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Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering (BME)

The School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems is a nationally recognized center of research and graduate education. It offers multidisciplinary graduate instruction and research on both a full- and part-time basis

The faculty includes individuals with engineering, physics, mathematics, biostatistics, life science, medical, and clinical specialties. Multidisciplinary research is carried out through collaboration among Drexel University faculty members and with several medical schools and hospitals in the Philadelphia area.

For graduate students, the School offers master's of science (M.S.) and Ph.D. programs in Biomedical Eengineering and Biomedical Science. Areas of specialization available or under development include biomechanics, rehabilitation, biomaterials and tissue engineering, biosensors and biomedical imaging, biostatistics, genome science and bioinformatics, human factors and performance engineering, neuroengineering, and systems biology.

In addition to courses offered by the School, various departments at Drexel University offer courses specifically designed for graduate students in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Science. These courses permit students to acquire advanced knowledge needed for graduate research or for a future career in highly specialized fields.

Core Curriculum

The School's overall objective is to provide multidisciplinary programs with a core curriculum and research in selected areas. Biomedical engineering students should have an academic background in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics. Students who do not have an engineering background must enroll in the Cross-over Program, which provides the necessary undergraduate engineering coursework (see below: Additional Information). The core curriculum provides the necessary training in medical science, computational and quantitative methods, modeling and simulation, and biomedical/engineering applications to prepare students to apply their engineering skills and perspective to current problems in biology and medicine. Fields in which students may focus their advanced studies and research efforts are based on the research strengths and thrusts of the school. The concentration areas include biosensors and biomedical imaging, biomaterials and tissue engineering, biomechanics and human performance engineering, neuroengineering, and functional bioinformatics.

Additional Information

Students without an academic background in engineering or physical science who wish to enter the Biomedical engineering program must enroll in the Crossover Program, an accelerated curriculum designed to fulfill the undergraduate requirements for admission to a Drexel graduate engineering program. Undergraduate classes in the program do not count toward the MS. degree, and they may entail one to two years of additional full-time study. For specific course requirements, students should contact the graduate advisor for Biomedical engineering.

Applicants to the graduate program must meet the requirements for admission to graduate studies at Drexel University. Candidates for degrees in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems are required to maintain academic standards applicable to all graduate students at Drexel University.

Full course descriptions and additional information on University policies are available from the Admissions Office. Information is also available on the University's website

Degrees Offered

  • M.S. in Biomedical Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

The Basics of a Drexel Graduate Degree

The following sections describe the basic regulations governing the master's of science and Ph.D. degrees at Drexel.

Master's of Science

Every MS student develops a plan of study in consultation with a faculty advisor. Most Drexel MS programs require a minimum of 45 to 48 credits (depending on the program), with most courses in most departments being 3 credits each.

Many programs require a masters. The University, however, recognizes that the completion of a thesis may present a challenge to part-time students. Most departments that require or recommend a thesis will try to accommodate the special needs of students who are working full-time. Such students may be able to develop an on-the-job research project that serves as the basis of the thesis. Other programs may offer an alternative way to fulfill the research requirement. For those students intending to complete a thesis, an MS Thesis Committee Appointment Form is to be filed at least three months prior to the final defense. The committee must consist of at least three members, at least two of whom must be School of Biomed Core Faculty members.

Most MS programs can be pursued full-time or part-time. Full-time master's students can usually complete a degree in two years. Part-time students may need three to five years of study The University requires that a master's degree be completed within seven years after the initial enrollment.

Dual Degree Options

The University encourages students with broad interests to consider a dual MS option. Through the dual MS program, graduate students already enrolled in a master's degree program at Drexel have the opportunity to work simultaneously on two master's degrees and to complete both at the same time, with a reduced credit requirement for both. Examples of compatible dual-master's programs would be Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Engineering.

To be eligible, graduate students must be working on their first degree when requesting admission to the second. They must obtain approval from the graduate advisers of both programs and work out a plan of study encompassing coursework and/or research (thesis) credits for both degrees.

Students may transfer as many as 15 credits from one program to the other, usually in the form of electives. Therefore, to complete a dual master's-degree program, they are required to complete a minimum of 60 graduate credits (instead of 45 credits per individual program). The actual credit total may be higher, depending on each department's requirements. The transfer of credits from one program to the other depends on the programs and must be approved by graduate advisers from both programs.

