M.Eng., M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees:
The graduate program offers the M.Eng., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, and the curriculum is oriented toward a biomedical engineering career and leadership in academia or industry. Every student is expected to study both physical and life sciences. Weekly seminars offer students an opportunity to become acquainted with the range of bioengineering research here and at other institutions.
Integrated Bachelor's/Masters Degree Program
The Department of Bioengineering offers an integrated program leading to a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Bioengineering. It is a program offered to undergraduate students who are enrolled in any of the major programs offered by the Department of Bioengineering. The purpose of the B.S./M.S. program is to allow interested students to obtain the M.S. degree within one year following completion of the B.S. degree. The program is open only to UCSD undergraduates and is to be considered an "honors" program.
Graduate BS/MS Requirements
To be eligible, students must have completed the first two quarters of their junior year in residence at UCSD and have an upper-division GPA of 3.5 or better and a 3.0 overall UC GPA. However, it should be noted that meeting and even exceeding minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. The B.S./M.S. is open to students in their junior year. Students taking a fifth year of undergraduate study are not eligible.
The Five-Year B.S./M.S. requires two applications. The first application, submitted during the junior year, is to the Department of Bioengineering and is reviewed and approved by the BENG Graduate Studies Committee. The second (university) application, submitted upon conferral of the B.S. degree, is required for admission into UCSD’s graduate program and includes a $80 application fee ($100 for international students). Please note: students in the B.S./M.S. will have their academic records reviewed upon conferral of the B.S. degree. At that time, the Graduate Studies Committee will decide, dependent upon a student’s academic success in prescribed coursework, whether the student will be admitted to the M.S. degree program effective the following Fall quarter.
Integrated BS/MS Transition to the MS Program
TRANSITION TO THE M.S. PROGRAM
Students in the B.S./M.S. will have their academic records reviewed upon conferral of the B.S. degree. At that time, the Graduate Studies Committee will decide, dependent upon a student’s academic success in prescribed coursework, whether the student will be admitted to the M.S. degree program effective the following Fall quarter.
Upon conferral of the B.S. degree, those students admitted to the M.S. degree program will be instructed to complete the UCSD online graduate application and submit required documentation. Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is recommended but not required. The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) will send official notification of student acceptance to the M.S. degree. Students do not become M.S. degree / graduate students until the Fall quarter.
Once students are admitted into the M.S. program, they are expected to complete all requirements for the M.S. degree, including completion of a written Master’s Thesis. M.S. degree program requirements can be found in the UCSD General Catalog and/or on the BENG website. M.S. degree students are not allowed to transfer to the M.Eng. degree without strong justification and the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Master of Engineering Degree
The purpose of the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree is to prepare design and project engineers for careers in the medical and biological engineering industries. This program addresses both the technical and professional needs of today's engineers and is intended for students who are primarily interested in engineering design, development, manufacturing and management within an industrial or professional setting. This terminal professional degree is course-intensive and designed to be completed in one academic year of full-time study. The M.Eng. degree does not require a thesis and is designed for maximal flexibility to allow for a wide variety of professional career goals. Students who may be interested in continuing to the Ph.D. program should consider applying to the existing M.S. program and not the terminal M.Eng. degree. For more information regarding admission, coursework, and all other questions please contact the UCSD Bioengineering Student Affairs Office.
M.Eng. students participate in a M.Eng. Graduate Industrial Training Project. The individualized project serves to significantly enhance the professional development of M.Eng. students in preparation for leadership in the medical and biological engineering industries. It is the student's responsibility to secure the training position, develop a graduate level project, and complete a technical report that is satisfactory to industry official and faculty advisors. As M.Eng. student pursuits are individual, students must meet with the M.Eng. faculty advisor a minimum of one quarter prior to their desired start date to discuss their interests and possible projects. The Department of Bioengineering does not have projects lined up for M.Eng. students, but can assist once a student has declared an area of interest for a potential project. Once a student project is defined and academic credit is approved, the M.Eng. student will enroll in BENG 295,
Bioengineering Design Project and Industrial Training
At the completion of their project M.Eng. students will submit a paper which displays mastery of the principles acquired during the M.Eng. program. A presentation will be given to both the Faculty and Industry Advisor. All Intellectual Property (IP) remains the property of the Industry. For questions regarding the M.Eng. Graduate Industrial Training Project, please contact the UCSD Bioengineering Student Affairs Office.
