University of Minnesota
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Go to Department of Biomedical Engineering home page.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering requires completion of at least 30 credits of coursework, preliminary written and oral examinations, 24 thesis credits, and a doctoral thesis with final defense.

Students joining the Ph.D. program with a Bachelor's degree typically graduate in 5 years. Those who have already completed a Master's degree can finish the Ph.D. in as little as 3-4 years.

Course Credits

Ph.D. students are required to complete at least 30 credits of coursework, as indicated below. All electives must be at the 5000-level or higher. Consult the Course Lists page for lists of courses that have been approved for each requirement.

BMEn 8000-Level Core
Must be chosen from the BMEn 8000-Level Core Course list.
BMEn 8601 and/or BMEn 8602. Seminars are 1 credit per semester and may be repeated for credit.
Biology Electives
Courses with primarily biological content.
Technical Electives
Courses in engineering, physical sciences, and mathematics.
Free Science/ Technical Electives
Courses in any field of science or engineering; also may include coursework in other relevant areas, such as public policy, ethics, etc.
INCLUDED in the Core, Technical, and/or Free coursework must be at least 6 credits approved as math-/stat-intensive. These are not additional credits - they will overlap with other course requirements.


Preliminary Examinations

Between the fourth and fifth semesters of study, full-time Ph.D. students must complete the written and oral preliminary examinations. By this time all required coursework should be completed.

The Written Preliminary Examination (WPE), also known as the dossier, is in the form of a thesis research proposal and will be evaluated by three faculty members. Upon passing the WPE, students immediately continue to the Oral Preliminary Examination (OPE), which includes a presentation and discussion of the student's research proposal, as well as questions related to the student's graduate coursework.


Doctoral Thesis, Defense, and Graduation

After passing the OPE, students advance to doctoral candidacy and become eligible to register for thesis credits. The University requires completion of at least 24 thesis credits (BMEn 8888) for the doctoral degree.

Upon completion of the thesis and with approval of the committee reviewers, the doctoral candidate must complete a thesis defense. The defense includes both a public seminar and a closed meeting between the candidate and the appointment examination committee. The final written thesis is submitted to the University electronically, after all revisions required by the examination committee have been made.

Graduate degrees are awarded on the last working day of the month in which the candidate completes all requirements. In the spring of each year, eligible students may elect to participate in the Arts, Sciences and Engineering Graduate Commencement Ceremony.


Quick Links

MS and PhD Application Information

PhD Requirements

MS-Plan A Requirements

MS-Plan B Requirements

MS-Plan C Requirements

Graduate Minor in BME


Course Lists

BMEn Syllabi

University log-in required BMEGS Intranet (enrolled BME grad students only)