Biomedical Engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering offers degree programs leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Upon entering the Ph.D. or M.S. program in Biomedical Engineering students are required to select their area of study or track in one of the following specialties: Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Biomedical Imaging and Biosensors, Bioinformatics and Systems Genomics, and Neuroengineering. Course requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering are determined in conjunction with the major advisor and advisory committee. Courses are selected from a track specific list of approved courses maintained on the Biomedical Engineering website. In addition to the standard M.S. and Ph.D. programs, the department also offers a path to the M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering through a program tied to the Clinical Engineering Internship. This program has separate degree requirements, which include participation in a two-year off-site hospital based internship intended to train students to apply engineering skills to manage healthcare technology in the hospital environment. This program has a separate application process from the standard M.S. in Biomedical Engineering program.

M.S. in Biomedical Engineering

The standard M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering may be earned under either of two plans, as determined by the advisory committee. Plan A (thesis option) emphasizes problem-solving through research, while Plan B (non-thesis option) requires comprehensive understanding of a more general character through Biomedical Engineering coursework. In either case, advisory committees may require more than the minimum number of credits. Once a student begins a Plan A M.S. degree program and receives a graduate research assistantship, they can switch to a Plan B only if approved by the Biomedical Engineering Program Director and major advisor. It is also possible, with identification of a research project and approval from their major advisor, to change from Plan B M.S. degree program to Plan A.

M.S. Plan A Requirements. A minimum of 32 credit hours beyond the B.S. is required. The standard Plan A degree requires no fewer than seven graduate courses (21 credits) of advanced course work, a minimum nine additional credits of GRAD 5950; two credit hours of Biomedical Engineering seminar; and successful completion of a thesis. The thesis must be an original and significant contribution to the field of Biomedical Engineering and must be defended orally according to Graduate School requirements. Students under Plan A are required to present and publish their Master’s Thesis at a conference or have a paper accepted before graduation. For Plan A, the plan of study must include the following coursework: three graduate level engineering courses in the area of the student’s research (nine credits); one life science course for three credits. Life science courses are typically selected from anatomy and physiology, cell and molecular biology or biophysical chemistry, but are not limited to these areas; one graduate level experimental design course with Biostatistics for three credits; two electives totaling six credits. These consist of graduate level courses selected in consultation with the major advisor in the area related to the student’s research; nine credits of GRAD 5950; two semesters, totaling two credits, one credit per semester, of graduate BME seminar; and all course work for the M.S. degree must be at the 5000-6000 level.

M.S. Plan B Requirements. The standard Plan B Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering requires a minimum of 32 credits consisting of ten graduate courses (30 credit hours) and two credit hours of Biomedical Engineering seminar. There are no publication requirements for Plan B M.S. degree students. For Plan B, the plan of study must include the following coursework: Five graduate level engineering courses in the student’s track (15 credits); two life science course (six credits). Life science courses are typically selected from anatomy and physiology, cell and molecular biology or biophysical chemistry, but are not limited to these areas; one graduate level experimental design course with Biostatistics for three credits; two electives totaling six credits. These consist of graduate level courses selected in consultation with the major advisor in the area related to the student’s track; two semesters, totaling two credits, one credit per semester, of graduate BME seminar; at most, six credit hours or two classes may be transferred from other institutions, subject to department approval through a Graduate Petition and to the Graduate School regulations outlined in the Graduate Catalog; and all course work for the M.S. degree must be at the 5000-6000 level.

Course Substitutions. If a student has completed equivalent courses in a well-established graduate program, they can apply for a waiver by petitioning the Graduate Program Director by the end of the first semester. If a waiver is granted, the student may substitute elective graduate course credits for the waived course credits.

Independent Study Courses. For students under Plan B, at most three credit hours of independent study courses may be applied toward course work requirements. For students under Plan A, independent study is not allowed.

M.S. Final Examination. For students under Plan A, an oral examination, often called the thesis defense, is conducted based on the student’s thesis research. The decision as to whether the student passes the examination is based on a vote of the advisory committee. For students under Plan B, the format and content of the final examination is determined by the advisory committee. A student must indicate the intention of graduation at least four weeks before the end of the graduate study to the major advisor who will make arrangement for the final examination. The decision as to whether the student passes the examination is based on a vote of the advisory committee.

M.S. in Biomedical Engineering (Clinical Engineering Internship Program)

The requirements for this program include a non-credit clinical internship, carried out off-site in hospitals throughout the United States, in addition to credit hour and other requirements described below. The degree is awarded as either Plan A (thesis option) or Plan B (non-thesis option). Plan A emphasizes problem-solving through research and requires a minimum of 21 credit hours of coursework and a Thesis Project, including nine credits of GRAD 5950. Plan B requires comprehensive understanding of a more general character and requires 30 hours of coursework.

Clinical Engineering Internship Program Requirements. A minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the B.S. is required. Plan A requires no fewer than seven graduate courses (21 credits) of advanced course work; a minimum nine additional credits of GRAD 5950; and successful completion of a thesis. The thesis must be an original and significant contribution to the field of Biomedical Engineering and must be defended orally according to Graduate School requirements. Interns under Plan A are required to present and publish their Master’s Thesis at a conference or have a paper accepted before graduation. Students pursuing the internship-based M.S. through Plan B must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 30 credits consisting of ten graduate courses (30 credit hours). There are no publication requirements for Plan B M.S. degree students.

