Undergraduate Student Resources
Each semester, all Biomedical Engineering students will have a Mandatory Advisement Hold on their record. This hold is designed to ensure that you are meeting with your advisor regularly to discuss your classes. Once you have met with your advisor and determined your next semester’s schedule, the advisor will lift your hold and you will be able to register once your registration window opens. Your registration window date is determined by your earned unit count.
The advisor for first-year BME students is Chelsea Jones (RTH 110, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213-740-4530). The advisor for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as all transfer BME students, is Christopher Noll (DRB 140, email@example.com, 213-740-0335).
Some classes will have pre-requisite or co-requisite classes listed in the Schedule of Classes. These are classes that must be taken prior to another course, or prior to or at the same time as another course. If you do not have the pre-req course, you may be able to request a pre-req waiver by asking the professor to approve your taking the course without the pre-req. In addition, some classes require Departmental Clearance (“D-Clearance”). This requirement is separate from a prerequisite or co-requisite course requirement, but is used by departments to control access to their courses. D-Clearance is provided by the department that offers the course.
To make your mandatory advising appointment as productive as possible
Please be sure to do the following in advance:
- Review your STARS Report, which is available online through OASIS. Your STARS tells you how far along you are in your program, as well as which specific requirements you have yet to complete. If there are any errors in the information, please notify me as soon as possible. OASIS also lists your Permit to Register, which gives the specific day & time you can sign up for classes.
- Review your Flowchart, which gives you a suggested sequence of courses. Copies of the flowcharts are available in the Viterbi Undergraduate Handbook. Although you are not required to take courses in this order, it will ensure that your pre-requisites line up.
- Decide which classes you would like to take next semester. Check the Online Schedule of Classes to make sure the times of the courses you are interested in do not overlap.
Regardless of their career objectives, our department urges students to seek out internships and research opportunities during their undergraduate years. These experiences allow students to apply knowledge from the classroom to real projects and develop abilities to problem-solve creatively and independently.
To ensure that this type of training is available to our students, the BME Department interacts closely with local biomedical companies. As Southern California rapidly grows as a center for biomedical and biotechnological industries, our department strives to connect junior and senior students with those companies offering internship opportunities.
Currently the Department works with ASBME to sponsor an annual Corporate Luncheon. In addition, the BME faculty at USC provide opportunities for undergraduates to gain hands-on laboratory experience, as early as their freshman year. Through programs like merit research and the BME 490 Directed Research course, undergraduates are encouraged to embark on independent research projects under the direction of a professor of their choice.
Student Groups & Professional Organizations
The Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME) is an undergraduate biomedical engineering student organization serving the engineering student body through academic, social, mentorship, community outreach, and corporate events. Through ASBME’s events, students gain insight into their chosen field of study and the opportunities that being a BME major brings. ASBME’s four signature events include the BIOMED Research Symposium in August, Fall Networking Night in October, Corporate Dinner in January/February, and Makeathon: Medical Device Design Competition in February. Some of the programs ASBME implements for members include the mentorship program, which pairs an upperclassmen and underclassmen student at the beginning of the school year, and Project in a Box, a community outreach program that provides local Elementary school students with a hands on biomedical engineering class lesson on prosthetics or stents. Questions? Contact our president at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDesign provides students with hands-on medical device design experience by entering medical device design competitions, participating in make-a-thons, and taking on independent medical device projects. We lead students through the entire process of creating a medical device from customer discovery to design process, patents, and eventually product launching. MEDesign invites prestigious speakers to talk to our club members about the medical device industry. Some of our previous guests include BME professor Dr. Jerry Loeb and Dr. Larry Yin from LA Children’s Hospital. Our club takes pride in the diversity of our students’ interests; our members include business students, neuroscience majors, engineers, and even music majors!
The USC Chapter of ASBME is associated with the national Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). The purpose of the Society is: “to promote the increase of biomedical engineering knowledge and its utilization.”
Research & Professional Opportunities
Here are some great links to look for opportunities for research and professional opportunities.
Interested in Conducting Research?
National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates
National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU): The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. This site lists multiple schools and projects across the U.S.
Viterbi School’s SURE
Viterbi Research Experience for Undergraduates (SURE): The Viterbi School’s SURE program provides Junior-year students the opportunity to get paid to work alongside top faculty on cutting-edge research projects during a summer in Los Angeles
Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program (BESIP) The NIBIB-sponsored Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program (BESIP) is for undergraduate biomedical engineering students who have completed their junior year of college.
Want to Explore Companies?
Bio-Pharm-Guy bills itself as “The best biotech company directory on the Internet.”
Medical Device and Diagnostics Industry (MDDI) Top 40 largest medical device companies list.
BIOCOM (Southern California)
OCTANe (Orange County, CA)
California Lifesciences Association (Northern California, formerly BayBio)
Washington Life Science (Seattle, WA)
Prospecting is an alternate job search process that focuses on creating opportunities with smaller companies. It’s perfect for those just starting in the industry. Networking, also known as Informational Interviewing, is a tool for connecting with industry professionals to develop your understanding of the industry and access the “hidden job market.”
Both these practices will assist you in your professional development throughout your career. We’ve prepared these videos to teach you the basics of these powerful skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question you would like to see answered on this page, please e-mail us at email@example.com
The registration calendar for the P/NP or Letter Grade choice can be a little confusing. You only have until the end of the third week to decide to take a course for P/NP. However, you actually have until the end of the seventh week to change a course to letter grade. So, if you’re on the fence, you can declare it P/NP, and then have 4 more weeks to make it letter grade (or just leave it alone).
To take a summer course somewhere else, you will need to follow two separate processes. (1) You need to get pre-approval from USC. Go to OASIS, then the Transfer tab at the top. The first link on that page is the Request for Pre-approval to take a course in Summer 2016. Click on this, then select the state, the school, and the course. You need to find a course that is *equivalent* to the USC class you want it to replace. If this course number is not listed, you can also submit the course number (at the bottom of the page) for review. You can submit pre-approval requests for multiple classes and multiple schools.
Once you’ve confirmed that USC will accept the course, you must separately verify that the course will be offered by the other institution over the summer, and you must register for the course through the other school’s process. (This is step 2) You need to work with the other institution to figure out how to register for a course there. This involves checking their summer schedule to make sure the class you want is offered, and figure out how to take a class. After completing the class with a C- or better, you will need to send an official transcript to USC.
Transcripts should be provided to the USC Office of Degree Progress.
After you’ve done this, then approach the professor; you may want to say something like, “Dear Dr. _________, I noticed on the BME website that your work involves applications of bioMEMS and microfluidics. I’ve been interested in this ever since I attended a talk you gave my sophomore year. My schedule for next semester gives me some time, and I’d love a chance to do some research. Would you consider allowing me to work in your lab?”
You may need to email more than once, and may wish to stop by the professor’s office in person if they haven’t responded to your emails.
Yes! One option is through the Viterbi School of Engineering; their programs include Summer Overseas and International Exchange Programs. Currently, Summer Overseas takes place in Madrid, Paris or Rome and the International Exchange Programs are in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Students can also study abroad through the Office of Overseas Studies. Recently, BME students have studied in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. For a list of classes students have taken through this program, click here.