Careers in bioengineering
The discipline of Bioengineering has grown rapidly in universities around the world over the last 10-20 years.
This growth has been driven by the medical challenges brought by aging populations, the need for new treatments for chronic conditions such as osteo-arthritis, or diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the need to respond rapidly to new disease challenges as they arise.
Bioengineering brings a broad range of engineering and scientific skills, including some of the newest areas of science in genomics, imaging, and computing, to meet those challenges.
Our graduates develop high levels of skills and knowledge which can they can apply to biomedical engineering careers or might choose to transfer those skills to a wide range of industries and jobs outside of Bioengineering.
More information on careers
Where do our graduates work?
Our graduates can be found in businesses, research organisations and health services around the world. The sectors in which Bioengineers work include:
- Medical Technology Industry
- University Research Departments
- Medicine and Healthcare
- Business Start-Up
- General engineering
- Computing and Information Technology
- Finance and Professional Services
- Management Consultancy
Medical technology industry
Biomedical engineers can be found in companies and organisations across the world researching and developing new products and technologies to treat or diagnose a wide range of disease and health conditions. You might be working on new implant devices to replace joints worn or damaged by osteoarthritis, new devices to treat cardiovascular disease, innovative technologies to improve organ transplant success, devices to deliver drugs into the body more effectively, assistive devices for elderly people, new biomarkers to detect disease, improved imaging technologies to help doctors diagnose disease. Or you might be applying machine learning or sophisticated analytical tools to huge patient datasets to identify new patterns in disease progression. In nearly every area of disease and health care biomedical engineers are working with clinicians and other scientists producing new technologies for patients and their carers.
Graduates from Bioengineering are also working with companies on Medical Device Regulation, making sure that products from R&D departments are safe and effective. Or you may work in sales and marketing, ensuring that the best new medical technologies reach health services, doctors, nurses, and their patients.
Many students of our undergraduate and taught MSc courses continue to study on PhD programmes which typically last for 3-4 years. During your undergraduate programme you will identify topic areas which particularly interest you and at the same time you will get a better understanding of your subject strengths.
Our students are working on PhD projects at universities around the world, many at Imperial College, others are at Oxford or Cambridge or ETH in Switzerland or at universities in the USA or Singapore or in other European countries. You can find out more about the range of possible Bioengineering research work at Imperial College on our website.
At the end of a PhD programme you may choose to continue with an academic career or enter the biomedical engineering industry, as described above, or follow other career paths.
Medicine and healthcare
Each year a number of our students enter Graduate Entry into Medicine programmes. There are a number of these programmes around the UK and internationally and they offer you an intensive and accelerated route into medicine.
Other graduates enter the NHS Clinical Scientist Training Programme which offers a wide range of career options including Clinical Engineering, Radiography, Bioinformatics. Graduates on this programme follow a part-time MSc programme related to their specialism.
Over the last few years a number of Bioengineering graduates have set up their own businesses. Sorin Popa, a 2014 graduate, set up StentTek, a company producing a new tool for dialysis. Two 2015 graduates established Neurofenix producing a new rehabilitation tool for stroke and spinal injuries patients. Others have set up companies whose products do not relate to Bioengineering including ThirdEye Labs, applying machine learning to retail.
Whilst at Imperial College you will come across lots of business start-up programmes and competitions which will help you develop skills, refine ideas and help you in finding a business partner and investors.
Each year a small number of our graduates find work in general engineering companies.
For example one 2016 graduate now works for Jaguar Landrover on their graduate training programme. Another is working in product development for Philips Consumer Lifestyle and another for Bosch in their consumer electronics division. Working in other areas of engineering would depend on the pathway and projects chosen by students.
Imperial College’s Careers Service has strong links with a wide range of engineering companies, some of which attend the annual Engineering Careers Fair.
Computing and information technology
Working in computing and information technology is a popular career choice for many of our graduates. Every business and organisation depends on computing technology to store and safeguard information, promote and sell products and services to consumers and businesses, or to process and analyse data.
You will acquire Matlab and C++ programming skills on our programmes and depending on the courses you choose, your projects and personal interest you could develop a range of computing expertise in, e.g. machine learning, mobile phone apps, robotics.
You may work for a small company utilising skills you already have or many large employers recruit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students into computing roles and offer training in the languages and systems they need.
You might work for a bank, securing their IT systems and minimising risk or developing mobile phone apps for their customers. You could be developing investment software using machine learning used by a range of companies investing clients’ money. Or you could be working for a management consultancy advising clients on their IT infrastructure.
