Graduate Studies

The VCU Department of Biomedical Engineering offers three graduate degrees: a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering, and an M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. All graduate students are required to complete original research during their graduate studies. Learn more about BME research.

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

All students in the Ph.D. program are fully funded (tuition and competitive stipend) over the course of their graduate studies. Students are expected to select a lab prior to matriculation, but research rotations during the first semester can be facilitated as long as all potential faculty mentors are in agreement.

Application and Admissions

Applications for fall matriculation to the Ph.D. program are due January 15 of the semester prior to matriculation. Applications are evaluated by the departmental admissions committee, under the direction of the Graduate Program Director, on a rolling basis. Successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.5 or greater and a combined score of 320 or greater (verbal + quantitative) on the GRE. Applicants for the Ph.D. program are expected to have taken the following courses (or equivalents) (VCU courses that satisfy these are listed in parentheses):

  • 2 semesters of physics (PHYS 207 & 208)
  • 2 semesters of chemistry (CHEM 101 & 102)
  • 1 semester of physiology (EGRB 207)
  • 1 semester of cell biology (BIOL 151)
  • 2 semesters of calculus (MATH 201, MATH 210)
  • 1 semester of differential equations (MATH 301)
  • 1 semester of linear algebra and vector analysis (MATH 310)
  • 1 semester of transport phenomena (EGRB 303)
  • 1 semester of electrical circuits (EGRE206)

Top applicants will be invited to VCU’s campus for interviews in late January/ Early February. Final acceptance decisions are made in late February, and applicants are asked to commit to VCU by early April. Apply for the Ph.D. program.

Curricular Requirements

The Ph.D. curriculum was recently revised to reflect the ever-changing field of Biomedical Engineering. Key aspects of the new curriculum are:

  1. A new two-semester core sequence, which focuses on numerical methods and modeling, and systems physiology.
  2. An expanded list of BME electives that students can select from.
  3. Required courses in grant writing and research ethics.
  4. An expedited path for students who have already earned an MS degree in BME.

Complete and up-to-date curricular requirements for the Ph.D. program.

Upon completion of the didactic coursework, Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying exam to advance in the program. Ph.D. students are expected to write and orally defend a dissertation thesis proposal based on their expected work, and are also expected to conduct original research that culminates in a written and orally defended Ph.D. dissertation. All Ph.D. students are required to have at least two peer-reviewed publications (one published and a second submitted) prior to graduation.

MS-to-Ph.D. Pathway

Students who have already earned an MS degree are required to take two fewer BME electives and two fewer general electives than students who enter with a BS. This results in a 12-credit reduction for students who enter with an MS in BME.

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Admissions

Applications for fall matriculation to the MS program are due by June 15 of the summer prior to matriculation. Applications are evaluated by the departmental admissions committee, under the direction of the Graduate Program Director, on a rolling basis. Successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.5 or greater and a combined score of 320 or greater (verbal + quantitative) on the GRE. Applicants for the MS program are expected to have taken the following courses (or equivalents). If an applicant has not completed these courses, then they may be asked to take them during graduate study as a provision of acceptance into the program. Apply for the MS program.

Curricular Requirements

The MS curriculum was recently revised to reflect the ever-changing field of Biomedical Engineering. Key aspects of the new curriculum are:

  1. A new two-semester core sequence, which focuses on numerical methods and modeling, and systems physiology.
  2. An expanded list of BME electives that students can select from.

MS students are required to complete an original research project that culminates in the writing and oral defense of an MS thesis.

Complete and up-to-date curricular requirements for the MS program.

M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering Dual Degree Program

Admissions

Admissions to the M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering Program are facilitated through the M.D./Ph.D. umbrella program. More information on the dual degree program.

Curricular Requirements

M.D./Ph.D. students complete their BME Ph.D. requirements in years 3-6. Students are required to take 12 credits of BME courses, 4 credits of BME seminar, 34 credits of research. 23 credits of the BME Ph.D. curriculum are fulfilled by courses taken in the medical school curriculum. Curricular requirements for the dual degree program.