Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering (BME) is a profession involving engineering and the life sciences, physical sciences and medical science to understand problems in physiology and biology and improve human health. The BME Graduate Handbook at the website http://www.bme.uconn.edu further describes the program.

The goal of the biomedical engineering graduate program is to provide students the interdisciplinary training in biological and medical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering necessary to solve complex biomedical problems. Faculty members from engineering, biomedical sciences, materials sciences, chemistry, physics, medicine, and dental medicine form an interdisciplinary graduate degree program that spans the University campuses at Storrs and at the Health Center (UCHC) in Farmington. Biomedical engineering can embrace the following diverse yet complementary research areas: biochemical engineering, bioinformatics, bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, biomechanics, biomedical imaging/biosignal processing, biosensors, biotechnology, cellular and tissue engineering, clinical engineering, ergonomics, medical informatics, physiological systems modeling, and rehabilitation engineering.

An entering student’s primary undergraduate training may be in engineering, the physical sciences, medicine or biology. However, all students must demonstrate competence in mathematical analytical methods, certain basic and advanced skills in engineering and computer science, as well as knowledge of core fundamentals of biomedical engineering at the time of their graduation. Plans of study are developed in consultation with the student’s advisory committee and are designed to meet individual needs and program requirements.

Application Procedure

Applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation (preferably from members of the academic profession), a personal letter from the student describing their interest in biomedical engineering and the application to the Graduate School. The GRE and TOEFL are required only for students with an undergraduate degree from a non-US institution.

The M.S. Program

Students whose primary training is in engineering can prepare themselves for entrance into one of the biomedical fields by completing a program leading to the master’s degree in biomedical engineering. The program also offers the biology and chemistry student a means of achieving the mathematical, engineering, and instrumentation skills necessary for a career in biomedical engineering after completing remedial coursework.  (see http://www.bme.uconn.edu)

Both a Plan A (thesis option) and Plan B M.S. degree are offered. The course requirements for Plan A and B M.S. degree can be found at http://www.bme.uconn.edu.

The Ph.D. Program

Applicants to the Ph.D. program are expected to demonstrate outstanding ability and to show, based on their record of previous scholarship and experience, that they are likely to do superior creative work in their respective fields. Holding a master’s degree from the University or any other institution does not render the applicant automatically admissible to a doctoral program. In general, doctoral applicants must meet all admission requirements for the BME M.S. degree and must present evidence that they are capable of doing independent work of distinction. Exceptional students with a B.S. degree may be directly admitted into the BME Ph.D. program.

The BME Ph.D. program requires the passing of two tests, the Qualifying Exam and the General Exam which is based on course work.

All Ph.D. candidates must take the BME General Exam no later than nine months before defending their dissertation at a time arranged between the Ph.D. Candidate and Advisory Committee. The objective of the General Exam is to evaluate a Ph.D. candidate’s competency in developing and formulating a research project and the student’s ability to approach a new problem in ways appropriate for an independent scientist. The exam will consist of a research proposal based on the student’s research project. At least two weeks prior to the exam, the student will submit a written research proposal to the advising committee. The general exam is mainly an oral defense of this research proposal by the student. The committee tries to evaluate the candidate’s competency in developing and formulating the research project, as well as the scientific merits of the project, research hypothesis, research methods, potential findings, implications and limitations. The General Exam must be conducted by at least five faculty (including the Ph.D. Candidate’s Advisory Committee) in the fields related to the student’s project. There are no exemptions from the General Exam.

Research required for the doctoral degree in biomedical engineering involves the use of advanced engineering techniques for the solution of a biological or medical problems. Ph.D. candidates must submit at least two journal papers to a leading BME journal before graduation, with at least one of them having gone through the review process favorably.

Clinical Engineering Internship

This is a hospital-based, two-year program supported by the clinical engineering departments of various hospitals including Hartford Hospital, The John Dempsey Hospital (UCHC), Baystate Medical Center, UMass Medical Center, Rhode Island Hospital, Middlesex Memorial Hospital, Brigham & Woman’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, LINC/ABM Health Incorporated, Providence V.A. Hospital, Boston VA Hospital and West Haven V.A. Hospital. Applications should be received by January 1 for full consideration. As part of the selection process, applicants are invited to the hospital and campus in February and March for interviews. The interview is required to secure a graduate assistantship (paid internship). Final selections are made in April for fall admission. Each intern is expected to spend 20 hours per week in a hospital’s clinical engineering department. The primary objectives are to: (1) provide exposure to hospital organization and administrative structure; (2) provide an opportunity to apply engineering techniques to patient care and hospital-based research; and (3) provide substantial hands-on experience working with health care technology and hospital personnel, including administrators, nurses, technicians and medical staff. Clinical engineering trainees are supported by stipends contributed by the participating hospitals and receive a tuition waiver.  Students accepted for the internship earns either a Plan A or Plan B Master’s degree.

The following courses are required for all Plan A Clinical Engineering Interns: BME 5020 – Clinical Engineering Fundamentals (3 credits), BME 5030 – Human Error and Medical Device Accidents (3 credits), BME 5040 – Medical Instrumentation in the Hospital (3 credits), BME 5050 – Engineering Problems in the Hospital (3 credits, BME 6086 – Healthcare Technology Clinical Rotations I (3 credits, Spring semester, 1st year), GRAD 5950- Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits, Fall semester, 1st year), GRAD 5950 – Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits, Fall semester, 2nd year), GRAD 5950 – Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits, Spring semester, 2nd year).

The following courses are required for all Plan B Clinical Engineering Interns: BME 5020 – Clinical Engineering Fundamentals (3 credits), BME 5030 – Human Error and Medical Device Accidents (3 credits), BME 5040 – Medical Instrumentation in the Hospital (3 credits), BME 5050 – Engineering Problems in the Hospital (3 credits, BME 6086 – Healthcare Technology Clinical Rotations I (3 credits, Spring semester, 1st year), BME 6086 – Healthcare Technology Clinical Rotations II (3 credits, Spring semester, 2nd year)

The remaining two courses can be selected from the following: BME 5000 – Physiological Systems I (3 credits) (Fall semester only), BME 5500 – Clinical Instrumentation Systems (3 credits) (Spring semester only), BME 5100 – Physiological Modeling (3 credits) (Spring semester only), BME 5600 – Human Biomechanics, BME 5700 – Introduction to Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering, GPAH 6305  – Program Evaluation for Health Professionals (Allied Health Sciences), MGMT 5675  – Strategic Management of Human Resources, NURS 5020  – Statistical Methods in Nursing, NURS 5860  – Organization, Systems, and Health Care Policy Leadership, NURS 5865  – Information Systems for the Scholarship of Application.

The BME Graduate Program Director must approve any exceptions to the course requirements.

Research Facilities

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Biomedical Engineering field of study, graduate research facilities in Biomedical Engineering are diverse, and can be found in the various academic departments of the biomedical engineering major advisors on the Storrs campus and at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.

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