ECE Focus Area: Pre-Medicine (Computer)

Pre-Medicine FA


The computer-interest pre-med FA is designed to prepare students for admission to medical school while also providing a solid foundation in one of the computer-oriented focus areas.

Completion of this FA will enable students to enter medical school with a solid foundation of a computer-oriented focus area such medical hardware/software, bioinformatics, computer networks, and medical image processing. Given the increasing use of computers in many areas of medicine (e.g., use/analysis of medical images, use of electronic medical records, and use of computer-based medical devices), students will be at an advantage over their peers in many areas.

After completing their undergraduate program, pre-med students often directly enter medical school. After medical school, students complete a residency program in a particular specialty (such as radiology, cardiology, internal medicine, or ophthalmology) before they are ready to practice medicine.

Students interested in the computer-interest pre-med elective focus area are encouraged to consider the interest and FA course selection suggestions listed below when completing their plan of study form.

FA Requirements

Suggested Options



Breadth Elective
(select one)

ECE:3410 Electronic Circuits
ECE:3400 Linear Systems II*
ECE:3540 Communication Networks
ECE:3600 Control Systems

Depth Elective
(select one)

ECE:5320 High Performance Computer Architecture
ECE:5330 Graph Algorithms and Combinatorial Optimization
ECE:5800 Fundamentals of Software Engineering
CS:4400 Database Systems
CS:4420 Artificial Intelligence
CS:4520 Computer Graphics

5000-Level ECE
(select two)

       All ECE depth electives listed above and

ECE:3213 Introduction to Bioinformatics
ECE:5220 Computational Genomics
ECE:5450 Machine Learning
ECE:5460 Digital Signal Processing**
ECE:5480 Digital Image Processing***
ECE:5830 Software Engineering Project

ECE Elective
(select one)

All breadth, depth and 5000-level ECE electives listed above

Technical Electives
(select two)

       All breadth, depth and 5000-level ECE electives listed above, and
BIOL:1402 Principles of Biology I
BIOL:1502 Principles of Biology II
BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics
CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry II
CHEM:2210 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM:2220 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM:2410 Organic Chemistry Laboratory
BME:2210 Bioimaging and Bioinformatics
An advanced biology course (e.g., biochemistry, molecular & cell biology, human physiology, genetics, or microbiology)

Additional Electives
(Select one 3 s.h. & one ≥2 s.h.)   
Any of the above OR courses selected in consultation with advisor.

* Recommended if interested in medical imaging

** Requires ECE:3400 as breadth elective

*** Recommended if interested in medical imaging and took ECE:3400 as breadth elective

Advising Notes

  1. Because pre-med students need to take chemistry early in the program, it is recommended that they take chemistry in their first semester (as in the standard curriculum) rather than waiting until a later semester.
  2. The technical electives listed above are the current science requirements at The University of Iowa College of Medicine that go beyond the standard engineering chemistry, physics, and math sequence. Other medical schools may have slightly different requirements.
  3. The choice of GEC electives is also important. For example, The University of Iowa College of Medicine requires an additional English course (including composition and literature) beyond rhetoric. They also require four courses in social and behavior sciences and humanities with a writing component. Recommended courses include behavioral psychology, foreign language and other courses that encourage a greater appreciation for diversity and cultural competency.
  4. It is recommended that students also look through other computer-interest FA options for selecting their breadth, depth, and 100-level ECE electives. The computer-interest pre-med option is essentially is a hybrid of one of those FA options (with many of them being useful for future medical doctors) and the pre-med requirements. For example, some pre-med students may wish to focus on medical imaging (and thus should look at the computer-interest signal/image processing FA), while others may wish to focus on bio-informatics (and thus should look at the bio-informatics FA). Yet others may wish to focus on the computer hardware, the computer networks, or the software engineering.

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