Nov 26, 2022  
Graduate Record 2022-2023 
    
Graduate Record 2022-2023

Biomedical Engineering


Graduate Program


Biomedical Engineering represents an interface between engineering, medicine, and science. Consequently, it must draw on the full range of knowledge accumulated in the life sciences, medicine, the physical sciences and mathematics, and engineering.  Technological development as well as the implementation of concepts, methods, and products in biomedical engineering requires competency in both the fields of engineering and medicine.

The ME, MS, and PhD degrees form the core of the BME graduate educational program. These degrees have the broad goal of educating students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in careers in research and development. Successful completion of these degrees will require that a student meet the following expectations, in addition to the formal degree requirements:

1. Completion of original research. Students will complete a research project under direction of their faculty advisor. The end goal of this work should be experimental or simulation results, methods, and analysis which are of a level of quality sufficient for presentation in a refereed publication. To achieve this end, students will need to make a novel contribution to their respective fields. Students should always be aware that research is not a job performed for the benefit of his or her faculty advisor, but rather is an integral part of graduate education. As such, students must take initiative and responsibility for the success of their research.

2. An ability to think critically. Successful students will be able to evaluate the validity of new results and ideas.  They will be able to make precise statements about limitations of experimental methods and identify the weaknesses of new and existing hypotheses. They will be able to identify the next step in their research and design experiments to test their hypotheses and/or designs.

3. Critical knowledge of the core literature in their field. Students should know the central literature in their field. They should be aware of the important implications and possible limitations of existing knowledge.

4. Excellent oral and written presentation skills. Success in both academics and industry requires clear communication of ideas to technical and lay audiences. Students should use graduate school as an opportunity to hone presentation skills.

5. Completion of formal course requirements. Course work provides students with basic knowledge and problem solving skills central to the field of Biomedical Engineering. In addition, advanced courses in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and in the School of Medicine offer knowledge and skills that can be applied to specialized areas of research.

BME Academic Requirements


  MS PhD PhD (prior MS) PhD/MSTP

Coursework Requirements- thesis based programs

 Core Courses1

 BME 6101 
BME 6310 and 6311
BME 6310 and 6311
Graded credit hours of coursework 24 24 12 18
Elective Educational Experiences No 2 2 1
Research course hours3 BME 8999
6 credits
BME 8999 before comps
BME 9999 post comps
24 credits
BME 8999 before comps
BME 9999 post comps
24 credits
BME 9999
24 credits
Total overall credits 30 48 36 42

Other Requirements

Qualifying/Comprehensive Exam (by beginning of 3rd year) No Yes Yes Yes
Proposal of Research Written Oral & Written Oral & Written Oral & Written
Oral Defense of Thesis/Dissertation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Written Final Report of Research/Thesis/Dissertation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outcome Assessments Yes Yes Yes Yes
Teaching Assistant4 No 2 semesters 2 semesters 1 semester
Attend BME Seminars Yes Yes Yes Yes
  1. Students with equivalent prior course work may place out of some or all of the core classes listed above by obtaining written permission from the course instructor and approval of the Graduate Program Committee. The “Permission to Opt-out of Department Core Course” form can be obtained from the Graduate Program Coordinator. Opt-out procedures typically include an oral or written examination in the course material. Opt-out course must be replaced with a graduate elective.
  2. A concentration must share common engineering concepts. It may cross departmental boundaries. A concentration must be approved by the Graduate Program Committee before courses are taken.
  3. Research credit does not count towards course credit hour requirement.
  4. Teaching is an integral part of graduate training in Biomedical Engineering. All PhD students must participate in BME teaching assistantships in BME undergraduate or graduate courses as part of the academic requirement for the degree, regardless of their source of funding for the stipend or fellowship. The teaching experience will normally be performed in the second and third years of doctoral study and include one lab based course and one lecture based course.

