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Bioengineering

Department Overview

N107 William H. Foege Building

Bioengineering encompasses a wide range of activities in which the disciplines of engineering and biological or medical science intersect. Such multidisciplinary endeavors are yielding new discoveries and major advances that are revolutionizing the healthcare system. The Department of Bioengineering, housed jointly in the School of Medicine and the College of Engineering, provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program of education and research and is recognized as a leading bioengineering program in the world. Major areas of research and education include biomaterials and regenerative medicine, molecular and cellular engineering, technology for expanding access to healthcare, instrumentation, imaging and image-guided therapy, and systems, synthetic, and quantitative biology.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
N107 William H. Foege Building, Box 355061
(206) 685-2000
bioeng@uw.edu
depts.washington.edu/bioe/programs/bachelors/bs.html

The Bioengineering program offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering degree
  • The Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering degree with an option in nanoscience and molecular engineering
  • A five-year BS/MS option (consult website or adviser for details)

Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, and CHEM 162; CSE 142, English composition, MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, PHYS 121.

Department Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive. Students may be admitted at three different points. Consult the department's website for more information.

  1. Direct Admission. The department enrolls up to 35 percent of its incoming class directly from high school. Students accepted to the UW who indicate bioengineering as their preferred major on their freshman application are considered. Strong applicants have completed chemistry, biology, and calculus in high school. Admission is for autumn quarter only.
  2. Early Admission. Students enrolled at the UW are eligible to apply at the end of the freshman year if they have completed and earned at least a 2.50 GPA in the following courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162; and 5 credits of English composition. A 2.50 GPA guarantees consideration but not admission. Application deadline is July 1 for autumn quarter admission.
  3. Upper Admission. Requires 63 credits of coursework with at least a 2.50 GPA: MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162; CHEM 223 or CHEM 237; PHYS 121, PHYS 122; BIOL 180, BIOL 200; AMATH 301; and 5 credits of English composition. Any of BIOL 180, PHYS 122, and AMATH 301 may be in progress at time of application. A 2.50 GPA guarantees consideration but not admission. Application deadline is February 1 for spring quarter. Consult the department's website or adviser for more details.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): Admission to the NME option for bioengineering majors is by self-selection and normally occurs in winter quarter of the junior year, upon completion of all bioengineering prerequisites and formal admission to the BS bioengineering major. Students applying for the NME option should indicate that interest on their bioengineering major application and discuss their interests/background in their application personal statement.

Graduation Requirements

Students follow requirements in effect at time of entry into the department. 180 credits as follows:

General Education Requirements (105 credits):

  1. Areas of Knowledge: 24 total credits in Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA) and Individuals & Societies (I&S), with at least 10 credits in each area.
  2. Written and Oral Communication (5 credits): 5 credits of English composition, from the approved University list. Additional writing credits are built into the major core courses.
  3. Mathematics (24 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; either MATH 307 or AMATH 351; either MATH 308 or AMATH 352; STAT 390 or IND E 315
  4. Natural Science (44 credits): CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 and CHEM 223 (or CHEM 237); PHYS 121, PHYS 122; BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220
  5. General Electives (8 credits)

Major Requirements (72 credits):

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (4 credits): AMATH 301
  2. Bioengineering Core (44 credits): BIOEN 215, BIOEN 315, BIOEN 316, BIOEN 317, BIOEN 325, BIOEN 326, BIOEN 327, BIOEN 335, BIOEN 336, BIOEN 337, BIOEN 345, BIOEN 401; either 10 credits of BIOEN 402, or 4 credits of BIOEN 403 plus BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405.
  3. Bioengineering Senior Electives (15 credits): Fifteen (15) credits from an approved departmental list, including completion of one of three concentration areas: Molecular and Materials Bioengineering: four courses from approved departmental concentration list. Cells, Tissue, and Systems Bioengineering: four courses from approved departmental concentration list. Diagnostics and Therapeutic Instruments: PHYS 123; four courses from approved departmental concentration list. See department for approved list.
  4. Approved Engineering Electives (9 credits): Chosen from a departmentally approved list or from additional bioengineering senior elective credit. See department for approved list.
  5. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each bioengineering course applied to the major