Applicants considering two degrees are encouraged to contact the appropriate academic departments as soon as possible after their first term.

The Drexel Ph.D.

The focus of the Ph.D. program is the development and execution of a major research project. In pursuing the Ph.D., students normally earn a minimum of 90 course credits beyond the B.S. Generally, the first 45 credits are at the MS. level, and the second 45 at the post-MS. level. The latter portion includes course credits earned for dissertation research.

A Ph.D. qualifying examination must be taken after the first year of graduate study. The exam verifies that students have the appropriate academic foundation for the more advanced coursework. To develop the dissertation, a student must arrange an association with a supervising professor who has similar research interests.

Each student must complete a Ph.D. candidacy examination before being officially named as a Drexel Ph.D. candidate. The purpose of the examination is to determine the studentís preparation and ability to undertake dissertation research. The student then completes the research and writes the thesis. After the supervising faculty accepts the dissertation, the candidate defends it orally.

Most Ph.D. studies at Drexel are pursued on a full-time basis. The University has a residency requirement: Ph.D. candidates must have at least three consecutive terms of full-time study. The University also requires Ph.D. candidates to be registered in each consecutive term while pursuing their degree. Students who begin Ph.D. studies with a bachelorís degree must finish the full program within seven years. Students who enroll with a master's must complete the Ph.D. within five years.

Biomedical Engineering

General Information
Biomedical engineering is concerned with the application of science and engineering methods to the analysis of biological and physiological problems and to the delivery of health care. The biomedical engineer requires the analytical tools and broad understanding of modern engineering and science, fundamental understanding of the biological or physiological systems, and familiarity with recent technological innovations.

The biomedical engineer interfaces between the traditional engineering disciplines and the life sciences. He/She may work either in applying the patterns of living organisms to engineering design, or developing new approaches to human health analysis and care delivery by employing engineering methods. The biomedical engineer may use his/her knowledge of anatomical and physiological systems to reverse engineer nature, creating, for example, artificial materials and prosthetic components. A biomedical engineer may use his/her knowledge of engineering to create new equipment or environments for such purposes as maximizing human performance, accelerating wound healing, or providing non-invasive diagnostic tools.

For more information, visit the The School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems' web site.

Master's of Science Program in Biomedical Engineering

The overall objective of the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems is to provide multidisciplinary programs offering an instructional core curriculum and research in selected areas.

The core requirements for the master's in Biomedical engineering include a minimum of 45 course credits (most courses carry three credits each) and an optional research thesis. While a research thesis is highly recommended a Non-Thesis option is also available. Students who elect to pursue a Non-thesis option are required to complete a minimum of 51 credits of coursework to be approved by the School Graduate Advisor.

Students admitted into the biomedical engineering program are individuals who have earned undergraduate degrees in one of the traditional engineering areas. Students with undergraduate degrees in computer science; physics; chemistry; bio-chemistry, or mathematics may qualify for admission into the graduate biomedical science program.

The core curriculum provides the necessary training in medical science, modeling and simulation and biomedical engineering applications. Students may focus their scholarly efforts on advanced coursework and research in such areas as Biomedical Imaging, Biomedical Instrumentation, Biomechanics, Biomaterials, Human Performance, Biomedical Signals, Neuroengineering, Tissue Engineering. While such concentrations are facilitated, the School does not offer formal certification in these sub-areas and the final degree is MS in Biomedical Engineering.


Core Courses                                                                                                                                             

BMES 501    
Medical Sciences I     
3.0 Credits
BMES 502    
Medical Sciences II     
3.0 Credits
BMES 503  
Medical Sciences III    
3.0 Credits
BMES 672 
Biosimulation I   
3.0 Credits
BMES 673 
Biosimulation II  
3.0 Credits
BMES 864 
Seminar x Three terms  
0.0 Credits

In addition to the required (Core) courses, students are expected to select elective course from the list of BMES course offered by the School. The selection of the elective courses should be done in coordination with the student's thesis advisor. In the absence of a thesis advisor, the School Graduate Advisor will serve as the primary advisor.

Because of the diverse backgrounds of the incoming student population, the School Graduate Advisor can grant exemption from a required course. If such exemption is granted, the student will have to replace the course with one of the elective courses after discussing it with the Graduate Advisor.

