Being BioE at Rice

Rice has a popular Bioengineering program. Whether you are pre-med, pre-grad or pre-industry, Rice’s top-10 ranked program, its proximity to the Texas Medical Center, and various research opportunities make being a Bioengineer at Rice an incredibly rewarding experience. I came into Rice wanting to be a Bioengineer (or BioE, as they are called), but not really knowing what it entailed. Now, two years later, I have grown to love the major, and am convinced that it is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Freshman bioengineering majors usually do not take any core bioengineering classes but must take the ‘big three’ – General Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus, along with Introduction to Engineering Computing. The first core bioengineering class that BioEs take is BIOE 252, Bioengineering Fundamentals, during sophomore fall. This class consists of a lecture portion and a project-based portion. While the lecture portion teaches you the basic conservation principles that govern engineering, the project-based portion makes this class by far the most interesting class I’ve taken at Rice. Students are assigned a team, and each team is given two open-ended projects to complete over the semester. These projects are mainly student-run, with the professor offering only basic guidance. Not only were these projects fun to work on, they also introduced me to engineering design, helped me polish my teamwork skills, and taught me how to approach real-life engineering problems.

As bioengineering is one of the most credit-hour-intensive majors at Rice, it is necessary to often check to ensure that you’re on track- most classes require multiple prerequisites. However, Bioengineering at Rice has an excellent advising system, with plenty of resources and helpful major advisors. Some students opt to do a minor along with their Bioengineering major. With a strong support system, it is easy to plan your time at Rice such that you get the most out of the opportunities.

Lastly, the heavy workload of being a Bioengineering major can at times be stressful and quite overwhelming. It is at times like these that the BioE community is helpful. As all the BioEs in your year take the same classes at the same time, there are always peers happy to with difficult assignments, to inspire and motivate you, and who understand your struggles. From my two years being a Rice Bioengineering Student, I am grateful for the interesting and challenging classes I have had a chance to take, but I am more grateful for the friendships I have made with my BioE peers!