Master of Engineering Curriculum
1. Six Core Courses from approved list
2. Three Technical Elective (TE) courses from approved list, one of which must be BENG 295, Bioengineering Design Project
3. Three General Elective (GE) courses from approved list
4. BENG 291, Seminar: Professional Issues in Bioengineering
All courses must be taken for letter grade (except BENG 291 & BENG 295 which are S/U grading only). Students must maintain at least a B average in courses taken to fulfill the degree requirements. BENG 291, Professional Issues in Bioengineering, is a 2-unit seminar offered in Fall Quarter only. BENG 295, Bioengineering Design Project, is an independent industrial training project; course requirements include a written technical report and oral presentation. BENG 295 may be taken for up to two quarters (4-units each quarter) for technical elective credit.
1. Core Courses (six required)
- BENG 221. Mathematical Methods for Bioengineering (F)
- BENG 223. Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Interfacial Phenomena in Living Systems (W)
- BENG 226. Foundations of Biomechanics (S)
- BENG 227. Transport Phenomena in Living Systems (S)
- BENG 230A. Biochemistry (F)
- BENG 230B. Cell and Molecular Biology (W)
- BENG 230C. Cardiovascular Physiology
- BENG 230D. Respiratory and Renal Physiology
- BENG 232. Musculoskeletal Health, Injury, and Disease
- BENG 260. Neurodynamics (F)
- BENG 241A. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Foundations (F)
- BENG 241B. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Cell Microenvironment (W)
- BENG 241C. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Development and Growth
- BENG 242/ MATS 257. Polymer Science and Engineering (F)
- BENG 247A. Advanced Biophotonics (F)
- BENG 280A. Principles of Biomedical Imaging (F)
- BENG 280B. Comparative Biomedical Imaging (S)
2. Technical Elective Courses (three required, one of which must be BENG 295)
- BENG 202/CSE 282. Bioinformatics II: Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms
- BENG 203/CSE 283. Genomics, Proteomics, and Network Biology
- BENG 207. Topics in Bioengineering
- BENG 208. Topics in Bioengineering with Lab
- BENG/MAE 209. Continuum Mechanics Applied to Medicine/ Biology
- BENG 211. Systems Biology and Bioengineering I: Biological Components
- BENG 212. Systems Biology and Bioengineering II: Network Reconstruction
- BENG 213. Systems Biology and Bioengineering III: Building And Simulating Large-Scale in Silico Models
- BENG/MED 238. Molecular Biology of the Cardiovascular System
- BENG/ECE 247B. Bioelectronics
- BENG/ECE 247C. Bionanotechnology
- BENG 267. Microcirculation in Health and Disease
- BENG/CHEM/MATH 276. Numerical Analysis in Multiscale Biology
- BENG 295. Bioengineering Design Project—required
- CSE 202. Algorithm Design and Analysis
- CSE 210. Principles of Software Engineering
- CSE 250A. Artificial Intelligence: Search and Reasoning
- ECE 235. Nanometer-Scale VLSI Devices
- ECE 251A. Digital Signal Processing I
- ECE 251B. Digital Signal Processing II
- MAE/CENG 210A. Fluid Mechanics I
- MAE 210B. Fluid Mechanics II
- MAE 210C. Fluid Mechanics III
- MAE 221/CENG 221AB. Heat and Mass Transfer
- MAE 229A/MATS 211A. Mechanical Properties
- MAE 231A. Solid Mechanics
- MAE 231B. Elasticity
- MAE 231C. Anelasticity
- MAE 280A. Linear Systems Theory
- MAE 293. Advanced Computer Graphics for Engineers and Scientists
- MATS 252/MAE 266. Biomaterials
- MATS 253/MAE 267. Nanomaterials and Properties
- MATS 258/MAE 250. Medical Device Materials and Applications
Core courses may be taken for technical elective credit.
3. General Elective Courses (three required)
- BENG 225. BioBusiness
- ECE 254. Detection Theory
- ENG 201. Venture Mechanics (F)
- ENG 202. Enterprise Dynamics (W)
- ENG 203. Applied Innovations (S)
- IR/PS Management: IRCO 420, 421, IRGN 420, 434, 438, 439, 442, 444
- IR/PS International Issues: IRCO 401, IRGN 407, 411, 413, 418
- MAE 290A. Efficient Numerical Methods for Simulation, Optimization, and Control
Technical Elective courses may be taken for General Elective credit.
