Apply to the BME Master of Engineering


The Master of Engineering (M.E.) is a professional degree designed to give students the precise set of skills and hands-on experiences that they'll need to build a successful private sector career in biomedical technology development. Since the creation of the professional Master’s program in 2019, the M.E. class matriculates at a rate of approximately 55% and averages 12 students per year. The BME Masters in Engineering program seeks outstanding applicants from science and engineering backgrounds who are passionate about advancing health care through the application of innovative biomedical technologies and data science.

Master of engineering in biomedical engineering

  • M.E., M.S. or Ph.D.?

    From Jonathan Rosen and Kevin Janes, Graduate Admissions Committee, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia

    The Biomedical Engineering graduate program offers three degrees that serve different objectives and intermediate- to long-term goals.  When applying, it is important to consider your internal motives for pursuing graduate studies.  This is more important than the availability of funding, the estimated timeline to completion, or the perceived number of slots.  Our experience is that student satisfaction is highest when their objectives are strongly aligned with those of their graduate program.

    The Master of Engineering (M.E.) in Biomedical Engineering is designed to prepare biomedical engineers for professional careers in developing advanced healthcare technologies.  Over 15 months, this 35-credit graduate program includes extensive direct clinical observations across the full Continuum of Patient Care, an advanced foundational biomedical curriculum and an experiential project-based introduction to innovative technology development.  Biomedical Data Science is a core element of the program and includes training and access to patient data, advanced analytics and modeling and a focus on effective data visualization.  Instruction in Advanced Design Practices is included in collaboration with the UVA School of Architecture.  M.E. students pay tuition and fees and may apply for a Chair’s Community Health Fellowship that can partially offset costs.  Summer internships are not provided or required, but may be available through local biomedical companies.  Professional Career Planning is provided through instruction, networking and individual career advising.  The M.E. program welcomes a diverse group of outstanding students from a variety of engineering and science backgrounds who are passionate about applying their professional skills to improve the standards of patient care.  Since 2019, we have enrolled about 12 M.E. students per year (range: 8–15).

    The Master of Science (M.S.) in Biomedical Engineering is a graduate-level education in the fundamentals of the field and the research activity for our program.  M.S. students enroll in core classes plus electives, and the Master’s thesis provides a record of research effort and activity during the M.S. period.  The M.S. timeline is governed by coursework enrollment and fulfillment of requirements, which typically take 18–24 months.  The M.S. student pays tuition and fees, which might be offset by partial teaching or research assistantships if available.  The M.S. can be a good option for applicants from a non-BME field who seek to credential themselves for an industry career in the BME sector.  Alternatively, an applicant may be uncertain about their commitment to research and seek to reevaluate after completing coursework.  The M.S. is also a viable option for applicants who do not feel that their undergraduate record accurately reflects their academic preparedness or readiness for a research degree.  M.S. students do occasionally transition to the Ph.D. program, but the M.S. is not a necessary or implied intermediate step on the path to a Ph.D.  We enroll about three M.S. students each year (range: 1–5).

    The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biomedical Engineering is a mentored opportunity to become an expert on a specific research topic and train for a career involving independent research.  This means identifying a void in knowledge with your Ph.D. advisor and Ph.D. Committee members, devising a plan to fill the void rigorously and executing that plan all the way through analysis, interpretation and transmission of results to the broader scientific community.  Foundational coursework and electives are tested holistically through a Ph.D. qualifying exam, and terminal progress toward becoming an independent scientist is judged by a candidate’s Ph.D. Dissertation Committee.  The Ph.D. dissertation communicates the gap in knowledge by synthesizing the existing literature, fills the gap with interpretable and actionable results and discusses the broader implications and future directions of the research topic.  The timeline for a Ph.D. depends on research progress and the choice to pursue intervening activities, such as laboratory rotations and professional development programs.  Normally, Ph.D. candidates defend their dissertation in 5–6 years.  Ph.D. stipend, tuition, and fees are paid by research assistantships from the sponsoring laboratory (subject to satisfactory performance) or by predoctoral fellowships secured independently by the student.  A Ph.D. is the option for those who know they want to pursue a research career in academia, industry, or government, although there are additional career paths that Ph.D. graduates can take.  We normally enroll about 16 Ph.D. students each year, but this number fluctuates annually depending on the Department’s ability to sponsor research assistantships (range: 4–27).

    Occasionally, we receive applications where we are puzzled by an applicant’s choice of program given their background and interests.  The best place to explain your rationale for M.E., M.S., or Ph.D. is in the written statement of the application.  We look forward to reading about it.

    Kevin Janes, PhD, Professor of BME

    Jonathan Rosen, PhD, Professor of the Practice

  • Ph.D./M.S. Admissions Committee

    Kevin Janes, Director

    TBN, Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

    Sepideh Dolatshahi, Systems Biology and Biomedical Data Science

    Chris Highley, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials

    John Hossack, Biomedical Imaging

    Natasha Sheybani, Drug & Gene Delivery

    Jonathan Rosen, Director of the BME Masters of Engineering Program

*Licensure Disclosure Pertaining to a Professionlal Degree

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). 

Upon completion of an engineering degree program which prepares graduates for licensure or certification, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state. Please visit the University’s STATE AUTHORIZATION WEB PAGES to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).