PhD in Biomedical Engineering
University of Connecticut School of Engineering Graduate Programs
4 - 5 years
Earliest start date
Biomedical Engineering blends traditional engineering techniques with biological sciences and medicine to improve the quality of human health and life. The discipline focuses both on understanding complex living systems – via experimental and analytical techniques – and on development of devices, methods and algorithms that advance medical and biological knowledge while improving the effectiveness and delivery of clinical medicine.
The goal of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program is to provide students the interdisciplinary training in biological and medical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering necessary to solve complex biomedical problems. Faculty members from engineering, biomedical sciences, materials sciences, chemistry, physics, medicine, and dental medicine form an interdisciplinary graduate degree program that spans the University of Connecticut campuses at Storrs and at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) in Farmington.
Students with a B.S. degree in BME are ideally suited for the BME M.S. and Ph.D. studies at UConn. Students with a B.S. degree in engineering, physical sciences or mathematics may seek admission to the BME Program at UConn. Students with a non-engineering degree will need to take at least the required undergraduate BME courses at UConn: BME 3500, 3600W, and 3700. Descriptions of undergraduate courses can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. Students with life science and mathematics undergraduate degrees must take remedial course work in basic and advanced engineering and/or mathematics (two years through differential equations) and the required undergraduate BME courses at UConn. Note that these undergraduate courses do not count toward the BME graduate program degree requirements.
Scholarships and Funding
In order for an applicant to be considered for one of the following fellowships, the applicant must select that they wish to be considered in SLATE. Recipients of these fellowships will be the most academically promising members of the entering class of graduate students at the University of Connecticut. The criteria used to select recipients include the following:
- Evidence of scholarly or creative achievement highlighted by the department or program in their nomination and evidence that the department or program provides the environment necessary for success in the areas of interest highlighted by the applicant.
- Evidence of any prior scholarly or creative achievement by the nominee, e.g., publications, presentations, exhibits, performances.
- Evidence that the nominee has been successful at previous academic institutions, e.g., letters of recommendation.
- Quantitative evidence of academic accomplishment, e.g., undergraduate grade point average, GMAT (when available).
The Jorgensen Fellowship (JF) is available to outstanding young scholars applying to doctoral programs. The award consists of a service-free fellowship providing a $20,000 annual stipend for five years.
In addition, to be eligible for either the fellowships below, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity in higher education and/or a commitment to enhancing diversity in their field of study.
- The Harriott Fellowship (HF) is available to outstanding young scholars applying to doctoral programs. The award consists of a service-free fellowship providing a $20,000 annual stipend for five years.
- The Crandall Fellowship (CF) is available to outstanding young scholars applying to master’s programs. The award consists of a service-free fellowship providing a $20,000 annual stipend for two years (MFA is for three years).
For HF and CF fellowships students must submit a diversity statement through the SLATE application system. Students can demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity in higher education through participation in organizations or activities that (a) directly relate to increasing access to higher education and retention in higher education of individuals, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, cultural background, religion, or beliefs or (b) that help to ensure that individuals are welcomed and included in higher education environments regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, cultural background, religion, or beliefs. Such organization and activities might include participation/affiliation with TRIO programs, cultural/affinity organizations/centers, volunteer experiences, and college or university committees focused on these goals. Students provide evidence of this commitment through research and educational experience reflected on their CV/resume (articles, presentations, internship, and research experience), in their personal statement, or in letters of recommendations.
Under the Ph.D. curriculum, students must take a minimum of five engineering courses and a minimum of two life science course to satisfy graduation requirements. You will work with your major advisor and advisory committee to select the additional courses that fit the definitions below and are most relevant to your career goals.
Life Sciences Courses– To help integrate biology into your engineering experience, we require that you take at least one life science course recommended on the BME course website at https://www.bme.uconn.edu/academics/graduate-program/tracks-and-coursework. Courses are typically selected from anatomy and physiology, cell and molecular biology or biophysical chemistry, but are not limited to these areas.
Engineering Courses– An engineering course should be any engineering course recommended on the BME Course Track List at https://www.bme.uconn.edu/academics/graduate-program/tracks-and-coursework.
Elective Courses– Graduate level courses which will be selected in consultation with the Major Advisor in the area related to the student’s research.
The advisory committee is formed after consultation between the major advisor and the student. This committee must include, in addition to the major advisor, at least two Biomedical Engineering graduate faculty members. In addition to the three or more members chosen in the usual way, another member, ordinarily a member of the graduate faculty outside the student’s field of study but in a related field may be appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School.
Degree programs are planned by the advisory committee after consultation with the student. The advisory committee may require more than the required minimum credit hours of course work beyond the BS or M.S. degree based on the academic credentials of the student (i.e., the student enters the program without a Biomedical Engineering degree and/or life science background) or adds courses to address the student’s research focus. The advisory committee should be formed before the student has completed twelve credits of degree program course work and shall then supervise the remainder of the student’s degree program.
Doctoral Qualifying Exam
All doctoral candidates are required to take and pass a Qualifying Examination at the end of the second year.
Biomedical Engineering Program Publication Requirement
Two journal papers must be submitted to a leading Biomedical Engineering journal before graduation (with at least one of them having gone through the review cycle favorably).
Research required for the doctoral degree in biomedical engineering involves the use of advanced engineering techniques for the solution of a biological or medical problem. Ph.D. candidates must submit at least two journal papers to a leading BME journal before graduation, with at least one of them having gone through the review process favorably. Note that the journal submissions must be full papers, with two short papers the equivalent of a full paper.
Industrial Engineering Internship
The industrial internship offers an in-depth, vigorous, industrial experience that complements the engineering expertise gained in the classroom. Students in the industrial internship can earn an MS and Ph.D degree. Companies located throughout New England participate in the program. The primary objectives of this industrial internship program are to provide: exposure to the industrial workplace; the opportunity to apply engineering knowledge and expertise to a variety of industrial projects; and the opportunity to interact with a variety of industrial work groups, including administrators, engineers, and technicians.
Employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2022. The aging of the population and the focus on health issues will increase the demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers. For example, computer-assisted surgery and molecular, cellular, and tissue engineering are being more heavily researched and are developing rapidly. In addition, the rehabilitation and orthopedic engineering specialties are growing quickly, increasing the need for biomedical engineers. Along with the demand for more sophisticated medical equipment and procedures is an increased concern for cost efficiency and effectiveness that also will boost demand for biomedical engineers. However, because of the growing interest in this field, the number of degrees granted in biomedical engineering has increased greatly, leading to the potential for competition for jobs.