BY ALAN MARTIN
University of Calgary
New students often feel alone when they
arrive at university – isolated
from everyone they knew before. Fortunately, returning University
of Calgary engineering students have the perfect way to help.
Frosh Week began Sept. 13, marking a week of events designed
to introduce the new students to more of the engineering
population. Adopt-a-Frosh, for example,
has students in a higher years “adopting” frosh, giving them advice
and helping them through their first year of classes.
Other events, such as the Chariot Race, get frosh out and having fun. In the
Chariot Races, each department builds a chariot out of whatever is around (shopping
carts, PVC tubing, you name it) and finds a frosh to drop in as the rider.
students, known as Zoo, show off their pirate selves
during U of C Engineering Frosh Week opening ceremonies.
Each department pulls its creation around a course, hoping to beat all the
Frosh Week also brings interesting costumes into the halls of engineering.
This year is no exception, with people dressed up in everything from ancient
Greeks to pirates. The costumes all relate to departmental themes Frosh Week
is a great time for students, new and otherwise, to get out, have some fun – and
maybe even snag the coveted Winner of Frosh Week prize for their department.
It’s not only the first-years who are getting into
new things, though. For students in their second year of studies,
this is the first time they are officially in a department.
All first-year students have a common course load, and are
not considered part of any specific department (such as electrical
At the end of their first year, students apply to departments for their major.
In addition to their major, there are certain minors available to students,
depending on what major they have chosen.
Finally, there is an option to take a new specialization, if they want it.
This is the biomedical engineering specialization.
A New Choice for Undergrads
Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering
designs and principles to solve medical problems. Some important
fields are medical imaging, biomechanics and bioelectrics.
A few examples of biomedical engineering are design and improvement
of MRIs, artificial limbs and organs, and other kinds of medical
This specialization is more intensive than a minor, but it
is not a full major degree either. It is quite new, having
only been introduced in September 2003.
A student with any major can apply for this specialization, but only 32 students
are admitted each year. The selection is based primarily on academic achievement.
Finishing with a biomedical engineering specialization designation
normally takes longer than a basic engineering degree. BMES
students are required to take some additional courses related
to biomedical engineering. These courses are on top of all
the requirements for the student’s major.
In addition, the student must take a BMES practicum, where the student gains
real-world experience working in the biomedical field. This practicum consists
of a normal University of Calgary internship, lasting 12 or 16 months, or through
three summer placements lasting four months each.
This experience is obtained with either the university research laboratory
or a suitable bio-engineering company or research laboratory.
The capstone of the BMES program is the biomedical engineering
research thesis, which is written by all BMES students in
their final year. The thesis is written, with the help of
a biomedical engineering researcher, on medical imaging, cell
and tissue engineering, biomechanics, or bioelectrical engineering.
For students interested in pursing study in the biomedical
field beyond an undergraduate program, the University of Calgary
is a great place to consider. An extensive graduate program
related to biomedical engineering crosses through multiple
The program includes the faculties of science, engineering, kinesiology and
medicine, and it’s offered together with the University of Alberta through
a sharing of resources. This combining of resources and talents creates a Western
Canadian centre for excellence in the biomedical field. Both universities are
known internationally for specific elements of biomedical engineering, and
together they cover the whole range of topics.
On Biomedical Engineering