May 26, 2024  
University Catalog 2020-2021 
University Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biomedical Engineering (PhD)

The program is designed such that students will

  • Demonstrate command of advanced engineering principles and their applications in medicine and biology;
  • Understand the research process and demonstrate capability to conduct independent research;
  • Disseminate their research findings to the broader scientific community;
  • Develop a sense of professional ethics, responsibility, and service.

The foundation of the program is a balance of intensive and extensive formal course work, a sequence of examinations, and the production of a dissertation.

The PhD requires a minimum of 63 hours total. A minimum of 6 hours must be earned in BIEN 651 , Pre-Candidacy Dissertation Research. A minimum of 9 hours must be earned in BIEN 751 , Post-Candidacy Dissertation Research.  An additional minimum of 48 hours must be earned in graduate course work as follows:

  • A core sequence of 15 hours that includes BIEN 500  (4 hours), BIEN 501  (4 hours), BIEN 510  (4 hours) and BIEN 611  (a 1 hour course, taken 3 times in the students first year).
  • One course in Statistics (3 hours) and one additional course in either Mathematics or Statistics (3 hours).
  • Additional courses (15 hours) in engineering disciplines.
  • Additional courses (12 hours) which may be in Engineering, but may also be selected courses in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science. Up to 6 hours of these courses may be taken from disciplines not listed above if the student’s committee agrees that these courses are appropriate to the student’s dissertation topic.

Choice of acceptable graduate-level courses, including choice and composition of major and minor areas, will be established by the Advisory Committee in concert with the doctoral student, subject to approval as part of the Plan of Study.

No foreign language is required for the PhD in Biomedical Engineering. English is the language of communication, and both oral and written proficiency in English are important.

The schedule of examinations consists of a written PhD qualifying examination (BIEN 685 ), an oral PhD qualifying exam (BIEN 686 ) that includes an oral defense of the PhD research proposal, and a defense of the PhD dissertation.

The qualifier exam is taken after the student completes the core BIEN courses, and is typically held during the winter quarter of the student’s second year of study. Students must enroll in BIEN 685  to take the written qualifier exam and must enroll in BIEN 686  to take the oral qualifier exam.

The student’s Advisory Committee consists of at least 5 faculty members who help to guide the student through different aspects of his/her research. At least 60% of all those serving on the Advisory Committee must recommend that the student has satisfactorily passed any of the PhD examinations. None of the examinations may be taken more than 2 times. Advisory Committees must have at least 3 biomedical engineering faculty members, including one who serves as the chairperson, regardless of the student’s project topic and research supervisor.

CIP Code = 140501

General Core Courses (15 SCH)

Qualifying Examinations

BIEN Dissertation Enhancement Seminar (3 SCH)

Additional Graduate Courses

Take a total of 30 SCH from the following areas:

  • Additional Engineering (Minimum 15 SCH)
  • Other Math/Stat (Minimum 3 SCH)
  • Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Computer Science, which may include up to 6 SCH of courses from disciplines other than those noted here (up to 12 SCH total).
  • Directed Study and Special Topics (up to 6 SCH total):  Up to two Doctoral Independent Study (BIEN 550  or BIEN 650 ) courses can be used as part of the engineering course work for the degree.  Independent Study can be a preparation for the research leading to the dissertation.

Research and Dissertation

Complete 6 SCH of BIEN 651  prior to BIEN 686 .  After successful completion of BIEN 686 , the student will become a PhD Candidate and will complete at least 9 SCH of BIEN 751 .  For BIEN 651 , registration in any quarter is for 1 to 3 semester hours or multiples thereof, up to a maximum of 6 semester hours per quarter.  For BIEN 751 , registration in any quarter is for 1 to 3 semeseter hours or multiples thereof, up to a maximum of 9 semester hours per quarter.


48 SCH of coursework + 6 SCH of Pre-candidacy Doctoral Research + 9 SCH of Post-candidacy Dissertation Research = 63 SCH.