The Biomedical Engineering (BME) PhD program in the College of Engineering is built on an advanced core curriculum that encourages students to expand their knowledge in specific areas related to their research interests.
With research areas spanning musculoskeletal biomechanics, drug delivery and nanomedicine, cell and tissue engineering, disease modeling, and neuroengineering and rehabilitation, the PhD program in BME at UD offers both academic rigor and flexibility to meet the needs of students with different interests and backgrounds. The department offers a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for researchers from diverse backgrounds.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical engineering, BME graduate students may work with advisors from a variety of research areas who have primary appointments in the BME department or in other departments at UD. Faculty advisors, along with the dissertation committee, are responsible for defining the student’s research responsibilities and for evaluating the student’s performance.
For inquiries, please contact the BME graduate program.
Admission to the graduate program is competitive. Those who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, and those who do not meet all the requirements are not necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. Applicants to the PhD program in BME should meet the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering, physical, or biological sciences from an accredited 4-year college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
- Engineering, science, and math courses from the following list, while not required for admission, are highly recommended: Calculus, Differential Equations, Calculus-based Physics, Biology, Physiology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Signal Processing, Statics and Dynamics, Probability and Statistics, and Computer Programming. It is understood that very few applicants will have completed all of these courses, but all provide a foundation that will help with the required courses in the Biomedical Engineering graduate program.
- For international applicants, a TOEFL exam taken within the last 2 years with a minimum score of 223 for the computer-based test and of 84 for the iBT with a 20 for the iBT speaking component.
- Three letters of recommendation from individuals acquainted with the student and their academic work or from employers or others who have had a supervisory relationship with the applicant and are able to assess the applicant’s potential for success in graduate studies.
- A personal statement (1-2 page) that indicates:
- the reason for the students’ interest in graduate study
- a discussion of previous research experience and/or industrial experience
- the student’s area(s) of research interest and a list of faculty with whom they would like to work
- the student’s ultimate career objectives
We welcome intellectually motivated, creative and diverse individuals to our graduate education and research programs.
The Biomedical Engineering (BME) program currently offers a PhD degree program and plans to offer a Master of Science program in the future.
Deadlines (December 15th priority: February 1st Final)
Admission decisions are made by the BME Graduate Committee. The application deadline is December 15th for students who wish to matriculate in the subsequent fall semester. We will continue to review new applications until February 1. Students are advised to apply early since applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Admissions offers are typically made by March, and the deadline for decisions to accept offers of admission is April 15 for matriculation in the fall semester.
Spring Exceptions (Dec 1st)
Under exceptional circumstances, students may be considered for off-cycle (Spring) admissions, with an application deadline of December 1. Students who wish to apply for Spring term admission should notify the graduate program and their potential advisor to ensure that their application is reviewed.
Applications to the UD BME PhD program should be submitted through the University of Delaware Graduate College website. Required application materials include the student’s transcript(s), three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement that describes the student’s preparation for and interest in obtaining a PhD in BME from UD. For information on waiving the graduate application fee, please go to https://grad.udel.edu/fees-and-funding/application-fee/ or contact the Graduate Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial assistance is awarded on a competitive basis to the pool of admitted applicants. The University of Delaware’s policies apply to all forms of financial aid. Please refer to the University Policies for Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships. The majority of students in the BME program will be supported on research contracts and grants obtained by their Faculty Advisors. Students on projects without external funding will be provided support (assuming that their progress is satisfactory) through the use of either other program funds or by appointment as a teaching assistant. No student will be supported by departmental funds for more than 2 semesters; funds beyond such a commitment must be provided by the Faculty Advisor or by appointment as a teaching assistant. In general, funding is not guaranteed beyond five years. Students in the Biomedical Engineering program may be provided Graduate Assistantships:
- Research Assistants (RAs) are generally funded by research grants and contracts provided by external funding agencies. Students should be supported as an RA through their Faculty Advisor’s research funds once they are matched (beginning in November 1 of the student’s matriculating year). RAships provide full tuition and a stipend.
- Teaching Assistants (TAs) are offered for graduate students to perform teaching and other instructional activities. Note that this is different from the Teaching Aid Requirement in the PhD program. The amount of service may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be 20 hours per week. A TAship provides full tuition and a stipend. In accordance with University of Delaware regulations, TAs must fulfill the requirements detailed in the Teaching Aid Requirement section.
