Changes to the requirements for the biomedical engineering concentration in the Department of Engineering have left some students frustrated.
The requirements for accreditation are set by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which reviewed the biomedical engineering concentration requirements and decided that certain elective options should be made more restrictive. The change, which was put into effect this semester, presents students with a shorter list of electives from which to choose.
The board officially recommends that all students complete the most updated set of requirements for their program, said Professor of Engineering Allan Bower.
But the Department of Engineering is allowing its students a degree of leniency. Current seniors may still graduate following the old requirements, said Anubhav Tripathi, director of undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering. He added that while juniors are encouraged to follow the revised curriculum, they will not be forced into it.
"We can't and wouldn't insist on people staying an extra year," Bower said.
But current sophomores and first-years will have to follow the new guidelines, which has frustrated students who did not expect the change.
Engineering students are advised to plan out their four years in advance, said Holly Lauridsen '11, a biomedical engineering concentrator. She said revising her course plans was annoying - she had carefully planned her classes to accommodate her study-abroad plans.
Though Lauridsen said the changes did not affect her course schedule this semester, she will end up having one or two fewer electives over the next two years. Additionally, the change will force her to take a concentration requirement abroad.
"The new changes aren't impossible to live with," Lauridsen said, "but they are frustrating."
The revised curriculum has the same number of required courses as the old version, Tripathi said. However, several elective options that were previously available have been removed. Lower-level engineering courses and courses designed for biology majors no longer count toward a biomedical engineering degree, he said.
Changes in concentration requirements are not uncommon, Bower said. Last year, changes were introduced to the curricula of the civil and mechanical engineering programs.
Biomedical engineering was introduced at Brown in 2004, Bower said. Since it is not as well-established as the other engineering degree programs, it required more changes than other concentrations to meet the accreditation board's standards.
Bowers and Tripathi both agreed that graduating from an accredited program has advantages for students who intend to pursue a career in their chosen field.
"You don't have to be accredited," Bower said, "but it's difficult to get a professional registration after graduating from an unaccredited program."