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Biotechnology Vs. Biomedical Engineering: Top Differences

Updated on 07 November, 2023

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Are you at the cusp of a major bio-war in your life? Relax, we’re only referring to the biotechnology vs. biomedical engineering debate that many students (including you) may have after completing high school. However, there is no clear answer to this. In this article, we’ll try to illustrate the entire biotechnology engineering vs. biomedical engineering spectrum, covering their definitions, course structures, general eligibility, and even salaries. Are you game? Read on for more, then!

What is Biotechnology? 

Knowing the basic definitions of both fields is essential before you choose between biotechnology or biomedical engineering. Here is a closer look at the definition of Biotechnology: 

  • Biotechnology concentrates on using diverse biological processes for technological advancements and problem-solving. 
  • Biotechnologists create new antibiotics for treating infections and developing new kinds of biofuel, for instance. 
  • Their role also involves testing new drugs for their effects or evaluating the usage of biological systems in other business sectors. 
  • There are several specializations in the field, including marine biology, plants biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, and environmental biotechnology. 

What is Biomedical Engineering? 

Biomedical engineering is a lot about finding answers to particular medical issues. Here are some core aspects of the field that you should note: 

  • Biomedical engineers are those at the forefront of devising new medicines/drugs and medical devices and treatments. 
  • The focus of this field is to solve the medical problems of people and ensure a better quality of life for the global population at large. 
  • Biomedical engineers may be discovering methods of healing damaged organs or developing more innovative treatments and drugs. 
  • They may also be involved in developing newer kinds of prosthetics or analyzing new viruses and diseases. 

Key Differences between Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering

Here are a few crucial aspects that will help you understand the key difference between biotechnology and biomedical engineering. 

ParameterBiotechnologyBiomedical Engineering
Meaning
  • Biotechnology is more focused on life sciences and develops products to be used in the medical, food, and agricultural industries.
  • It is an applied biological science using chemistry to create new biological products.
  • Biotechnology leverages organic systems and biology for problem-solving. 
  • It has a broader application, covering everything from waste disposal to genetic modification, environmental impact, and so on. 
  • Biomedical engineering focuses more on medical problems and their solutions. 
  • It uses engineering and principles and applies the same to medicine
  • Biomedical engineering also takes this route but uses inorganic materials for technological advancement. 
  • It concentrates on the management, diagnosis, treatment, mitigation, and prevention of disabilities and diseases of the masses. 
Career ScopeBiotechnology careers are mostly lab-oriented, involving developing or testing products, researching new products, and conducting experiments. The major industries include biofuels, agriculture, healthcare, virology, food production, and more. Biomedical engineering careers may also involve lab work, although there may be work in various departments within hospitals and interactions with patients. Major sectors include biomaterial firms, universities, research organizations, and orthopedic manufacturers.  
Eligibility Criteria

The criteria vary across institutions for biotechnology programs (can also be country-specific). Here are some general requirements at leading institutions: 

  • AAA-AAB grades or equivalent, including two out of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Mathematics
  • Two core sciences should have AA grades. 
  • Practical skills assessments and experience are sometimes necessary. 
  • English language proficiency
  • Any other criteria deemed suitable by the university. 

The criteria may differ across universities (can be country-specific as well). Yet, here are some general entry requirements: 

  • AAA grades with grade A in Physics and Mathematics or equivalent. 
  • Equivalent 38 points for an IB Diploma and a total of 18 points in three higher level subjects, including grade 6 in Physic and Mathematics. 
  • English language proficiency. 
  • Indian students have to either provide Year 12/CISCE/CBSE/equivalent marks with five subjects and specific marks (this changes across universities)
  • Some institutions alternatively accept completion of one year of a bachelor’s degree at a recognized Indian institution with the grade being the same as the UK Upper Second Class. 
Subjects

Some of the core Biotechnology subjects include the following: (may vary across institutions):  
 

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Laboratory Science
  • Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • Microbes, Humankind, and the Environment 
  • Health & Safety
  • Genome Maintenance & Regulation 
  • Fundamentals of Bacteriology
  • Omic Technologies & Resources
  • Science Communication 
  • Microbiology 
  • Plants for the Future
  • Post-Genome Biology
  • Green Biotechnology
  • Gene Regulation & Disease



 

Some of the key modules in Biomedical engineering may include the following (may differ across institutions): 
 

Salaries (Per Year)

As per PayScale reports ,the salaries for Biotechnology professions are as follows: 
 

  • Research Scientist- $59,000-124,000 
  • Research Associate- $48,000 to  $83,000 
  • Senior Research Scientist- $82,000- $148,000 
  • Senior Research Associate- $63,000- $104,000 
  • Associate Research Scientist- $50,000- $95,000
  • Principal Scientist- $97,000- $159,000 

As per PayScale reports, the salaries for Biomedical Engineering professions are as follows: 
 

  • Biomedical Engineer- $80,148
  • Senior Biomedical Engineer- $1,00,888
  • Principal Biomedical Engineer- $91,789 
  • Biomedical Technician- $52,011
  • Clinical Engineer- $96,288
  • Biomechanical Engineer- $78,983

Which has more scope- biotechnology or biomedical engineering? As mentioned earlier, there is no definitive answer to this question. It all depends on the kind of academic and professional environment you desire and your core interests. Examine the differences between the two fields carefully before taking a decision. 

FAQs

Is biotechnology and bioengineering the same?

Biotechnology is about studying micro-organisms like bacteria and others across industrial, medical, agricultural and other technological applications. At the same time, bioengineering is about applying engineering on biological processes, covering environmental, agricultural, food, and other categories. 

What are the 4 types of biotechnology?

Biotechnology is divided into five core branches currently. These are human, industrial, environmental, plant, and animal biotechnology, covering everything from lowering our carbon footprint to innovative food product creation. 

Are biomedical engineers in demand?

Biomedical engineers are witnessing high demand in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has already projected employment growth in this field to be approximately 6% between 2020 and 2030. 

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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