Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering tools for solving problems in biology and medicine. It is an engineering discipline that is practiced by professionals trained primarily as engineers, who specialize in medical and biological applications. This area of study combines fundamentals of the biomedical sciences with advanced engineering methods of analysis and design, and brings together these two fields in order to contribute to the design of new medical instruments and devices, apply engineering principles for understanding and repairing the human body and other biological systems, and use engineering tools for decision making and cost containment.
The department offers three distinct master's-level programs. Two course-based M.S. named options, Accelerated Program and Biomedical Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship, are accelerated programs that can be completed in one full year of study and are designed for students pursuing advanced academic degrees or careers in industry. The Biomedical Engineering M.S. without a named option is designed for students who want to conduct research during their program.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering should be of interest to students who wish to practice engineering or engage in research in an engineering specialization in medicine and biology. An individualized course of study is planned with a faculty advisor. Biomedical engineering faculty and affiliated faculty come from the various colleges and professional schools throughout the university. They specialize in biomedical engineering areas as diverse as biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, biomedical imaging and biophotonics, micro and nanotechnology, systems biology, biomaterials, cellular engineering, tissue engineering, neuroengineering, and rehabilitation and human performance. A list of biomedical engineering faculty, affiliated faculty, and their respective areas of specialization is available from the department website.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|Fall Deadline||December 15|
|Spring Deadline||October 1|
|Summer Deadline||December 15|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Required.|
|English Proficiency Test||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)||The MCAT may be accepted as an alternate to the GRE.|
|Letters of Recommendation Required||3|
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering (biomedical, chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.) or science (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, immunology, physics, etc.). Each application is judged on the basis of:
- Official academic transcripts
- Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores for the general test
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination for international students
- Three letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
- Resume (for Ph.D. applicants only)
All applicants must satisfy requirements that are set forth by the Graduate School. Students admitted to the program may be required to make up deficiency course requirements.
To apply to the BME program, complete applications, including supportive materials, must be submitted as described below and received by the following deadline dates:
- Fall Semester—December 15 (MS and Ph.D.)
- Spring Semester—October 1 (MS and Ph.D.)
- Summer Session1—December 15 (MS and Ph.D.)
1Please note that summer admissions are generally limited to continuing BME students at UW–Madison or applicants who have research assistantships already arranged with UW faculty.
Official Academic Transcript
Electronically submit one copy of your transcript of all undergraduate and previous graduate work along with your online application to the Graduate School. Unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted for review, but official copies are required for admitted students. Please do not send transcripts or any other application materials to the Graduate School or the BME department unless requested. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Applicants should request ETS to send their official GRE scores by using institution code 1846.
MCAT scores may be substituted for GRE. Domestic applicants who choose to substitute MCAT scores for the GRE should send their MCAT score report to email@example.com.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
The TOEFL is required for international students unless a degree from a U.S. educational institution is held. Scores should be sent using institution code 1846.
An applicant whose TOEFL (paper-based) test score is below 580; TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) score below 237; (TOEFL internet-based iBT) test score below 92; IELTS score below 7; or MELAB below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. Depending on your score, you may need to register for any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in the first semester you are enrolled.
Any international applicant who will hold a teaching assistantship (TA), and whose native language is not English must take the SPEAK test when arriving on campus.
Three Letters of Recommendations
These letters are required from people who can accurately judge the applicant's academic or research performance. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically to graduate programs through the online application. Applicants should not send any more than three letters (if more than three are sent, only the first three will be considered). See the Graduate School for FAQs regarding letters of recommendation.
Statement of Purpose
In this document, applicants should explain why they want to pursue further education in BME and discuss which UW faculty members they would be interested in doing research with during their graduate study (see the Graduate School for more advice on how to structure a personal statement).
Resume (for Ph.D. applications only)
Include your resume ONLY if applying for the Ph.D. program.
Submission must be accompanied by the one-time application fee. It is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa) or debit/ATM. By state law, this fee can only be waived or deferred through the conditions outlined here by the Graduate School.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Evening/Weekend: These programs are offered in an evening and/or weekend format to accommodate working schedules. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses and personal connections, while keeping your day job. For more information about the meeting schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Online: These programs are offered primarily online. Many available online programs can be completed almost entirely online with all online programs offering at least 50 percent or more of the program work online. Some online programs have an on-campus component that is often designed to accommodate working schedules. Take advantage of the convenience of online learning while participating in a rich, interactive learning environment. For more information about the online nature of a specific program, contact the program.