For other courses that address job-specific interests and professional skills such as economics, management, and business, consult with the Student Affairs Office.
4. Seminar Course (required)
Masters Of Science Degree
The M.S. program is intended to extend and broaden an undergraduate background and equip the graduates with fundamental knowledge in bioengineering. The M.S. degree may be terminal or may be obtained on the way to the Ph.D. The M.S. degree involves a combination of course work and original research. A total of forty-eight units of credit are required: thirty-six units in course work (nine courses, seven of which are the core courses) and twelve units of Bioengineering Research (BE 299).
Students must maintain at least a B average in courses taken to fulfill the degree requirements. Entering students who do not meet the prerequisites of these core courses may have to take some basic courses to make up the deficiency.
The M.S. graduate curriculum emphasizes physiology, tissue engineering, biomechanics, and transport phenomena. Associated courses are available on campus in applied mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, solid and fluid mechanics, electronics, computers, information sciences, system analysis, neurosciences, pathology, pharmacology, and clinical subjects. Faculty advisors are available to assist the students in planning for their courses and research.
Required Courses for the M.S. Degree Program (must be taken for letter grade)
Required Courses for the M.S. Degree: Plan I & Plan II
1. Core Courses (total of six required):
Engineering Physics (three required courses: 2 + 1)
- BENG 226. Foundations of Biomechanics – 4 units (W)
- BENG 227. Transport Phenomena in Living Systems – 4 units (S)
- Plus one of the following – 4 units:
- BENG 202/CSE282. Bioinformatics II: Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms
- BENG 211. System Biology and Bioengineering I: Biological Components
- BENG 221. Mathematical Methods for Bioengineering
- BENG 223. Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Interfacial Phenomena in Living Systems
- BENG 241A. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Foundations
- BENG 280A. Principles of Biomedical Imaging
Biological Sciences (three required courses: 2 + 1)
- BENG 230A. Biochemistry – 4 units (F)
- BENG 230B. Cell and Molecular Biology – 4 units (W)
- Plus one of the following – 4 units:
- BENG 230C. Cardiovascular Physiology
- BENG 230D. Respiratory and Renal Physiology
- BENG 232. Musculoskeletal Health, Injury, and Disease
- BENG 234. Introduction to Neurophysiology: Molecules to Systems
- BENG 260/ BGGN 260. Neurodynamics
2. Seminars (both required):
- BENG 281. Seminar in Bioengineering – 1 unit (F,W,S) Must take each quarter during first year
- BENG 282. Seminar: Faculty Research – 1 unit (F)
Additional Required Courses for M.S. Degree: Plan I
3. Elective Courses (three required):
Plan I students are required to complete three elective courses to fulfill their degree requirements. All graduate courses offered in the Bioengineering Department (other than the 6 required courses) may be used to fulfill the elective course requirement. Other courses outside of the department may be approved. Consult with the graduate advisor.
4. Research (12 units required):
- BENG 299. Graduate Research
Additional Required Courses for M.S. Degree: Plan II
3. Elective Courses (six required):
Plan II students are required to complete six elective courses to fulfill their degree requirements. All graduate courses offered in the Bioengineering Department (other than the 6 required courses) may be used to fulfill the elective course requirement. Other courses outside of the department may be approved. Consult with the graduate advisor.
On To PhD
Upon completion of the requirements for the M.S. degree, students are not automatically eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program. M.S. candidates who wish to pursue a doctorate must submit an application for a change in status to the Committee on Graduate Affairs. The application must be approved and signed by a Bioengineering faculty member who expects to serve as the student’s Ph.D. advisor. An ad hoc faculty committee will review petitions. If the committee recommends that the student has good potential for success in the doctoral program, the student will be given the opportunity to take an oral examination equivalent to the Ph.D. Departmental Qualifying Examination. At the time of that exam, an assessment will be made on admission to the Ph.D. program. A change of status from a master's program to the doctoral program requires that the student meet the minimum grade point average required by the department of doctoral candidates.
Doctor of Philosophy / PhD
Studies for the Ph.D. degree generally include one year of core courses leading to the completion of a Departmental Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. Elective courses are selected in the second year to compliment research interests. The candidate then identifies a topic for original dissertation research, completes a Senate Qualification Examination, and carries out this work under the direction of a dissertation advisor, culminating in a Dissertation Defense Examination. There is also a requirement for four quarters (at 25% time or the equivalent) of teaching experience as a graduate student instructor. The average time for completion of a Ph.D. has been 5 years. Graduates typically pursue careers in research and/or teaching in academia or research institutions, or careers in the medical device or other bioengineering-related industry.
