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THE 8

th
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ADVANCED TOPICS IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
May 23-25, 2013
Bucharest, Romania

Master of Sciences Program in
Medical Engineering

M. Morega, Member IEEE, A.M. Morega, Senior Member IEEE, S. Kostrakievici,
A. Machedon, Member IEEE
University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Bucharest, ROMANIA
mihaela.morega@upb.ro, alexandru.morega@upb.ro, sorin.kostrakievici@upb.ro, alina.machedon@upb.ro


AbstractBiomedical engineering distinguished itself as an
emerging educational domain during the last 15-20 years,
stimulated in the contemporary developed societies by the
growing need for competitive health care facilities and high
quality assistance.
Used more and more in modern medicine, high tech equipment
is already popular in health care infrastructures and facilities.
Interdisciplinary qualified personnel are expected to provide the
innovative design, development and maintenance of such
equipment and the technical assistance for therapy. A Master of
Science program in the field of Medical Engineering started at
University Politehnica of Bucharest more than ten years ago;
it is offered to graduates of engineering, medical sciences, and
other scientific tracks (physics, biology, informatics etc.). The
main characteristic of the program is interdisciplinarity;
education and genuine interprofessional experience are offered
in a stimulating interactive academic environment. From the
technical perspective, Electrical & Electronic Engineering plays
a significant role in the scientific activities spectrum
contributing to high performance technical outcomes for new
medical technologies and modern equipment.
In this paper we highlight the following issues: goals of the
educational program, accredited curriculum, available
resources, educational methods and professional competence
expected from master studies graduates in medical engineering.
Several particularities that individualize the educational
program from other common master studies and the methods
experienced here are also shown. The attraction for candidates
and the professional satisfaction are assessed by some statistical
data and comments.

Key Words: Interdisciplinary graduate education, Master of
Science program, Health engineering.
I. INTRODUCTION
The master of science (MS) program in Medical
Engineering (formerly Medical and Clinical Engineering)
(IMC) runs for over ten years at the University
POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (UPB) [1], under the direct
responsibility of the Department of Bioengineering and
Biotechnology (DBB) [2]. DBB was founded in 2002, with
the main goal of directing postgraduate studies and academic
research in this scientific field. From its beginning, this MS
program evolves as a dynamic project, adapted to the
perceivable international progress of this interdisciplinary
domain, and to the notable changes in the Romanian health
care system, which is more and more responsive to new
technologies and modern equipment.
The IMC program is one of three MS programs currently
organized by DBB in the challenging fields of bioengineering
and biotechnology. Although the candidates are usually
graduates resorting from different technical, scientific and
healthcare national universities, interested in the completion
of their academic education, it became customary also for
professionals with several years of experience in medical
practice or engineering, usually working in the health care
system or health related business, to choose the IMC program
as an option for their career development.
II. IMC MASTER DEGREE PROGRAM CONCEPT AND
CONTENT
A. The Curriculum Concept of the IMC Master Degree Program
The curriculum covers two full years of study, i.e. four
academic terms completed with the public defense of a
dissertation thesis, leading to the award of 120 credit points.
As all master programs offered by UPB, Medical Engineering
is identified as the second academic education level,
according to the Bologna Process principles, within the
European Higher Education Area [3]. Its concept is however
individualized by some particularities easily identifiable on
the roadmap in Fig. 1:
(1) The first year of study is intended to both complement
students' education and widely expand their knowledge in
health engineering and sciences area; the second year brings
more profoundness in technical aspects regarding medical
technologies and equipment and provides a favorable
framework for the progress of an individual research project,
that is expected to be disseminated by the dissertation thesis.
(2) The program starts with a harmonization of the
candidates knowledge through a tentative to either add to or
activate their individual scientific background and skills; the
graduates in bio-medical sciences are oriented toward the
option for applied mathematics and statistics, while the option
for the graduates of engineering and physics goes to cell
biology and histology.
(3) Research represents a strong educational component;
students are encouraged to advance in personal information
gain and to work in research teams with faculty and other
students. The research activity starts from the first term and is
individually supervised by the academic staff. Students

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usually become members in the research teams either led by
their supervisors, or at partner institutions but they are also
encouraged to conduct individual research activity at their
employer, if possible. This is often the case with students
who are already occupied in the health care area young
medical practitioners in their residency stage, or engineering
graduates already in business with medical equipment
development and promotion. The research program is
commonly directed to the completion of the dissertation
thesis.
(4) According to the university decision for all master
programs the schedule is quite intensive; for the first year of
study (first and second semesters) an average of 14 hours is
weekly covered by lectures and applications and 14 hours by
research. During the third term (second year), an average of
18 hours per week is covered by lectures and laboratory work
and 12 hours by research, while the fourth term is exclusively
dedicated to research activities.