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option Requirements (74 credits):

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (4 credits): AMATH 301
  2. Bioengineering Core (44 credits): BIOEN 215, BIOEN 315, BIOEN 316, BIOEN 317, BIOEN 325, BIOEN 326, BIOEN 327, BIOEN 335, BIOEN 336, BIOEN 337, BIOEN 345, BIOEN 401; either 10 credits of BIOEN 402 or 4 credits of BIOEN 403 plus BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405
  3. Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Courses (21 credits): NME 220, NME 321, NME 421; minimum four additional approved nanoscience and molecular engineering electives, to be chosen from an approved departmental list; additional senior elective credits as needed to total 15. The senior capstone (4-10 credits from BIOEN 402 or BIOEN 403) must be in an NME area.
  4. Approved Engineering Electives: 5 credits
  5. Minimum 2.0 grade in each bioengineering course applied to the major

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Bioengineering students learn to apply engineering synthesis and analysis to biological problems and to glean design principles from nature to solve medical problems and create biomedical devices and materials. A key piece of the degree program is the senior capstone research and design project, through which students develop their knowledge and skills by joining in the department's cutting-edge research. Bioengineering graduates are prepared to enter graduate school, medical school, or the growing biomedical industry. The department's goal is to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in improving human health and healthcare. Bioengineering graduates have the ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering; the ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data; the ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs; the ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams; the ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems; an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility; the ability to communicate effectively; the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context; a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning; knowledge of contemporary issues; the ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice; an understanding of biology and physiology; the capability to apply advanced mathematics (including differential equations and statistics), science, and engineering to solve the problems at the interface of engineering and biology; the ability to make measurements on and interpret data from living systems, addressing the problems associated with the interactions between living and non-living materials and systems.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The department is housed in the newly constructed Foege North building. Amenities include instructional laboratories, an advanced computing lab for class instruction and student use, a general computer lab for student use, a student work room, a seminar room, and meeting space. Departmental offices are also located in this building. Other laboratories are located in the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine. The Department of Bioengineering houses UWEB (University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials), participates in the Center for Nanotechnology, and sponsors many other research centers relating to our five thrust areas in computational bioengineering, distributed diagnosis and home healthcare, engineered biomaterials, medical imaging and image-guided therapy, and molecular bioengineering and nanotechnology.
  • Honors Options Available: College Honors (Completion of both Interdisciplinary Honors and Departmental Honors requirements). Departmental Honors (see adviser for requirements). For Interdisciplinary Honors, see University Honors Program.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Many undergraduate bioengineers are involved in internships. The department participates in the College of Engineering Co-op Program and maintains an internship website for majors.
  • Department Scholarships: Several scholarships are available for majors.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the campus chapter of the national professional organization, organizes social events as well as events that support student interest in medical school, graduate school, and industry.

Of Special Note: Courses on technology commercialization are available to seniors.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
N107 William H. Foege Building, Box 355061
(206) 685-2000
bioeng@uw.edu

The Department of Bioengineering offers programs of study which lead to the Master of Science (MS), the Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PHARBE), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.

Master of Science

The Master of Science degree program provides breadth of knowledge of engineering, biology, and medicine, and depth of knowledge in a particular research area. The degree prepares students for careers in academic, industrial, or hospital environments.

Admission Requirements

All application materials must be received in the appropriate office by the deadline. International applications are due by December 1; domestic applications are due by December 15. Late and/or incomplete applications are not reviewed. Required application items include:

  1. Online application: www.grad.washington.edu/applForAdmiss.
  2. Department of Bioengineering Admission Form
  3. Statement of Purpose
  4. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Unofficial transcripts only (official transcripts are requested once an offer has been made)
  7. Official GRE scores (sent to code 4854, and must be sent before the deadline)
  8. Official TOEFL scores (from international applicants only, and must be received before the deadline)

More information about the application is online at depts.washington.edu/bioe/education/prospective/educ_prospective.html. Materials sent in addition to those listed above are considered non-essential and do not enhance the application.