Plan A Clinical Engineering Internship Requirements: BME 5020, 5030, 5040, 5050, 5060, 5061; nine credits of GRAD 5950; and three credits of electives, these consist of graduate level courses selected from an approved list maintained on the Biomedical Engineering website. Other courses may be used to complete the elective requirement if approved by the major advisor.

Plan B Clinical Engineering Internship Requirements: BME 5020, 5030, 5040, 5050, 5060, 5061; and 12 credits of electives, these consist of graduate level courses selected from an approved list maintained on the Biomedical Engineering website. Other courses may be used to complete the elective requirement if approved by the major advisor.

Course Substitutions. If a student has completed equivalent courses in a well-established graduate program, they can apply for a waiver by petitioning the Graduate Program Director by the end of the first semester. If a waiver is granted, the student may substitute elective graduate course credits for the waived course credits.

Independent Study Courses. Independent Study courses are not allowed on the Plan of Study for either Plan A or B students pursuing the internship-based M.S. degree.

M.S. Final Examination. For students under Plan A, an oral examination, often called the thesis defense, is conducted based on the student’s thesis research. The decision as to whether the student passes the examination is based on a vote of the advisory committee. For students under Plan B, the format and content of the final examination is determined by the advisory committee. A student must indicate the intention of graduation at least four weeks before the end of the graduate study to the major advisor who will make arrangement for the final examination. The decision as to whether the student passes the examination is based on a vote of the advisory committee.

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

The Ph.D. is primarily a research degree, and may be undertaken after the M.S. or following the B.S. To be awarded the Ph.D., the student must satisfy all requirements of the Biomedical Engineering Department and all requirements of the Graduate School. These requirements are more extensive than those associated with the M.S. degree and the major ones are as follows. The Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering does not have a related area or foreign language requirement.

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. The Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Qualifying Examination consists of the written proposal and oral examination component. The Qualifying Examination is taken at the end of the second year of the Ph.D. program. The written component of the Qualifying Examination follows the format of a grant proposal on a particular research topic, while the oral component the student is required to defend the proposal. The advisory committee makes a final pass/fail decision for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination based on the combined results of the written component and oral presentation. In the event of an unsuccessful attempt, the exam may be repeated once if necessary and at the discretion of the committee.

Ph.D. Prospectus. Before the Ph.D. dissertation is well under way, the student must file a prospectus, dissertation proposal, of the proposed research, according to Graduate School regulations. The student’s advisory committee and the Biomedical Engineering Director of Graduate Studies must approve the prospectus.

Ph.D. Dissertation. The most important part of the study for the Ph.D. degree is the dissertation. A dissertation must be an original and significant contribution to the field of engineering science and must be defended orally according to Graduate School requirements.

Ph.D. Final Examination. The final examination, an oral examination often called the dissertation defense, deals mainly with the subject matter of the dissertation. The decision as to whether the student passes the examination is based on a vote of the advisory committee.

Ph.D. Publications. The student must have submitted a minimum of two papers for publication in the peer reviewed archival literature (journals), and have at least one of these papers published or accepted for publication at the time of the Ph.D. defense. These papers must be based on the student’s dissertation research and must be co-authored by the student’s faculty advisor from the Biomedical Engineering Department.

Ph.D. Required Credit Hours. For the Ph.D. following the M.S. degree, a minimum of 17 credit hours after the M.S. (excluding requirements for dissertation, language and minor area) is required; for the Ph.D. following the B.S. degree, a minimum of 32 credit hours after the B.S. (excluding requirements for dissertation, language and minor area) is required; at most, six credit hours or two classes may be transferred from other institutions, subject to department approval through a Graduate Petition and to the Graduate School regulations outlined in the Graduate Catalog; all course work for the Ph.D. degree must be at the 5-6000 level; and the advisory committees may require more than the minimum number of credits.

Ph.D. Plan of Study. Ph.D. following a B.S.: Five graduate level engineering courses (15 credits) in the student’s track; two life science course (six credits). Life science courses are typically selected from anatomy and physiology, cell and molecular biology or biophysical chemistry, but are not limited to these areas; one graduate level experimental design course with Biostatistics for three credits; two electives totaling three credits. These consist of graduate level courses selected in consultation with the Major Advisor in the area related to the student’s track; fifteen GRAD 6950 course credits, as described in the Graduate Catalog; two semesters (totaling two credits; one credit per semester) of graduate BME seminar; and all course work for the Ph.D. degree must be at the 5-6000 level. Ph.D. following an M.S.: Three graduate level engineering courses (nine credits) in the student’s track; one life science course for three credits. Life science courses are typically selected from anatomy and physiology, cell and molecular biology or biophysical chemistry, but are not limited to these areas; one graduate level experimental design course with Biostatistics for three credits; fifteen GRAD 6950 course credits, as described in the Graduate Catalog; two semesters (totaling two credits; one credit per semester) of graduate BME seminar; and all course work for the Ph.D. degree must be at the 5-6000 level.

Course Substitutions. If a student has completed equivalent courses in a well-established graduate program, they can apply for a waiver by petitioning the BME Department Head by the end of the first semester. If a waiver is granted, the student may substitute an equal or greater number of elective graduate course credits for the waived course credits.

Independent Study Courses. At most two independent study courses can be applied towards course work requirements and only one independent study course can be taken with the student’s major advisor as instructor.

The programs are offered by the School of Engineering.