Biomedical Engineering Doctoral Program Curriculum Overview

The purpose of the biomedical engineering doctoral program is to guide scientists and engineers through novel research projects, thus preparing them to carry out significant independent investigations. Courses provide the tools for independent work, but mentored individual research constitutes the most significant part of students' doctoral studies. The research component of the program includes establishing familiarity with current scientific literature in an area of specialization; preparing for the qualifying examination, which consists of writing and defending a research proposal; undertaking and completing a novel research project; and publishing a journal article and writing and defending a dissertation on the results of the research project.

By the end of this program, students will have the following training and skills:

  • Training in physiology
  • Experimental design and, in some laboratories, instrument development
  • Research area-specific data collection techniques such as immunohistochemistry, fluorescence imaging, electrical recording, and motion capture
  • Data analysis methods such as signal processing and kinematic analysis
  • Oral and written communication skills

Degree Requirements

The major requirement of the Ph.D. program is generation of a doctoral dissertation that is based on the results of original research, carried out under the guidance of a faculty member and defended in a public examination. Preliminary requirements for the Ph.D. degree include course work and passage of the qualifying examination. Preliminary requirements for the doctorate are regarded not as ends in themselves but, rather, as preparation for the dissertation in which the student demonstrates ability.

For the doctoral degree in BME, 84 credits of graduate work in an approved program of study are required beyond the bachelor's degree. This may include up to 30 credits obtained in a master's degree program, if the area of the master's degree is relevant to the doctoral program. Those with a master's degree who wish to transfer credits towards the Ph.D. must be aware that only one master's degree may be applied toward the Ph.D.

The biomedical engineering Ph.D. curriculum adheres to the institute-wide standards listed in the academic catalog.

If you have existing graduate credits or experience in this area of study, please contact [email protected] to discuss opportunities to incorporate your experience into the curriculum.

Course and Credit Requirements

For students without a master's degree, 30 credits must be devoted to fulfilling the BME master's degree requirements

Beyond master's degree, 54 credits:

  • At least 15 of 54 credits must be for coursework, including:
    • PRV 961: Doctoral Signature Credit Seminar, a 3-credit scientific communications course
    • For students without training in physiology, BME 502 and 503: Physiology for Engineers I and II
  • At least 30 of 54 credits must be for BME 960: Doctoral Research in Biomedical Engineering

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination in BME consists of submission of a written Ph.D. proposal and successful oral defense of the proposal. Students must pass the qualifying examination before registering for more than nine credits of BME 960. The proposal submission deadline is at the start of the fourth or third term for students entering the PhD program with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, respectively.

Doctoral Advisory Committee

Following successful passage of the qualifying examination, the Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed. This committee must include at least four members, one of whom must be the student’s dissertation advisor, who usually serves as Chair, and one of whom must be a Stevens faculty member from a program other than biomedical engineering. Inclusion on the committee of a qualified expert from outside of Stevens is encouraged but not required.

At least once a year, the student meets with the Doctoral Advisory Committee to update the committee on his/her research progress. This meeting is reported to the Dean of Graduate Academics.

Graduation Requirements

Prior to defending the dissertation, the student publishes at least one original research article in a peer-reviewed journal. At the start of the term in which the student expects to defend the Ph.D., the student files an application for candidacy. Graduate School policy requires that the student submit the completed dissertation to the Doctoral Advisory Committee at least four weeks prior to the defense date. Finally, to obtain the Ph.D. degree, the student must successfully defend the dissertation in an oral examination administered by the Doctoral Advisory Committee and open to the public.

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