BME Graduate Programs

Why choose UVA for your graduate training in biomedical engineering?


  • Your leadership style will evolve within a department renowned for collaboration, collegiality, and camaraderie
  • Your research will have real world impact, because we have proven mechanisms for clinical translation and research commercialization
  • You will have a close relationship with your PI and other advisors, because our faculty are approachable, hands-on mentors
  • UVA is making major institutional investments in our department, read about it here, here, and here
  • BME is investing in our students' professional development, BME Going Pro and Tomorrow's Professor Today are two examples
  • Charlottesville, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life

Why ’Hoos Love to Call Charlottesville Home

"The cultural scene here is way bigger than something a town of this size should have."

Our Core Principles

In biomedical engineering at UVA, engineering rigor and invention are our core principles, but we start with a focus on biology.

Whether we are modeling or engineering cells and tissues, analyzing large datasets, developing new imaging technologies, or synthesizing novel biomaterials, the problem statement always starts with the biology underlying the system, therapy, or disease process.

Our co-location within the highly-ranked UVA School of Medicine and Health System uniquely positions us to influence the future of healthcare. Our culture values and rewards collaboration, initiative, and the translation of basic advances to achieve clinical and real world impact. In all that we do, we value and strive for diversity and inclusion.

2019 BME Graduate Handbook LINK

  • Ph.D. Training

    Graduate school is a place to explore the boundaries of the possible and develop your scholarship potential to the highest level. This is the time to develop your independent thinking, seize the opportunity to interact with a wide range of talented student and faculty colleagues, enjoy the riches of the university environment, and be creative in everything you do. 

    All students (ME, MS and PhD) take a core of four 3-credit courses. Two of the core courses focus on quantitative biology; the other two focus on numerical methods, modeling, statistics, and signals and systems. An additional 12 credits of advanced graded coursework are chosen by the student to meet her individual goals.  

    Doctoral students also complete two Elective Educational Experiences (EEEs) to begin the process of life-long learning essential to a career in Biomedical Engineering. Each of these EEEs is the equivalent in effort to a three-credit course. EEEs can take a variety of forms, including:

    • An online course offered through a MOOC such as Coursera.
    • An intense two-week short course at an institution like Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
    • An industry internship focusing on a specific skill, including the BME Going Pro internship.
    • Another graduate course at UVA.

    2019 BME Graduate Handbook

  • Master of Science Program

    Graduate school is a place to explore the boundaries of the possible and develop your scholarship potential to the highest level. This is the time to develop your independent thinking, seize the opportunity to interact with a wide range of talented student and faculty colleagues, enjoy the riches of the university environment, and be creative in everything you do. 

    All students (ME, MS and PhD) take a core of four 3-credit courses. Two of the core courses focus on quantitative biology; the other two focus on numerical methods, modeling, statistics, and signals and systems.  An additional 12 credits of advanced graded coursework are chosen by the student to meet individual goals.  MS degree students take 6 credits of MS thesis research and defend a thesis.     

    2019 BME Graduate Handbook

  • Master of Engineering Program

    The Master of Engineering is a 30-graded-credit-hour, 15-month program beginning each fall. It has been carefully structured to take you step-by-step through the process of developing your own solution, either as an individual or part of a team, to a clinical challenge that you identify. It includes a series of required courses as well as a number of electives, both in BME and in other disciplines, that you can choose to support your project.

    If you are a biomedical engineer who has just finished your undergraduate degree or who has been in the field for a few years and want to apply your skills to developing products and processes in the private sector, this is the program for you.

    2019 BME Graduate Handbook

  • Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. with a BME Advisor

    The majority of PhD students in BME faculty members' labs apply to and eventually are awarded their degree by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.  But among our cohort are several students who are completing their PhD through the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program in the School of Medicine.  Some are in the Medical Scientist Training Program, and others are PhD-only students in Biomedical Sciences training programs.  There are differences in the degree requirements (i.e. Medicine/BIMS versus Engineering/BME).  For more information on becoming a BIMS student in a BME lab:

