Graduate Degrees in Biomedical Engineering
Fall 2021: December 1 (PhD) | December 15 (MS)
Spring 2021: October 1 (PhD and MS)
Summer 2021*: December 1 (PhD) | December 15 (MS)
*please note summer admissions are generally limited to continuing BME students at UW–Madison
or applicants who have research assistantships already arranged with UW faculty.
The department offers several options for graduate programs leading to a Master of Science (MS) degree in Biomedical Engineering. There are two accelerated master’s programs, intended to be completed in 12 months, and a traditional two-year research-based program. The master’s programs emphasize the enhancement of professional knowledge and skills, including research techniques.
Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering
This program gives you the interdisciplinary training needed to break into a career at the interface of engineering and business. You will learn in project-based classes and gain advanced knowledge in design, prototyping, and manufacturing, as well as general business fundamentals, entrepreneurship, and project management. Offered through the College of Engineering, and in cooperation with the School of Business, you will learn from acclaimed experts in both fields and graduate prepared to succeed as an engineer in the business world.
Our program is accelerated and course-based, so you graduate in only one year, and there is no thesis required. Instead, you choose from a list of select courses to tailor a curriculum that suits your own personal and professional interests.
This program is designed to better prepare for further education in medical school, PhD programs, or to directly enter the biomedical industry. Our courses help you combine the fundamentals of the biomedical sciences with advanced engineering methods of analysis and design to contribute to designing new medical instruments and devices, understanding and repairing the human body, and making technologies cost-effective for both companies and patients.
If you want to make a difference in the biomedical field quickly, our accelerated, course-based program is right for you. Graduate in only one year, and there is no thesis required.
The MS graduate program is a 30-credit option for students who are interested in conducting research during their MS degree. Specific course selection is very flexible, draws upon a variety of courses, and is designed to complement each student’s interests and background in biomedical engineering. Each student must identify a research advisor to mentor them for their research experience.
This program takes two years to complete.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the highest degree conferred by the university. It is a research degree and is never conferred solely as a result of any prescribed period of study. The degree is only granted on evidence of general proficiency, distinctive attainment in a special field, and the ability for independent investigation as demonstrated in a thesis presenting original research or creative scholarship with a high degree of literary skill.
The BME PhD program provides excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary coursework and research. To receive a PhD, a student will complete 30 credits of coursework/research to earn a MS, pass a set of qualifying and preliminary examination, and then complete 30 credits of research beyond the MS degree. Because of the diverse technical requirements for various specialties, the PhD is administered on a degree-by-committee basis following the defense of a written thesis. Most students complete the program in five to six years.
Graduate Admission Information
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering (biomedical, chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.) or science (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, immunology, physics, etc.). Each application is judged on the basis of previous academic record, three letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose. Students admitted to the program may be required to make up deficiency course requirements. In addition, all applicants must satisfy requirements that are set forth by the Graduate School.
Complete applications (including supportive materials) must be submitted as described below and received by the following deadline dates:
- Fall Semester: December 1 (PhD); December 15 (MS)
- Spring Semester: October 1 (Ph.D. and M.S.)
- Summer Session*: December 1 (PhD); December 15 (MS)
*Please note summer admissions are generally limited to continuing BME students at UW–Madison or applicants who have research assistantships already arranged with UW faculty.
Note checklists provided by BME and the Graduate School in your online application. Application deadlines are strictly followed. The following application materials must be submitted by the application deadlines.
- Online Application
- Statement of purpose explaining why you want to pursue further education in BME. As part of your Statement of Purpose, please mention the names of faculty members you would be interested in doing research with during your graduate program.
- Three letters of recommendation. These letters are required from people who can accurately judge your academic or research performance. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically to graduate programs through the online application. (Please do not send any more than 3 letters – only the first three will be considered.)
- Resume – ONLY if applying for the PhD program.
- Official TOEFL Scores. Required for international students unless a degree from a U.S. educational institution is held (institution code 1846, department 69). An applicant whose TOEFL (paper-based) test score is below 580; TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) score below 237; TOEFL internet-based (iBT) test score below 92; IELTS score below 7; or MELAB below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. Depending on your score you may need to register for any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in the first semester you are enrolled. Any international applicant who will hold a teaching assistantship (TA), and whose native language is not English must take the SPEAK test when arriving on campus
- Application Fee – online through the application, it is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa), Debit/ATM.