Each student will be assigned an initial faculty advisor at the time of admission to develop an appropriate plan of study. Later, as the student becomes more familiar with the faculty members and their research activities, he/she may transfer to another advisor with more compatible research interests. All students, in consultation with their advisors, develop course programs that will prepare them for the Departmental Qualifying Examination and for their dissertation research. The student is encouraged to engage in research early and no later than at the end of the first academic year. These programs of study and research should be planned to meet certain time limits: Qualifying Exam at the end of the first year and Senate (University Qualifying) Exam by the end of the third year. The Final Defense is typically done between four to six years.
Teaching Experience is required of all bioengineering Ph.D. students. The teaching requirement must be completed prior to taking the Senate Qualifying Exam.
Teaching experience is defined as service as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in a course designated by the department. The total teaching requirement for new Ph.D. students is two quarters at 50% effort (20 hours per week) or four quarters at 25% effort (10 hours per week). At least one quarter of teaching experience is required during the first year, normally during the Winter or Spring Quarter (prior to the Departmental Qualifying Examination). The teaching experience should be taken as a course for academic credit (Bioengineering 501). New students should discuss enrolling for the teaching requirement course (BENG 501) with their faculty advisor and must contact the Student Affairs Office to plan for completion of this requirement.
After the student has successfully passed the Departmental Qualifying Examination and fulfilled the teaching experience requirement, a Doctoral Committee (or Senate Committee) of five faculty members will be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies on behalf of the Academic Senate. Students should consult the Student Affairs Office regarding the composition of this committee. The students’ knowledge of a thesis area and the research plan will be thoroughly examined (Senate Qualifying Examination) by this committee. Upon completion of thesis research and its acceptance by the advisor, the thesis is presented in a Dissertation Defense Examination to the members of the Doctoral Committee for approval.
Ph.D. Time Limit Policy: Pre-candidacy status is limited to three years. Doctoral students are eligible for university support for six years. The defense and submission of the doctoral dissertation must be within seven years.
Evaluations: In the spring of each year, the faculty evaluates each doctoral student’s overall performance in course work, research, and prospects for financial support for future years. A written assessment is given to the student after the evaluation. If a student’s work is found to be inadequate, the faculty may determine that the student cannot continue in the graduate program.
Each incoming Ph.D. student will be assigned a bioengineering faculty advisor who will serve as an interim graduate advisor until the student chooses a research advisor. This information can be found in the student's offer letter.
First Year Requirements
All bioengineering students in their first year of study are expected to enroll in the six required core courses in the Engineering Physics and Life Science tracks listed below. First-year students are also required to take both on-credit seminars (BENG 281 (all three quarters) and BENG 282 (Fall quarter); one quarter (W or SP) of Teaching Experience (BENG 51) and an ethics course.
Required Courses for Ph.D. Degree Program (must be taken for letter grade)
Core Courses (total of six required)
Required Core Graduate Courses - Engineering Physics (2 + 1 four unit course)
- BENG 226, Foundations of Biomechanics
- BENG 227, Transport Phenomena in Living Systems
Plus one of the following courses:
- BENG 221, Mathematical Methods for Bioengineering
- BENG 223, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Interfacial Phenomena in Living Systems
- BENG 241A Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Foundations
- BENG 280A Principles of Biomedical Imaging
- BENG 211 Systems Biology and Bioengineering I. Biological Components
- BENG 202/CSE 282 Bioinformatics II: Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms
Required Core Graduate Courses - Biological Sciences (2 + 1 four unit course)
- BENG 230A, Foundations of Biological Systems I (Biochemistry for Engineering)
- BENG 230B, Foundations of Biological Systems II (Cell and Molecular Biology)
Plus one of the following courses:
- BENG 230C, Cardiovascular Physiology
- BENG 230D, Respiratory and Renal Physiology
- BENG 232, Musculoskeletal Health, Injury, and Disease
- BENG 234 Introduction to Neurophysiology: Molecules to Systems
- BENG 260/BGGN 260, Neurodynamics
Elective Courses (four required)
PhD students are required to complete a total of four approved elective courses by the end of their third year of study. All graduate courses offered in the Bioengineering Department (other than the six required courses) may be used to fulfill the elective course requirement. Students may also take graduate level engineering/science courses offered in other departments (e.g., MAE, ECE, SOM) for elective credit with prior faculty advisor approval (see Graduate Coordinator for approval form). Courses taken in fulfillment of the elective course requirement must be taken for letter grade.
