Recent Declining Medical School Acceptance Rates for Biomedical Engineers

During my research into the impact that premed was having on biomedical engineering undergraduate programs I asked for and received historical matriculation data from the AAMC last year.  As far as I know I am the only one they have released this information to recently.  There apparently is some controversy about providing medical school acceptance data by program within the academic community.  My impression is that the AAMC has been pressured by outside forces to not report the medical school acceptance data by program.

The data I received may be useful for those thinking about a premed track in Biomedical Engineering. The upshot is that while BME and total applications to medical school have been increasing between 2003 and 2007 the percentage of BME applicants accepted to medical school has been decreasing (~ 67% vs 57% ) and the total number being accepted have been leveling off.  The percentage of applicants with BME degrees remained small at ~1.6% and 2.4% respectively. The percentage of all applicants accepted to medical school also followed the same pattern (~ 50% vs 45% )  because there are a limited number openings each year in the U.S. and they are not increasing significantly.  Unfortunately the BME percentage drop is twice that of all applicants. It is difficult to say why the drop is so dramatically different when compared to all other applications. Have there been changes in acceptance criteria? Is there another curriculum that is becoming more relevant? Only time will tell.


Additional information gleaned from the AAMC data can be found in the post Odds of Getting Into Medical School With a Biomedical Engineering Degree in 2007

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6 thoughts on “Recent Declining Medical School Acceptance Rates for Biomedical Engineers

  1. I know this post is for 2009, but if you guys are still there, may I ask for an updated report for Biomedical students with a preMed concentration’s acceptance to Med school

    1. Shayan,

      Our latest post was July 18, 2011. The Association of American Medical Colleges has decided not to compile this information based on pressure from prehealth advisors which believe the information is being abused by some advisors and students. I don’t agree with their decision of allowing an apparently small number of advisors to influence the public dissemination of a useful statistic. After all there appears to be some anecdotal evidence that an engineering education and perhaps experience provide a strong base for success in complex career environments. CEO’s in the S&P 500 and medical student acceptance apparently benefit from engineering education.

      My suggestion to you is that if you find Biomedical Engineering an interesting field and do not intend to get a graduate degree then make sure you get real experience in manufacturing and get as many courses as you can in a more traditional field such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, and even software engineering ( mathematical algorithms and database ). Its either that or a good showing at an internship in a large medical device or pharmaceutical corporation which are far and few between. You are going to need this background to impress a hiring manager.

      One final impression which has no statistical data to back it up. Medicine in the future will depend on the application of the results of genomic and epigenomic science. Genomic and epigenomic research relies heavily on sophisticated programming, algorithms and statistics. This type of education background comes close to that which an engineer would have under their belt. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be very attractive to a medical school along with the other soft requirements. Education in these areas would go a long way to preparing a future doc to knowledgeably apply the medicine of the future.

      Joaquin Mayoral, PhD

    1. Thanks eddy,

      You are correct and I typically would have included it but since I want the reader to read the post I have added clarifying text to the post which should perform the same function. I hope you found the information useful.

    2. Thanks eddy,

      I have made changes to the post that should clarify the graph. I would normally have included a key or legend but I want whoever sees the graph to read the post. I hope you found the information useful.

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