Fig. 1. Synthetic curricular roadmap of IMC MS program.

Some of the disciplines are organized based on expert
contributions of professionals in medicine and medical
equipment business - a significant number of hours for
Neurosciences and Biomechanics is scheduled at the partner
hospitals and disciplines like Equipment for investigation and
rehabilitation, or Equipment for diagnosis and therapy have
several laboratory hours at specialized equipment companies.
B. The Academic Body of Educators
The academic staff joins high-qualified educators from
different faculties of the University Politehnica, as much as
medical practitioners and professors in medical and biological
sciences from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy
Carol Davila, and from the Faculty of Biology at the
University of Bucharest. Under the frame of bilateral
agreements, the teaching process benefits from the resources
of the partner universities and of several prestigious clinical
centers in Bucharest (the Clinical Hospital for Orthopedics
Foior, the Clinical Emergency Hospital for Neurology and
Neurosurgery Bagdasar-Arseni, the Clinical Hospital
Colentina, etc.).
C. Accessibility and Complementarily of the Education in a
Stimulating Interaction
The IMC group of study has a customary 15-20 enrolments
each academic year, with a slight increase for the latest
admissions. Both female and male graduates from
engineering, medical and other license domains are the
candidates; we could not detect a relevant gender preference
for this master program and this is a reason of content in the
sense of providing the non-discriminatory and equal
opportunity access to education for all candidates. Fig. 2
shows the yearly-recorded enrolment and its gender
composition; one could see the trend of growing interest
lately observed for the IMC master program.


Admission is based on open competition; candidates go
through a two steps examination:
1 previous educational performance and records are
evaluated;
2 an interview, where each candidate has to present the
personal interest and background in biomedical and
clinical engineering and to give arguments to support
this option and his/her determination for the
completion of the program.

Fig. 2. Yearly enrolment and gender of candidates.

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During the interview, candidates are also subjected to a
short general knowledge test, covering basic skills in either
mathematics, physics, biology, engineering or information
technology; due to the differences in students' background,
the difficulty of the test is set at a basic level and the result is
intended to demonstrate the main characteristic of an
interdisciplinary education the need for permanent effort in
covering existing knowledge gaps and in continually
complementing students major qualification. The
background analysis, the credibility and argumentation of
personal objectives related to the MS program are decisive
criteria for the selection; the knowledge test does not help to
the ranking of the admitted candidates, but the results are
discussed with the academic staff and the content of
disciplines in the first year of study is adjusted accordingly.
Brief sessions of questions and answers, debates and
opinions exchange are frequently triggered and stimulated by
the academic staff during teaching or research programs. For
the success of the educational process, especially in an
interdisciplinary field, it is very important to create a
competitive and communicative environment, and to support
each persons motivation and goals toward his/her own
progress. Despite their different background and initial
reserved attitude, the students form quickly a homogeneous
and challenging team. The scholarly common interests help
forming strong relationships that often become useful
professional connections over time. Fig. 3 shows the
composition of the enrollment, for each one of the eleven
admission sessions of the IMC program existence.


Fig. 3. Professional composition registered at the enrolment in IMC master
program representation of the undergraduate studies domain.