The total number of credit should add up to 45 for the thesis option and 51 for the non-thesis option. Students who elected to pursue the thesis option are allowed to register in Research Credits or Thesis credits. The maximum number of research or thesis credits that can be counted toward the MS degree requirements is 6 credits. Students pursuing a non-thesis MS degree plan are not allowed to count research or thesis credits toward the satisfaction of the 51 credits requirement. Exceptions to this rule can be granted in rare situations only by the School Graduate Advisor.

  • All MS students who intend to pursue the Thesis option are urged to identify a thesis advisor no later than the end of the second term in school.

  • All students are required to submit a Plan of Study no later than the end of the second term in school.

Crossover Program

This program of study is constructed from a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the School or by the University's engineering and physical science departments and is designed to bring the student up to a level that enables the student to address engineering problems in his or her area of specialization. The crossover requirements are tailored to the individual student by a committee that is chaired by the graduate advisor. The crossover program usually requires one to two additional years of full-time study. No graduate credit is given for the undergraduate courses. For specific course requirements, contact the graduate advisor for biomedical engineering.

Biomedical Engineering: Areas of Specialization

The graduate program of the School does not offer concentration areas in sub-disciplines. However, students can plan their own concentration of courses that will give them strength in a particular sub-discipline. Alternatively, the student can specialize by conducting research and writing a thesis. The areas of specialization of the School's faculty from which students can learn and participate in research are:

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Biomaterials and tissue Engineering is designed to provide students with advanced training in cellular and molecular biology relevant to tissue engineering and behavior of materials used in biomedical applications.

Biomechanics and Human Performance Engineering
Biomechanics and human performance engineering is designed to meet two objectives: to acquaint students with the responses of biological tissues to mechanical loads as well as with the mechanical properties of living systems and to provides the students with the background and skills needed to create work and living environments which improve human health and enhance performance. Biomechanics and Human Performance also involves the study of orthopedic appliances and the broader aspect of Rehabilitation Engineering and the Management of Disability.

Biomedical Systems and Imaging
Biomedical systems and imaging focuses on the theoretical and practical issues related to machine vision, image processing and analysis, and signal processing associated with such medical applications as well biomedical instrumentation and product development.

This specialization emphasized a systems engineering approach to provide a foundation in systems biology and pathology informatics. Students are provided students with hands-on experience in the application of genomic, proteomic, and other large-scale information to biomedical engineering as well as experience in advanced computational methods used in systems biology: pathway and circuitry, feedback and control, cellular automata, sets of partial differential equations, stochastic analysis, and biostatistics.

Neuroengineering is broadly defined to include the modeling of neural and endocrine systems, neural networks, complexity in physiological systems, evolutionary influences in biological control systems, neurocontrol, neurorobotics, and neuroprosthetics.

Biomedical Technology Development
This concentration area and certificate program aims to provide engineers with the comprehensive education and training necessary to succeed in careers in business, industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies involving biomedical technology development. The concentration area in Biomedical Technology Development is a professional degree program and follows the School of Biomedical Engineering, Sciecnce and Health Systems' established procedures for a non-thesis option master's degree. Students interested in this concentration should develop a plan of study in consultation with the concentration coordinator, Dr. Kambiz Pourrezaei, before the beginning of the second term. The electives should also be chosen in consultation with the concentration coordinator.

Doctoral Program in Biomedical Engineering

Doctoral students are admitted on two levels: Post Baccalaureate or Post Master's PhDs. Students who have completed only a Bachelor's degree are admitted as Post Baccalaureate and students who have earned a prior MS degree may be admitted as Post Master's PhD students at the discretion of the admission committee.

To be awarded the Ph.D., post baccalaureate students must complete 90 credits. Post master's students must complete a total of 45 credits. All students are required to satisfy the MS core courses as listed in the table above except those students who have taken these courses during their MS studies at Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.

All the requirements of the Master's degree program above are incorporated into the Post Baccalaureate Doctoral Program with exception of the Master's thesis. Doctoral students must pass successfully a "candidacy examination" at the end of the first year of their study, but no later than the end of the second year. After the student has passed the candidacy examination, he or she is named a Doctoral Candidate. Candidates must submit a Thesis Proposal by the end of the second year and give an oral presentation to a committee of five professors. Once the student has successfully completed his or her research and has written a thesis according to the guidelines specified by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies he or she must give an oral presentation of his or her accomplishments and defend the thesis. For a more detailed description of the Ph.D. requirements, please visit the web site of the School and the Provost's web site.

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