PhD Program


The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires 24 graded credits of course work past the bachelor’s degree (including any completed during a Master’s program), plus two Elective Educational Experiences (see below). Students who enter the program already holding a Master’s degree in an engineering discipline from a school other than the University of Virginia must take the core BME courses, completing at least 12 credit hours of graduate level coursework.  A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

PhD Administrative Requirements

  • Select a PhD Advisor, and working with the advisor the student should identify committee members and invite them to serve on his/her PhD Dissertation. The student should fill out and file the Doctoral Advisory Committee Form with the Graduate Program Coordinator no later than July 1st after second semester of doctoral study.
  • File a PhD Plan of Study no later than May 1st in the second year of doctoral study. The form is available on the Grad Program Collab site and must be approved by your Advisory Committee and the BME Graduate Program Committee.
  • Students are required to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) form annually with their advisors.
  • Students are encouraged to meet with their PhD Dissertation Committee annually.

Formation of the PhD Dissertation Committee

 

Minimum Number of total faculty on the committee (including the PhD Advisor and the Committee Chair)

Minimum number of BME faculty% (i.e. faculty with primary appointments in BME)

Minimum number of SEAS faculty*

Minimum number of outside faculty

Primary appointment of the Committee Chair° must be in the:

Membership of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee

3

2

2

0

BME Dept.

Membership of the PhD Dissertation Committee for the PhD Proposal

4

2

3

1

BME Dept.

Membership of the PhD Dissertation Committee for the PhD Dissertation Defense

5

2

3

1

BME Dept.

 

% A “BME faculty” member must have 50% or more of his/her primary appointment in the BME Department.

* Any faculty member who has a primary appointment in the BME Department, even if his/her/their official appointment in BME is through the School of Medicine, is considered “SEAS faculty” for the purposes of this requirement.

The “outside faculty” member must 1) be on the UVA Faculty, and 2) have 0% of his/her/their primary appointment in the BME Department.

° The “Committee Chair” must not be the PhD Advisor.

Upon completion of year 1, PhD students should begin to arrange for the appointment of a PhD Dissertation Committee in consultation with their PhD advisor and with their PhD advisor’s approval.  The PhD Dissertation Committee is a resource for you as you pursue graduate studies. It recommends and gives initial approval for a formal program of study, discusses research objectives and research plans with the student, and advises on the areas of study for the Qualifying Examination.  The Committee will meet with the student as needed to review progress and, if necessary, to revise the program of study. Students should consult with their PhD Dissertation Committee at least once a year as their research progresses to ensure that their continuing research work is adequate as a doctoral dissertation. The membership of the PhD Dissertation Committee can grow and/or change over time, as the student’s dissertation research develops/changes over time and as the student progresses through his/her graduate career. In other words, members of the PhD Dissertation Committee can be added and/or removed at any point in time, as long as the requirements stated below for each key milestone are met. The committee is officially formed by filling out the Appointment of Doctoral Advisory Committee Form, which is reviewed and approved by the Graduate Program Director, and this should be filled out and submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator by July 1st after the second semester in the BME PhD program.  In year 1, it is recommended that the student meet with the members of his/her/their PhD Dissertation Committee – in one-on-one meetings, or as a group – at least once, so that the Committee can get to know the student and the student’s research interests and discuss and approve the PhD Plan of Study. The PhD Plan of Study should be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator no later than the end of the summer after second semester of doctoral study.

Upon completion of year 2, the PhD Dissertation Committee (or a sub-set thereof) will serve as the student’s PhD Qualifying Examining Committee. The formation of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee should start with a conversation between the student and his/her/their advisor. The decision of who to invite to join the student’s PhD Qualifying Examination Committee should be a joint decision made by the advisor and student together, and requires the approval of the PhD advisor and the BME Graduate Program Director. At least three (3) members of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee must be present for the PhD Qualifying Exam, but more than three members is allowable. More details about the composition of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee are provided below, including the selection of a committee Chair.

Upon completion of year 3, the PhD Dissertation Committee (or a sub-set thereof) will serve as the student’s examining committee for the PhD Dissertation Proposal. At least four (4) members of your PhD Dissertation Committee must be present during the proposal. Additionally, one of the four members must be an “outside” committee member, which means that he/she/they must have 0% of his/her primary appointment within the BME department. The chairperson of the committee (who may not be the student’s faculty advisor) must hold 50% or more of their primary appointment in the BME Department.

