Graduate Program




BME PhD students receive honors.Day-Slater

Hettie Nie (left) named 2013 Gore Fellow and 2013 IGERT fellow.

Lamont Cannon received the University Grad Scholars Fellowship. Hettie Nie was named 2013 Gore Fellow and 2013 IGERT Fellow. Michael David and Jilian Melamed received 2014 BME Graduate Teaching Assistance Awards.   Ashutosh Khandha and Axel Moore were recognized for their research at the annual CBER biomechanics research symposium.

Jilian Melamed (middle) receives 2014 BME Grad TA award.

Biomedical Engineering

Through the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program at UD, graduate students can obtain a PhD (and soon will be able to obtain a Master’s degree). The PhD program is built on a first year core curriculum with advanced curricula that are based on the research the student will perform for the thesis. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of Biomedical Engineering, faculty that are affiliated with this program come from multiple colleges and departments at UD. PhD students will identify a Faculty Advisor from among these faculty who will be responsible for defining the student’s research responsibilities and for evaluating the student’s performance. The PhD degree will be administered by the BME Program and will be awarded by the College of Engineering.

This multi-disciplinary graduate program will build upon the established biomedical research strength at the University of Delaware, largely within the College of Engineering. It will offer academic rigor, as well as flexibility, to meet the needs and interests of students from different backgrounds and of their faculty advisors from different research areas.

For inquiries, please contact the BME graduate program.

PhD Program

The PhD program in Biomedical Engineeering consists of 39 credits of graduate level course work including at least 9 credits of Doctoral Dissertation. The program allows for considerable flexibility in course selection. The PhD program also requires completion of a Teaching Aid requirement, the Qualifying Exam, the Candidacy Defense and the Doctoral Dissertation.

The table below lists the course requirements for a PhD degree in BME.

PhD requirements in Biomedical Engineering: 39 credits total
5 Core courses 15 credits
Principles of Biomedical Engineering (2 courses) 6 credits
Advanced Math 3 credits
Statistics 3 credits
Communication and Ethics 3 credits
4 Elective courses (Minimum) 12 credits
Research 3 credits minimum
Dissertation 9 credits minimum
Seminar series (3 semesters) 0 credits

Students will be matched to a Faculty Advisor from a list of BME-affiliated faculty members participating in the degree program. For the first 2 months following fall matriculation, the student will be advised by the BME Graduate Director (unless a direct match to an advisor is made during the admission process). The student will be responsible for identifying potential faculty advisors by meeting with faculty in early September, attending faculty presentations in BMEG 801 (seminar series), and attending research group meetings. By Oct 15th students must submit a ranked list that contains at least 3 potential advisors. Advisors also submit a ranked list of students (blind to student ranking). The BME Graduate Director will match the student to a Faculty Advisor before the end of October.

The Faculty Advisor will be the primary contact of the student for questions and advice on his/her thesis research throughout the remainder of the program. The student will develop a plan of study for the program with the Faculty Advisor by the end of the second semester of their first year. Any changes to a student’s program of study must be approved by the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director.

For more information, please consult the graduate handbook


For forms visit the graduate program forms page.

Course Requirements

PhD students are required to take 5 core courses and a minimum of 4 technical electives.

Core Courses (15 credits)


Principles of Biomedical Engineering (6 credits)
BMEG 601: Principles of Biomedical Engineering I: Molecular and cellular systems (3)

The goal of this two-semester sequence is to develop a firm foundation for and fundamental knowledge of Biomedical Engineering with a multi-scale approach. The first course introduces fundamental concepts of molecular and cellular physiology, applies quantitative engineering analysis to physiology at this length scale, and teaches students to think critically about the physiology and cell biology literature. PREREQ: General Physiology (e.g., BISC 306).