    BIMS at UVA

  • Course Descriptions

    BME 6060 Biomedical Innovation
    BME 6101 Engineering Physiology
    BME 6102 Engineering Physiology II
    BME 6103 Physiology I
    BME 6104 Physiology and Pathophysiology
    BME 6280 Motion Biomechanics
    BME 6310 Computation and Modeling in BME
    BME 6311 Biomedical Measurement Principles
    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Biomaterials
    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Imaging, Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology
    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Tissue Engineering
    BME 7003 Biomedical Engineering Seminar
    BME 7370 Quantitative Biological Reasoning
    BME 7641 Bioelectricity
    BME 7782 Medical Imaging Systems Theory
    BME 7806 Biomedical Applications of Genetic Engineering
    BME 8315 Computational System Bioengineering
    BME 8550 Advanced Topics in Biomed Engineering: Mechanobiology
    BME 8550 Advanced Topics In Biomed Engineering: Advanced Ultrasound II
    BME 8730 Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging
    BME 8782 Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    BME 8783 Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    BME 8823 Cell Mechanics, Adhesion, and Locomotion
    BME 8890 Biomolecular Engineering
    BME 8900 Graduate Teaching Instruction
    BME 8995 Supervised Projects Research
    BME 8999 Master's Research
    BME 9000 Graduate Teaching Instruction
    BME 9999 Dissertation

    Course Related Quick Links

    - Enroll in Courses
    - BME Current Course Offerings Grid

     

    BME 6060 Biomedical Innovation
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Multi-disciplinary problem solving is an essential component of innovation, especially in complex systems such as health care. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate students with supervised real-world experience identifying problems in health care and developing solutions using a collaborative approach. Graduate students from the Darden Graduate School of Business and the Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Nursing will work in multi-disciplinary teams to identify problems and create solutions that can be viable products, systems, and policies. Because of the highly interactive nature of this course, students are expected to be entrepreneurial, resourceful, and highly motivated. Each team will be assigned to an area (inpatient, clinic, outpatient, or other department/facility) of the UVA Health System. Initially, the teams will go to their assigned site and complete an assessment based on observations and interviews. The teams will identify problems, conduct research on the relevant clinical topics, and select one problem as the focus for the second half of the semester, which will focus on driving towards viable solutions.

    BME 6101 Engineering Physiology (required)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: Introduces fundamental concepts of cellular physiology; applies quantitative engineering analysis to intra- and intercellular signaling and mechanical systems relevant to organ physiology and pathology; teaches students to learn to think critically about the physiology and cell biology literature.
    Prerequisite: BME 2104 or equivalent; proficiency with ODEs.

    BME 6102 Engineering Physiology II (required)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: Second part of physiology sequence for engineering students; focuses on physiology of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, and nervous systems; emphasizes quantitative analysis of organ function, particularly the use of mathematical models to identify and understand key underlying mechanisms.
    Prerequisite: BME 6101

    BME 6103 Physiology I (non-engineering)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: We learn how excitable tissue, nerves and muscle, and the cardiovascular and respiratory systems function. You will develop an understanding of mechanisms, with an introduction to structure, an emphasis on quantitative analysis, and integration of hormonal and neural regulation and control.
    Prerequisites: introductory undergraduate courses in biology, chemistry, physics and calculus (BIOL 2010, CHEM 1610, PHYS 1425, APMA 1110 or similar courses) or instructor permission.
    Suggested preparation: physics, chemistry, cell biology, and calculus.

    BME 6104 Physiology and Pathophysiology (non-engineering)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: This course will emphasize a fundamental understanding of physiology with a focus on mechanisms, and continues the coverage of major systems from BIOM 6103. Studies the renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Integration of function from molecule to cell to organ to body. Includes some functional anatomy. Quantitative understanding of problems like salt and water balance through class work and homework sets. Five lectures on specific diseases and their pathophysiology.
    Prerequisite: BIOM 6103 or instructor permission.

    BME 6280 Motion Biomechanics
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: Focuses on the study of forces (and their effects) that act on the musculoskeletal structures of the human body. Based on the foundations of functional anatomy and engineering mechanics (rigid body and deformable approaches); students are exposed to clinical problems in orthopedics and rehabilitation.
    Prerequisite: BIOM 6103.

    BME 6310 Computation and Modeling in BME
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: Mathematics, modeling, and computation are pervasive in biomedical engineering. As such, this course is designed to help students develop an advanced proficiency in the use of mathematics and computation to solve realistic problems in biomedical engineering research and practice. We will discuss these technical skills in the context of modeling efforts that are used to help represent real-life problems in biology and medicine and to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of computational analysis in biomedical engineering.
    Prerequisite: Biomedical engineering graduate status or instructor permission.

