Concentration Information

Bioengineering lies at the intersection of the physical and life sciences, incorporating principles from physics, math and chemistry to understand the functioning of living systems. The overarching intellectual goal of biomedical engineering is to apply quantitative engineering analysis to understand the operation of living systems and design novel systems to satisfy unmet needs in clinical medicine. Biomedical engineering distinguishes itself from the other life sciences disciplines by using scientific knowledge to create new biomaterials and devices. 

Students interested in Bioengineering can pursue the following concentrations:

  • A.B. in Biomedical Engineering
  • A.B. in Engineering Sciences - Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Track
  • S.B. in Engineering Sciences - Bioengineering Track (an ABET-accredited program)

The aims of the concentrations are similar, but the AB in BME concentration prepares people better for careers in a wet lab or attending medical school, and gives students a better understanding of the life sciences. The AB in BME requires 14-16 courses, while the SB in Engineering Sciences requires 20 courses.  The SB in Engineering Sciences on the Bioengineering track is a more traditional engineering degree with 2-4 biology related classes to supplement. The SB degree is best suited for students who wish to pursue careers in the medical device industry, go on to graduate school in the sciences/engineering, or pursue other engineering careers. An AB degree, particularly in BME, is a good choice for students whose goal is to attend medical school and become a practicing physician.  Both AB and SB students have attended some of the top medical schools, graduate schools, and MD-PhD programs in the nation.

The requirements for these concentrations can be found in the Harvard College Handbook for Students.