Degree Requirements

Available » Masters of Science (MS) : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) : Curriculum Overview

Below is the summary of degree requirements. Credits refers to graduate-level course work on a semester basis:

Master of Science (MS) (with thesis)

Academic Credits  
Subject Credits
life sciences 6
math and its applications 6
biomedical measurements (or control systems) 3
biomedical or related engineering 9
thesis (S/U grading) 6
Required Participatory Credit
Seminar and professional development 3

Master of Science (MS) (with research project)

Academic Credits  
Subject Credits
life sciences 6
math and its applications 6
biomedical measurements (or control systems) 3
biomedical or related engineering (can include 3 credits of project) 15
project with review committee 3
Required Participatory Credit
Seminar and professional development 3

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Note: The following are the general requirements for PhD assuming that the student already holds a Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering. It is important to realize that because of the nature of the PhD program, setting specific requirements for graduation is nearly impossible. The PhD committee is the body that ultimately decides what courses are needed for each individual based on his/her background and dissertation.

Academic Credits  
Subject Credits
life sciences 6
math and its applications 6
biomedical measurements (or control systems) 3
biomedical or related engineering (course choices are guided by the faculty committee) 18
research (usually split as thesis for MS degree and dissertation for PhD) 24 - 30
Required Participatory Credit
Seminar and professional development 3
Ethics 1

Note: Students without a strong pre-medical background usually take the following two courses offered by the BME department as part of their life science requirements:

  • Life Sciences for BME, I (UM-BIOM 7/8004, UT-BIOM 811)
  • Life Sciences for BME, II (UM-BIOM 7/8005, UT-BIOM 821)

Students with pre-medical background take courses offered in other departments, especially:

  • At UM: Graduate courses currently listed in the UM catalog under the headings of "Biology" and of "Microbiology and Molecular Cell Sciences"
  • At UT: Graduate courses in the Integrated program in biomedical sciences. For more information visit the Graduate Health Sciences IPBS Course Information page

See the complete list of approved courses to satisfy the life science requirement and a list of permissible courses to satisfy the mathematics requirement.

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Typical Curriculum in Biomedical Engineering

The table below illustrates typical semester patterns of courses, exams and research for a thesis-based MS degree that is followed by a Ph.D. The minimum graduate school requirement for the Joint Program is 57 credits (plus 6 credits for the MS thesis and 24 credits for the PhD dissertation). Students and their faculty committee agree on the actual number of credits; few take the exact number shown. Some courses can be chosen from lists; others are chosen with the consent of the faculty advisor and committee. The term "engineering choice" is understood to include applicable course work.

Year Fall Term Spring Term
1st Year Life Sci. for BME, Pt. I (3)
Analysis for BME (3)
Biomedical Instrumentation and Measurements (3) Seminar
Life Sci. for BME, Part II (3)
Math Elective (3)
Engineering Choice (3) Seminar
Summer: Thesis, LEVEL A EXAM (in May)
2nd Year Engineering Choices (6)
Thesis Seminar Level A Exam (in Jan; if missed in May)
Life Science Requirement [from list] (3)
Math Elective [from list] (3)
Engineering Choice (3) Seminar (MS COMPLETED)
Summer: Dissertation Proposal submitted, LEVEL B EXAM
3rd Year Life Science Requirement [from list] (3)
Math Elective [from list] (3)
Engineering Choice (3) Seminar
Engineering Choice (3)
Engineering Choice (3)
Math Elective [from list] (3)
Seminar Dissertation
Summer: Dissertation
4th Year Engineering Choice (3)
Engineering Choice (3)
Seminar Dissertation
Optional Elective Optional Elective Engineering Choice (3)
Ethics Seminar Dissertation
Summer: Dissertation
(The pattern continues until dissertation is defended. Often, selected courses are taken with permission or encouragement by the faculty committee.)

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