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Biomedical Engineering (PHD) 
Program Description

Biomedical engineering is a discipline that integrates the engineering sciences with biology and medicine. The field of biomedical engineering has seen a dramatic escalation in activity over the past 20 years leading to the development of a wide variety of medical devices, medical procedures, and a basic understanding of biological processes. The University of Arizona established the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program to address the increasing importance of engineering approaches in modern biomedical research and new medical technologies.

The strength of our Biomedical Engineering program is derived from the breadth of research activities among our interdisciplinary faculty. Faculty from numerous departments within the Colleges of Medicine, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences participate in this interdisciplinary graduate program. The major research areas are Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy, Bioinoformatics, Bioinstrumentation and Devices, Biomaterals and Tissue Engineering, Biomechanics, Biosensors, Cardiovascular Biomedical Engineering, Neuroengineering, Nanomedicine, and all inbetween. 

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Biomedical Engineering -

UA Biomedical Engineering provides a rigorous education in the time-tested principles, technologies and tools of engineering combined with broad exposure to the ever-expanding modern practice of biomedicine.

BME is an inherently interdisciplinary department with a diverse and highly collaborative faculty. Research and educational connections throughout the university yield extensive opportunities for students to gain the knowledge and experience to pursue careers in industry, academia, medicine and government.

Gain the Skills to Improve Health Care

BME’s educational programs not only deliver a solid theoretical foundation in science and engineering, but also students gain the applied hands-on skills to design and build biomedical devices, instruments and systems.

Acquire the knowledge to contribute to improving health care. Learn how to create better and more cost-effective technologies for prevention, detection and treatment of health-related issues.

Be part of the revolution occurring in biomedicine!

College of Engineering  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Andrea Anduaga
Graduate Program Coordinator
Andrea Anduaga
Director of Graduate Studies
Jeong-Yeol Yoon
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements
  • Official transcripts of current Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Our Institution Code is 4832, and Department Code is 1603. Only the general GRE scores are necessary, and we recommend a minimum of 143 verbal, 151 quantitative, and a 3 on the analytical writing section.
  • A 1-2 page essay or statement of purpose describing your background, research interests and career goals. Include in your statement any information pertinent to your research experience, whether in course work, special projects or employment. Please explain why you want to obtain a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and what, specifically, led you to apply to our graduate program. Please upload via GradApp portal.
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation from former professors or individuals knowledgeable about your academic and scientific abilities. Students can submit/request additional letters of recommendation, if desired. Letters of recommendation should be uploaded via the Grad App portal.
  • For initial application, Unofficial College transcripts required. If accepted into program, Official Transcripts will be required prior to matriculation. Applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, or quantitative life sciences for admission into the program, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (recommended 3.3). Previous coursework including two courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, and at least one course in life science is required. Applicants lacking in some area at the time of application may provide a plan to gain competence in these areas.
  • CV/Resume document/PDF uploaded.
  • If you are an International Student from a non-English speaking country, please upload most recent official TOEFL® score report. English Proficiency: Proof of English proficiency is required for any international applicant born in a country where English is not the official language. Please check our English Requirement list to verify your need to submit an English proficiency test. The University of Arizona's institution code for sending official electronic score reports from ETS is 4832. Common English Proficiency credentials: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - minimum score of 79 iBT or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - minimum composite score of 7, with no subject area below a 6. Additional acceptable English Proficiency credentials can be found here:
Standardized Tests

Required test(s): Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Recommended GRE Verbal143
Recommended GRE Quantitative151
Recommended GRE Analytical Writing3

International student requirement:

Minimum TOEFL79 iBT OR Minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS): score of 7, with no subject area below a 6

Financial Aid

Graduate Funding

Support Throughout Your Degree Program

Teaching and Research Assistantships

All full-time BME doctoral students in good academic standing are supported financially during their graduate studies. This includes annual stipend, in-state tuition, out-of-state tuition (if applicable), and health insurance. First-year support is typically provided by the department or the college in the form of fellowship or research assistantship.

