Doctorate of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering

Admission requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Beyond that, applicants also need to meet additional department admissions requirements. International applicants are required to submit a WES Evaluation.

Degree requirements

A minimum of 90 course credits beyond the baccalaureate degree are required for the Ph.D. program. These credits are distributed in the following manner:

  1. Core courses: All Ph.D. students must take the following 20-21 semester credits of core courses: BME 5020, BME 7010, BME 5010 (Adv. Quantitative Physiology), BME 8070, BME 8080, and graduate level statistics.
  2. Life sciences minor: Students must complete a minor in the life sciences by completing a minimum of 6 credits of graduate life science courses. These courses must be approved by both the student's advisor and the graduate program officer. In general, courses can be selected from departments in the School of Medicine, the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Department of Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students with previous, substantial education in the life sciences may petition to complete a minor in a mathematics, physical science or engineering subject.
  3. General courses: Students must take a minimum of 34 semester credits in formal lecture courses in addition to the core courses and the life sciences minor. The student is required to seek approval of his/her selection of courses from a graduate advisor. At least 20 semester credits of the general courses must be chosen from courses offered by the biomedical engineering program. At least 30 credits must be earned at the 7000-level or above, including the core and minor courses.
  4. A minimum of one first author peer reviewed journal publication is required before defending the Doctoral Dissertation.

An approved Plan of Work should be filed with the Office for Graduate Studies before the student has earned 48 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. The student must have filed the Plan of Work before being recommended for candidacy.

Ph.D. graduate course requirements
Ph.D. graduation timeline


All Ph.D. students must pass the following examinations. Application for  Ph.D. qualifier can be found here.  

  1. Preliminary qualifying examination: Students are encouraged to take the preliminary qualifying examination after completing 16 credits of new course work toward the Ph.D. All Ph.D. students are required to pass this examination before completion of 32 credits of new course work. Each student will have two chances to pass the examination. If the student does not pass on the second attempt, he/she will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program. The option of obtaining a terminal master's degree will apply. The examination will be offered annually in February. 
  2. Oral examination: This examination shall be a presentation of the proposal for the dissertation research and is to be administered by the student's Doctoral Dissertation Committee. Students are encouraged to complete this presentation as soon as possible after obtaining candidacy status in order to assure good communication with their Dissertation Committees.


A student may be admitted to the status of doctoral candidate upon successful completion of the preliminary qualifying examination, completion of approximately 50 credits of coursework, and submission of an approved Plan of Work to the Graduate School. Doctoral students must register for four consecutive semesters of Doctoral Candidacy Status (BME 9991 to 9994). The spring/summer semester may or may not be counted as a consecutive semester, according to the student's preferences. During any subsequent semester in which a student is conducting research, they must register for BME 9995 (Candidacy Maintenance).


In addition to this formal course work, students must complete individual research leading to a doctoral dissertation. This work will culminate in a public defense to the academic community. At this session, the candidate is to present his/her doctoral research for final approval by the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, which must include at least two members with graduate faculty status.

The Conflict of Interest form must  be turned in twice, once with the Prospectus and again with the pre-defense paperwork (Final Report Form).

The Safe Assign form must be turned in three weeks prior to the Dissertation Defense.

Information on Ph.D. Time Extensions can be found here.