University of Minnesota
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Go to Department of Biomedical Engineering home page.

M.S.-Plan A Degree Requirements

Prior to Spring 2012, the Master's-Plan A (with thesis) in Biomedical Engineering requires completion of at least 25 credits of coursework, plus 10 thesis credits and a final defense. (Students whose degrees were in-progress in Spring 2012 can decide whether to complete this curriculum or the new one.)

Students are expected to complete the Master's degree within 2 years.


M.S.-Plan A students are required to complete at least 25 credits of coursework, which must include the following (click each item for more information):

BMEn 5000-Level Core Courses (2)


Choose TWO courses from the following list:

  • BMEn 5001 - Advanced Biomaterials
  • BMEn 5101 - Advanced Bioelectricity and Instrumentation
  • BMEn 5201 - Advanced Biomechanics
  • BMEn 5311 - Advanced Biomedical Transport Processes
  • BMEn 5351 - Cell Engineering
  • BMEn 5401 - Advanced Biomedical Imaging

If additional core courses are completed, they may be counted toward other degree requirements.

BME Graduate Seminars (2)



TWO semesters of the BME Graduate Seminar (BMEn 8601/8602) are required. Click here for the current seminar schedule. Other graduate seminars, Grand Rounds, etc., may not be substituted for this requirement.

Statistics (1)


ONE course in statistics is required. Recommended courses are:

  • STAT 5021 - Statistical Analysis
  • STAT 5302 - Applied Regression Analysis
  • STAT 5303 - Designing Experiments

The statistics course must be at the 5000 level or higher, unless approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Biology Electives (2)


TWO courses with a primarily biological emphasis are required.

This category may include BMEn 5501 - Biology for Biomedical Engineers, as well as courses from several other departments (e.g., Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, etc.).

All biology electives must be at the 5000 level or higher unless approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.


Technical Electives (2)

Technical electives are courses offered in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) in engineering, physical sciences, and mathematics. TWO of these courses are required, ONE of which must be in engineering.

Courses outside of CSE with content predominantly in engineering, physical sciences, and/or mathematics may be counted toward this requirement with pre-approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

All technical electives must be at the 5000 level or higher unless approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Free Science/Technical Elective (1)


ONE additional course in a science or engineering field is required.

The free elective must be at the 5000 level or higher unless approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Minor/Supporting Program

The M.S. electives (Biology, Technical, Free) must include a minimum of 6 credits of minor or supporting program coursework. This coursework must be completed outside BME in engineering, mathematics, the physical sciences, and/or the biological sciences.

  • If a MINOR is chosen, it will be included on the official transcript. A minor must be approved by the DGS of the program granting the minor. Students are advised to determine appropriate courses for fulfillment of minor requirements during their first semester of study.
  • If a SUPPORTING PROGRAM is chosen, it must be composed of a coherent set of courses, possibly embracing several disciplines, and should include at least one 8000-level elective. A supporting program will not appear on the transcript.
Graduate Degree Plan

By the end of the first academic year of study, M.S. students should submit a Graduate Degree Plan to the advisor, DGS, and Graduate School for approval. The Graduate Degree Plan is the formal statement of the coursework being used to satisfy degree requirements.

Along with the Graduate Degree Plan, students should also submit the M.S.-Plan A Supplement for review by the DGS. The supplement is an internal form that shows which courses are being used toward the specific degree requirements set by the department (core courses, bio/tech electives, etc.).


Master's Thesis and Defense

Thesis Credits

In addition to the 25 credits of coursework, M.S.-Plan A students must complete 10 thesis credits (BMEn 8777). The thesis must be based on research done by the student in collaboration with his/her advisor.

Thesis credits cannot be transferred from other institutions and cannot be used toward the minimum coursework requirements for the degree.

Master's students may register for thesis credits during any semester, with the advisor's approval.

Advanced Master's Status

Upon completion of all M.S. coursework and thesis credits, students are eligible for Advanced Master's Status and, with approval of the advisor and DGS, can maintain their full-time student status by registering for just one credit of BMEn 8333 (FTE: Master's). This registration category is only intended for advanced M.S. students who have completed all required coursework and thesis credits but are still working full-time on the research or writing of the thesis.

The Application for Advanced Master's Status must be submitted to the BME office prior to each semester in which the student plans to register for BMEn 8333. Pay special attention to the application deadlines posted on the form!

Final Examination Committee


At least one month prior to the Final Examination/Thesis Defense, students must assign their examination committee members online by going to the Graduate School's Forms for Master's Students and clicking on "Master's Final Examination Committee."

Committee requirements are posted on the Graduate School website at

Thesis Defense/Final Examination

Upon completion of the thesis and with the approval of the committee, all M.S.-Plan A students must perform a Final Oral Examination in defense of the thesis. The Master's defense must be closed to the public. It is not restricted to a discussion of the thesis, but will include questions related to coursework in the major and minor/supporting fields.


Degree Completion

Students should be sure to consult the Graduate School's Information for Current Master's Students (opens in new window). This website includes links to forms, timelines, completion and graduation procedures, thesis submission guidelines, and other information that is essential for timely completion of the degree.

Quick Links

MS and PhD Application Information

PhD Requirements

MS-Plan A Requirements

MS-Plan B Requirements

Graduate Minor


Grad Handbooks

Additional details about our MS and PhD programs, course lists, and requirements are distributed to new students in the BME Grad Program Handbook. The Handbook is updated every summer. Students should consult the Handbook for the year in which they were admitted to the program. (Handbook links will open in a new tab/window.)

2011-12 (pdf, 390KB)
2010-11 (pdf, 378KB)
2009-10 (pdf, 181KB)

2008-09 (pdf, 746KB)
2007-08 (pdf, 104KB)
2006-07 (pdf, 103KB)
2005-06 (pdf, 107KB)

If your Handbook is not listed above, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator (612-624-8396,