Beyond the first year, support is typically provided by the faculty adviser, using funds from the adviser's research grant or the departmentwide training grants (see following section), contingent upon the student's satisfactory academic progress and good standing in the BME program. Students can also be supported through teaching assistantships.

Teaching and research assistantships for master's students are handled on a case-by-case basis. Master's students may also be supported by a variety of fellowships and scholarships.

Detailed information about teaching and research assistantships is available in the UA Graduate College GA Manual.

Scholarships and Fellowships

The BME graduate program encourages all students to seek fellowship funding. The following resources simplify finding, applying for and managing fellowships and scholarships: 

Among fellowship sources for BME students are the following:

NIH T32 Grants

The National Institutes of Health fund Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Training Grants, or T32 grants, to train graduate researchers in specified shortage areas. 

BME faculty serve as principal investigators on two of the UA’s NIH T32 grants.

Cardiovascular Biomedical Engineering Training Grant

Led by Jennifer Barton, the Cardiovascular Biomedical Engineering training program is dedicated to training predoctoral students in biological and engineering disciplines focusing on cardiovascular health to meet the demands of a growing biomedical engineering field.

Graduate Training in Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy

Art Gmitro leads the Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy training program, which draws on the the UA's exceptional strengths in biomedical engineering and optical sciences. Training is based on fundamental instructions in the mathematical and engineering principles of image science combined with exposure to a broad range of biomedical applications.

Admissions Deadlines

We currently admit students to begin our program in Fall only. Applications are only accepted between October 1st and January 6th. All application materials must be submitted by December 1 of the year preceding entrance for international applicants, and January 6th of the entrance year for domestic applicants.

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: January 6

International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 4832
NRC Taxon(a) for this program: Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 63 units of graduate credit, and meet the Graduate College’s minimum units of courses in which regular grades (A, B) have been earned. Requirements include 15 units of the core BME courses; 10 units in the major; a minimum of 9 units in the minor; attendance at weekly seminar, 6 units seminar courses counting toward unit mimimum; a minimum of 3 units in a BME approved ethics course; 2 units of laboratory rotations (BME 597G), and 18 units of BME 920 (dissertation). A high level of performance is expected of students who are enrolled in graduate programs at The University of Arizona.  Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 (letter grade of B) or better to continue enrollment in the degree-granting program, receive financial support, and to be awarded an M.S. or Ph.D. degree.

Students entering the program with a M.S. degree may petition to apply previous graduate coursework to the Ph.D. degree requirements. The Graduate College requires that at least 30 units of graduate credit must be completed at the University of Arizona.

Minor Requirements

The Graduate College requires all Ph.D. students to complete a "minor" program of study. Ph.D. candidates in other disciplines may select a minor in Biomedical Engineering.  Effective Fall 2018, the Doctoral minor is 9 units: 9 units of approved BME core courses (BME 510, 511, 516, 517, 561, 566, 577, 586).

  • Life science majors are not required to take 510/511, but will take 9 units of 516, 517, 561, 566, 577 or 586
  • Engineering and Imaging majors will take BME 510 and 511, plus one of 516, 517, 561, 566, 577, or 586.

Completion of these courses with a "B" average for the required units is necessary for granting of the minor.  BME does not require representation at the written Comprehensive Examination, but does require a BME faculty member to be present at the oral examination, and BME-related material must be covered.  The student’s dissertation (Doctoral final oral examination) committee must contain one BME faculty member.  This committee member must be present at the dissertation defense, either in person or by teleconference.  The BME Program should receive a copy of the student’s Doctoral Plan of Study at the time they declare their minor in BME.  The student’s non-BME major advisor (mentor) cannot serve as the student’s advisor for a BME minor. 

A BME Doctoral student may choose to major and minor in Biomedical Engineering, i.e. obtain a "Distributed Minor in Biomedical Engineering".  The distributed minor consists of 9 units of formal graded course work in any area of Biomedical Engineering (excluding major course work, seminars, and lab rotations).

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 55%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 4.75
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 59%
Enrollment Percent Female 41%
Enrollment Percent International 15%
Enrollment Percent URM 21%

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Last revised 20 Dec 2018