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    BME 6311 Biomedical Measurement Principles (required)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: In this core graduate course, students will gain a fundamental understanding of the theoretical principles underlying biomedical measurements. Topics are organized sequentially from signal initiation through signal processing to downstream statistical analysis of measurements. Students will be exposed to the practical implementation of general principles through homework assignments that involve the analysis and evaluation of molecular, cellular, and clinical measurements from the primary literature.
    Prerequisite: BME 6101: Physiology I (or equivalent), SEAS graduate student status, some previous exposure to probability-statistics, Fourier analysis, and linear systems

    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Biomaterials
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: This course will provide an introduction to biomaterials science and biological interactions with materials, including an overview of biomaterials testing and characterization. The emphasis of this course, however, will be on emerging novel strategies and design considerations of biomaterials.

    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Imaging, Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every other Spring
    Description: In this course students will gain working knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology through the use of imaging. In addition to the class lectures, the feasibility of students observing clinical procedures and interacting with clinicians will be observed. Following the course, students will be able to understand the physics of medical imaging modalities, understand and use imaging vocabulary, and identify anatomical structures on a variety of imaging scans.

    BME 6550 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering: Tissue Engineering
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: Introduces the fundamental principles of tissue engineering. Topics include: tissue organization and dynamics, cell and tissue characterization, cell-matrix interactions, transport processes in engineered tissues, biomaterials and biological interfaces, stem cells and interacting cell fate processes, and tissue engineering methods.

    BME 7003 Biomedical Engineering Seminar
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall and Spring
    Description: A seminar course in which selected topics in biomedical engineering are presented by students, faculty and guest investigators. All graduate students should sign up for three hours of this class in Fall and in Spring.

    BME 7370 Quantitative Biological Reasoning
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: This course will provide students with a quantitative framework for identifying and addressing important biological questions at the molecular, cell, and tissue levels. The first part of the course will cover methods, with an emphasis on the biochemical, biophysical, and mathematical themes that emerge repeatedly in quantitative experiments. Discussions will be preceded by primary literature that illustrate how in-depth understanding of such themes led to significant conceptual advances in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. The second part of the course will focus on how quantitative methods combine to aid scientific logic. Topics will include practical implementations of the scientific method, falsification of hypotheses, and strong inference. The course will conclude with an introduction of how quantitative biological reasoning can be effectively presented through scientific writing and information design.
    Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

    BME 7641 Bioelectricity
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Fall
    Description: Studies the biophysical mechanisms governing production and transmission of bioelectric signals, measurement of these signals and their analysis in basic and clinical electrophysiology. Introduces the principles of design and operation of therapeutic medical devices used in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Includes membrane potential, action potentials, channels and synaptic transmission, electrodes, electroencephalography, electromyography, electrocardiography, pacemakers, defibrillators, and neural assist devices.
    Prerequisite: BME 6310 or instructor permission.
    Suggested preparation: Biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and physiology.

    BME 7782 Medical Imaging Systems Theory
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: offered every fall in the past; check with Craig Meyer (cmeyer@virginia.edu) to see if it will be offered in the future
    Description: Develops an intuitive understanding of the mathematical systems theory needed to understand and design biomedical imaging systems, including ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. Topics will include multidimensional Fourier transform theory, image reconstruction techniques, diffraction theory, and Fourier optics.
    Prerequisite: BME 6310 or equivalent exposure to linear systems theory or instructor permission.

    BME 7806 Biomedical Applications of Genetic Engineering
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: Provides biomedical engineers with a grounding in molecular biology and a working knowledge of recombinant DNA technology, thus establishing a basis for the evaluation and application of genetic engineering in whole animal systems. Beginning with the basic principles of genetics, this course examines the use of molecular methods to study gene expression and its critical role in health and disease. Topics include DNA replication, transcription, translation, recombinant DNA methodology, methods for analyzing gene expression (including microarray and genechip analysis), methods for creating genetically-engineered mice, and methods for accomplishing gene therapy by direct in vivo gene transfer.
    Prerequisite: BIOM 6103, undergraduate-level cell and/or molecular biology course. (e.g., BIOM 304) or instructor permission.
    Suggested preparation: biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and physiology.

    BME 8315 Computational Systems Bioengineering
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: every Spring
    Description: In this course students will gain working knowledge of constructing mathematical and computational models of biological processes at many levels of organizational scale—from genome to whole-tissue. Students will rotate through several modules where they will hear lectures, read literature, and participate in discussions focused on the various modeling techniques.
    Prequisite: BME 6101/6102: Physiology (or equivalent), one of the following courses in cellular and/or molecular biology: BME 2104 or BME 7806.