English Proficiency Tests
International applicants should take the TOEFL exam within the last 2 years with minimum scores as follows:
|Paper Based Test||563|
|iBT||84 with a 20 or higher for the iBT Speaking component|
Update- As testing centers have closed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University of Delaware will temporarily accept the additional tests
|TOEFL at Home||84 overall with Speaking component 20 or higher|
|IELTS Indicator||6.5 overall with no individual Speaking sub-score below 6.0|
|iTEP Academic-Plus||3.7 overall with Speaking component 3.5 or higher|
Waivers are only allowed when:
- A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree has been or will be earned from a university recognized by the ministry of education in a country where English is the primary language.
- A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree has been or will be earned from a college or university located in the United States and accredited by a regional accrediting association.
For additional clarifications, please refer to: https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/grad/prospective-students/grad-admissions/test-scores/
On the Rise
Our graduate program ranked 45th in US News and World Report’s 2023 graduate program rankings, placing it in the top 30% of the nation’s BME PhD programs. Our past and current students have won numerous awards, including the NSF GRFP, NIH F31, and DOD NDSEG graduate fellowships. Additionally, BME students have repeatedly won the prestigious George W. Laird Merit Fellowships! Upon completion of their degree, our students have continued to successful independent careers in both academia and industry.
The PhD program in Biomedical Engineering consists of 39 credits of graduate level course work including at least 9 credits of Doctoral Dissertation. The program allows for considerable flexibility in course selection. The PhD program also requires completion of a Teaching Aid requirement, the Qualifying Exam, the Candidacy Defense and the Doctoral Dissertation. PhD students are required to take 4 core courses and a minimum of 5 technical electives. The table below lists the course requirements for a PhD degree in BME.
PhD requirements in Biomedical Engineering
|4 Core courses|
|BISC 605 Advanced Mammalian Physiology I [4 cr.] or
BISC 606 Advanced Mammalian Physiology II [4 cr.]
KAAP 630 Advanced Human Physiology I [3 cr.] or
KAAP 631 Advanced Human Physiology II [3 cr.]
|BMEG 671 Mathematical Physiology|
|BMEG 802 Advanced Biomedical Experiment Design & Analysis|
|BMEG 801 Communication in Biomedical Engineering|
|5 Technical Electives (minimum)||15||Credits|
|at least 1 must be a 600-level or higher BMEG elective|
|Doctoral Dissertation||9||credit maximum|
|Seminar Series (3 semesters)||0||Credits|
|Teaching Aid (minimum one rotation)|
|Graduate Student Research Symposium|
Staying on Track
|Qualifying Exam (written and verbal – first summer)|
|Yearly Progress Report|
|Candidacy with Research Plans (end of 2nd year)|
|Dissertation Proposal (within two years of Qualifying Exam)|
Students will be matched to a Faculty Advisor from a list of BME-affiliated faculty members participating in the degree program. For the first 2 months following fall matriculation, the student will be advised by the BME Graduate Director (unless a direct match to an advisor is made during the admission process). The student will be responsible for identifying potential faculty advisors by meeting with faculty in early September, attending faculty presentations in BMEG 801 (seminar series), and attending research group meetings. By Oct 15th students must submit a ranked list that contains at least 3 potential advisors. Advisors also submit a ranked list of students (blind to student ranking). The BME Graduate Director will match the student to a Faculty Advisor before the end of October. The Faculty Advisor will be the primary contact of the student for questions and advice on his/her thesis research throughout the remainder of the program. The student will develop a plan of study for the program with the Faculty Advisor by the end of the second semester of their first year. Any changes to a student’s program of study must be approved by the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director. For more information, please consult the graduate handbook.
Core Courses (12 credits)
Principles of Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
BISC 605 Advanced Mammalian Physiology (4) Systemic mammalian physiology: cellular mechanisms, muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive and endocrine systems. Emphasizes human physiology and includes discussions of primary literature in the field of physiology research.
KAAP 630 Advanced Human Physiology I (3) This course will focus on cell, organ, and systems physiology of the following three areas: endocrine, cardiovascular, and respiratory.
BISC 606 Advanced Mammalian Physiology II (4)Systemic mammalian physiology: respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems and metabolism.