Hybrid: These programs have innovative curricula that combine on-campus and online formats. Most hybrid programs are completed on-campus with a partial or completely online semester. For more information about the hybrid schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Accelerated: These on-campus programs are offered in an accelerated format that allows you to complete your program in a condensed time-frame. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses with minimal disruption to your career. For more information about the accelerated nature of a specific program, contact the program.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||16 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required.|
|Other Grade Requirements||The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.|
|Assessments and Examinations||There are no degree-specific assessments and examinations outside of those given in individual courses.|
Specific course selection is very flexible and draws upon a variety of courses. The required coursework is designed to complement each student's interests and background in biomedical engineering and meet the spirit of a BME degree; deviations from the requirements should be discussed with the associate chair of graduate advising and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
- Two semesters of B M E 701 Seminar in Biomedical Engineering
- At least one course in bioscience (if not from a bioscience or BME background)
Course List Code Title Credits ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology 5 ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 5 BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry 3 B M E 601 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering (Topic in Physiology for Biomedical Engineering Students) 3 CRB 640 Fundamentals of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology 3 CRB 650 Molecular and Cellular Organogenesis 3 KINES 350 Introduction to Exercise Psychology 3 KINES 531 Neural Control of Movement 3 KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise 3 NTP/NEURODPT 610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience 4 NTP/NEURODPT/PSYCH 611 Systems Neuroscience 4 ZOOLOGY/BIOCHEM/PHMCOL-M 630 Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms 3 ZOOLOGY/PSYCH 523 Neurobiology 3 ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology 3
- At least 12 credits of engineering courses, 400 level or above
- At least 15 credits in one track, 400 level or above
- At least 15 credits that are graduate level (700 or above or courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute)
- Optional, but recommended: 3-6 credits of independent study project experience (B M E 799 Advanced Independent Study) or master's thesis research (B M E 790 Master's Research and Thesis) in the student's track (a maximum of 6 credits can be applied to the M.S. although students may take more). These credits may count toward your track credits.
Named Options (Sub-Majors)
A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral.
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Program Handbook
The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
A student may transfer graduate coursework from other institutions with program approval. These courses may not be used toward the Graduate School's Minimum Graduate Residence Credit. Coursework earned five years or more prior to admission to the master's program is not allowed to satisfy requirements. Reach out to the BME Graduate Coordinator for more information.
A student who has completed their bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering at UW-Madison may transfer 6 credits of coursework with program approval. These courses must be biomedical engineering department coursework numbered 300 level or above. These courses may not be used toward the Graduate School's Minimum Graduate Residence Credit.
UW–Madison University Special
A maximum of 15 credits from the UW–Madison University Special student career may count toward program requirements. Minimum graduate resident credits requirement and minimum graduate degree credit requirement: allowed up to 15 credits numbered 300 or above. Minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement: allowed up to 15 credits numbered 700 or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
- Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
- Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
- Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
Every BME graduate student must have a faculty advisor. A faculty advisor provides the graduate student with academic guidance in their course program and research oversight in their thesis, project, or engineering report. Graduate students should always seek advice from their advisor and other faculty in their interest area prior to enrolling for courses.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
Full-time students usually complete an M.S. in BME in one or two years.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
The Individual Development Plan (IDP)
An Individual Development Plan (IDP) helps graduate students and postdoctoral researchers:
- assess current skills, interests, and strengths;
- make a plan for developing skills to meet academic and professional goals; and
- communicate with supervisors, advisors, and mentors about evolving goals and related skills.
The IDP is a document to be revisited again and again, to update and refine as goals change and/or come into focus, and to record progress and accomplishments.
The university recommends IDPs for all postdoctoral researchers and graduate students, and requires IDPs for all postdoctoral researchers and graduate students supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. See the Graduate School for more information and IDP resources.
Engineering Career Services
The Engineering Career Services staff offers assistance to students searching or preparing for internships, co-ops, and jobs with well-recognized organizations.
The Writing Center
The Writing Center is a campus-wide organization that provides free of charge, face-to-face and online consultations for students writing papers, reports, resumes, and applications.
- Demonstrate a strong understanding of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles in the field.
- Demonstrate an ability to formulate, analyze, and solve advanced engineering problems.
- Demonstrate creative, independent problem solving skills.
- Apply the latest scientific and technological advancements, advanced techniques, and modern engineering tools to these problems.
- Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.
See also BME Faculty Directory
- Justin Williams (Chair)
- David Beebe
- Walter Block
- Paul Campagnola
- Naomi Chesler
- Shaoqin (Sarah) Gong
- Kristyn Masters
- Beth Meyerand
- William Murphy
- Darryl Thelen
- Randolph Ashton
- Aviad Hai
- Melissa Kinney
- Megan McClean
- Jeremy Rogers
- Krishanu Saha
- Colleen Witzenburg
- Christopher Brace
- Pamela Kreeger
- Wan-ju Li
- Kip Ludwig
- Melissa Skala
- Amit Nimunkar
- John Puccinelli
- Tracy Jane Puccinelli
- Darilis Suarez-Gonzalez
- Aaron Suminski
- Mitchell Tyler
- Ed Bersu
- Willis Tompkins
- John Webster