May 26, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 
Undergraduate Record 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Biomedical Engineering

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Departments/Programs  

Program Objective:

  1. Graduates draw upon their biomedical engineering foundations to perform experimental measurement, quantitative analysis, and engineering design.
  2. Graduates use tools and methods at the current state-of-the-art in biomedical engineering.
  3. Graduates apply problem solving abilities and multidisciplinary perspectives to understand and advance scientific discoveries and technological innovations.
  4. Graduates act to improve global and human health.
  5. Graduates exhibit intellectual curiosity, creativity, leadership and continuous personal growth.

Program Description Biomedical engineering is built upon the premise that the tools and methods of engineering can be used to improve human health and enhance our understanding of the biological world. Biomedical engineering education integrates mathematics, science, engineering methodology, and engineering design to train individuals who are uniquely prepared for the collaborative challenges of this field. The end result of this type of training is knowledge, devices, materials, techniques and treatments to enhance human health. The foundation for these applications is the steady stream of discovery emerging from our nation’s academic and industrial research programs.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) has offered degrees at the master’s and doctoral level since 1967. BME introduced a bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering in 2003. The major begins with an early, sound underpinning in the life sciences via two semesters of quantitative mammalian physiology and one semester of cell and molecular biology, alongside foundational knowlege in computational systems. Engineering fundamentals follow, taught in the context of biomedical engineering examples in systems analysis, biomechanics, and biotransport. In the 3rd year BME majors complete a two-semester IDEAS Lab, integrating concepts and skills from prior BME and other engineering course work. The BME major culminates in the 4th year with a capstone design project where students select, formulate, and solve a biomedically relevant design problem whose deliverables include a device, therapeutic, and/or system. Throughout all four years, electives offer additional breadth and depth.

Exceptionally prepared students can graduate in five years with both a B.S. and an M.S. in biomedical engineering. These students should plan early to design a senior thesis topic that can continue on to a master’s of science thesis. Students interested in this option are strongly urged to plan early in their 3rd year and discuss this plan with appropriate faculty in biomedical engineering.

The department encourages students to participate in research and inquiry-based learning above and beyond what is required by the curriculum. In the past students have pursued paid or volunteer positions in research labs, “for-credit” independent research and design projects, and industry or research internships. Research areas in the department include tissue engineering and genetic engineering targeting vascular disease; adhesion biomechanics, molecular bioengineering, cellular mechanics, and vascular remodeling; cellular mechanisms of wound healing; biomechanics; bioelectricity; biotransport; cardiovascular, respiratory, orthopedic, and neurological systems; and medical imaging, particularly ultrasound, and MR imaging. Interdepartmental research collaboration links BME with most other School of Engineering and Applied Science departments and many clinical and basic science departments in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Biomedical engineers contribute to society from positions in universities, hospitals, government, the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, and a broad range of research enterprises. As the discipline grows, BME graduates are finding that their broad education provides an excellent platform from which to launch rewarding careers; begin graduate studies in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, or biophysics; or pursue advanced degrees in medicine, law, and business.

Because of the need to maintain an excellent laboratory experience for each student, enrollment in the program is currently 95 students per year. Admission is based on space availability, academic performance, a personal essay, and diversity broadly defined. Application forms are available from the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs (Room A-122) of Thornton Hall.

Biomedical Engineering Curriculum (126 credits)

Second Semester Credits: 17

  • Math and Science elective I Credits: 3
    Chosen from the SEAS Undergraduate Dean’s Office list of approved Science Elective I courses, available online and in Thornton A-122. Recommended: MSE 2090 or CHEM 1620.
  • HSS elective Credits: 3 

Fourth Semester Credits: 15

  • STS 2XXX/3XXX elective Credits: 3 (See footnote 7 below)

Fifth Semester Credits: 16

  • HSS elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Engineering elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 4 below)

Sixth Semester Credits: 16

  • Unrestricted elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 3 below)
  • Engineering elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 4 below)
  • Technical elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 5 below)

Seventh Semester Credits: 15

  • HSS elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Unrestricted elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 3 below)
  • BME elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 6 below)

Eighth Semester Credits: 15

  • Unrestrictive elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 3 below)
  • BME elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 6 below)
  • BME elective Credits: 3
    (See footnote 6 below)


(1) Chosen from: BIOL 2100, 2200; CHEM 1420; MSE 2090; PHYS 2620; and any approved APMA course 2000 or higher not already required by a student’s major and does not duplicate material from another APMA course. Recommended: MSE 2090 or CHEM 1420.
(2) Chosen from the approved list available in A122 Thornton Hall.
(3) Chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310 and courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, 2020; CS 1010, 1020; or any intro programming course. APMA 1090 counts as a 3-credit unrestricted elective.
(4) Chosen from any 2000-level or higher engineering course, with the following exceptions: no course in APMA, STS, or ENGR may be used as engineering electives; no course that counts as a Science Elective may be used as an engineering elective; and no course that fulfills the Engineering Business Minor may be used as an engineering elective. If course does not count as a technical elective in the BME Major, it will not count as an engineering elective.
(5) Chosen from any 2000-level or higher science, math, or engineering course, unless it is a course for non-science majors, duplicates required BME course work, or is a research-for-credit or capstone design course. See list of excluded courses in the BME Student Guide.
(6) Chosen from any 3000-level or higher BME elective. One of the following non-BME courses may be included as a BME elective: CHE 3347, CHE 4448, or ECE 5750. Only 3 credits of BME 4995 will count as a BME elective.
Any course which meets the Second Writing Requirement as specified in the College of Arts & Sciences (CLAS) may be substituted for STS 2XXX/3XXX.


The department also offers an undergraduate minor in conjunction with any of the majors in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The 18-credit minor in biomedical engineering consists of BME 2101 and 2104, plus 4 approved electives that may include BME 2220, 2240, 2315, 3030, 3310, 3636, 4280, 4414, 4417, 4550, 4641, 4783, 4784 (not currently offered), 4806, 4890, and CHE 3347. One elective may be chosen from BME 2102 or BIOL 3010, 3030, 3090, 3650, or 4170.

Public Professional Licensure Disclosure

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the UVA School of Engineering, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).