BMEG 602: Principles of Biomedical Engineering II: Tissue and organ systems (3)

The goal of this two-semester sequence is to develop a firm foundation for and fundamental knowledge of Biomedical Engineering with a multi-scale approach. The second course introduces fundamental concepts of tissue and organ physiology, applies quantitative engineering analysis to physiology at this length scale, and teaches students to think critically about the organ function literature, such as musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and nervous systems(allow BISC 606 Physiology as a substitute). PREREQ: General Physiology (e.g., BISC 306)


Advanced Math (3 credits) – Choose 1
MATH 607 Survey of Scientific Computing (3)

Numerical solution of linear systems; interpolation; differentiation and quadrature; transforms/FFT; nonlinear equations; initial value problems; boundary value problems; Monte Carlo methods; finite difference methods for partial differential equations. Additional topics at the discretion of the instructor. PREREQ: Linear algebra, differential equations, multivariable calculus.

MATH 616 Introduction to Applied Mathematics I (3)

Introduction to ideas and techniques used in solving problems arising in a variety of physical settings. Stability of nonlinear systems of ODE’s. Sturm-Liouville problems and Green’s functions. The wave, heat and Laplace equations. Elementary analysis of some nonlinear PDE’s. Elementary perturbation theory. PREREQ: One semester of advanced calculus

MEEG 690 Intermediate Engineering Mathematics (3)

Linear algebra: generalized vector space, eigenvalue problem, diagonalization, quadratic forms. Field theory: divergence theorem, Stokes’ theorem, irrotational fields. Sturm-Liouville theory, Bessel functions, Legendre polynomials. Partial differential equations: diffusion and Laplace equations by separation of variables and Sturm-Liouville theory, wave equation. Engineering applications.

ELEG 671 Mathematical Physiology (3)

Mathematical methods in Human Physiology, covering cellular, tissue, organ, and integrated systems. Dynamic modeling of homeostasis, endocrine regulatory systems, immune response dynamics, mutation and selection. Mathematical methods covered include linear and nonlinear differential equations, Lyapunov analysis, mass action, Hamming spaces, reaction-diffusion equations, and simulation.


Statistics (3 credits) – Choose 1
BISC 643 Biological data analysis (3)

Single-semester introduction to the numerical analysis of biological data in fields such as molecular and cellular biology. Emphasis on choosing and using the correct analysis method for each experiment by using small numbers of relatively simple statistical tests.

STAT/FREC 608 Statistical Research Methods (3)

Experimental design and plot plans, collection, analysis and presentation of data in agricultural and biological research. Information valid for courses offered 2010 through 2011. Open to graduate students only.


Communication and Ethics (3 credits)
BMEG 801: Communication and ethics in Biomedical Engineering (3)

This course will cover communication methods for professional development such as written and oral presentations. Emphasis will be placed on topics such as preparing proposals, journal papers, and dissertations. Proposal preparation will include topics such as selecting a research topic, reviewing the literature, generating hypotheses, and writing study designs. Issues of authorship, peer review, plagiarism, recordkeeping, patents, technology transfer, conflicts of interest, and copyright will be addressed.


Technical Electives (12 credits)

Technical Electives can be chosen from courses offered across departments.

