This is a named option within the Biomedical Engineering M.S.

The Research named option in the Biomedical Engineering M.S. is designed for students who want to conduct research during their program. This program takes approximately two years to complete and a thesis is required.

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 (
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:

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

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

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).

Application Fee

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 restrictions 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.

Named Option Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


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 (
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.
Language Requirements n/a

Required 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)
    ANAT&PHY 335 Physiology5
    ANAT&PHY 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology5
    BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
    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 Biology3
    CRB 650 Molecular and Cellular Organogenesis3
    KINES 350 Introduction to Exercise Psychology3
    KINES 531 Neural Control of Movement3
    KINES 773 Cardiorespiratory Adaptions to Environment and Exercise3
    NTP/​NEURODPT  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
    NTP/​NEURODPT/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
    ZOOLOGY/​BIOCHEM/​PHMCOL-M  630 Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms3
    ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
    ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3
  • 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. 

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.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

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.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

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.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. 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).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).


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.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Full-time students usually complete an M.S. in BME in one or two years. 

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

BME Grievance Procedures

If a student feels unfairly treated or aggrieved by faculty, staff, or another student, the University offers several avenues to resolve the grievance. Students’ concerns about unfair treatment are best handled directly with the person responsible for the objectionable action. Options for grievance reporting beyond the research advisor include seeking out the graduate program coordinator, BME grievance committee (details below), CoE Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs, and UW-Madison Omsbuds. These are presented at increasing level of administration; the department encourages students to report at the lowest level they feel comfortable with and seek out higher levels if needed. For more information, students should consult the College of Engineering.

Step 1

The student is encouraged to speak first with the person toward whom the grievance is directed to see if a situation can be resolved at this level.

Step 2

Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact the program’s Grievance Advisor, Professor Beth Meyerand, to discuss the grievance. The Grievance Advisor will facilitate problem resolution through informal channels and facilitate any complaints or issues of students.

The first attempt is to help students informally address the grievance prior to any formal complaint. Students are also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisors regarding concerns or difficulties if necessary.

University resources for sexual harassment, discrimination, disability accommodations, and other related concerns can be found on the UW Office of Equity and Diversity website.

Step 3

Other campus resources besides those listed above include the Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs in the College of Engineering

Step 4

If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student can submit the grievance to the Grievance Advisor in writing, within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.

Step 5

On receipt of a written complaint, a faculty committee will be convened by the Grievance Advisor to manage the grievance. The program faculty committee will obtain a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. This response will be shared with the person filing the grievance.

Step 6

The faculty committee will determine a decision regarding the grievance. The Grievance Advisor will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the party toward whom the complaint was directed within 15 working days from the date the complaint was received.

Step 7

At this point, if either party (the student or the person toward whom the grievance is directed) is unsatisfied with the decision of the faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal. Either party has 10 working days to file a written appeal to the School/College.

Step 8

Documentation of the grievance will be stored for at least 7 years. Significant grievances that set a precedent will be stored indefinitely. The Graduate School has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision made at the school/college level. These policies are described in the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 



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.


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 is a campus-wide organization that provides free of charge, face-to-face and online consultations for students writing papers, reports, resumes, and applications.


See also BME Faculty Directory


  • David Beebe
  • Walter Block
  • Paul Campagnola
  • Naomi Chesler
  • Kevin Eliceiri
  • Shaoqin (Sarah) Gong
  • Kristyn Masters
  • Beth Meyerand
  • William Murphy
  • Darryl Thelen
  • Justin Williams 

Associate Professors

  • Randolph Ashton
  • Christopher Brace
  • Pamela Kreeger
  • Wan-ju Li
  • Kip Ludwig
  • Krishanu Saha
  • Melissa Skala


  • Aviad Hai
  • Melissa Kinney
  • Megan McClean
  • Jeremy Rogers
  • Colleen Witzenburg
  • Filiz Yesilkoy

Faculty Associates

  • Amit Nimunkar
  • John Puccinelli
  • Tracy Jane Puccinelli
  • Darilis Suarez-Gonzalez
  • Aaron Suminski


  • Ed Bersu
  • Willis Tompkins
  • John Webster