Biomedical engineering is an evolving discipline in engineering that involves collaboration among engineers, physicians, and scientists to provide interdisciplinary insight into medical and biological problems. The field has developed its own knowledge base and principles that are the foundation for the academic programs of Columbia University's Department of Biomedical Engineering.
The graduate programs in biomedical engineering (M.S., Eng.Sc.D., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D.) prepare students to apply the principles of engineering and applied science to problems in biology and medicine, to understand the dynamics of living systems, and to develop biomedical systems and devices. Modern engineering encompasses sophisticated approaches to measurement, acquisition, storage and analysis of data, model simulations, and materials and systems identification. These techniques are used in the study of individual cells, tissues, organs, and entire organisms. The increasing value of mathematical models in the analysis of living systems is an important sign of the success of contemporary biomedical engineering activity.
The programs offered in the Department of Biomedical Engineering emphasize the confluence of basic engineering science and applied engineering with the physical and biological sciences, with emphasis in the areas of biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, and biomedical imaging. This joining of the diverse scientific fields is complemented by strong academic and research collaboration with various other Columbia University departments.
Graduate courses offered by the Department of Biomedical Engineering are complemented by courses offered by other departments in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and in the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Dentistry and Oral Surgery, and the Mailman School of Public Health.
In 2004–5, of the 96 graduate students in the department, 40 were women. There were 47 graduate students in the doctoral program; the remainder were pursuing master's degrees. Graduate students in the Department come from countries throughout the world.
Currently there are 112 graduate students: 65 Ph.D., 35 M.S., and 12 M.S.-leading-to-Ph.D.
The chair of the Graduate Studies Affairs Committee is Professor Helen Lu.