  • BINF 694010 – Systems Biology I
  • BINF 667012 – Biomedical Informatics
  • BINF 667011 – Protein Modifications
  • BISC 602 – Molecular Biology of Animal Cells
  • BISC 605 – Advanced Mammalian Physiology
  • BISC 612 – Advanced Cell Biology
  • BISC 625 – Cancer Biology
  • BISC 626 – Advanced Neuroanatomy
  • BISC 627 – Advanced Neurophysiology
  • BISC 639 – Developmental Neurobiology
  • BISC 660 – Environmental Physiology
  • BISC 671 – Cellular and Molecular Immunology
  • BISC 675 – Cardiovascular Physiology
  • BISC 806 – Advances in Cell and Organ Systems
  • CHEG 620 – Biochemical Engineering
  • CHEG 621 – Metabolic Engineering
  • CHEG/CHEM 649 – Molecular Biophysics
  • CHEG 650 – Biomedical Engineering
  • CHEG 801 – Process Control and Dynamics
  • CHEG 825 – Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Thermodynamics
  • CHEG 827 – Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Problems
  • CHEG 828 – Statistical Thermodynamics
  • CHEG 842 – Selected Topics in Biochemical Engineering
  • CHEG 845 – Advanced Transport Phenomena
  • CHEM 641 – Biochemistry
  • CHEM 642 – Biochemistry
  • CHEM 643 – Intermediary Metabolism
  • CHEM 645 – Protein Structure and Function
  • CHEM 646 – DNA-Protein Interactions
  • CHEM 647 – Biochemical Evolution
  • CHEM 648 – Membrane Biochemistry
  • CISC 642 – Intro to Computer Vision
  • CISC 681 – Artificial Intelligence
  • CISC/BINF 689 – Topics: Artificial Intelligence
  • CISC/BINF 849 – Advanced Topics in Computer Applications
  • CISC 879 – High Performance Parallel Algorithms for Computational Science
  • CISC 887 – Internet Information Gathering
  • ELEG 630 – Information Theory
  • ELEG 631 – Digital Signal Processing
  • ELEG 636 – Statistical Signal Processing
  • ELEG 671 – Mathematical Physiology
  • ELEG 675 – Image Processing with Biomedical Applications
  • ELEG 679 – Intro to Medical Imaging Systems
  • ELEG 680 – Immunology for Engineers
  • ELEG 801 – Advanced Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • MATH 529 – Fundamentals of Optimization
  • MATH 611 – Introduction to Numerical Discretization
  • MATH 617 – Introductions to Applied Mathematics II
  • MATH 630 – Probability Theory and Applications
  • MATH 660 – Intro to Systems Biology
  • MEEG 612 – Biomechanics of Human Movement
  • MEEG 624 – Control of Dynamic Systems
  • MEEG 667012 – Interface Science and Engineering
  • MEEG 682 – Clinical Biomechanics
  • MEEG 683 – Orthopedic Biomechanics
  • MEEG 684 – Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
  • MEEG 685 – Control of Human Movement
  • MEEG 686 – Cell and Tissue Transport
  • MEEG 862 – Advanced Engineering Analysis
  • MEEG 867 – Fracture of Complex Material Systems
  • MSEG/CHEG 601 – Structure and Properties of Polymer Materials
  • MSEG 625 – Entrepreneurship and Risk: Meeting the Challenges
  • MSEG 630/CHEG 600 – Introduction to Polymer Science and Engineering
  • MSEG 633/833 – Polymer Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory
  • MSEG 635/835 – Principles of Polymer Physics
  • MSEG 660 – Biomaterials and Tissue engineering
  • MSEG 803 – Equilibria in Materials Systems
  • MSEG 804 – Kinetics in Materials Systems
  • MSEG 817 – Composite Materials
  • MSEG/CHEG 823 – TEM in Materials Science
  • MSEG 832 – Principles of Polymerization
  • STAT 609 – Regression and Experimental Design

Courses not on the above Elective list can be substituted with permission of the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director. This list will be updated and provided on the program website annually.

For descriptions of technical electives, please refer to the UD Course Catalog.

BME may waive the requirement for up to 18 credit hours of course work for students entering with a Master’s Degree or credits for graduate course work performed at another recognized graduate school. Waivers will only be granted for courses that cover subjects eligible for credit toward a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Delaware. Requests for a course waiver must be initiated by the student before the beginning of their third semester at UD. Waivers must be approved by the Faculty Advisor and the BME Graduate Director and will be contingent on the student’s demonstration of satisfactory performance in course work taken at UD.

Seminar Series

Biomedical engineering is an emerging and rapidly expanding field where engineering and biological disciplines converge. To keep up to date with the wide variety of research encompassed by this field, students are required to take 3 semesters of the seminar series BMEG 890.