KAAP 631 Advanced Human Physiology II (3) This course will focus on cell, organ, and systems physiology of the following three areas: renal, neuromuscular, and gastrointestinal.
Advanced Math (3 credits)
BMEG 671 Mathematical Physiology (3)Mathematical methods in Human Physiology, covering cellular, tissue, organ, and integrated systems. Dynamic modeling of homeostasis, endocrine regulatory systems, immune response dynamics, mutation and selection. Mathematical methods covered include linear and nonlinear differential equations, Lyapunov analysis, mass action, Hamming spaces, reaction-diffusion equations, and simulation.
Statistics (3 credits) – Choose 1
BMEG 802 Advanced Biomedical Experiment Design & Analysis (3) Single-Semester introduction to the numerical analysis of biological data in fields such as molecular and cellular biology. Emphasis on choosing and using the correct analysis method for each experiment by using small number of relatively simple statistical tests.
Communication and Ethics (3 credits)
BMEG 801: Communication in Biomedical Engineering (3) Communication methods for professional development such as written and oral presentations. Writing proposals, journal papers, and dissertations. Oral presentation of research, proposals, and informal presentations Selecting a research topic, reviewing literature, generating hypotheses, writing study designs.
Technical Electives (15 credits)
At least one Technical elective must be a BMEG elective of 600-level or higher.
Technical Electives can be chosen from courses offered across departments.
Some electives have limited seating or need special approval from your advisor and the course home department.
|BISC 602||Molecular Biology of Animal Cells|
|BISC 609||Molecular Biology of the Cell|
|BISC 612||Advanced Cell Biology|
|BISC 615||Developmental Biology|
|BISC 625||Cancer Biology|
|BISC 639||Developmental Neurobiology|
|BISC 654||Biochemical Genetics|
|BISC 682||Bacterial Pathogens: Molecular Mechanisms|
|BISC 690||Fundamentals of Pharmacology|
|BMEG 640||Attachments in Biology|
|BMEG 643||Magnetic Resonance Imaging|
|BMEG 644||Microscale Biofluid Mechanics|
|BMEG 661||Cell Engineering|
|BMEG 662||Engineering Biomedical Nanostructures|
|BMEG 665||Tissue Biomechanics and Modeling|
|BMEG 679||Introduction to Medical Imaging Systems|
|CHEG 600||Introduction to Science and Engineering of Polymer Systems|
|CHEG 604||Probability and Statistics for Engineering Problem Solving|
|CHEG 608||Introduction to Particle Technology|
|CHEG 617||Colloid Science and Engineering|
|CHEG 621||Metabolic Engineering|
|CHEG 624||Bio-Based Materials|
|CHEG 648||Biomaterials for Drug and Gene Delivery|
|CHEG 649||Molecular Biophysics|
|CHEG 660||Systems Biology|
|CHEG 825||Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics|
|CHEG 827||Chemical Engineering Problems|
|CHEG 842||Selected Topics in Biochemical Engineering|
|CHEG 845||Advanced Transport Phenomena|
|CHEM 643||Intermediary Metabolism|
|CHEM 645||Protein Structure and Function|
|CHEM 646||DNA-Protein Interactions|
|CHEM 649||Molecular Biophysics|
|CHEM 684||Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids|
|CIEG 601||Introduction to the Finite Element Method|
|CIEG 605||Intermediate Topics in Finite Element Analysis|
|CISC 636||Computational Biology and Bioinformatics|
|CISC 642||Introduction to Computer Vision|
|CISC 681||Artificial Intelligence|
|CISC 684||Introduction to Machine Learning|
|CISC 689||Topics: Artificial Intelligence|
|CISC 844||Computational Biomedicine|
|CISC 849||Advanced Topics in Computer Applications|
|CISC 852||Computer Network Performance|
|ELEG 602||Advanced Machine Learning|
|ELEG 604||Digital Imaging and Photography|
|ELEG 630||Information Theory|
|ELEG 631||Digital Signal Processing|
|ELEG 634||Signals and Systems|
|ELEG 679||Introduction to Medical Imaging Systems|
|ELEG 815||Analytics I: Statistical Learning|
|KAAP 605||Pathoetiology of Musculoskeletal Injuries|
|KAAP 617||Biomechanical Lab Instrumentation|
|KAAP 620||Advanced Human Anatomy|
|KAAP 621||Upper Extremity and Spine Evaluation with Lab|
|KAAP 622||Lower Extremity and Spine Evaluation with Lab|
|KAAP 651||Neuromuscular Control & Electromyography|
|MEEG 613||Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology|
|MEEG 621||Linear Systems|
|MEEG 628||Multiscale Modeling of Materials|
|MEEG 651||Introduction to Microsystems|
|MEEG 671||Introduction to Robotics|
|MEEG 677||Introduction to State Estimation|
|MEEG 682||Clinical Biomechanics|
|MEEG 683||Orthopedic Biomechanics|
|MEEG 684||Biomaterials and Tissue Eng App|
|MEEG 698||Stochastic Optimal Control|