    BME 8550 Advanced Topics in Biomed Engineering: Mechanobiology
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall (alternating)
    Description: Explores mechanisms of mechanobiology at length scales from centimeters (organs) to nanometers (molecules); students learn to understand how cell and tissue structure regulates phenotype and learn how to develop and experimentally test hypotheses in cellular and tissue engineering.

    BME 8550 Advanced Topics In Biomed Engineering: Advanced Ultrasound II
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall (alternating)
    Description: coming soon…

    BME 8730 Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall (alternating)
    Description: Underlying principles of array based ultrasound imaging. Physics and modeling techniques used in ultrasound transducers. Brief review of ID circuit transducer models. Use of Finite Element techniques in transducer design. Design considerations for 1.5D and 2D arrays will be reviewed. Diffraction and beamforming will be introduced starting from Huygen's principle. FIELD propagation model will form an important part of the class. In depth discussion of various beamforming and imaging issues such as sidelobes, apodization, grating lobes, resolution, contrast, etc. The course addresses attenuation, time-gain-compensation and refraction. Finally, speckle statistics and K-Space techniques will be introduced. Laboratories will involve measuring ultrasound image metrics, examining the effect of various beamforming parameters and simulating these on a computer using Matlab.
    Prerequisite: instructor permission, BIOM 6310 and BIOM 6311.
    Preparation: Undergraduate Physics, Electronic circuit analysis, Differential Equations, Fourier and Laplace Transforms, Sampling Theorems.

    BME 8782 Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Spring (alternating)
    Note: not offered in Spring 2010; will be offered in Fall 2010.
    Description: Advanced physics and applications of magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy will be covered. Upon completion of this course, the student will understand the factors that affect the MRI signal, and will know how these factors can be exploited to image or measure various aspects of physiology with MR. Specific examples include using the paramagnetic properties of blood to detect brain function and using the signal loss associated with molecules.
    Prequesite: BME 8782 Magnetic Resonance Imaing and MATLAB experience.

    BME 8783 Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Spring (alternating)
    Note: not offered in Spring 2010; will be offered in Spring 2011.
    Description: Advanced physics and applications of magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy will be covered. Upon completion of this course, the student will understand the factors that affect the MRI signal, and will know how these factors can be exploited to image or measure various aspects of physiology with MR.
    Prerequisites: BME 8782 Magnetic Resonance Imaging and MATLAB experience.

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    BME 8823 Cell Mechanics, Adhesion, and Locomotion
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall (alternating)
    Description: Biomechanics and structural biology of cell structure and function, focusing on quantitative description and measurements of cell deformability, adhesion, and locomotion. Cell deformability: erythrocyte properties, membrane mechanics, shear, bending, and area elasticity. Leukocyte structure and deformability. Structural basis of plasma membrane, lipid bilayer, surface structures, nucleus, organelles, cell junctions, cytoskeleton, membrane transport, active cytoskeletal functions, specific and non-specific forces between molecules, protein structure, molecular graphics. Cell adhesion molecules: families of adhesion molecules, cell-cell and cell-matrix binding, biochemical characteristics, regulation of expression, regulation of binding avidity, functional role. Cell adhesion assays: detachment assays, aggregation of leukocytes and platelets, controlled shear systems, flow chambers. Mechanics of cell adhesion: equilibrium analysis of cell adhesion, models of cell rolling, adhesion bond mechanics. Liposomes, microbubbles, and applications to targeted adhesion. Cell motility: measurement of active forces and motility in cells, molecular motors. Effects of mechanical stress and strain on cell function.
    Prerequisite: BIOM 822 or instructor permission.

    BME 8890 Biomolecular Engineering
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall (alternating)
    Description: In this class, students design treatment strategies for cancer and cardiovascular disease based on molecular bioengineering principles. Special topics will include design of nanoparticle drug and gene delivery platforms, materials biocompatibility, cancer immunotherapy, and molecular imaging.
    Prerequisites: Undergraduate coursework in cell and molecular biology and biomechanics. Recommended undergraduate course in transport processes.

    BME 8900 Graduate Teaching Instruction
    Frequency: Every Fall and Spring
    Units: 3.0
    Description: For master’s students who are teaching assistants.

    BME 8995 Supervised Projects Research (ME requirement)
    Units: 3.0
    Frequency: Fall, Spring, Summer
    Description: A graded research project in biomedical engineering conducted in consultation with a faculty advisor. Includes the design, execution, and analysis of experimental laboratory work and computational or theoretical computer analysis of a problem. Fulfills the project requirement for the Biomedical Engineering Masters of Engineering degree.