Upon completion of year 4, the student should hold a meeting with their PhD Dissertation Committee to discuss his/her research progress, career goals, and other planned professional development activities. At this point, the. PhD Dissertation Committee should include a minimum of four (4) members of the UVA faculty, including the student’s faculty advisor.  All Committee members must hold qualifications commensurate with that of a research faculty or equivalent rank. At least two members must be primary UVA BME faculty. One member should be an “outside faculty” committee member, which means that he/she/they must have 0% of his/her/their primary appointment within the BME department. Furthermore, this “outside faculty” member must be on the UVA Faculty. The purpose of the “outside faculty” member with 0% appointment in BME is to ensure consistency across the University, to help ensure fairness to the student, and to prevent conflict inside the department. The chairperson of the committee (who may not be the student’s faculty advisor) must hold 50% or more of their primary appointment in the BME Department. When the student’s advisor does not have a primary appointment in the BME Department, the committee chairperson will function as a co-advisor and department representative. To avoid conflicts of interest, no committee member can be employed by or receive compensation from another committee member to avoid conflicts of interest. One additional research professional from “outside UVA” may be a fifth voting committee member, provided his/her/their qualifications are commensurate with that of a research faculty or equivalent rank.  Emeritus faculty are considered “outside UVA” for the purpose of PhD Dissertation Committees.  For all “outside UVA” committee members, a CV or biography will be required and should be submitted to the SEAS Graduate Registrar, and should include the highest degree attained, the year and institution, and any relevant experience or research which would enable that member to provide expertise to the student and committee.

Upon completion of year 5 (or earlier), the student should hold a meeting with their PhD Dissertation Committee to discuss his/her/their research progress, career goals, and other planned professional development activities. The student should also be approaching a point where planning of the PhD Dissertation Defense is prudent. The PhD Dissertation Committee composition should adhere to what is described in the previous paragraph (for the year 4 benchmark).

PhD Plan of Study and Coursework

In deciding the doctoral course work and finalizing the PhD plan of study, students should seek assistance from their advisor and Doctoral Advisory Committee members and must obtain their approval. Because this is a plan of study, not a contract, students should make every effort to complete and submit it as soon as possible. This will allow the maximum flexibility for any necessary revisions to be made without delaying the student’s progress to the PhD. The Plan of Study may be revised as necessary throughout the student’s graduate study. Preparation of the PhD Plan of Study is an appropriate time to schedule the initial meeting with your Doctoral Advisory Committee. Students, their advisors, and Doctoral Advisory Committee members are responsible to design a plan of study suitable for the individual and that meets the academic requirements of the BME PhD program. The plan of study may consist of more than the minimum required credits.

The Plan of Study should be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator no later than the end of the summer after second semester of doctoral study but preferably sooner. These forms may also be revised as necessary during the course of the PhD program, in consultation with the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee.  Students who have not submitted a Plan of Study will not be permitted to take the qualifying exam.

Elective Educational Experiences

Elective Educational Experiences (EEEs) are intended to encourage students to begin the process of life-long learning essential to a career in Biomedical Engineering. EEEs are intended to cover new material and areas of study that the student has not already covered in previous coursework or research experience or to provide the student with additional depth in a particular area. The student should justify why he/she/they wants to take the EEE and how the EEE will broaden and/or deepen their knowledge base. We anticipate that students will often pursue EEEs later in the course of their PhD studies and select them based on their PhD research and future career plans. All EEEs must be approved by the student’s PhD Committee in advance. Specifically, students must submit to their PhD Committee a brief proposal stating the rationale for their EEE (how it fits with their individual plan of study and fills a knowledge gap not covered by their previous coursework and research experience), their goals for the EEE, and the metrics they will use to assess how well the EEE fulfilled those goals. There is a specific form for EEE Proposals that should be filled out, approved by the PhD Committee, and submitted to the BME Graduate Program Coordinator. Both EEEs must be approved prior to the thesis proposal; however, students may participate in one or both EEEs after their proposal defense. At the completion of the EEE, students must submit a brief “EEE Summary Report” to their PhD Committee Chair assessing the EEE using the proposed metrics. There is a specific form for the EEE Summary Report, and the Summary Reports for both EEEs must be submitted to the PhD Committee Chair by the time the written dissertation is submitted to the PhD Committee (i.e., at least two weeks prior to the PhD Dissertation Defense). Students are also encouraged to include a slide on their EEEs in their PhD proposal and/or PhD defense presentations in order to share information on potentially valuable experiences with other students. An appropriate EEE is expected to involve roughly the time commitment of a typical graduate course.  Possible examples include:

1. Taking an additional graduate course beyond the normal course requirements,

2. Taking an intensive 2-week “short course” to learn a series of specialized techniques,

3. Completing a summer internship at a biotechnology company.

MSTP (MD/PhD) Students

Medical school physiology courses will be accepted in lieu of BME 6101. These courses may not have to be replaced with additional credits. MSTP students need to complete at least 18 graded credits, but also need to comply with the SEAS 24 credit requirement for PhD.  This may be fulfilled with up to 6 graded credits of Independent Research. An EEE with a focus on developing computer programming skills should be completed before the end of the first semester after transitioning to the PhD program if the student does not have sufficient programming experience to succeed in the core graduate BME curriculum. See the graduate program coordinator for details. MSTP students are only required to complete one TAship.

PhD Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying (or Comprehensive) Examination is required by the School of Engineering and Applied Science and all doctoral engineering students must take the exam (see UVA Graduate Record for general guidelines). Students intending to take the Qualifying Examination must complete the PhD Plan of Study and turn it in to the Graduate Student Coordinator by May 1st of the year that the student plans to take the PhD Qualifying Exam.

Purpose: To determine whether the student is able to comprehend and integrate a body of advanced knowledge, and is capable of conducting original research. The student’s ability to think, formulate, and present ideas is also evaluated.

Timing: All students should take the PhD Qualifying Examination before the end of the summer after the fourth semester of graduate study (i.e. after their 2nd year). Students may elect to take the PhD Qualifying Exam as early as after the second semester in the PhD program (i.e. after their 1st year). Delayed examination is subject to the approval of the student’s PhD Dissertation Committee. Passage of the PhD Qualifying Exam is required to continue the PhD program.

Scheduling of and Preparation for the Exam:  Students should first obtain approval from their PhD Advisor to take the Qualifying Exam. Exams are generally scheduled between the third week of May and the end of June after the student’s second year in the PhD program. The recommended timeline for setting up the required “Pre-Qualifying Exam Meeting” to the actualy Qualifying Exam should encompass one month.  After the student has obtained approval from his/her advisor to take the exam, and prior to May 1st, the student should schedule a “Pre-Qualifying Exam Meeting” of their PhD Qualifying Exam Committee, which should be comprised of their PhD Dissertation Committee, or a subset thereof. Requirements for the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee composition are provided below. This meeting should last approximately 45 minutes, during which the student should: 1) present and get approval for the Plan of Study  so that it can be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator by May 1st, 2) present a 10 min. long informal oral presentation to acquaint the committee with the student’s research to date and his/her anticipated future research directions so that the committee has sufficient information to be able to draft 3 exam questions for the student (see “Format of the Qualifying Exam” below). After that, the student should leave the meeting and the faculty on the committee should spend the remainder of the meeting drafting the exam questions for the student.

The student will need to work with their PhD Exam Committee to schedule a time and date for the 3-hour long exam and reserve a room (or schedule a Zoom meeting if required by circumstance) for the exam. Note that the timing between the “Pre-Qualifying Exam Meeting” and the PhD Qualifying Examination is approximately one month. Once the exam date, time, and location are set, the student needs to confirm with their PhD Qualifying Exam Committee and notify the Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Program Coordinator will prepare the examination forms and have them ready for the Advisory Committee chair to pick up the day of the exam (or share electronically).

Formation of the BME Qualifying Exam Committee: The PhD Qualifying Exam will be administered by the student’s Qualifying Exam Committee. At least three (3) members of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee must be present for the PhD Qualifying Examination, but more than three members is allowable.

The formation of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee should start with a conversation between the student and his/her/their advisor. The decision of whom to invite to join the student’s PhD Qualifying Examination Committee should be a joint decision made by the advisor and student together, and requires the approval of both the PhD advisor and the BME Graduate Program Director.

