BME Undergraduate Concentration Requirements FAQs

How do I use the ASK system?

What controls how many upper division electives I need to take and whether they are inside or outside of engineering?
Because of ABET requirements, students must take a minimum of 8 math or science courses while at Brown (not engineering classes) and a minimum of 12 ABET-accredited engineering classes.  We require a minimum of 21 math/science/engineering courses drawn from the approved BME electives list and/or requirements for the BME degree.  

BME students graduating 2020 (no AP credits) will take enough math and science that 7 of the 8 required math/science courses are completed as part of their required classes  (if you AP out of Math 0170/0190 you may not, so we require that you substitute with another math or science class of your choice).  Similarly, BME students taking their required classes should end up with 11 of the 12 engineering classes.   For that reason we have divided the upper division elective list into classes that are science classes (one required) and classes that are engineering (one required) and the third elective must be drawn from either category.  

BME students graduating 2018 or 2019 will have taken 8 of the required 8 science/math classes.  However, under the old requirements they will complete only 10 of the 12 mandatory engineering classes.  In this instance, most students will need to take their third elective from the engineering category.  

Can I use Advance Placement credit to satisfy concentration requirements?
Students who have taken Advanced Placement courses in high school and/or have shown proficiency through advanced placement examinations are often able to start at a higher level than suggested by the standard programs below. However, please note that Advanced Placement credit cannot be used to satisfy any concentration requirements.  For example, our Sc.B. programs specify that students must take 4 semesters of math while enrolled here at Brown, beginning with MATH 0190 or MATH 0170.  If a student comes in with advanced placement credit (e.g. placing out of MATH 0190 or MATH 0200), he/she is strongly recommended to take a higher level math course as a replacement.  Examples of such courses are MATH 0520 (Linear Algebra), MATH 1260 (Complex Analysis), MATH 1610 (Probability), MATH 1620(Statistics), APMA 1170 (Numerical Analysis), or APMA 1210 (Operations Research). However, the student with advanced placement credit for MATH 0190 or MATH 0200 also has the option of replacing the math course with an advanced-level science course, subject to the approval of the concentration advisor.

Can I use one of my upper division biology or chemistry lab classes as a BME elective?
Yes you can under the new ABET guidelines as long as the class is listed on the BME elective list and you end up with the right mix of science and engineering classes (see above).

Should I take ENGN 0510 (E&M) or ENGN 0520 (Circuits)?
If you have an interest in neuroengineering, we recommend that you prioritize ENGN 0510 above 0520.  The concepts of electricity and magnetism are crucial for understanding imaging and photonics as well as basic concepts of electrical activity in cells.  If you are more interested in medical devices, and intend to work in industry, then circuits and devices may be a better option for you.  If you are not sure what you want to do long-term we recommend you take ENGN 0510.

Why is CHEM 0350 Organic Chemistry recommended for Freshman year?
If you can take organic chemistry freshman year, then you can take ENGN 1490 Biomaterials your sophomore year which has some advantages.  This is also also disadvantages (a really hard fall sophomore year).

Can I delay CHEM 0330 until Freshman Spring?
Yes, but you would also delay Organic Chemistry to Sophomore Spring and then Biomaterials until Junior Fall.  Many students do this with no problem.

Why is ENGN 1110 Biotransport recommended as a junior spring class and ENGN 1210 Biomechanics as a senior spring class?
This is just a suggestion.  Most students will take fluids (ENGN 810) the fall of their junior year and ENGN 1110 has related material.  

Can independent study count as an elective?

I want to take a math/science/engineering elective that is not on the BME approved electives list.  Is this possible?
In almost all cases, no.  ABET is no longer allowing any substitutions; doing so for one student, even with a good reason (e.g. better match to their interests), places the whole program at risk. We drastically expanded our BME electives list so as to provide many options and will update it as new courses appear/old are dropped/or names are changed.  The only substitutions may be for (i) a higher-level course (ii) strongly related to one listed on the BME approved electives list.  

Can students pursuing an Honors Thesis opt out of any requirements?
Honors students may substitute independent study in engineering for the 2nd semester of capstone design with the permission of their concentration advisor and research advisor.