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Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

A group of BEAM grad students and faculty observe the results of an experiment in the lab

Degree Requirements

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering must earn a minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the B. S. degree. An M.S. degree is not required for admission to the program.

Of these 90 hours, 40-55 equivalent credit hours may be taken for research and dissertation (BMES 7994).

Program of Study

A program of study, which should be completed as soon as the student selects his or her advisory committee, must be approved by the student's advisory committee and the SBES graduate committee prior to submission to the graduate school.

The program of study outlines the specific courses to be taken by the student in fulfillment of the degree. A course may only be used once in the plan of study, towards the satisfaction of a single requirement.

Course Category

Course #
(VT # / WFU #)

Course Title / Information

No. Credits Required

Biomedical Engineering
(15 credits)

BMES 5054 / 605

Quantitative Cell Physiology (required)


BMES 5074 / 606
Quantitative Organ Systems Physiology (required)
5000 or 6000 level (600/700 at WFU)

9 credit hours of engineering courses approved by committee


Life Sciences
(3 credits)

5000 - 6000 level
(600/700 at WFU)

Min. 3 credit hours approved by committee – (see approved list)


Math Requirement
(6 credits)

5000 - 6000 level
(600/700 at WFU)

Min. 6 credit hours approved by committee – can be MATH or STAT
(see approved list)



5000 - 6000 level
(600/700 WFU)

Approved by advisory and program committee (technical elective in science, math, or engineering)
Clinical Rotation
BMES 6064/706
Required of all Ph.D. students - waived for M.D./Ph.D. and D.V.M./Ph.D. students only
Seminar Credits
BMES 5944/708
Enrollment Required 6 Semesters
# semesters enrolled

(0 credit)

Required by graduate schools

At VT: Included in Seminar course, orientation, and ENGE 5984
At Wake Forest: Met by enrollment in required professional courses



Research Credits

BMES 7994
(797 at WFU)

Research & Thesis




Clinical Rotation

In addition to the course requirements, the program requires a clinical rotation for all Ph.D. students, along with completion of a medical ethics program.

Student Advisory Committee

Prior to submitting a program of study, and no later than the second academic semester, each student must form an advisory committee. The advisory committee is composed of the major professor and a minimum of four other faculty members. At least two must be SBES faculty members (including the chair), and at least three members must be in engineering. (Advisory committee members can be from either institution. Students may have more than five members on the Ph.D. committee if desired.)

Qualifying Examination

The examination must be taken by the end of the second semester for students entering directly into the Ph.D. program or within one year of entering the program after completing the M.S. degree.

Preliminary Examination

All Ph.D. students must take a preliminary examination administered by the student's advisory committee.

The student will present his/her dissertation research proposal. The examination will cover all course material and the proposed research plan, including the student's knowledge of the literature, and the feasibility and originality of the proposed work.

The examination should be taken at or near the completion of the coursework during the third or fourth year and must be taken at least nine months prior to scheduling the final examination.

Final Examination

To complete the program, students must pass the final examination, including approval of the dissertation in final form. 

More Information

For more detailed information on degree requirements, advisory committees and examinations, see the Virginia Tech graduate catalog and the SBES graduate manual.


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