of Bioengineering



-Bioinformatics Laboratory

-Orthopaedic Bioengineering

-Biomedical Optics

-Transport Biological System

-Spine Biomechanics Nanotechnology Center

-Bioinstrumentation Lab

-Total Hip Replacement

-Cellular Engineering Response

-Neuro Physiology

Ege Üni.

Bioengineering Dept. (Undergraduate and Graduate)


-Genetic Eng. (Tissue Eng.)

-Bioprocess Eng.

-Biomedical Eng.

Sabancı  Üni.

Biosciences and Bioengineering (Undergraduate)



Hacettepe Üni.

Bioengineering (Graduate)



Başkent Üni.

Biomedical Eng.