The Best and Worst of Part II Semester One BME

In my last post, I spoke a little bit about the perks of being a BME student and the type of atmosphere within this specialisation. I know this has basically sold you already, but just in case you wanted to know a bit more about the papers we take and whether or not this is the kind of degree you can see yourself doing, I’ve given a slightly more comprehensive overview of the Semester One Part II BME Papers below than what you’ll find on the university website….

ENGSCI233 – Computer Systems and Computational Techniques

The best: The computational techniques labs

The worst: The computational techniques labs

This paper is split into two quite distinct components. The first half feels much like a continuation of some of the content from ELECTENG101 (namely information representation in computers, Boolean logic, transistors, memory) and is accompanied by labs, one of which involves a fun and somewhat-competitive group project where you must program a Lego EV3 Robot to avoid an obstacle to reach some target and then have your time and accuracy compared with other groups.

The second half is ‘computational techniques’ which is like ENGGEN131 on crack. This half of the paper is notorious for being difficult, and all BMEs and ENGSCIs of higher years will empathise with you when you tell them what you are working on in the computer labs. These labs involve weekly Python coding tasks, where most of the difficulty comes from personal stubborness and determination in not being able to stop till you know you have got it right (which you can know because your code either works or it doesn’t). This means that these labs soak up a decent amount of time, but ultimately you are rewarded for this hard work both in grades and in personal satisfaction.

BIOMENG221 – Mechanics of Engineered and Biological Materials

This is the ENGSCI Department version of a ‘Mechanics of Materials’ paper, the concepts of which are similar to various papers in Mechanical/Mechatronics and Civil.

This paper is about looking at how stresses and strains affect materials of different nature. The fundamental concepts to this paper are from the statics component of ENGGEN121 as well as most of CHEMMAT121.

Don’t be too fooled by the name of the paper, it is a reasonably generic mechanics of materials paper where the odd example uses a biological material instead of a ‘traditional’ engineering material, but nothing that relies on heavy biological knowledge in any way.

This paper has really excellent lecturers who explain the concepts really clearly and are very approachable, but don’t be fooled into thinking the paper is easy because the assessments/exam will test how well you actually understand these concepts.


BIOSCI107 – Cellular Processes and Development

The best: The second half of the course

The worst: The first two topics, some of the labs

Ahhh BIOSCI107. I mean no disrespect to the lecturers of the first two topics of BIOSCI107 (‘cells and tissues’ and ‘cell structure and function’), but it definitely starts off a little more tedious with both of these sections requiring a decent amount of memorisation, which is not usually a favourite of anyone who has chosen to study engineering.

It really does get better than that with the following topics (embryology, cell processes, immunology, excitable tissues) all being a lot more concept based, and as long as you are studying to understand these rather than memorise them, the happenings of a cell are actually pretty interesting.

This paper is a little notorious amongst the pre-med bunch, but luckily for you, you come into this paper with a group of friends (I’ll just use this as one more opportunity to mention the collegiality of BME) and a year of uni already behind you.


Of course, you also take ENGSCI211, but as I didn’t take this paper this semester I will leave the comments on this one to the other bloggers, many of whom have already written their views on it.


I hope this shows you more of the diversity of the papers taken within the BME and whether or not this sounds like something you can see yourself doing. I must admit, I am a little bit of a bias representative because I really do love what I am studying, so look out for my next blog post where I promise to bring you the downsides to being a BME student…..

That’s all for now, I hope you are all enjoying your inter-semester breaks!


Mairi 🙂