I have heard that biomedical engineering at Duke is one of the most competitive, well resourced programs in this area. What is it like to study there?
I am a current sophomore here at Duke. I applied to Duke knowing I wanted to do BME because I loved both technology and medicine, and obviously, BME seemed like the right way to go. Duke is clearly very highly ranked in BME and that does seem very apparent given the rigor of classes and the opportunities students are given here.
If you put in the effort while here to get a research position, you’ll find one. I would say a good number of kids here get research positions, not only to feed their curiosity but also to increase their chances of getting jobs/internships later in their college careers.
Workwise, I am more busy than I’ve ever been before, and I went to a pretty challenging high school. Learning effective time management is something that happens to everyone.
I will say, that for those who want it, there is a great work hard play hard ethic here. People you see going out on Fridays will be grinding in the library next to you on Sundays. But ya, in terms of workload, pretty much all your classes will revolve around problem sets, due weekly. Perks, you can choose when to work. Cons, we all end up waiting till the night before each set is due and absolutely wreck ourselves with coffee and a lack of sleep that night. Haha
Back to BME. Almost half of the engineers at Duke start off as BME, some pre-med, some just here to capitalize on the growing medical industry. After the first year, however, a good number of the BME students seem to add on a second major (usually ECE because it is only 3 additional classes total (37 instead of 34)) or switch to a different major. A large reason for this is because many seniors and even faculty will tell you that, although BME is the hardest engineering major here at Duke, and very strong, it is a major that is very broad as opposed to specialized. Employers might choose to hire an ECE major because he or she knows how to do advanced circuitry and then easily teach them how to apply the circuitry to biological applications.
Me personally, I wouldn’t dream of changing my major. I love medicine, and I do believe BME is something that’ll help me get to where I want to go. I did add ECE as a second major (just decided to do this after my first semester sophomore year) and hope that this combo will not only be super exciting (although challenging) but also really put me into a desirable light for employers.