(Original post by arianex)
Hey! Glad you're considering Biomed Engineering; it's probably the coolest stream out of all the Engineering disciplines (I'm an applicant for 2011 entry - no bias there
1. I'd say that because Biomed Engineering is so multidisciplinary, the answer to this is that it really depends. In most places/courses you do core engineering modules for the first (two) year(s), then take more specialist modules relevant to Biomed Eng from the 3rd year onwards. But even then you can opt for certain streams within Biomed Engineering; so where something like Biomechanics or Medical Physics (yes, there is such a stream in some courses) might be more Maths/Physics based, I can see Biomaterials being a bit more mixed between Physics/Chem/Biology.
And of course, there's Tissue/Cell engineering within that as well...(your options do depend on what the university can offer you, though - but you don't decide till later on in the course anyway!
Like I said, it's so multidisciplinary - so if you're not really a Chem person, there's possibly a stream that involves more of Bio/Physics/Maths; though it really does help to be well-rounded because bits of each science get called in at some point or another during your course. And because it's nicely well-rounded, there are some Biomed Eng graduates who end up being traditional engineers anyway; the degree is *that* good in terms of preparing you with engineering skills
2. Loads - probably wouldn't fit on the page! If you want to pore over a uni's course syllabus in depth (just as an example), here's Imperial College London's Biomedical Engineering course structure
In terms of Maths, there's quite a fair bit of Mechanics (Maths) involved within the course; so it helps loads to take modules in that area when you do A-level Maths. Other things the course usually covers includes lab skills (hello, wet labs!), signaling systems, and molecules, cells + processes. It varies depending on the university, but in a nutshell, you have typical engineering modules combined with a bit more biology/chemistry-related stuff.
EDIT// Oh yes - you also have to undertake a design project, too; these may be in a group or done individually. You usually design something - a device, interface, etc - or perhaps work to improve an existing project and end up presenting your work to others. Some projects I've heard of include some system where people recovering from stroke can learn to regain brain function - by playing a game of PONG only by moving their eyes
3. I'm guessing you're talking about Oxford, though you're right, some other universities do work that way. These are the ones that usually teach you straight-up engineering for the first two years and don't let you specialise until the 3rd, just in case some people change their minds! But if they do state that they offer a biomed engineering stream, then yes, your degree will still be in biomed engineering - and you'll still be a specialist.
I think it's just the way that the uni has chosen to list its course - Engineering Science (as an umbrella) - rather than have that many different choices on UCAS, perhaps. I know Nottingham lists their Biomed option under Mech Eng, so you look like you're applying for Mech Eng on Nottingham; but you do have the option to specialise in BioEng.
But yes, if you end up doing a traditional engineering degree, the option to do a postgrad in Biomed Eng is possible; the only thing is that your degree will be a MSc rather than a MEng.
4. If we're looking at a minimum of 3 A-levels...definitely Maths and Physics at the very least; these are essential. Your 3rd can be either Further Maths or any of the other sciences (Chem/Bio) depending on whether Further Maths is a requirement (DO check the entry reqs)
, although more often than not FM isn't compulsory - even though some swear that it helps with your first year.
The other two - really, it depends on what you like; because as long as you've got the essentials covered, it doesn't matter. In fact, taking a language (Spanish) or even Music can give your application an edge - the language can be really useful if you wanted to apply for courses with a year abroad! I took Music as an AS, and mentioned in my app that it encourages me to think differently than I would when doing my science work - because after all, engineers need to be able to think out of the box, non? (In fact, my interviewer's first question wasn't even related to the course; it was about why I loved Music
Of course, only do that if you're really passionate about it and will also do well. So in your case, because you like Biology, I'd say definitely do Maths, Physics and Biology at the very least. Also include FM if you're really keen on it, and the 5th one (cor, you're hardcore!) is fair game for whatever subject you truly like and excel at - doesn't have to be a science. Personally Chem > Bio for me because Chem seems to be the more central science out of the two, so the skills I've gained from learning Chem are more relevant to the other things I'm doing - but that's just me.
But check check CHECK entry reqs, they differ from uni to uni.
Whew! Hope that was helpful...
PS// I see you're in Surrey - the uni there has one of the best (Bio)med Engineering degree courses around.