Learning Goals

The bioengineering curriculum includes clearly articulated concentrations in Cell & Tissue Engineering, Biomedical Devices, Synthetic Biology, Biomedical Imaging, and Computational Bioengineering. We have a significant number of pre-medical students, many of whom find that the Cell & Tissue Engineering track is the best fit for them, but many of our pre-medical students follow other concentrations as well.
Undergraduate Major Requirements
All students complete lower division coursework in math, chemistry, physics, and computer science. In the freshman year BioE 10 exposes students to human physiology fundamentals with an emphasis on the integration of engineering applications to biology and health, provides a context for all subsequent coursework. Students also take two seminar courses with weekly lectures on a variety of topics in bioengineering. The sophomore year adds depth in math and science, and students begin taking courses to prepare them for their major upper division coursework, among them BioE 11 – a course which builds upon their chemistry and physics courses to introduce biological processes as emergent from complex chemical and physical systems.
The junior year includes the selection of at least two bioengineering fundamentals courses, plus a number of technical topics in engineering, math, statistics and the physical and biological sciences. The senior year includes advanced coursework in bioengineering and related topics, at least one bioengineering laboratory course, as well as a capstone design course and/or research.
The Concentrations were developed to help students navigate toward their desired area of specialization, and provides a roadmap through the senior year. Enterprising students may chart their own course under the guidance of a faculty adviser, provided it meets all the general program requirements.
Program Documentation
What would you like your majors to know or be able to do by the time they graduate?
Students who successfully complete the bioengineering major should be able to:
  • Describe the fundamental principles and methods of engineering
  • Understand the physical, chemical, and mathematical basis of biology
  • Appreciate the different scales of biological systems
  • Apply the physical sciences and mathematics in an engineering approach to biological systems
  • Effectively communicate scientific and engineering data and ideas, both orally and in writing
  • Demonstrate the values of cooperation, teamwork, social responsibility and lifelong learning necessary for success in the field
  • Design a bioengineering solution to a problem of technical, scientific or societal importance
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge in a specialized field of bioengineering
  • What is the relationship between the program level goals you have identified and your existing core curriculum?
Our courses have been specifically designed to deliver these learning outcomes through these relationships:
Describe the fundamental principles and methods of engineering
BioE 10, BioE 11, BioE Fundamentals, Capstone Design/Research
Understand the physical, chemical, and mathematical basis of biology
BioE 11, BioE Fundamentals
Apply the physical sciences and mathematics in an engineering approach to biological systems
Bioengineering Upper Division Coursework, Lab Courses, Design/Research
Effectively communicate scientific and engineering data and ideas, both orally and in writing
BioE 10, BioE 100, and also integrated into coursework at all levels
Demonstrate the values of cooperation, teamwork, social responsibility and lifelong learning necessary for success in the field
BioE 10, BioE 100, Lab Courses, Design/Research, and also integrated into coursework at all levels through team projects
Design a bioengineering solution to a problem of technical, scientific or societal importance
Capstone Design/Research, BioE 100, and also integrated into coursework through projects
How will you communicate information about your learning goals to your majors and potential majors?
Course-specific learning outcomes will be detailed on all course syllabi, which are distributed in class and available on the course’s website, generally in bCourses. Our department website will serve as the primary tool for communication about broader program goals, as it now serves as the most frequently utilized resource for curriculum information. Our learning goals are also communicated to students and prospective students through outreach materials and events, such as at Cal Day, video and phone chats for admitted students, department brochures, newsletters and annual reports, and welcome packets mailed to admits. Goals for our students are further communicated through example at the regular poster sessions and departmental awards to students, and by published profiles of successful alumni.
How will you assess your major’s attainment of these goals? What would it take to make the implementation of these goals fully successful?
Bioengineering uses performance on examinations and assignments as a measure of student comprehension of key concepts.
Opportunities for research or hands-on learning are also frequently integrated into our courses, which may include a graded poster or project. A common thread is to emphasize the practical applications of the knowledge base and inspire students to apply these principles beyond the classroom. Many courses include design challenges, some of which have blossomed into viable design prototypes. In addition to practical outcomes such as these, projects and presentations enable the instructor to gauge the extent to which students have acquired relevant knowledge and practical skills related to course specific and program goals.
The design capstone class (BioE 192), supervised independent research (BioE H194) and/or design project (BioE 196), required of all bioengineering students, are the ideal vehicles for students to demonstrate all the desired learning outcomes. Research and design projects draw on acquired knowledge of engineering principles and methods and the physical, chemical and mathematical basis of biology. Students are expected identify projects at multiple biological scales and apply engineering concepts to a biological system or a bioengineering problem of technical or societal significance. The experience often involves working in teams and successful project completion relies on effective communication skills, the ability to analyze and interpret data, and competency in experimental design and/or device prototype development. These skills are demonstrated in the execution of the project itself and also in a poster presentation hosted regularly by the department. Projects may emerge from a design challenge posed in a senior bioengineering elective course, as described above, and can culminate in a functional design prototype or scientific publication. In this manner, many of our undergraduates not only demonstrate advanced knowledge in a specialized field of bioengineering, but contribute to its advancement.
We also utilize survey tools which enable students to self-report their own assessment of their undergraduate experience. The campus administers the UCUES survey, and we havea separate survey for our bioengineering students. We also have yearly Town Hall meetings that include the entire Bioengineering community.