FAQs – BME Master of Science


What is the difference between the MS and the MEng?

  • There are two main differences: the coursework during the program and the career directions. 
  • The MS program is intended for students interested in expanding their foundation in molecular- and/or systems-level bioengineering, providing them with the opportunity to conduct research alongside our award-winning faculty. The program length is around 3-4 semesters, and the practicum is satisfied by a research project or thesis.
  • The MEng program is intended for students interested in a career in the medical device industry, providing them with the opportunity to develop a medical device with collaborators from Boston Medical Center and industry mentors from medical device companies. The program length is 2 semesters, and the practicum is satisfied by the BE695 medical device development project.

What is the difference between the Practicum and the Engineering Practice degree?

  • The practicum is a required practical experience component fulfilled through a thesis (2 semesters) or research project (1 semester) for the MS program or through the 2-semester medical device design project for the MEng program. This is different from an industry co-op or internship, which can be used to satisfy the optional ‘with Engineering Practice’ degree option.

When does the ‘with Engineering Practice’ aspect of the program usually take place? 

  • Typical industry internships that count towards the ‘with Engineering Practice’ option usually start in January or June and last 3 or 6 months. 
  • International students must have completed two semesters in full-time status to be eligible to begin an internship in the United States, and they must complete additional paperwork with the BU International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) after registration.
  • Since MEng students have to complete the BE695 project in two consecutive fall and spring semesters, the’ with practice’ option is typically done in the following summer.

How long does it take to complete a Masters Degree?

  • Students in the MEng program can complete the degree in as little as two semesters of full-time study. 
  • Students in the MS program can complete it in one calendar year, but typically take 3-4 semesters, depending on the student’s course load each semester and if a thesis is pursued.

Are there any part-time options or are these both full-time programs?

  • Both programs are intended to be full-time, in-person programs; however part-time options are possible.

What is the size of each program?

  • Each program admits around 20-30 students per cohort.

How does the College of Engineering support students looking to secure a job in their field following completion of their degree program?

  • The College of Engineering has an active Career Development Office which works with students to source employment opportunities, prepare for the interview process and provide guidance during offer negotiation. The college hosts multiple networking events, including two annual engineering career fairs offering opportunities to connect with a wide range of prospective employers in a multitude of industries and companies.
  • In addition, Masters students can take advantage of a 12-week 1-credit Career course or professional development workshops called The Engineering Masters Series designed specifically for Masters students.

Where are BU BME Masters graduates employed?

  • BU Masters graduates are highly sought after by the leading science and technology companies, including Medtronic, Boston Scientific, DuPuy Synthes, GE Healthcare, Smith + Nephew, Merck, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Biogen, Ginkgo Bioworks, to name just a few. Our Career Development Office works closely with students as soon as they arrive on campus to understand their career aspirations and provide them with the tools they need to land their dream job. Some of our graduates go on to pursue a doctoral degree (PhD or MD) or decide to work for consulting companies, the government or non-profit sector.

Is housing provided for graduate students?

  • BU maintains a residential building for graduate students, as well as a number of rental properties. Our centrally located urban campus provides easy access to a wealth of housing options. BU’s Off Campus Services aggregates information from outside agencies to help BU students, faculty, and staff find housing and roommates off-campus. Please visit Graduate Housing for more information about our housing options.

Why should I go to graduate school in Boston instead of another city?

  • BU is an integral part of the area’s thriving biotechnology and medtech hub. Studying in Boston places you front and center in an environment rich with biotechnology companies and startups, presenting diverse learning, research, networking and workforce opportunities. Furthermore, Massachusetts has the #1 highest relative employment and one of the highest annual mean wages of bioengineers and biomedical engineers in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Beyond its employment and educational opportunities, Boston is a vibrant city that also offers beautiful parks, historical landmarks, and world-famous sports, art, music, and food scenes. The city is also very accessible, either by foot or by the extensive subway system. 

Can I get in contact with any current students to ask questions?

  • View the profiles of our ambassadors here, and contact Inna Gerzon (igerzon@bu.edu) with your questions, who can connect you with a current ambassador.

What kind of advising is available to graduate students?

  • All of our students are assigned a faculty advisor. In addition, the Graduate Chair, Graduate Programs Office, and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs are all available to assist and provide advice.

What resources and facilities are available to Masters students?

  • The department maintains state-of-the-art educational and research facilities, including a 170,000 square foot Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering Facility, a BioInterface Technologies Facility, a Micro and Nano Imaging Facility, a Bioengineering Technology & Entrepreneurship Center and 6 interdisciplinary research centers. – mention Engineering Product Innovation Center?
  • Experiential learning opportunities, including opportunities to work with clinicians at the Boston University School of Medicine and other Boston-area hospitals, deepen students’ knowledge base, preparing them for careers in companies producing cutting edge products and technologies. 



