PhD in Biomedical Engineering
Applicants to the doctoral program are encouraged to contact faculty members in the department and discuss research plans. For contact information, see http://bme.bu.edu. All requirements for the engineering PhDs meet the minimum criteria set forth for the PhD program. These and additional requirements pertaining to all engineering PhD students are outlined below.
Admission, Prerequisites, and Financial Aid
Students with undergraduate training in engineering, mathematics, physics, or natural sciences are invited to apply. All applicants are required to submit an application form, transcripts of previous study, scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, and at least two letters of recommendation. Required credentials for both the MS and PhD programs include a B+ average. For international students, a minimum TOEFL score of 625 on the written exam or 263 on the computer-based exam is expected. A score of 7.0 or higher is expected on the IELTS.
For admission with or without financial aid consideration, domestic applications must be submitted by January 15 and international applications by December 15 for the Fall Semester. Most students admitted to the PhD program are offered financial aid in the form of various fellowships, which include tuition, health insurance, and the GSU fee. Applications for admission may be obtained from the College of Engineering Graduate Programs Office, 48 Cummington Mall, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215; 617-353-9760, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; College of Engineering Graduate Programs website: www.bu.edu/eng/admissions/grad/. An electronic application is available on the web at www.bu.edu/eng/admissions/grad/apply/.
All PhD students must (1) show proficiency in mathematics by fulfilling the departmental mathematics requirement, and (2) pass an oral qualifying exam in biomedical engineering. An oral defense of the dissertation proposal and a final oral examination defending the dissertation are also required. All PhD students are expected to become connected with a research laboratory and engage in goal-oriented research by the end of their first year.
Postbachelor’s PhD students must enroll for a minimum of 64 credits. Eight courses (32 credits) must be structured (non-research) graduate courses. Two teaching practicums (8 cr) are also required. Specific requirements include:
- ENG BE 505 Molecular Bioengineering I (4 cr)
- ENG BE 706 Quantitative Physiology for Engineers (4 cr)
- ENG BE 790 Biomedical Engineering Seminar (0 cr)
- ENG BE 791 BME PhD Laboratory Rotation (2 cr)
- ENG BE 792 Literature Review (2 cr)
- ENG BE 801 Teaching Practicum I (4 cr)
- ENG BE 802 Teaching Practicum II (4 cr)
- Three BE graduate-level electives at 500 level or higher (12 cr)
- Two graduate-level technical electives at 500 level or higher (8 cr)
- Math requirement from approved list (4 cr)
Each student must complete a minimum of 12 research credits of BE 900
Post-master’s PhD students must enroll for a minimum of 32 credits and must take six approved structured courses, including BE 505, BE 706, BE 792, the math requirement and two graduate-level electives (at least one BE). Up to 12 credits of this structured coursework may be waived if equivalence is demonstrated. Two teaching practicums (8 cr) are also required. Students must complete a minimum of 4 research credits of BE 900.
The determination of equivalent graduate courses will be subject to the review of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Committee.
All PhD students are required to have at least two semesters of teaching practicum (BE 801 and BE 802). Assignments are made by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.
All degree-seeking students are assigned an academic advisor who is a full-time academic faculty member in the department. The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies assigns an academic advisor for each student.
The biomedical engineering qualifying exam is taken at the end of the first academic year. Students must also show proficiency in mathematics by fulfilling the departmental mathematics requirement.
Oral Prospectus Defense
Within five semesters of matriculation, the student is required to present an oral thesis proposal to the prospective Dissertation Committee and have the written dissertation prospectus approved. The committee evaluates the potential of the proposed research and the student’s academic preparation to engage in dissertation research.
Thesis Progress Reports
Before the Prospectus Defense ends, the committee must indicate on the PhD Dissertation Prospectus Defense form the date for the next committee meeting (not to exceed 12 months) and indicate expected milestones for the next thesis committee meeting. Required revisions to the thesis proposal should be completed satisfactorily before a final “Pass” grade is given. Thesis committee meetings are to be held on a regular basis in order for the student to report progress and the committee to provide feedback. At a minimum, thesis committee meetings will be held annually. The student must forward to his/her committee a written report (Thesis Progress Report) detailing progress towards milestones and the next planned steps at least one week before the meeting.
Residency Requirement, PhD Candidacy, Dissertation Prospectus, Final Oral Examination Time Limit
See Course Requirements in the Doctoral Programs Overview section of this bulletin.
A PhD candidate is expected to prepare and carry out an independent and original research project in partial fulfillment of the dissertation requirement. The Dissertation Committee, with a minimum of four members, must include three College of Engineering tenured or tenure-track faculty, including at least one primary Biomedical Engineering faculty member, and one faculty member of an academic department other than the one in which the student is enrolled. Frequently, scholars from other colleges within the University, as well as outside the University, serve on dissertation committees. A Special Faculty Appointment form is available from the Biomedical Department Office for this purpose.
MD/PhD Combined Degree Program
The combined degree program is conducted under the joint auspices of the School of Medicine and the College of Engineering and is designed for and open to highly qualified individuals who are strongly motivated for an education and a career in both medicine and research.
The purpose of the program is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain advanced education and research training in biomedical engineering while providing exposure to and training in clinical medicine. The program requires six to seven years of study and leads to both the MD and PhD degrees.
The applicant must meet the requirements for admission to both the School of Medicine as a candidate for the MD degree and the College of Engineering as a candidate for the PhD degree. Applicants for the MD/PhD degree program are required to submit the results of the Medical College Admission Test and those of the Graduate Record Examination.
Read more about degree, eligibility, and admission requirements.