- As part of your online application with the Graduate School, you must upload your unofficial transcript of all undergraduate and previous graduate work. Official transcript copies are only required for admitted students. Please do not send transcripts or any other application materials to the Graduate School or the BME department. If questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Deadlines and Funding
Application for Admission
Graduate Degrees in Biomedical Engineering
BME Employment Information
What is the GPA (grade point average) requirement to get into graduate school at the UW–Madison?
Typically, graduate students admitted into BME have GPAs greater than 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Visit the Graduate School admission requirements for more information about minimum requirements.
What is the GRE or MCAT requirement for the Biomedical Engineering Department?
Applicants to the BME graduate program may report either a GRE or MCAT score but are not required to. Send MCAT scores to email@example.com.
What is the TOEFL requirement?
The BME department expects international students to report a TOEFL score. A TOEFL score of at least 92 (internet) is required to be considered for admission to the graduate program.
Who is required to take the TOEFL?
Please visit the Graduate School admission requirements for information on the English proficiency minimum requirements as well as the criteria for exemption. If you take the TOEFL more than once, we will consider your highest total score. We will not accept scores compiled from multiple tests to meet English proficiency requirements.
Is financial support guaranteed?
All students admitted to the doctoral program with a bachelor’s or equivalent degree are provided a guarantee of funding for five years. Students admitted the doctoral program with a master’s degree or equivalent are similarly guaranteed three years of funding. Funding may support research assistantships (RA), teaching assistantships (TA), project assistantships (PA), or fellowships. The assistantship type may change throughout the five years, depending on the availability of funding. RAs are typically funded directly by faculty from grants, while TAs are funded by the instructional unit.
We cannot guarantee funding for students admitted to the master’s degree programs. However, some students do obtain assistantships to support their master’s degree work.
When should I submit my application?
The application deadline for fall term admission is December 1 for PhD applicants and December 15 for MS applicants. The application deadline for spring term admission is October 1 for PhD and MS applicants. We do not encourage students to apply for summer, as there are not many courses offered. The application deadline for summer term admission is December 1 for PhD applicants and December 15 for MS applicants.
We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. Complete applications including ALL supportive documentation (statement, transcripts, letters, TOEFL, etc.) must be received by the deadline date for evaluation for admission.
How do I apply to the Biomedical Engineering Department?
Apply online using the Graduate School application form.
What if my undergraduate degree is in a bioscience field?
Bioscience majors have been successful in our program as long as they exhibit a strong aptitude in math and the physical sciences. Some additional undergraduate course work may be required after enrolling in the BME graduate program to fill training gaps.
What should the statement of purpose (reasons for graduate school) include?
The statement of purpose should include technical areas of interest, research experience, professional goals, and any other items unique or relevant to your qualifications for graduate school. If applying to the MS Research or PhD programs, please describe the research you are interested in pursuing and provide the names of faculty members you would be interested in doing research with during your graduate program. See guidelines for the statement of purpose at the bottom of this page.
Do not mail any materials to the Graduate School or BME department unless we request them. The application fee should be paid online in the online Graduate School application. Do not send your application fee or any financial documents to the department.
Electronically submit your transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work in your online Graduate School application. Unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted for review. The Graduate School will request the official copy of your transcript to approve your admission. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you mean by official transcripts?
Official transcripts or academic records are required from each institution you attended as an undergraduate. We do not need any high school transcripts. If you have completed a master’s degree, it is helpful to send us the transcripts but it is not required.
International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Documents must be issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and an official signature.
Please upload a copy of your unofficial transcript(s) with your online Graduate School application for review purposes. Unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted for review. The Graduate School will request the official copy of your transcript to approve your admission.
How do the recommendation letters need to be sent, and can an electronic request be sent more than once to a recommender?
We prefer you have the letters sent electronically through your online Graduate School application. Please follow the instructions on the Graduate School website. Please do not send more than three letters as only the first three will be considered. If your recommender has lost the initial email request, you can log back into your online application and send a reminder email. If your recommender experiences issues, please email email@example.com.
