University of Minnesota
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Go to Department of Biomedical Engineering home page.

Graduate Application Frequently Asked Questions

1. I do not have a previous degree in biomedical engineering. Can I still apply?

Yes, you may apply if you have a background in engineering, physical sciences, and/or biological sciences. We have admitted students from a number of different undergraduate programs, including electrical engineering, physics, biochemistry, and materials science. You do not need a degree in biomedical engineering to be admitted to this program.

If you do not have an engineering degree, you may need to take additional math and/or physics courses to prepare you for a graduate engineering program. Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator ( for more information.

2. Do I need to have a Master's degree before applying for the Ph.D.?


No, a Master's degree is not required. Several of our current students joined the Ph.D. program directly after finishing their undergraduate degrees.

Doctoral students have the option of earning their Master's degree while working toward their Ph.D., but it is not necessary.


3. If I am rejected from the Ph.D. program, can I automatically be considered for the Master's program? Or do I need to submit two separate applications?


You can request to have your application re-evaluated for the Master's program if you are rejected from the Ph.D. program. Simply email with this request. You do not need to submit a second application.


4. What are your minimum GPA/test scores required for admission?

We do not have cut-off scores or a minimum required grade point average (GPA), and we do not determine admission decisions based solely on those criteria. Each application is given a thorough and holistic review after all required materials have been submitted. Academic performance, test scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, etc., are all considered when determining an applicant's suitability for our program.


5. I would like to know my chances of admission to your program. Can I send my credentials to you to have them evaluated before I apply?

We will not pre-screen transcripts, test scores, or resumes to determine an applicant's chances of admission. The committee needs to see your entire application package in order to evaluate your suitability for our program and accurately compare you to our other applicants.

6. Can I send in a paper application, or do I need to apply online?


Application materials must be submitted electronically via the online ApplyYourself application system, as instructed on the Application Information page. If you are unable to access or complete these materials online, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator (


7. I would like to be considered for financial support. Is there a separate application?

No, there is no separate application for financial support. All full-time Ph.D. applicants are automatically considered for financial support. All students admitted to the full-time Ph.D. program with support receive the same financial offer, which includes tuition coverage, health care coverage, and a graduate assistant stipend.

Master's applicants are not eligible to apply for financial support. Individuals seeking a terminal Master's program that will provide funding (fellowships, research/teaching assistantships) should look into other programs/institutions. Students who apply for our MS program should do so with the understanding that they will need to fund their own graduate degree program through personal savings, loans, off-campus employment, and/or other external sources of financial aid.

8. How do I apply for spring/summer admission?

We only consider spring/summer applications if the applicant is EITHER

  • applying for the part-time MS program


  • a current University of Minnesota graduate student who is switching programs and will continue to be supported by his/her current advisor.

Contact for more information.

9. I would like to apply to more than one program at the University of Minnesota. Do I have to submit multiple applications?


Yes, you must submit a separate complete application (including transcript/credential uploads) and fee for every program to which you would like to apply.


10. Why can't I submit paper copies of my recommendations, test scores, etc.?

The Office of Graduate Admissions and the Biomedical Engineering Program have transitioned to a paperless submission and review system. This is part of a University-wide effort to reduce our negative impact on the environment, save money by cutting printing and copying costs, and increase efficiency in the handling and processing of applications.

The paperless processes will benefit applicants by reducing or eliminating your photocopying costs, transcript request fees, and postage expenses. The application process will be less confusing and more streamlined, allowing us to communicate more effectively with all applicants so that you receive your admissions decision as quickly as possible.

11. How many letters of recommendation can I submit?


You must submit at least three (3) letters of recommendation. If you wish, you may submit up to four (4) letters.


12. Do the letters of recommendation need to be from faculty? What if I am currently working in industry?


Letters should be from faculty instructors and/or research supervisors from institutions where you attended class and/or performed research. If you are presently enrolled in a graduate program, you must include a letter from your current advisor.

If you are currently working in industry, you may provide letters from your supervisor(s), but we would like at least one recommendation from academia if at all possible.

13. Who will evaluate my application? Is there an admissions committee, or do faculty hire graduate students directly into their labs?

There is a BME Graduate Admissions Committee that makes all admissions decisions. The committee is comprised of the Director of Graduate Studies plus three or four other members of our Graduate Faculty. New committee members are appointed each academic year.

If there are specific members of our Graduate Faculty whose labs you would like to join, you may certainly contact them to express your interest, but they are not able to admit students. It is after students are admitted that we encourage them to meet and talk with faculty members whose research is of interest.

Graduate Faculty members are listed alphabetically in our Directory (click on the Graduate Faculty tab), and by research area in our Research section.

14. How many students do you plan to admit next year?


We never know exactly how many students we will admit, as it depends on several factors that can change quite dramatically over the course of the admissions and recruiting season. In recent years we have admitted anywhere from 40 to 60 Ph.D. students, and 30 to 75 M.S. students (these ranges include both funded and non-funded positions).

15. When can I expect to find out whether or not I am admitted?


Our PhD application deadline is December 15. Top applicants will be invited for an online interview with a member of our admissions committee. Interview invitations may go out as early as mid-December or as late as mid-March. Final decisions may be communicated any time between late December and mid-April.

Our MS application deadline is March 31. Most applicants will receive a decision by the end of April.

16. If I am admitted, is it possible to defer my enrollment?


Contact for approval to defer enrollment. The Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program generally allows admitted students to defer their enrollment for up to one year. Offers of financial support may also be deferred up to one year.







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