  • At least two of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee members must be primary BME faculty.
  • The Chair of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee must be a primary BME faculty member who is not the PhD advisor.
  • If the student’s PhD advisor is BME primary faculty, he/she/they can serve as one of the BME faculty members on the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee.
  • If the PhD advisor is not primary BME faculty, the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee still needs to have at least two primary BME faculty on it.
  • All members of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee may be primary BME faculty.
  • All members of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee must have a PhD and/or MD.
  • After the student passes the PhD Qualifying Exam, the composition of their “PhD Dissertation Committee” may differ from the composition of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee.

Format of the Qualifying Examination: The PhD Qualifying Exam is an oral exam lasting approximately three hours, which is administered by the student’s PhD Qualifying Exam Committee. 

The Chair of the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee will coordinate the preparation of three questions, with input from the entire Exam Committee. The oral examination will consist of a set of integrative questions (typically three) that have been prepared by the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee and provided to the student one week in advance of the oral examination. The questions will be based upon the student’s program of study and topics relevant to his/her/their anticipated dissertation topic. The questions will:

  • Assess the ability to integrate a body of advanced knowledge in biomedical engineering,
  • Include experimental design and hypothesis testing, and
  • Have a design or a quantitative analysis component.

The Chair of the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee should submit a copy of the oral exam questions to the Graduate Program Director for approval at least 14 days before the scheduled exam date using the PhD Qualifying Exam Questions Form. (Note that if the Graduate Program Director is a member of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee, the exam questions should instead be submitted to the Department Ombuds for approval.) The Chair of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee will deliver the approved exam questions to the student and to the Graduate Program Coordinator (by hard copy or by e-mail) seven (7) days prior to the scheduled exam date.

During the week leading up to the oral exam, the student may research the questions to develop his or her answers using textbooks, published literature, class notes, software, etc. However, the student may not enlist the help of other individuals in preparing answers - to do so will be considered a violation of the honor code. During the oral exam, the student will provide his/her answers to the questions orally and by hand-drawing schematics, outlines, bullets, notes, graphs, equations, etc. on the whiteboard to communicate his/her/their answers in an organized and visual fashion. The student may not use PowerPoint slides or the overhead projector to present a formal slide deck. The objective is to convey your approach to solving the problems and your solutions to the problems concisely and convincingly – as if the student were teaching a mini-lecture. At the start of the exam, if the Chair of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee has given the student permission, the student may give photocopied hand-outs to the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee, particularly if they are useful to convey plotted data, complicated schematics that would take too long to hand-draw on the board, pieces of computer code, derivations, etc. However, the student may not hand out extensive background literature or lengthy appendices– and it is not in their best interest to do so because it will be distracting for the committee. As the student presents their answers, they should be prepared to be interrupted with on-going questions from the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee. If deemed appropriate by the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee, the student may also be questioned on any material germane to his/her/their completed coursework. Successful completion of the PhD Qualifying Examination will be determined by the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee. PhD students must pass the oral examination to continue in the PhD Program. At the discretion of the PhD Qualifying Exam Committee, a student may be allowed at most two attempts to pass the PhD Qualifying Examination.

Teaching Assistantship (TAship)

All PhD students must participate in BME teaching assistantships (TAship) for BME undergraduate or graduate courses as part of the academic requirements for the PhD degree- regardless of their source of funding, stipend or fellowship. The TAship experiences will normally be performed in the second and third years of doctoral study. When possible, students will be assigned to TA for one “lecture-focused” and one “lab/project-focused” course to give students diverse experiences in their teaching experiences as a TA. Prior to the start of each semester, graduate students who are eligible to TA will be contacted by the Graduate Program Director and asked to rank order the courses that they would like to TA for that semester. The Graduate Program Director will assign TAships based on students’ interests to the extent possible and also based on the Department’s TA needs in a given semester. When students are assigned a TAship they must register in SIS for their TAship, and at the end of the semester of TAing they will be assigned a grade of either  “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” by the instructor of the course for which they are serving as TA. All PhD students are expected to TA for two courses and receive grades of “satisfactory” for both TAships in order to complete this requirement. However, there are exceptions: 1) MSTP students only TA for one class, and 2) students who transferred from another PhD program where they TAd (once or twice) may be granted special exception from BME Graduate Program Committee to TA for less than 2 classes at UVA, but they need to submit a written petition to the Graduate Program Committee to ask for approval. Note that participating in the “SEAS Teaching Fellowship Program” does not fulfill a TA requirement.