Do I have to pay any tuition and fees?
Yes, unless you have an assistantship that is eligible for tuition remission (TA, RA, or PA that is greater than a 1/3-time position). The tuition remission does not include segregated fees, which will be your responsibility each term. For further information on Graduate School tuition, fees, and stipends, see the Bursar’s Office webpage.
How much is the application fee, how do I pay it, and where do I send it?
Visit the Graduate School admissions page for information about the application fee.
Can I get the application fee waived?
The Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants to make sure that the application fee is not a barrier for students from our key recruiting initiatives. Find more information under the frequently asked questions section of the Graduate School admissions page.
What are the international student expenses?
Visit the Graduate School financial information page. Please do not mail any financial documents unless requested.
- MS in Biomedical Engineering
- PhD in Biomedical Engineering
About how long will it take me to obtain an MS degree in Biomedical Engineering?
Approximately 1 year for the accelerated MS programs, and approximately 2 years for the MS Research program.
How many students are admitted each semester and what are my chances of being admitted?
Please see our program profile for more information. Although we accept applications for fall, spring, and summer, the majority of our applicants begin in the fall of each year. Admission into the Biomedical Engineering Department is very competitive, and the number we accept varies on a year-to-year basis, largely dependent on how many faculty are looking for students and/or how many faculty have funds to support new graduate students.
Do all admitted students obtain funding?
All students admitted to the doctoral program with a bachelor’s or equivalent degree are provided a guarantee of funding for five years. Students admitted to the doctoral program with a master’s degree or equivalent are similarly guaranteed three years of funding.
Funding may support research assistantships (RA), teaching assistantships (TA), project assistantships (PA), or fellowships. The assistantship type may change throughout the five-year period depending on the availability of funding. RAs are typically funded directly by faculty from grants while TAs are funded by the instructional unit.
We cannot guarantee funding for students admitted to the master’s degree programs, though some students do obtain assistantships to support their Master’s degree work.
How will I know if my application is complete?
Due to the volume of applications, please allow up to 4 weeks for your documents to be processed and your application checklist updated. Please do not email our office to confirm your transcripts have arrived. When we process your individual application materials, we will notify you if there is anything missing. If your application is complete, you will see a box checked “Application Complete” in your application status checklist. To review the status of your submitted application, sign into MyUW with your NetID.
How will I know when a decision has been made on my application?
We will inform you of the decision the admissions committee makes on your application via email. Responses can take up to 12 weeks. If you have questions about your application status, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are some of the most recent alumni from Biomedical Engineering employed?
Visit Engineering Career Services for further information regarding BME student placement in industry.
If you have questions about graduate admissions or applications email:
Stop by the BME student services office at:
3182 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
Current Student Degree Information
Complete MS degree requirements can be found in The Guide.
Complete PhD degree requirements can be found in The Guide.
BME Accelerated MS Degree
BME BIDE MS Degree
BME MS Research Degree (2-year program)
Once a student has met their degree requirements, they may choose to attend a fall or spring commencement ceremony. Commencement occurs in May and December each year and is coordinated by the Office of the Chancellor. There is no summer commencement ceremony. If a student plans to graduate in August, they may attend either the May or December ceremony.
If a student wants their name to be printed in the commencement program, they must do the following at least 2 months before graduation:
- Apply to graduate through MyUW Student Center
- Contact their major program to request a degree warrant from the Graduate School
- Notify the Student Services Office of their graduation plans
You may attend the commencement ceremony even if your name is not included in the commencement program. See the commencement webpage for more information.
BME Teaching Assistant Vacancies can be found here for the Fall and Spring semesters. Posting times may vary but are generally in May/June for the Fall semester and October/November for the Spring semester. The TA vacancies will be filled subject to funding availability.
To apply, a UW NetID through UW-Google Docs is required to access the TA application.
IMPORTANT: If you are logged into Google with another account – you must log out to access the application. If you see a google page that asks you to request access to the TA application DO NOT request access – LOG OUT of our personal Google account and access it with your UW-G Suite account: https://it.wisc.edu/services/google-apps/.
To apply, fill out the application (which includes a place to upload your resume):