A New Biotechnology Degree Merges Biology, Data Science, and Computer Programming

As global advances in health and medicine increasingly require the use of big data in health care, there is a growing demand for highly-skilled professionals with the expertise needed to successfully integrate life sciences with bioengineering. To help meet this demand and keep up with rapidly evolving technologies, there is a need for engineers with strong foundations, not only in chemistry and biology, but in computational methods and data science as well. 

The University of Maryland’s newly launched biocomputational engineering (BCE) undergraduate program is one of the first of its kind in the United States to offer a truly interdisciplinary approach to develop leaders in the field of biotechnology who can meet the needs of the changing health care system.

Discover how you can become a leader in the field of biotechnology — Learn  more about UMD's new B.S. in biocomputational engineering by connecting with us  today!

A Unique and Innovative Biotechnology Degree

On track to welcome upperclassmen transfer students for the Fall 2021 semester, the BCE program is rooted in the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and housed at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Maryland. In this way, students can take full advantage of USG’s offerings—including its commuter-friendly location and new 220,000-square-foot Biomedical Sciences and Engineering building—while earning a University of Maryland, College Park degree. 

USG Executive Director and Associate Vice Chancellor of the University System of Maryland Stewart Edelstein said the program will offer “a unique opportunity for students to earn a degree that can help to open so many career doors in a county that is one of the nation’s premiere hubs for biotechnology and bio-health.” 

For individuals interested in math and biology, the BCE program offers a rich curriculum that merges engineering and life sciences with computational methods and data science, giving students a unique and comprehensive set of skills to be able to thrive in the biotech industry.

The BCE program was established in part due to increased industry demand for engineers with expertise in the physical and biological sciences as well as in computation and data science. BCE graduates can expect to enter the workforce armed with advanced knowledge of programming (including Python, C++, and R), modeling, and machine learning, as well as fundamental bioengineering competencies such as physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and computational mass transfer. As such, BCE graduates will be well suited for rewarding careers in the public and global health, biotechnology, data science, health IT, and biostatistics fields, among others.

How Technology Can Improve Health Care

The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has improved many processes in health care, from medical imaging modalities to personalized treatments plans for cancer patients.

“The new BCE program will be a pioneering force in 21st century medicine, bringing together the life science and engineering fundamentals of bioengineering with the data sciences, artificial intelligence, and machine learning efforts at the forefront of computational sciences,” said John P. Fisher, Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and Chair of UMD’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE).

By pursuing a career in biotechnology through the biocomputational engineering program at UMD, students will be prepared to enter this rapidly growing field with advanced knowledge that gives them a competitive advantage.

“Because of the unique combination of problem solving abilities, fundamental knowledge in biology, and data science skills, the graduates of the BCE program will be able to pursue extraordinary career pathways with opportunities to tackle complex problems in the biomedical and health care fields,” said Ian White, BIOE Associate Professor and Associate Chair and faculty lead on the BCE program launch.

Leveraging Technology to Treat and Prevent Disease

The Clark School offers leading-edge education on the country’s most pressing engineering needs, including those that directly impact human health today. Together, we are working to develop new technologies for the treatment and prevention of disease — and we are eager to have you join our community.

Clark School Interim Dean and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Robert Briber noted: “We’re doing world-class research on batteries, quantum technology and more, and we’re glad to be a driving force in biocomputational engineering. Maryland is home to one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing biotech corridors. Our program’s graduates will be uniquely positioned to enter that workforce.”

The Clark School will begin accepting transfer applications in January 2021 for Fall 2021 enrollment in the BCE degree program. 

Are you ready to tackle the ever-changing needs of today’s health care system? Reach out to learn more about our new biocomputational engineering program and our team will be in touch to answer your questions!


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