Going Pro

Biomedical Engineering PhD graduates are well-positioned to be leaders in industry. Going Pro is a unique opportunity for professional development.  Through the curriculum, mentoring programs, and department-sponsored internship, alumni of this program will be well-positioned to lead in the biomedical engineering industry. There are three key elements of the Going Pro:

Industry Internship: Applicants who are chosen for Going Pro may participate in a two-month industry internship once approved by the BME Graduate Program Committee.

Mentoring:  Students will be paired up with an alumni of the department and are required to meet annually with their mentor throughout the remainder of their PhD training.

Course: Going Pro participants will take a 1-credit course in the fall semester focused on professional development and BME industry.

Application Process: Students that have completed their 2nd year of the PhD program and successfully passed their qualifying exam are invited to apply. Please contact Shayn Peirce-Cottler, Graduate Program Director, with any questions.

PhD Proposal Defense

Purpose:  The student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee will assess the quality of the student’s research plan (including hypotheses to be tested, experimental design and methodology).

Timing: The PhD candidate is expected to complete the dissertation proposal no later than 12 months after the Qualifying Examination.  Failure to complete and defend a dissertation proposal by the end of the third year of doctoral study may result in a delay in the completion of the program or even dismissal from the program. The student is responsible for working with the Advisory Committee to schedule a date and room for the event.  Upon selecting a date and location, the student is then responsible for notifying the Graduate Program Coordinator at least 2 weeks prior to defense. 

The written dissertation proposal is submitted to the Advisory Committee one week before the scheduled oral dissertation proposal examination which consists of a public oral presentation during which the student highlights the existing knowledge and the proposed new study.  This will be followed by a private question and answer period with the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The total duration of the dissertation proposal defense is typically two (2) hours, at the discretion of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. At least four (4) members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee must be present for the proposal defense in accord with SEAS guidelines, including two (2) primary BME faculty.

Defense Committee Composition: The Examining Committee for the dissertation proposal is the student’s PhD Dissertation Committee. Four of the members of this committee must be present during the proposal. Once of the four members attending the exam must be the outside committee member.

Proposal Format: The written proposal shall follow the general form of an NIH grant application, including page limits.   Format guidelines may be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/grant_basics.htm

PhD Dissertation Defense

The doctoral dissertation should be typed according to the format of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Purpose:  To demonstrate competence in the field of the dissertation research and to evaluate the quality of the dissertation for publication in scientific journals.

Timing: Upon the completion of writing an approved dissertation. The properly formatted draft with all the figures should be submitted to the Doctoral Advisory Committee at least two weeks before the examination. Using the Final Examination Committee form, inform the Graduate Program Coordinator of the date selected for your defense, provide the title and a short abstract of the work, so that an announcement of the defense may be sent out. Public announcement of the dissertation defense shall be made one week prior to the scheduled examination date. Failure to do so may result in the rescheduling of the dissertation defense.

Defense Committee Composition: The Examining Committee for the dissertation defense is the student’s PhD Dissertation Committee. All five (5) primary members of your committee must be present during the defense.

Subject: Defense of dissertation and questions about subject areas related to research field or arising from discussion of thesis work.

Form: The first part (40 minutes) is an oral presentation of the thesis which is open to the public. It is followed by a 1-2 hour oral defense before the Doctoral Advisory Committee and interested faculty.

Failure: Possibility for re-examination is determined by the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Publication of PhD Dissertation

Students will upload their thesis or dissertation to LIBRA upon approval of the Exam Committee (after final exam forms have been submitted and final corrections approved).  Paper bound copies are no longer required. Students should discuss any copyright/embargo issues with their mentors and chairs prior to the upload. For more information on LIBRA and instruction of how to upload, please visit: http://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/libra/

PhD Graduate Exit Interview

Following the successful completion of a PhD Dissertation Defense, students will be invited to participate in a 30-minute long Exit Interview with the Graduate Program Director. The purpose of the interview is to obtain feedback from graduates about their experiences in the PhD program in order to inform the Graduate Program Committee about ways to improve the graduate experiences for future students. Graduates will be provided with the interview questions in advance, and invited to edit the documentation of their responses. These will only be shared with the Graduate Program Committee in a de-identified manner.

