The study programme contains 120 credits, spread over four semesters of twelve weeks each. The compulsory part of the master’s programme consists of 15 credits on basic life science courses, 24 credits on biomedical engineering technology (biomedical imaging, bio-electronics, biomaterials, biomechanics, medical physics and neuromodulation and imaging), 21 credits on courses relating to medical devices and 12 credits on courses on health care. There is substantial attention for project work in teams on medical product design and in the hospital. The remaining 48 credits are evenly split over a master’s dissertation and elective courses to be taken from one or more of our specialisation tracks in medical devices or health care. Students are brought into contact with research and industry via participation to the National Day on Biomedical Engineering, a Biomedical Industry Day and company and field trips.. Unique for the programme is the possibility to choose a track that leads to the recognition of ‘Expert in Medical Radiation Physics’. This track consists of a package of eight elective courses (24 credits). When students choose this track, the subject of their master‘s dissertation has to be situated in the domain of medical radiation physics. (Note: to be formally recognised by the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) as an expert in medical radiation physics, the students will have to minimally take an additional year clinical training).
The Master’s dissertation is the tailpiece of the programme. The dissertation consists of a substantial original task of a high scientific level, to be elaborated individually by the student (surrounded and supported, however, by a research team), and thus with a high degree of independence. It is via this independent work and the written and oral dissertation report that the student demonstrates his or her capability to get familiar with a relevant biomedical engineering problem, study the problem on a high scientific level, and to report on the subject in diverse manners (master’s dissertation, poster, oral public presentation).
The basic life science and a number of general biomedical engineering courses are, in principle, offered in parallel at both universities in the first semester of the first Master year, while the more specialist courses are either taught at UGent, VUB or in collaboration between both, with attention for an optimal student and teaching staff mobility. For the elective courses and the master’s dissertation, students are free to choose between UGent, VUB or a (international) partner institute with which UGent or VUB has a bilateral agreement. Obviously, students also have the opportunity to study part of their curriculum abroad within the Erasmus+ framework. The student mobility window is in the second master, where students can opt for studying one semester or the complete second year abroad. The interuniversitary programme board overlooks the programme of each individual student and might impose (a limited number) of courses, depending on their formerly acquired credits and competences. As educational tracks are assessed on an individual basis, it is important that students apply in time so individual track records can be studied with care to ensure an optimal selection of courses.
The biomedical engineer is employed in industry (medical device and software development and/or production and distribution, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food products industry), in hospitals (laboratories of academic hospitals, as well as management of academic and general hospitals), universities and research institutes, and in government functions (government and advisory organs). Evidently, the biomedical engineer can also apply for all generic academic engineering jobs.