Finance and professional services
Many banks and financial services firms (i.e. accountancy, tax, actuarial and investment advisory services) recruit Bioengineers each year, seeking the analytical, quantitative, and problems solving skills which you can bring. Companies recruiting Bioengineering graduates (or any graduates), into these roles offer structured training programmes and the opportunity to gain professional qualifications. You might work for an investment bank such as Goldman Sachs or Credit Suisse where you could be involved in mergers and acquisitions or stock market floats or risk assessment. Or you might work for KPMG or Deloitte auditing company accounts or advising companies about taxation.
Other professional services roles include working as a Patent Attorney, protecting inventions and new scientific discoveries. Or you might retrain as a solicitor after your degree course and specialise in intellectual property work, for example dealing with patent infringement.
The banks, financial services and patent attorney firms visit Imperial’s campus every year to present their recruitment plans and attend careers fair.
Management consultancies such as Accenture or Boston Consulting also value the analytical, quantitative, and problems solving skills which you can bring. Management Consultancies advise companies and organisations about efficiency and business strategy.
A specialist area of management consultancy is called Life Science Consultancy. This involves advising medical technology and life science companies about the market for a proposed new device or drug including pricing, market access, and regulatory requirements.
Our graduates are working in most of the large management consultancy firms. Most of the larger management consultancy firms also visit Imperial’s campus each year and present their recruitment plans to students
Engineering students can train to teach maths and physics in UK schools and there is considerable demand for teachers in these subject areas.
Teaching is a demanding and rewarding career which offers you the opportunity to share you subject knowledge and enthusiasm with young people.
Whilst at Imperial you may have the opportunity to teach on a summer schools programme. Or you may offer private tuition in maths and physics to school pupils. Both are excellent ways of gaining the experience you would need to be accepted onto a teaching programme.
Choosing to do further study
There are a number of further study options following a undergraduate degree in bioomedical engineering. Whether its masters, PhD, medical or law programme you are interested in you have lots of options.
|Further study within the Department||Details|
|PhD in Biomedical Engineering||If you are interested in pursuing an academic research career within a university you will have to do a PhD. A PhD is a unique opportunity to understand everything about one particular aspect of a subject, and become an expert in it. You will have the opportunity to publish results and present them at conferences contributing to the knowledge base in your chosen field. PhDs in the UK usually take 3-4 years to complete, and are examined by an oral exam called a viva and a thesis. Following completion of a PhD you may decide to continue your academic career, if you do you will apply for post-doctoral positions and fellowships until you have built up enough teaching, grant writing and research experience to secure a permanent academic position. If you choose not to pursue an academic career your PhD will have equipped you with some useful transferable skills and employers will appreciate the self-motivation and hard work it takes to complete a PhD. If you are considering doing a PhD consider the choice of topic and supervisor very carefully.|
|MSc programmes||Students may be interested in either our MSc Biomedical Engineering programme, or our MSc Human and Biological Robotics programme. MSc programmes are particularly popular with students who are interested in working in industry, if you are more interested in research the MRes programme may be more appropriate.|
|MRes Bioengineering||For students who are interested in research, but are not sure whether they want to embark on a PhD the MRes programme is a great option. A 12-month programme it is mostly research project based with a small taught component. If you are interested in the MRes programme you must approach the academic specialist in the field you are interested in to explore potential research projects, before applying. You can find more about our research areas in the research section of the website.|
|MRes Medical Device Design and Entrepreneurship||The MRes in Medical Device Design and Entrepreneurship is a unique programme which combines development of entrpreneurial skills alongside biomedical engineering knowledge. Students on this programme work closely with an academic to develop a research project into a translational product and develop the business plans, proof of concept and pitches required of medical device development at this stage. Graduates from this programme have gone on to receive £1million investment in their spin-outs from this programme.|
Careers advice and help
Robert Ferguson is the Industrial Liaison Manager in the Department of Bioengineering. Robert works with our students on career choice and planning. He brings a wide range of biomedical engineering companies to visit the Department each year to present their recruitment plans to students. Robert also organises our annual Bioengineering Careers Fair, an event unique in the UK, where increasing numbers of companies visit to recruit our students.
Please feel free to contact Robert to discuss your career plans:
Tel: 020 7594 6371
Imperial College Careers Service
Imperial’s Careers Service offers a wide range of services and resources to help our students find work or further study. You can find out more about Imperial’s Careers Service from their website.