Up to two upper division undergraduate courses (4 units, taken for a letter grade), can be counted toward the elective requirement (with elective approval form signed by your adviser)_.
Seminars (First year only)
BENG 281 (Fall, Winter, Spring)
BENG 282 (Fall)
Ethics Course (1)
One of the following:
SOMI 226, Scientific Ethics
PHAR/BIOM 219, Ethics in Scientific Research
COGS.NEUR/PATH 241, Ethics & Survival Skills in Academia
TA Requirement (3)
One TAship must be done during first year. The two remaining TAships must be done before the end of your third year or Senate Exam. Graduate Affairs will authorize you to enroll in BENG 501 under the instructor. You will enroll in two units for a 25% TAship (ten hours a week) or four units for a 50% TAship (twenty hours a week).
Rotations (optional, but highly recommended)
BENG 298L (Please contact Graduate Affairs so we can set up a section under the faculty you will rotate with, if one does not already exist). Four units. One to two page research summary is due at the end of the quarter.
A bioengineering Ph.D. student is required to pass three examinations. The first is a Departmental Qualifying Examination that must be taken immediately following the candidate's first academic year of enrollment and is usually scheduled in the month of July. The exam is designed to ensure that all successful candidates possess a strong command of the engineering and life science subjects that form the foundations of bioengineering research at a level appropriate for the doctorate. It is administered by a committee designated by the department, consisting of departmental faculty members and, in some cases, one other faculty member from a related academic department (e.g., MAE, ECE, Medicine).
The Senate Qualifying Examination is the second examination required of bioengineering Ph.D. students. In preparation for this examination, students must have completed the Departmental Qualifying Examination, the departmental teaching requirement, all required coursework, obtained a faculty research advisor, and identified a topic for their dissertation research and made initial progress. At the time of application for advancement to candidacy, the Graduate Council appoints a Doctoral Committee responsible for the remainder of the student’s graduate program. The committee conducts the Senate Qualifying Examination, during which students must demonstrate the ability to engage in thesis research. This involves the presentation of a plan for the thesis research project. The committee may ask questions directly or indirectly related to the project and general questions that it determines to be relevant. Upon successful completion of this examination, students are advanced to candidacy and are awarded the Candidate in Philosophy degree.
The Dissertation Defense is the final Ph.D. examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be successfully defended in a public presentation and oral examination conducted by the Doctoral Committee. A complete copy of the student’s dissertation must be submitted to each member of the Doctoral Committee approximately four weeks before the defense. It is understood that this copy of the dissertation given to committee members will not be the final copy, and that the committee members may suggest changes in the text at the time of the defense. This examination must be conducted after at least three quarters of the date of advancement to doctoral candidacy. Acceptance of the dissertation by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research and the university librarian represents the final step in completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. There is no formal foreign language requirement for doctoral candidates. Students are expected to master whatever language is needed for the pursuit of their own research.
Bioengineering has adopted a teaching requirement for all Ph.D. students admitted during or after Fall quarter 1991. It is required that all graduate students seeking a Ph.D. degree obtain teaching experience before taking the Academic Senate Qualifying Exam. In 1995, after the UCSD General Catalog went to press, this requirement was increased for all new supported graduate students in Bioengineering. The total teaching requirement for new Ph.D. students is two quarters at 50% effort (20 hours per week) or the equivalent four quarters at 25% effort (10 hours per week). At least one quarter of teaching experience at 25% effort is required during the first year prior to the Departmental Qualifying Exam. The teaching requirement must be completed prior to the Senate Exam. New students should discuss enrolling for the teaching requirement course (BENG 501) with their faculty advisor.
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For more information regarding admission, coursework, and all other questions please contact the UCSD Bioengineering Student Affairs Office.
The School of Medicine and the Graduate Division have developed a joint M.D./Ph.D. program. The candidate must be admitted independently to both the UCSD School of Medicine and the Department of Bioengineering (via the Medical Scientist Training Program). Candidates are accepted into UCSD's Medical School first and apply to the BENG Ph.D. degree during their second year of medical school study. Additional information on the program can be found at:
Interested students are encourage to contact the MST Program Manager, Mary Alice Kiisel, at 858-534-0689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.