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We are looking for the next generation of clinical innovators. Through clinical immersion, interdisciplinary coursework, product development, and mentorship, Biodesign trains students across the translational spectrum to identify needs and take original solutions from bench-to-bedside to improve the health of populations everywhere. 

Degree Requirements

Students pursuing an M.S. degree (non-thesis) in biomedical engineering must complete a minimum of 30 total credits of graduate work:

  • 27 course credits
  • 3 project & report credits

All non-thesis M.S. degrees require a final project and report.

All students interested in pursuing a masters level degree in Biodesign will complete a masters in biomedical engineering without a thesis. The following are requirements for the masters in biomedical engineering with specific course requirements for Biodesign specialization.

Engineering Applicants

SBES is looking for strong engineering undergraduates. A biology or physiology background is not required, but having some life science background may strengthen a student's application.

  1. Apply through the Biodesign Program Application link specifically for inclusion in this track - to be provided at a later date.
  2. Apply through the Virginia Tech Graduate School. (see above for BEAM specifics)
  3. Submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

The priority deadline for Fall 2024 enrollment is January 1, 2024 for the Master of Biomedical Engineering application. Medical residents are encouraged to submit their application by July 31st, 2023 to facilitate residency planning conversations.

The following are requirements for application for the masters degree in biomedical engineering:

  • A GPA of 3.0 (3.5 or above is preferred) for students accepted into the program.
  • A TOEFL minimum score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer based), and 100 (internet based) is required for international students. IELTS may be used in place of a TOEFL test and have a minimum score of Band 7.0 preferably.
  • Letters of recommendation, previous research experience, and program needs are heavily weighed.
  • A B.S. degree, preferably in engineering, from a recognized university.

Test Requirements

TOEFL: (for international students only)

Institution Code: 5859 
Dept. Code: None 
Minimum score required*: 

  • Paper-based: 600  
  • Computer-based: 250   
  • Internet-based: 100

*Test scores must not be older than two years from the date of application.

IELTS: (for international students only, can be used in lieu of TOEFL)
Institution Code: 5859 
Dept. Code: None required 
Minimum score required: Band 7.0

For more information about TOEFL requirements and international applications in general, see SBES international students.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of reference are required which can be submitted within the application system.

  • It is your responsibility to keep track of the progress of your letter submission to the graduate school through the application site. You can log in to your application, and if necessary, send an additional reminder to the recommender to write your letter or add new recommenders.


Statement of Purpose and Resume

  • A resume is required to be uploaded into the application system.
  • A statement of purpose must also be uploaded into the application system and consist of a one- to two-page document stating your reasons for seeking graduate work at SBES, as well as an explanation of your research interests and your professional goals.


Choosing a Research Concentration

On the “supplemental” page of the application, you will be asked to specify research concentrations. You should enter Biodesign Program Track.

The program of study outlines the specific courses to be taken by the student in fulfillment of the degree following the requirements shown in the table below.













BMES 5984: SS Biodesign Innovation Fundamentals



BMES 5984: SS Biodesign Needs Assessment II



BMES 5984: SS Biodesign Needs Assessment I



BMES 5984: SS Social Determinants of Health  



BMES 5054: Quantitative Cell Physiology



BMES 5054: Quantitative Organ System Physiology





















BMES 5154 Advanced Commercialization of BME Research



BMES 5904 Project and Report

Project and Report







Resident: transfer from medical degree





















  • Engineering (ENGR) credits: 9
  • Life Sciences (LS) credits: 3
  • Math (MATH) credits: 3
  • Elective (ELEC) credits: 6
  • Track (TRACK) credits: 6
  • Research/Report credits: 3

Total: 30

BMES 5054 Quantitative Cell Physiology (3 credits) Mathematical modeling, simulation, quantitative description of cell physiology and control. Numerical simulation of cellular physiologic processes including reaction kinetics, inhibition and cooperativity, passive transport, facilitated and carrier-mediate reaction kinetics. Cell resting membrane potential, and nerve and muscle tissue. Modeling of neural cell processes including voltage-gated channels, neurotransmitter kinetics, and postsynaptic cell membrane potentials.

BMES 5064 Quantitative Organ Systems (3 credits) Mathematical modeling, simulation, quantitative description of organ physiology and control. Numerical simulation of cardiovascular physiologic processes including regulation of cardiac output, the baroreceptor - stroke volume model, venous return, and closed-loop control. Respiratory ventilation mechanics, gas exchange, pulmonary circulation, alveolar-capillary diffusion, and respiratory ventilation control. Nephron countercurrent mechanism and hemodialysis. Modeling of endocrine system functions.

