As nationwide demand for biomedical engineers continues to grow, Wichita State University is moving forward with a plan to create a doctoral program that would help fill that need.
The new Ph.D. in biomedical engineering was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday, Nov. 20. The program begins in January 2020.
The Ph.D. will be housed in the Biomedical Engineering Department. The program seeks to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the application of engineering principles and biomedical research with an emphasis on inter-disciplinary research.
“This is the culmination of building biomedical engineering at Wichita State University,” said Michael Jorgensen, chair of the biomedical engineering department. “We’re the only institution in Kansas that offers a full complement of bachelor’s, masters and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. So, both the educational and the research components at all degree levels are available.”
The program takes advantage of Wichita State’s position as the state’s only major research institution in a metropolitan area, as well as numerous experiential learning collaborations in Wichita’s top employment industry sectors: manufacturing and health care.
Students who graduate from the doctoral program can pursue careers in health care, the medical device industry, health and life science organizations as well as faculty and researchers in academic institutions.
The program will provide curriculum concentration in areas of bio-computational modeling, bio-devices and wearable biosensors, bio-mechanics and bio-materials.
The addition of this program will serve as a key economic driver for the regional workforce in technology and innovation development.
In an executive summary provided to the Kansas Board of Regents, the doctoral program will complement other strengths in the region, including WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research, the VA Medical Center, the local biomedical and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the KU School of Medicine in Wichita.
“There is an urgent and compelling need for a Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering at Wichita State University. The BME Ph.D. program will elevate the research productivity and quality, not only in biomedical engineering, but across engineering and across campus.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, with growth coming from new technologies and applications to medical devices. WSU is well placed to serve the needs of the region, as outlined in the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth of South Central Kansas regarding opportunities for growth in health care.