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Graduate Program in Biomedical Science (BMS)

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. Core courses in the Biomedical Science program are directed toward students who have a background in basic sciences (such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Biotechnology or Medical Technology) and have demonstrated a strong interest in biomedicine. Courses are designed to educate these students further in applying quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, and fundamental computer and informatics skills to participate in advanced research in biomedical science. Active research areas at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems include cancer research, immunology, bionanotechnology, neuroengineering, cognitive neuroscience and drug delivery

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 Science
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Science

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 Master's Thesis. 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. An example of a compatible dual-master's program would be Biomedical Science and Bioscience.

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 studentŐs 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 bachelor's 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 Science

Biomedical science is a broad field concerned with the application of fundamental biological research and quantitative analysis to human health.

Master's of Science Program in Biomedical Science

The core requirements for the master's in Biomedical Science encompass approximately 45 course credits (most courses carry three credits each) and can usually be completed within 2 years. While a thesis is recommended, a Non-Thesis option is also offered. The School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems has eliminated the comprehensive exam as a part of the requirements for the Non-Thesis master's degree.


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 graduate program in biomedical science educates students whose undergraduate education is in basic life sciences (e.g., biology or biochemistry) in quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, fundamental computing skills, and informatics. For students entering with degrees in physics, mathematics, and/or computer science, the School, in close collaboration with the Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, provides the coursework needed to acquire proficiency in the life sciences. Students in biomedical science achieve depth in the modeling of living systems and biomedical information processing and display.

Students may choose to specialize in areas like Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Neuroengineering and Neuroscience, or Biomechanics and Human Performance. Students who graduate with a master's degree from the biomedical science program often continue clinical training in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine; pursue further graduate study toward the Ph.D. degree; or work in industry in such fields as health care, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, etc.

Master students have the option to participate in a 6-month co-op to gain practical experience in industrial and research labs, starting in the summer after the first year of studies.

A unique aspect of the School's Biomedical sciences program is its ability to integrate aspects of physiology and molecular biology with quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, and computer processing to create a systems approach to biomedical research and applications. Elective courses such as Biological Controls Systems, Genome Information Engineering, Pharmacogenomics, and Chronobioengineering reflect the School's emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches to the most current research in biology and medicine.

Core Curriculum

  • Mathematics for Biomedical Science I, II, III
  • Biomedical Statistics
  • Biocomputing Languages
  • Principles of Systems Analysis for Biomedical Science I, II
  • Experimental Design in Biomedical Science
  • Biomedical Ethics and Law
  • Seminar

Doctoral Program in Biomedical Science

Superior students with training in engineering, natural science, or physical science as well as individuals with academic or professional degrees in the medical science disciplines will be considered for admission to the doctoral program.

To be awarded the Ph.D., students must complete 90 credits (credits earned toward a master's degree may apply toward the 90), fulfill a one-year residency requirement, and successfully pass the qualifying examination, the candidacy examination, and a Ph.D. dissertation and oral defense. Prospective Ph.D. students are welcome to contact the school to discuss their research interests.

Transfer Credits/Credit Reductions

Previous graduate coursework in a related discipline may be accepted for transfer credits toward a Drexel degree.

Concentration Areas

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

This concentration emphasizes 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.


Student may elect to pursue Certificates of Advanced Study in either Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering or Bioinformatics.

Articulation with Interdepartmental Medical Science (IMS) Program at the Drexel College of Medicine

Established in 1981, the IMS program is based within the Drexel University College of Medicine. The IMS program is an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates basic science courses and presents them through clinical system based modules. Applicants to the IMS program include students who are late in their decision to apply to medical school, students interested in improving their academic record before applying or re-applying to medical schools, or students who would like a year in a medical school setting before deciding whether medicine is the career for them. The program has been designed for college graduates who wish to enhance their academic credentials required for entry into U.S. medical school programs. However, the IMS program can also assist students interested in applying to dental, optometry, podiatry, or chiropractic schools.

Considered as a special master's program, students in the IMS program are afforded the opportunity to take actual first-year medical school courses. Applicants to the IMS program must have already fulfilled undergraduate premedical requirements and demonstrated mastery of the material at a minimum grade of "C." These prerequisites include a year of biology, chemistry, physics and organic chemistry including respective laboratory sections. Students who feel that they have overcome their previous academic performance and can prove to medical schools that they can perform at a higher level are appropriate applicants to this program.

IMS Curriculum

The IMS curriculum involves a full-time commitment to rigorous coursework with strong academic requirements. Six major medical school courses are taken simultaneously with the College of Medicine first-year class. These include Medical Biochemistry, Cell Biology & Microanatomy, Medical Physiology, Medical Nutrition, Medical Immunology, and Medical Neuroscience. The medical school lectures are simulcast to the Health Sciences Campus (located in Center City, Philadelphia) from the Drexel University College of Medicine campus (located in East Falls, Philadelphia). The lectures are also videotaped and available in the Health Sciences library as well as being accessible via streaming video on the web. The students take the exact same courses and exams as the medical students and are evaluated based on their performance in comparison to our medical school students. Performance on tests, quizzes, and assignments equal to the mean grade of the medical school class signifies a letter grade of "B" for the IMS students. Thus, IMS students receiving A's and B's are performing at the top 50% of the medical school class and can then present themselves with strong academic credentials before the admissions committee. This permits medical school admissions committees to directly evaluate the student's competence compared with their own first year medical school class. This allows students an opportunity to test their preparation, motivation, and commitment to medicine.

In addition to the medical school courses, students take a medical ethics course each semester. The campuses are approximately five miles apart and a University shuttle provides free transportation between the two.

Additionally, course conferences and laboratory components for IMS students are conducted at the Health Sciences Campus where the program is based. The IMS curriculum allows exposure to both medical school lectures and individual attention from medical school professors in small group conferences.

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