UT System Regents Approve Biomedical Engineering Degrees at UTEP
August 24, 2012
On Thursday, Aug. 23, the U.T. System Board of Regents approved a proposal to establish master's and doctoral degree programs in biomedical engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso.
If approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Ph.D. in biomedical engineering will become UTEP's 20th doctoral degree.
"The biomedical and biotechnology industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S.," said Thomas Boland, Ph.D., professor of metallurgical and materials engineering, who prepared the proposal. "Over the past five years, the biotechnology industry in Texas has grown by 149 percent."
Boland will serve as the future director of the new programs.
"These degree programs will enable Texas to become more competitive in addressing issues that are not the focus of other doctoral programs in the state, such as the development of next-generation biomedical technologies to serve people in rural and low-resource settings," he said.
UTEP's first Ph.D. program was established in 1974 in Geological Sciences. In the last 10 years alone, doctoral enrollment has increased to 656 students from 234, a 180 percent increase.
The new biomedical engineering Ph.D. will increase the number of doctoral students attending the University and bolster UTEP's efforts to reach Tier One status. Boland expected a total of 25 doctoral students to enroll over the next five years.
In preparation for the new programs, UTEP has invested more than $5 million in a Biomedical Engineering annex on campus. Students will also have access to the W. M. Keck Center for 3-D Innovation, a premier facility housing more than $4.5 million in research infrastructure, and the Border Biomedical Research Center, a $45 million center funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The proposal now goes to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for review and appropriate action.
Boland expects to be able to offer the new degrees by fall 2013 or sooner.