Corequisite(s): BMES 5044

BMES 5984 SS: Biodesign Innovation Fundamentals (3 credits)  Medical technology development course that provides students with an intensive and practical introduction to the process of biodesign innovation. Analyze the perspectives of various stakeholders and existing technologies when identifying opportunities for new products or services. Application of biodesign fundamentals, including the identification and invention phases of development. Exploration of case studies related to how existing products achieved clinical translation and market adoption. Focus on working in transdisciplinary teams of engineering, medical, and business professionals and comparison of different settings, such as rural and global. (3H, 3C) Prerequisites: N/A

BMES 5044 Engineering Mathematics (3 credits) Introduction to numerical solutions of partial differential equations using the finite element method in one-, two-, and three-dimensions with direct relevance to chemical engineering, biological systems engineering and biomedical engineering and sciences. Partial differential equations and ordinary differential equations using finite differences, model parameter sensitivity analysis, optimization, and data analysis. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing required.

BMES 5615/ 5616 Statistics in Research (3 credits) 5615: Concepts in statistical inference, including basic probability, estimation, and test of hypothesis, point and interval estimation and inferences; categorical data analysis; simple linear regression; and one-way analysis of variance. 5616: Multiple linear regression; multi-way classification analysis of variance; randomized block designs; nested designs; and analysis of covariance. One year of Calculus. CMS.

BMES 5074 Biomedical Research Design (3 credits) Design and analysis of research in the biomedical engineering fields. Ethical considerations. Experimental planning. Implementation of data collection plans. Statistical data analysis and interpretation of statistical results. Design and execution of clinical trials. Deployment of epidemiological studies. Pre: Graduate standing.

BMES 5984 SS: Social Determinants of Health (3 credits)

BMES 5154G Advanced Commercialization of Biomedical Engineering Research (3 credits) Commercialization process applied to translational research. Regulatory aspects of biomedical engineering products and technologies (e.g. devices, diagnostics, drugs, biologics). Intellectual property, technology transfer processes, clinical trial design, commercialization of university research, modeling of development costs (e.g. cash flow and revenue projections). Small business startup approaches. Pre: Graduate Standing.

BMES 5984 SS: Clinical Needs Assessment I (3 credits) Apply principles of Biodesign to conduct a broad needs assessment in various clinical settings. Collaborate in transdisciplinary healthcare teams and develop skills in contextual inquiry methods, documentation, and communication. Clinical immersion to identify needs of different stakeholders, such as patients, providers, and payers. Understand the underlying physiology of various disease states and explore stakeholder behaviors, the environment, and social structure around device use. Synthesize design opportunities to pursue as future research and development (R&D) projects. (3H, 3C).

Corequisites: SS: BMES5984 – Biodesign Fundamentals

BMES 5984 SS: Clinical Needs Assessment II (3 credits) Learn and apply principles of human factors engineering to conduct focused explorations of user needs in targeted clinical settings. Collaborate in transdisciplinary healthcare teams and develop skills in task analysis, usability studies, documentation, and communication. Identify laboratories and technical experts in related research and development (R&D) areas to assess technical feasibility of potential solutions. Refine and prioritize identified design opportunities. Determine fundamental design requirements based on stakeholder values. Create a product development plan for a design opportunity well-suited to improve healthcare (3H, 3C).

Prerequisites: FS: BMES5964 - Clinical Needs Assessment I

ENGE 5304 Graduate Student Success in Multicultural Environments (1 credit) Socialization to the graduate student environment. Strategies for entering an effective mentee-mentor relationship. Virginia Techs diversity and inclusion values. Focus on strategies for (1) facilitating clear communication with advisors, peers, or undergraduate mentees; (2) working within a culturally diverse environment; and (3) upholding ethical research practices. Pre: Graduate standing in the College of Engineering. Pass/Fail only.

BMES 5004 BME Ethics and Professional Development  (1 credit) Socialization to the graduate student environment. Strategies for professional development and ethical standards in Biomedical Engineering. Virginia Tech’s ethical and academic values. Graduate Honor Code including plagiarism and scholarly citations. Ethical standards in academics. Ethical standards in biomedical research and reporting misconduct. Scientific communication across boundaries. Pre: Graduate standing in BME. Pass/Fail only.

BMES 5944 Seminar (1 credit)  must be taken every semester

Life Science Course Options:

BMES 5184/618 - Injury Physiology (3 credits) Introduction to the physiology of injury. Focus on the pathophysiology, mechanisms, and outcomes of injury in humans. Explores injury physiology at the organ, tissue, and cellular level. Topics include physiology of injury to the peripheral and central nervous systems, the musculoskeletal system, the pulmonary system, the abdomen, and the eye. Includes the injury physiology of adults as well as the special populations of children, pregnant females, and the elderly. Graduate standing required.

Corequisite(s): BMES 5054

BMES 5024/602 - Biomedical Engineering and Human Disease (3 credits) Comprehensive overview of a variety of human diseases, including, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, and cancer, designed primarily for graduate students majoring in engineering and other related areas who have a long-term academic and professional goal in the field of biomedical engineering and life sciences. Introduction to state-of-the-art biomedical engineering approaches used for the study of early detection/diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease. Graduate standing required.

Courses Meeting Life Science Requirement (Virginia Tech campus):

Courses outside of SBES meeting the life science requirement on the 5000 and 6000 level courses only from the following departments, but cannot include seminar, research credits, or professional development courses, e.g. BIOL 5154.

