Biomedical Engineering Graduate Programs

Master's and doctoral level programs in biomedical engineering are readily available and provide students with hands-on experience in the field. Learn about the different types of degrees and what makes each one unique.

There are several different kinds of graduate programs in biomedical engineering, at both the master's and doctoral levels, that cover many of the same or similar course topics, yet vary somewhat in their focus. These programs generally include hands-on learning experience in research and/or project work to prepare students for future careers. Compare and contrast the different program options below.

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Types of Graduate Programs in Biomedical Engineering

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Master of Science (MS) in Biomedical Engineering degree programs are fairly common and prepare students for further graduate study and/or careers in the biomedical field. These programs generally require a minimum of around 30 credits and typically offer a thesis and non-thesis track, which still may require a final project/culminating experience. Usually students who are interested in research and research-oriented careers in the field take the thesis track and participate in a variety of research projects, including an original thesis project. The curriculum for these programs are usually flexible to allow students to focus their studies in specific areas of interests, but some core courses may cover topics in statistics, physiology, biomaterials, devices, bioimaging and more.

Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering

Master of Engineering (MEng) in Biomedical Engineering degree programs are also fairly common and are career-oriented programs. These programs may range from 30 to 32 credits and usually offer a wide range of additional specializations in areas like medical devices, biotechnology, immune engineering, neural engineering, biomaterials or drug and gene delivery. Students in these programs are also usually required to complete an internship or practicum experience that provides them with hands-on learning experience while working to solve various medical issues through engineering principles. With the variety of specializations, the curriculum for these programs vary greatly, but generally require an advanced math course, multiple technical courses in biomedical engineering and a leadership/management course.

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in biomedical engineering are designed to train students for careers in advanced research and/or academia, and therefore, often provide students with hands-on teaching experience. These programs usually require a minimum of 80 credits and may take 5 to 6 years to complete, including multiple credit hours in research for the required dissertation. Students in the program also have to take a qualifying exam and may be able to earn a master's degree, complete with a thesis requirement, along the way if entering the program with only a bachelor's degree. Some of these programs may allow students to further specialize in various areas, like rehabilitation, imaging and biophotonics, mechanics and transport or regenerative medicine and engineering, and courses vary greatly based on a student's research interests, but may include topics in experimental design, public speaking, grant writing, ethics, physiology and more.

Common Entrance Requirements

Graduate degree programs in biomedical engineering at both the master's and doctoral levels usually require applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or a science-related field that has provided them with a strong background in engineering, math, physics and science. Admission for these programs can be competitive and some programs may have a minimum GPA requirement, usually around a 3.0, and/or specific GRE test score requirements, but all programs require that students take the GRE. In general, these programs ask students to submit their transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement or essay with their application and fees. Some programs may include an interview process.

Students who are more interested in the research side of biomedical engineering may wish to pursue an MS or PhD in the field, while those more interested in hands-on careers in the field may wish to earn an MEng. All of these programs allow for flexibility in the curriculum to help students pursue their interests and usually require a final thesis/dissertation, project or culminating experience, such as an internship.

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