Nancy, Mechanical engineering student asked Susan Su, US Patent and Trademark Office

AddedMonday, June 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Can mechanical engineers work in medicine?
Hi my name is Nancy. I am a mechanical engineering student in second year. I want to know, did mechanical engineers work in medical devices, and can I take anything related to biology in MS of mechanical engineering so I can work with both machines and medicine? I am looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you
Related to Bioengineering/Biomedical, Engineering Branches, Mechanical
  • Susan Su , US Patent and Trademark Office
    Answered Monday, June 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Hi Nancy,

    Yes, many mechanical engineers do work on medical devices! Mechanical engineering programs (baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate) typically will not ask you to go beyond just one class in introductory level biology, but I'm sure your school will give you the flexibility to take more advanced biology classes (like cell/molecular biology or human anatomy) to fulfill requisites for graduation. In graduate school, the class flexibility actually increases so you can certainly take any class you like. The only challenge you may encounter is that your school may limit class size and give priority to students in the biology/premed programs, or the class you like may conflict with your major classes. Obviously it's beneficial for you to take some biology/premed classes -- they will give you a better understanding of what you'll need to achieve with a medical device and seeing the unique challenges of making or using that device in the human body. In addition to classes, you should search your school's website to see what the mechanical and biology professors do in their research labs. Find one that interests you and go talk to the professor for an opportunity to work there for a semester or a year. You may be able to shadow a graduate student/researcher that works with medical devices. Don't be discouraged if a class or the lab research/assistantship is not the best experience. Remember, it's just as important to know what you dislike as it is to know what you like. Have fun and try as many things as your hectic college life allows!