|MEEG 829||Applied Nonlinear Control|
|MEEG 833||Mesoscopic CFD Method|
|MEEG 837||Multiphase Flow and Transport|
|MEEG 841||Microscale Thermal Transport|
|MEEG 877||Sensing and Estimation in Robotics|
|MEEG 890||Nonlinear Programming|
|MEEG 894||Linear Feedback Control Design|
|MEEG 895||Game Theory & Mechanism Design|
|MSEG 630||Introduction to Science and Engineering of Polymer Systems|
|MSEG 803||Equilibria in Material Systems|
|MSEG 804||Kinetics in Material Systems|
|MSEG 817||Composite Materials|
|MSEG 832||Principles of Polymerization|
|NSCI 626||Advanced Neuroanatomy|
|NSCI 627||Advanced Neurophysiology|
|NSCI 628||Advanced Neuropharmacology|
|NSCI 629||Integrative Neuroscience I|
|NSCI 630||Integrative Neuroscience II|
|NSCI 632||Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience|
|NSCI 634||Stress and the Brain|
|NSCI 636||Seminar in Spatial Cognition|
|NSCI 637||Behavioral Epigenetics|
|NSCI 638||Clinical Neuropsychology|
|NSCI 639||The Emotional Brain|
|NSCI 640||The Immune System and Behavior|
|NSCI 641||Hormones and Behavior|
|NSCI 642||Social Neuroscience|
|NSCI 643||Body and Space|
|PSYC 626||Advanced Neuroanatomy|
|PSYC 627||Advanced Neurophysiology|
|PSYC 628||Advanced Neuropharmacology|
|PSYC 642||Mental Representation and Memory|
|PSYC 653||Introduction to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging|
|PSYC 829||Advanced Psychopathology|
|PSYC 845||Childhood Psychopathology|
|PSYC 878||Hierarchical Linear Modeling|
|PSYC 879||Structural Equation Modeling|
|STAT 609||Regression and Experimental Design|
Courses not on the above Elective list can be substituted with permission of the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director. This list will be updated and provided on the program website annually. For descriptions of technical electives, please refer to the UD Course Catalog. BME may waive the requirement for up to 15 credit hours of course work for students entering with a Master’s Degree or credits for graduate course work performed at another recognized graduate school. Waivers will only be granted for courses that cover subjects eligible for credit toward a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Requests for a course waiver must be initiated by the student before the beginning of their third semester at UD. Waivers must be approved by the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director and will be contingent on the student’s demonstration of satisfactory performance in course work taken at UD.
Biomedical engineering is an emerging and rapidly expanding field where engineering and biological disciplines converge. To keep up to date with the wide variety of research encompassed by this field, students are required to take 3 semesters of the seminar series BMEG 890.
Teaching Aid Requirement
The ability to communicate ideas, concepts, and factual information is an essential skill for all PhD graduates, even those who have no interest in an academic position. In recognition of this, all PhD students are required to fulfill a Teaching Aid Requirement for 1 semester that consists of serving as a Teaching Aid. Note that this is different from the Teaching Assistantships offered as financial aid. While fulfilling this Teaching Aid Requirement, students are expected to continue being actively involved in their research. The responsibilities of the Teaching Aid Requirement will be defined by the course instructor and should not exceed approximately 10 hours per week. In general, the PhD student should not merely be assigned grading responsibilities. He/she should have an opportunity to plan and deliver lectures, lead discussion sections and lead laboratory exercises. Direct interaction with course students is highly encouraged. The University requires that all first time Teaching Aids take a 2-day TA teaching conference offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning. International students must also enroll in the winter session of the ELIITA (English Language Institute International Teaching Assistant) program before performing their teaching requirement. Although the exact timing of these appointments is flexible, it is highly desirable to complete all teaching responsibilities during the 2nd year, although they can be extended to the 3rd year. The BME Graduate Committee assigns these positions in November (for the upcoming spring semester) and in May (for the following fall). Students are encouraged to submit their preferences for specific positions early to facilitate the process. Although every effort will be made to satisfy these requests, students should recognize that this is not always possible.