Candidates generally have a precise interest when they
apply for admission and they usually continue their work in
parallel with the studies; despite the difficulties aroused from
the time division between work and school, the situation
helps them being more motivated and oriented in their
educational goals. They are usually employed in a biomedical
related activity (medical practitioners or residents, engineers
working at medical equipment companies, design and
research institutions, standardization bodies, health care
system administration, conformity assessment and regulatory
bodies, etc.); this explains a lot the attraction for a MS
program tailored to their professional needs.
The MS program in IMC already gained some reputation;
the majority of candidates is informed and comes at
admission convinced through commonly promotional means
(flyers, website, public advertising, etc.) while others are
advised by colleagues or employers at their workplace or by
professors during their educational track.
D. Educational methods and tools
Classical methods, i.e. ex cathedra lectures and
handwritten notes still make a major part of the educational
process, taking advantage of the natural scholarly rhythm for
understanding and receiving new information; informational
resources available at DBB and the associated laboratories
from UPB complement the classes in a modern and attractive
way, while information accessed on the Internet is valorized
in a critical manner. Multimedia hardware and software tools
and the usage of computer in applications and in
presentations is more and more part of the lectures and
practical work. Usually, the lectures and applications are open
to an interactive way of sharing knowledge; that means
students participate in debates (scheduled in advance, so that
they may elaborate their point of view) and the teaching
activity alternate between lecture and questions & answers
sessions. Students participation in open debates and public
presentations of homework are encouraged through the
assignment system.
Some of the disciplines use textbooks and laboratory
workbooks written by the instructors, as main reference.
However, all disciplines benefit from the use of the software
course management system Moodle [4]; the syllabus of each
discipline is posted there, teaching materials (documentation,
lectures notes or slides, laboratory worksheets, design
specification, etc.) are uploaded by the instructors, interactive
tests are designed and performed on-line, homework is
uploaded by students. The out-of-class communication
between instructor and students is performed in a simple and
flexible way through e-mail.
A very important aspect of the educational process is to
correctly assess the level of acquired knowledge. This is why
an important part of the evaluation is homework and
laboratory activity where students can project a better view of
their knowledge and skills. Written assignments, and reports
on assigned self-conducted instruction are also requested.
Permanent interaction among students brings a precious
added value cultivated in a creative environment, through
stimulating approaches. They are graduates with different
educational background and different professional goals, but
are concentrated on a common interest - the successful
completion of the IMC master program. Students are
encouraged to form mixed teams when performing the
applications and for different working tasks (homework, term
projects), particularly for the research activity; the inter-
professional exchange of knowledge and experience,
especially when people with some practical professional

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experience are involved, has a remarkable impact on the
efficiency of the team and the quality of their work.
The concept of education through research is adequate to
the particular philosophy of the IMC program. Due to the
evident differences in background and career planning, a
large part of the educational process is individualized
according to each students skills and needs. Individual
research activity (documentation as much as original results
obtained through personal efforts) has a significant weight in
the educational process; 68 credit points (out of the total of
120 for the whole program) are gained for research work
(including the dissertation thesis).
E. Competencies and Employment Chance
More than ten years ago, when DBB was founded, the
master programs initiated here represented the only offer of
postgraduate studies in biomedical engineering at national
level. The master in IMC continues to be a complementary
MS program, attractive for both engineers and medical
practitioners, and it is not designed as an advanced
specialization MS program in the same field as the license
studies.
IMC master program is attractive for medical practitioners,
at different stages of their professional activity, when they
feel the necessity of having better skills and knowledge in
engineering, regarding the modern technologies and
equipment they need to use. In the same time, it could open a
challenging professional field to engineers and physicists as
clinical engineers (item listed in the national nomenclature of
professions), as experts for the design and development of
medical advanced technology, either in the research and
innovation sector, or in the domain of medical equipment
marketing and maintenance.
Some of the graduates found suitable professional positions
in the public health management system at regional or
central Health Care Insurance Houses or even with the
Ministry of Public Health. As one could easily observe,
health assistance programs expand through high technology
and intelligent technical solutions and the role of medical
engineering is still growing.
III. RESEARCH AND RESOURCES
Since 2002, when it was founded, DBB [2] continuously
coordinates the MS program of IMC. At the beginning of its
existence, DBB had no teaching staff and owned no material
resources. It was founded as a virtual entity, based on
agreements with partner faculties and departments of UPB [1]
with the aim of developing interdisciplinary education and
research; the resources were offered for educational and
research activities by the partner laboratories, based on
mutual agreements. Several faculties of UPB (Electrical
Engineering, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering, Computer
Science, Applied Sciences), and other partner entities
(faculties of Medicine and Biology, medical clinics of
Bucharest) contributed in a complementary manner, offering
access to their resources (teaching and research laboratories
and personnel). Some topics addressed by past and current
research projects are listed below:
electromagnetic field human tissue interaction for
medical applications (hyperthermia, electric and
magnetic stimulation);
magnetic drug targeting and magnetically driven
transportation;
micro-fluidics and microcirculation;
3D reconstruction of human body from 2D scans
(RMN and CT) and image processing;
motion control in orthotic and prosthetic devices;
design and analysis of orthopedic devices and
biodynamics of body motion;
optimization and safety improvement of medical
equipment;
biosignals acquisition, processing and transmission;
noninvasive assessment of health indexes
(cardiometry, impedancemetry);
simulation of biomedical processes and dynamic
physiologic phenomena;
statistical analysis of bio-medical data.
Significant progress in resources acquisition and
maintenance came from the financial support through the
national funded grant Interdisciplinary Platform for research
and education BIOINGTEH (2006-2008) [5] attributed by
national competition and conducted by DBB.