Teaching Aid Requirement

The ability to communicate ideas, concepts, and factual information is an essential skill for all PhD graduates, even those who have no interest in an academic position. In recognition of this, all PhD students are required to fulfill a Teaching Aid Requirement for 1 semester that consists of serving as a Teaching Aid. Note that this is different from the Teaching Assistantships offered as financial aid. While fulfilling this Teaching Aid Requirement, students are expected to continue being actively involved in their research.

The responsibilities of the Teaching Aid Requirement will be defined by the course instructor and should not exceed approximately 10 hours per week. In general, the PhD student should not merely be assigned grading responsibilities. He/she should have an opportunity to plan and deliver lectures, lead discussion sections and lead laboratory exercises. Direct interaction with course students is highly encouraged.

The University requires that all first time Teaching Aids take a 2-day TA teaching conference offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning. International students must also enroll in the winter session of the ELIITA (English Language Institute International Teaching Assistant) program before performing their teaching requirement.

Although the exact timing of these appointments is flexible, it is highly desirable to complete all teaching responsibilities during the 2nd year, although they can be extended to the 3rd year. The BME Graduate Committee assigns these positions in November (for the upcoming spring semester) and in May (for the following fall). Students are encouraged to submit their preferences for specific positions early to facilitate the process. Although every effort will be made to satisfy these requests, students should recognize that this is not always possible.

Qualifying Exam

The Qualifying Exam must be taken in the summer after the first year (and after completion of at least 5 approved courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better). For students with non-fall matriculation or part-time study, the timing of this exam will be set based on course completion and approval by the Graduate Director.

This exam includes a written proposal and an oral presentation of the proposal. The student will have 2 weeks to prepare a 6-page maximum research proposal (on a topic suggested by the advisor) that 1) identifies a research question, 2) formulates testable hypotheses and aims, and 3) describes a study design that addresses these aims. **Note: This proposal is NOT the student’s thesis proposal, although the advisor can select an area within the likely general topic of the eventual thesis. The student will give a 15 min oral presentation to and will be questioned by a small committee of 3 BME faculty members chosen by the BME Graduate Committee. The student will be evaluated on his/her bioscience knowledge, engineering knowledge, written proposal, presentation, and quality of the Q&A. The outcome will be Pass, Conditional Pass, or Fail. With a Conditional Pass, the student must address the specific concerns within a period designated by the committee that cannot be more than 1 year (e.g., take certain courses, revise the proposal in a specific manner). If the Conditional Pass terms are not met or if the student Fails, he/she will be dis-enrolled from the PhD program.

Dissertation Committee

Within 2 years of the Qualifying Exam, the student must establish a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee is selected by the Faculty Advisor and the student, and must have a minimum of 4 members that include the advisor and at least 3 additional faculty. Of these 3 additional faculty, 2 must be BME-affiliated faculty and 1 must be from outside the BME-affiliated faculty and may be from outside the University of Delaware. One must also be from outside the primary research area of the thesis topic. The Graduate Director must approve the committee and chair, and any subsequent changes in committee members.

Candidacy Defense

The Candidacy Defense requires a written proposal outlining the plan of research for the PhD and an oral presentation and defense of this proposal to the Dissertation Committee. The written proposal will follow a NIH R01 format, with a page limit of 15 pages. A curriculum vita, Progress Report Form and a graduate-level transcript should also be included. All materials should be distributed to the Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the oral defense. The defense will include a 30 min presentation by the student, followed by a 60 min Q&A discussion. The student must complete the Candidacy Defense within 2 years of the Qualifying Exam or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.

Dissertation Exam

The Dissertation Exam involves approval of the written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation. The written dissertation must be submitted to his/her Dissertation Committee at least 2 weeks before the defense. The oral presentation will be open to the public and will last about an hour. After questions from the public, a closed Q&A session will follow. The student will be responsible for making corrections to the dissertation document and for meeting all Graduate School deadlines for submission. Student must complete the Dissertation Exam within 5 years of the Qualifying Exam (6 years after matriculation) or must petition the Graduate Director for an extension.