APSC 5604 – Writing Effective Fellowship Grant Applications (3 credits) Typical requirements, content, and structure of predoctoral fellowship grants and how the grant review process works. Critical review and effective presentation of research grants. Course combines lectures with discussion of example grants. Pre: Graduate standing.

BMES 5984 - SS: Functional Anatomy for Engineers

BMVS 5284 – Cellular Pathology - This course presents the mechanisms involved in cellular reaction to injury, inflammation, tissue repair and regeneration, circulatory disturbances (thrombosis, embolism, infarction, hemorrhage, edema, congestion, shock) and neoplasia and other alterations of cell growth. Emphasis will be placed upon disease processes at the cellular and tissue levels

GBCB 5424 – Computational  Cell Biology (3 credits) This course presents the mechanisms involved in cellular reaction to injury, inflammation, tissue repair and regeneration, circulatory disturbances (thrombosis, embolism, infarction, hemorrhage, edema, congestion, shock) and neoplasia and other alterations of cell growth. Emphasis will be placed upon disease processes at the cellular and tissue levels

Prerequisite(s): MATH 5515

GBCB 5515 – Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems (3 credits) Introduction to mathematical techniques for modeling and simulation, parameter identification and analysis of biological systems. Emphasis on both theoretical and practical issues and methods of computation, with concrete applications. Suitable for students from the mathematical and life sciences who have a basic foundation in multivariate calculus and ordinary differential equations. 5515: Continuous models and methods. 5516: Discrete models and methods.

Cross-listed: MATH 5515

GBCB 5874 – Problem Solving in Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology (3 credits) Research practicum in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. Emphasis on the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of research in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. Exposure to the scientific method, the nature of research tools, strategies for publishing, and opportunities for research careers in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology. Permission required.

HNFE 5164 - Molecular Diet and Cancer (3 credits) Molecular and genetic/epigenetic factors in human cancer development. Cellular and molecular targets of the diet or specific nutrients in cancer prevention. Interaction of diet, obesity, and body weight on cancer. Dietary strategies targeting the tumor microenvironment and systemic contributors to tumor progression. Pre: Graduate Standing.

HNFE 5474 - Human Exercise Testing: Physiology and Biomechanics (3 credits) Mechanisms for acute and chronic physiological adaptations to exercise and muscle contraction. Interactions between physiology and biomechanics as it pertains to research outcomes. Principles of exercise and biomechanics testing for research purposes, safety considerations, factors that affect test results, and criteria to terminate tests. Research study design and methodology for specific research goals. Pre-participation screening and risk classification for exercise and biomechanics testing. Assessment of body composition, endurance, strength, power, fatigue, and flexibility. Interpretation of exercise tests. Pre: Graduate standing.

HNFE 5214 – Physical Activity and Health (3 credits) Practical applications of interventions for health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment in diverse adult populations. Implications of sedentary behavior. Physiological adaptations to exercise and physical activity, and fitness training principles. Exercise is Medicine initiative principles and health behavior change theories. Health assessment, exercise testing, and prescription. Historical evaluation and application of guidelines for healthy and diseased populations. Pre: Graduate standing.

NEUR 5034G– Advanced Diseases of Nervous System (3 credits Common brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders ranging from trauma to autism. Genetic, molecules and cellular changes in disease. Therapeutic implications and development of novel drugs. Challenges in drug discovery and implementation of personalized medicine. Ethical issues regarding genetic findings. Pre: Graduate Standing.

NEUR 5024– Neuroanatomy and Systems Neuroscience System (3 credits) Anatomy and function of the human central and peripheral nervous system, including gross and microscopic structure of major neural circuits that govern motor and sensory systems, autonomic function, memory, emotion, motivation and attention. Diseases and disorders associated with brain region malfunction. Pre: Graduate Standing.

NEUR 5514G– Advanced Neuroimmunology System (3 credits) Immune system and assorted roles in psychiatric and neurological disorders. Details of cell type, functions and signaling of the peripheral and central immune system, and sympathetic nervous system. Cross-talk between the brain and immune system across the blood brain barrier and circumventricular organs. Treatment options for autoimmune diseases and psychopathy. Pre: Graduate Standing.

NEUR 5914– Drug Development in Neuroscience (3 credits) Current approaches and pitfalls for developing therapeutics for treating disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Theoretical issues and practical applications targeting identification, high-throughput screening, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, preclinical testing, clinical trials, and the FDA approval process. Ethical implications for drug development and testing. Pre: Graduate Standing.

PSYC 5344 - Cognitive Psychology (3 credits) Survey of theoretical and empirical issues in cognitive psychology, including information processing models, attention, memory, problem solving, knowledge, reasoning, neurocognition and intelligence. Historical and current approaches will be considered.

TBMH - Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health - Any 5000-level or higher course with some exceptions*

VM - Veterinary Medicine - Any 5000-level or higher course with some exceptions*