Fig. 4. Acquisition and processing equipment, at the Laboratory of
Biomedical Signals Analysis and Modeling.


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Part of the support was directed to improvement and
modernization of resources provided by partner faculties and
laboratories:
the Laboratory of Biomedical Signals Analysis and
Modeling at the Faculty of Electronics, Telecom-
munications and Information Technology (Fig. 4),
the Laboratory of Biomechanics at the Faculty of
Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics (Fig. 5).



Fig. 5. Optoelectronic equipment for human walking analysis VYCON
at the Laboratory of Biomechanics.

In the same time, two new laboratories were founded:
Laboratory for Field-Substance Interaction with its
three components:
(1) Electromagnetic radiation (Fig. 6)
(2) Complex biofluids (Fig. 7)
(3) Low frequency electromagnetic field (Fig. 8)
Laboratory of Models for Multiphysics Problems
(hardware and software resources) (Fig. 9).


Fig. 6. Laser equipment at the Laboratory of Electromagnetic radiation.


Fig. 7. Rheometers at the Laboratory for Complex biofluids.


Fig. 8. Environmental measurement performed by the Low Frequency
Electromagnetic Field Laboratory.



Fig. 9. Setting the workstations to work (up) and hands-on training class
(down) at the Laboratory of Models for Multiphysics Problems.

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Active collaboration among professionals from different
scientific areas and different employment organizations
ensures the added value dedicated to the progress of the
research activity; this is the case with both educators and
students of IMC program. Most professors associated to DBB
continuously support the MS program development by their
grants and research projects, while MS students are involved
in the research activity, under the coordination of a research
advisor. Research activity should complement the academic
curriculum in a convergent manner and the dissertation thesis
is expected to present, at the end of the master program, the
personal contributions and original results.
Each year in May, the university organizes the scientific
session for students. IMC students present the results of
individual projects on each such occasion, since the
beginning of the program. Fig. 10 shows two snapshots taken
at the scientific session of 2012.



Fig. 10. Images from the 10
th
Student Scientific Session organized by DBB
(May 11, 2012 http://dbb.pub.ro/evenimente).

DBB offers a consistent on-site support to students and
instructors through its library and documentation platform; it
is useful to updating the lectures, and it also helps students in
preparing their homework and debates.
An electronic database of scientific publications books,
papers, lecture and laboratory notes is accessible inside
DBB, via the management system Moodle [4]; most
presented dissertation theses are openly available too, for
documentation. Open access to new technical and medical
books, magazines and multimedia materials in the field
covered by and related to the dynamic evolving disciplines of
the IMC program, helps the self-conducted continuous
education.
IV. CONCLUSIONS
The main characteristics of the educational master program
of Medical Engineering make the essence of the paper; its
national accredited curriculum and resources made available
to the students, the educational methods and the professional
competence expected from the graduates in medical
engineering are presented. Several particularities of this
educational program and the methods experienced here are
also shown. The attraction for candidates and the rate of
success are quantified by some statistical data.
IMC program started as a genuine experience, but each
year brought adjustments and growth, caused by, and
stimulated through direct contact with educational problems
and social usefulness criteria. Its main goal is building a
formal interdisciplinary framework, offered to professionals
involved in medical and clinical related technical activities,
for training in a specific environment, using a common
professional language and sharing personal experience.
Flexibility of acquired scientific expertise, as much as the
wide access to high quality professional connections
represent advantages acknowledged by most graduates,
especially after successful career achievements.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The efforts of all our colleagues involved in the growth and
development of the Medical Engineering master program are
highly appreciated.
The research and teaching perspectives opened by the
resources offered through the national funded grant
BIOINGTEH CNCSIS-UPB Platform are gratefully
acknowledged.
REFERENCES
[1] University Politehnica of Bucharest http://www.upb.ro
[2] Department of Bioengineering and Biotechnology
http://www.dbb.pub.ro (including current information for the students
and access to an interactive functional Moodle platform)
[3] The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Bologna
Process, http://www.ehea.info
[4] Moodle open source software for producing Internet-based courses
and web sites http://moodle.org
[5] Bioengineering-Biotechnology, an interdisciplinary program of
research, development and professional education - BIOINGTEH,
http://dbb.pub.ro/bioingteh