 

MS program


The Master of Science degree requires a minimum of 24 graded credit hours of course work, 6 credits of MS thesis research and satisfactory defense of a thesis.  In addition to these academic requirements, certain administrative requirements must also be met. The same course cannot be used to satisfy more than one of the above requirements. An average GPA of at least 3.0 is required for graduation.

MS Thesis Committee

The MS Thesis Committee must consist of at least three faculty members, including at least one primary BME faculty member and at least one member from outside the department. Adjunct faculty are acceptable outside members if they provide an objective and diverse viewpoint. The student should form this committee within six months from starting in the program.  After forming an MS Thesis Committee, the student should file a Master’s Degree Plan of Study form (within first year of matriculation).  This form is available on the BME Grad Program Collab site and must be approved by the student’s MS Thesis Committee and the Graduate Program Director.

MS Thesis Document and Defense

With the approval of their MS Advisor, the student shall write an MS Thesis and submit it to his/her/their MS Thesis Committee at least one week prior to the MS Thesis Defense. The student should also notify the Graduate Program Coordinator of the date selected for the MS Thesis Defense and provide the title and a short abstract of the work, so that an announcement of the defense may be sent out. The first part of the MS Thesis Defense, which should last approximately 40 minutes, is an oral presentation of the thesis by the student and open to the public. This will be followed by a 1-2 hour oral defense before the MS Thesis Committee and any other interested faculty. Upon successful passage of this oral thesis defense, the student should file the Report on Final Exam and the Thesis Outcome Assessment. If the student fails the thesis defense, the possibility for re-examination will be determined by the MS Thesis Committee.

The student should upload their final MS Thesis to LIBRA prior to graduation and upon approval of the Exam Committee (after final exam forms have been submitted).  Paper bound copies are no longer required. Students should discuss any copyright/embargo issues with their mentors and chairs prior to the upload. For more information on LIBRA and instruction of how to upload, please visit: http://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/libra/

 

ME program


The Master of Engineering degree requires completion of BME core course requirements, and has its own required sequence of 30 graded credits of coursework and 5 credits of Seminars or Leadership coursework (S/U) which together culminate in the specialization in biotechnical empathy and design. The same course cannot be used to satisfy more than one of the requirements. An average GPA of at least 3.0 is required for graduation.  Students are expected to complete all requirements by May of the second year.  Instead of a thesis, a supervised research and design project will be completed and described in a written report to be accepted by the Program Director. Public presentation of projects throughout the 15 months is critical to the on-going iterative nature of this project based degree.

Course Sequence

Fall of first semester:

  • BME 6101 Physiology I for Engineers
  • BME 6310 Computation and Modeling in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 6550 Special Topics:  Clinical Technology Continuum of Care
  • 3 credit elective from SEAS, SoM or A&S upon approval of Program Director
  • 2 credits BME 6056- Going Pro; Professional Development in Biomedical Engineering

Spring of second semester:

  • BME 6311 BME Research Fundamentals
  • BME 6060 Biomedical Innovation
  • 3 credit s/u elective on Leadership and Entrepreneurialism 
  • 3 credit elective from SEAS, SoM or A&S upon approval of Program Director

Summer:

  • BME Architecture and Design course 

Fall of third and final semester:

  • BME 8995 Biomedical Engineering Design Project
  • 3 credit technical elective from SEAS, SoM or A&S upon approval of Program Director

Completion of ME Project

Timing: Students should register for the project course (BME 8995) in their final semester.  

Approval: A one to two page proposal will be approved by the Program Director to help the student focus on the intent and scope of the project. The project should exhibit individual thought and represent the culmination of effort from the prior year. It will incorporate best practices within the biomedical design industry, and must include a data science component.

Report/presentations: A written report describing the project is required. Public presentations of projects- open to all clinical, academic and industry mentors- will help form the basis of the final grade.

ME Degree Administrative Requirements

  1. File an ME Degree Plan of Study form by the end of the first term.  
  2. Attend the BME seminars during residence. 
  3. Complete SEAS required Outcome Assessment Forms