The Qualifying Exam must be taken in the summer after the first year (and after completion of at least 5 approved courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better). For students with non-fall matriculation or part-time study, the timing of this exam will be set based on course completion and approval by the Graduate Director. This exam includes a written proposal and an oral presentation of the proposal. The student will have 2 weeks to prepare a 6-page maximum research proposal (on a topic suggested by the advisor) that 1) identifies a research question, 2) formulates testable hypotheses and aims, and 3) describes a study design that addresses these aims. **Note: This proposal is NOT the student’s thesis proposal, although the advisor can select an area within the likely general topic of the eventual thesis. The student will give a 15 min oral presentation to and will be questioned by a small committee of 3 BME faculty members chosen by the BME Graduate Committee. The student will be evaluated on his/her bioscience knowledge, engineering knowledge, written proposal, presentation, and quality of the Q&A. The outcome will be Pass, Conditional Pass, or Fail. With a Conditional Pass, the student must address the specific concerns within a period designated by the committee that cannot be more than 1 year (e.g., take certain courses, revise the proposal in a specific manner). If the Conditional Pass terms are not met or if the student Fails, he/she will be dis-enrolled from the PhD program.
As soon as possible, but no more than 1 year after passing the Qualifying Exam, the student must establish a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee is selected by the Faculty Advisor and the student, and must have a minimum of 4 members including the advisor and at least 3 additional faculty. 3 members must have an appointment in BME (Primary, Joint, or Affiliated), at least one member must hold a Primary or Voting Joint appointment in BME, and 1 must be from outside the primary research area of the dissertation topic. 3 members must be from the University of Delaware. The student must submit a 1-2 page research plan approved by the committee to the graduate director. The research plan should contain a brief description of the student’s proposed research area including major questions to be addressed, a brief summary of research accomplishments so far, one paragraph justifying the committee composition, and a preliminary timeline for the completion of the degree. The Graduate Director must approve the committee, chair, and research plan, and any subsequent changes in committee members.
Once a student has completed all coursework required for the BME PhD degree, completed the Teaching Aid requirement, passed the Qualifying Exam, and established a Dissertation Committee, they will be considered a PhD Candidate eligible for sustaining status by the BME department (Form to Establish Dissertation Committee). Once all these requirements are met, the student must submit a Candidacy Form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.
The Dissertation Proposal requires a written proposal outlining the plan of research for the PhD and an oral presentation and defense of this proposal to the Dissertation Committee. The written proposal will follow a NIH R01 format, with a page limit of 15 pages. A curriculum vita, Progress Report Form, and a graduate-level transcript should also be included. All materials should be distributed to the Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the oral proposal. The defense will include a 30 min presentation by the student, followed by a 60 min Q&A discussion. The student must complete the Dissertation Proposal within 2 years of the Qualifying Exam or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.
Completing the PhD
To complete the PhD, students must pass a Dissertation Exam. This exam involves approval of the written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation. The written dissertation must be submitted to his/her Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the defense. The oral presentation will be open to the public and will last ~45 min. After questions from the public not to exceed 15 minutes, a closed Q&A session with the Dissertation Committee of 30-60 minutes will follow. The student will be responsible for making corrections to the dissertation document and for meeting all Graduate School deadlines for submission. Student must complete the Dissertation Exam within 5 years of the Qualifying Exam (6 years after matriculation) or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.
Handbooks & Forms
Please feel free to refer to the following regarding housing and roommates:
Resource Guide for Off Campus Living
Off-Campus Housing Search: Places4Students.com
Udwell (site designed by UD student)
Note: The University and the department do not endorse or make any specific recommendations or claims about off-campus housing