    BME 8999 Master's Research
    Frequency: Fall, Spring, Summer
    Units: 3.0-12.00
    Description: Formal record of student commitment to master’s research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Registration may be repeated as necessary. (A minimum of 6 hours required for the MS degree.)

    BME 9000 Graduate Teaching Instruction
    Frequency: Fall, Spring, Summer
    Units: 3.0
    Description: For doctoral students who are teaching assistants.

    BME 9999 Dissertation
    Frequency: Fall, Spring, Summer
    Units: 3.0-12.00
    Description: Formal record of student commitment to doctoral research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Registration may be repeated as necessary. (A minimum of 24 hours required for the PhD degree.)

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    UVA Graduate Record
  • Research Areas
  • How to apply

    Application Process

    If you are interested in applying, forms and instructions for both domestic and international students are available on the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) website. Additional information helpful to applicants may also be found in our FAQ section. Applications and all supporting materials are due by December 15 for Fall matriculation. Please consider the following application tips when applying:

    1. Apply for the final degree you wish to obtain. If you want to pursue a Ph.D. at UVa, you should apply to the Ph.D. program. You do not need to complete an M.S. degree before beginning your Ph.D. studies with us.
    2. Be as specific as you can about what research areas and laboratories interest you. Telling us which professors and labs best match your interests helps us make sure the right people read your application.
    3. The primary difference between the M.S. and the M.E. is the depth of the research component. The M.E. requirements include coursework and a small research project, while the M.S. requirements include a more extensive research experience culminating in a thesis.

     

    The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is designed for students who wish to pursue research careers. Graduates of the PhD program are well-prepared for careers in academia, government, and industry.

    The Master of Science (MS) includes both coursework and research, culminating in a thesis. Graduates of the MS program typically pursue careers in industry or continue their research endeavors in a Ph.D. program.

    The Master of Engineering (ME) is a professional degree designed to strengthen the student’s competence in engineering primarily through additional coursework.

    Requirements for Admission

    The general requirements for admission to the Ph.D., M.S., or M.E. programs include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, GRE General Test scores, a completed application packet with short essay and letters of recommendation. TOEFL scores are required for international students whose first language is not English. Qualified applicants who are deficient in certain prerequisites may be admitted with the expectation that they will remedy the deficiencies during the master's program. Prerequisite courses include introductory chemistry and biology, physics (two semesters based on calculus), mathematics through differential equations, and computer programming (Matlab, C++ or Java).

    We evaluate each application on its own merit recognizing that a diverse student body has diverse backgrounds. You may find it helpful to know that a typical entering class of graduate students has average GRE scores over 159 (verbal) and 160 (quantitative) and an average undergraduate GPA above 3.5 on a 4-point scale. For students whose first language is not English, TOEFL scores of 250 computer-based/600-paper based, IELTS scores of 7.0 or above or iBT scores of 90 to 100 are recommended.

    Further Information

    You will find the answers to many common questions on our FAQ page. If, after reviewing this page, you find that you have additional questions about our program, please contact us at bmegrad@virginia.edu.

    Jason Papin
    Director of Graduate Programs
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    bmegrad@virginia.edu

     

    Hannah Moore
    Graduate Program Coordinator
    bmegrad@virginia.edu
    434-924-5102

     

    For Graduate Admissions Questions, please contact:

    Song Hu
    Graduate Admissions Director
    Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    bmegrad@virginia.edu

Professional Development

Outside the Lab

  • M3 Lab

    The M3 Lab muscling it out at the Annual BME Tug-of-War.

  • BMES Annual Meeting

    UVA BME contingency at the BMES Society Annual Meeting.

  • BME at Basketball

    BMEs at the JPJ with CavMan.

Graduate Program Contacts

  • Jason Papin, PhD

    Professor and Graduate Program Director


    Dr. Papin leads the faculty in setting the agenda for our graduate program. He has earned awards for teaching and mentoring at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

    Faculty Profile
  • Kimberly Fitzhugh-Higgins

    Graduate Student Coordinator


    Kim helps BME grad students get the most out of their time at UVA. Contact her with nearly any question... but especially questions about program logistics, academic milestone, the application process, and the student experience: kaf5r@virginia.edu.

  • Song Hu

    Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Admissions


    Dr. Hu sets the agenda for BME graduate student recruitment each spring.

    Faculty Profile