Five-Year BS/MS Program

Program Information

The Department of Bioengineering offers an integrated program leading to a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS) degree in bioengineering.  It is available to undergraduate students who are enrolled in one of the Bioengineering majors, and is only open to UC San Diego undergraduates. The purpose of the BS/MS is to allow interested students to obtain the MS degree within one year following completion of the BS degree. The program is only available for the MS Plan I- Thesis degree, not the Master of Engineering (MEng) degree nor the MS Plan II- Comprehensive Exam degree.

Three courses (12 units), one per quarter, of bioengineering graduate level courses must be completed during the student’s senior undergraduate yearin addition to the requirements for the BS degree. These 3 courses will count toward the requirements for the MS degree only and must be taken for a letter grade. The student may take up to 6 graduate level courses (24 units) during their senior year. Six courses (24 units) is the maximum number that can be transferred per Graduate Division requirements. 

The student will arrange, in consultation with the Bioengineering advising staff, a schedule of courses for the senior year that will fulfill the requirements for the BS degree and also contribute to the program planned for the MS degree. Students are expected to meet the requirements for the MS degree in one year (3 consecutive academic quarters) from the date of receipt of the BS degree. Students are encouraged to meet with the BS/MS Coordinator to plan the undergraduate and graduate courses to be taken during the senior year. Enrollment in graduate level courses is done through the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) and requires authorization from the instructor of the course and the BS/MS Coordinator.

Faculty Advisor

It is the responsibility of the prospective BS/MS student to contact and identify a bioengineering faculty member who is willing to serve as the student’s MS faculty advisor. Students may select to work with a Bioengineering faculty member who holds the title of “Assistant Professor,” “Associate Professor,” or “Professor.” If a student would like to work with a faculty advisor who holds the title “Faculty-Affiliate, Bioengineering,” then the student must also secure a faculty co-advisor who holds one of the previously mentioned Bioengineering professor titles. Faculty titles can be viewed on our website at

Admission Requirements

The BS/MS program is open to “juniors,” defined as being enrolled in the “Junior/ Spring” quarter coursework according to their major flowchart. Transfer students are welcome to apply, and must also meet the same “junior standing” requirement. Students who entered as freshmen and are taking a fifth year of undergraduate study are not eligible. Students must have completed their first two quarters of junior year at UC San Diego and have an upper-division GPA and overall UCGPA of 3.5 or better. Please note: meeting and even exceeding minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.  

Bioinformatics (BINF) Students

BINF students must be conducting or planning to conduct research with a bioengineering faculty member. A list of bioengineering faculty can be found here: Please note: since BINF majors do not require traditional engineering-physics courses (Biomechanics, Fluid Mechanics, etc.), this may put BINF students at a disadvantage in terms of the core coursework required for the MS degree. If admitted, BINF students would be responsible for reviewing those subjects on their own prior to taking graduate coursework.

Application Process

Application to this program is a two-step process, requiring two applications.  The first application, submitted during the spring of the junior year, is to the Department of Bioengineering for review by the BS/MS Admissions Committee.  The second application, submitted upon completion of the BS degree, is to the Graduate Division and is required for admission into UC San Diego’s graduate program. 

Application #1

The Department of Bioengineering’s “BS/MS Application Packet” is a paper application packet that must be picked up by interested students directly from the BS/MS Coordinator in the Bioengineering Student Affairs Office. The BS/MS Coordinator will send an email notice to all juniors in late April each year announcing the BS/MS application period. Applications will not be made available for pick up until this notice has been sent. Students must submit a completed BS/MS Application Packet during June of their junior year. Applicants with competitive applications will be requested to interview with the BS/MS Admissions Committee sometime in June or July (the summer between the junior and senior year). The BS/MS Application Packet, which contains greater detail on each item, will consist of the following six items:

  1. Application to Bioengineering Five Year BS/MS Program
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Two letters of recommendation from BENG “core” faculty members
  4. Tentative plan of study 
  5. Sample MS curriculum worksheet
  6. Unofficial transcript of UC San Diego coursework

Please note: completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is recommended but not required for application to this program.  

Application #2

Upon completion of the BS degree, the students’ academic records are reviewed. At that time, the Graduate Studies Committee will decide, dependent upon a student’s academic success in prescribed coursework, whether the student will be “officially” admitted to the MS degree program effective the following Fall quarter.

Those students admitted to the MS degree program will be instructed to complete the online UC San Diego Graduate Application during the summer after completion of the BS degree. Students will be responsible for the submissions of required documentation and payment of the graduate application fee (fee amount subject to change). The Graduate Division will notify students directly of their official admission to the MS program for Fall quarter. 

Once students are admitted into the MS program, they are expected to satisfy all requirements for the MS degree, including completion of a written Master’s Thesis.  MS degree program requirements can be found online in the UC San Diego General Catalog and on the Department of Bioengineering website.


If you are a current UC San Diego student, please send all questions via the Virtual Advising Center on your TritonLink account.

If you are a non-UC San Diego student (e.g. prospective freshman or transfer student), please send questions to