What are the prerequisites for the Masters programs?

  • Students with an undergraduate degree in engineering or other quantitative major will be considered for this program. No specific courses are required. It is recommended that students have a strong background in math, science, and quantitative engineering courses. If unsure, consider our LEAP program or contact us. 

Can I apply without an engineering bachelor’s degree?

  • Interested in the MEng or MS program in biomedical engineering but don’t have a degree in engineering? Check out our unique Late Entry Accelerated Program (LEAP). The program is designed for students who have at least a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts or another non-engineering field which does not qualify them for direct admission to one of the College of Engineering’s graduate programs.

Where can we find a list of electives/course options to understand if our interests match what’s covered in the program(s)?

  • BME graduate electives are listed on the BME academics page, while the course requirements for each program are listed on their respective webpages. 

What are the benefits of choosing one of the three specializations (robotics, data analytics, and cybersecurity), and can both MS and MEng students complete one?

  • The specializations offer a unique way to advance in rapidly growing economic sectors that have a critical need for trained engineers. Specializations are open to both MS and MEng students, but depending on overlap of courses, this may mean additional courses and semesters in your program.

Can graduate courses from another institution be transferred over?

  • Graduate courses taken at other institutions cannot be transferred over to satisfy program requirements; however, they may allow you to take more advanced courses.

If I have a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, will the Masters program be a repeat of what I have already done?

  • We will build on the strong foundations and technical skills you already have, but we will not duplicate material that you have already covered. The flexible curriculum allows students to choose advanced courses that match their interests. 



What are the application requirements for the Masters programs?

  • Students who wish to apply to any of our Masters degree programs should complete an online application. In addition, you must submit a statement of purpose, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a resume/CV. International applicants must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS test score report. GRE scores vary by program. Please refer to Graduate Admissions for more information.

Are application fee waiver available?

  • We encourage students to apply for an application fee waiver. See if you qualify here.

What are the typical GPA and average GRE scores of admitted students?

  • During the admission process, the admission committee looks at the overall performance and experience of every candidate. We look for a strong quantitative background to ensure that you will do well in our BU courses, but we do not reject applicants based on a single bad grade or score.
  • GRE scores – not submitting them will not negatively impact you.

Is there anything particularly important you would look for in the statement of purpose when considering an application?

  • Applicants should show demonstrated interest in the biomedical field, either through research, internships, or school courses/projects. Also please include why our MEng or MS program/curriculum is a good fit for your career aspirations.

I have an undergrad degree from an American university. Do I still need the TOEFL?

  • No, the TOEFL is only required for international students with degrees from universities not in the US.

Can I apply to both the MS and MEng programs? 

  • Yes. While there may be some elective course overlap between the programs, each program is unique in focus and student cohort.



How much do the programs cost?

What types of financial aid are offered to Masters students (i.e. scholarships, fellowships, etc.)?

  • We offer a limited number of merit-based partial tuition scholarships, and need-based federal student loans are also available and can be applied for using the FAFSA. You should list Boston University Code 002130. Find more information about financing options here.
  • In addition to loans (federal and credit-based) and external funding opportunities, we offer a range of fellowships and research assistantships through different departments/colleges.
  • A variety of paid part-time positions are available for graduate students through the Student Employment Office.

Can Masters students get research assistantships and teaching assistantships? If so, how do I apply?

  • There are a very limited number of teaching assistantships available every year. Information about these is made available before the start of each semester, depending on need.

Are there any financial aid options for international students?

  • In addition to the merit-based partial tuition scholarships, please find a list of fellowships here.



I’ve been admitted to the Master of Science program. Can I do a thesis?

  • Yes, many of our MS students are interested in pursuing a thesis, though this is entirely optional.While taking BE 790 (offered in the Fal only) students identify a faculty advisor and work with them to define a suitable thesis topic.

For the MS with thesis program, how are students matched into labs? Do I need to be paired with a PI before applying/matriculating?

  • You do not need to identify a PI prior to joining the program. Typically, students identify a faculty advisor in their second or later semester, by approaching PI directly depending on their area of interest.

Are MS projects funded through labs?

  • Occasionally, some MS projects/theses provide a stipend, depending on availability of funds.

Is the main purpose for the MS to work in a company after? Or do students also tend to apply to PhD programs after?

  • Our graduates pursue many different career paths after graduating: some stay on for a PhD or MD degree; most obtain employment in the private sector.