Applicants are expected to have the following courses as part of their undergraduate education: ordinary differential equations, linear algebra, signal analysis, probability theory and statistics, programming, electrical engineering and physics, chemistry, materials science, rate processes and mathematics, and cell and molecular biology. Admitted students must be knowledgeable of these topics prior to entrance to the MS program.

Degree Requirements

Course requirements for the MS in Bioengineering are detailed below. All core and elective courses must be taken for a numerical grade. Students must complete a one-quarter teaching assistantship. The timing of the teaching assistantship is decided in consultation with the department and the faculty adviser.

Note: A single course may not count for two separate requirements.

36 credits as follows:

  1. Molecular Bioengineering: BIOEN 501
  2. Cellular Bioengineering: BIOEN 502
  3. Systems Bioengineering: BIOEN 503
  4. Biostatistics
  5. Bioengineering seminar: BIOEN 510
  6. Bioengineering elective courses, chosen in consultation with faculty adviser: 10 credits
  7. Master's thesis: BIOEN 700

Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering

The Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PHARBE) program is an evening degree program designed to enable working local engineers, scientists, researchers, and professionals in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and related industries to explore advanced education in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, drug discovery and design, pharmaceutics, and translational pharmaceutics. Professionals may also complete three certificate programs without applying for degree status.

Admission Requirements

  1. BS degree or equivalent in a relevant science (field/research), public health (biomedical related) or engineering (field/research) related, or a BS degree or equivalent in unrelated field and two years' experience working within a scientific or engineering group for a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company or related industry. Clinical degrees are considered.
  2. Applicants who have a bachelor's degree other than a BS, professional experience, and completed recommended prerequisite course work are also considered for admission.
  3. Minimum 3.00 GPA in the last 90 quarter credit hours (60 semester credit hours). Students who have a BA/BS degree with under a 3.00 GPA and have two years' work experience may be approved for graduate non-matriculated (GNM) status for basic biosciences. Students who receive a 3.0 or above in their basic biosciences courses under GNM status are considered for degree admissions.
  4. Official GRE scores
  5. One set of official (unopened) transcripts from each non-UW institution attended
  6. Prerequisite Course Requirements: The following courses must be completed with a minimum 2.0 in each course before applying to the degree program. Students whose undergraduate degree majors are in engineering, biology, chemistry or pharmacy are exempt from the prerequisite course requirement.
    1. Calculus: Minimum one quarter (or one semester) of college calculus
    2. Chemistry: Minimum two quarters (one semester) of college general chemistry Additional course in organic chemistry recommended.
    3. Biology: Minimum one quarter (semester) of general biology
    4. Physics: one quarter (PHYS 114).
  7. Applicants are evaluated on professional experience, previous degrees earned, or most recent/undergraduate GPA, basic biosciences courses GPA (if applicable), letters of recommendation, statement of intent, and GRE test scores. Admission to the program is not guaranteed.
  8. Applicants who do not qualify for admission to the PHARBE degree program may be admitted to courses and/or to Pharmaceutical Bioengineering Certificate programs.
  9. English Proficiency: Students who are non-native English speakers are expected to have adequate English language proficiency. The Graduate School requires a TOEFL score of at least 580, unless applicants are citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom; or hold a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in any of these countries.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 40 credits, with a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA, as follows:

  1. Basic Biosciences Curriculum (20 credits): Molecular and Cellular Biology I, Molecular and Cellular Biology II, Pharmaceutics I , Pharmaceutics II , Statistics and Experimental Design
  2. Advanced Tracks: 16 credits from one of two advanced tracks in translational pharmaceutics or drug discovery and design. Students must complete 20 credits of the basic biosciences core courses before enrolling in advanced track courses.
    1. Translational Pharmaceutics (16 Credits): Preclinical Development , Process Development , Formulation and Delivery , Clinical Development
    2. Drug Discovery and Design (16 Credits): Molecular Biotechnology , Drug Discovery & Design , Molecular Targets & Drug Classes , Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
  3. Departmental Seminar (4 Credits)
  4. Optional Capstone Project: Students have the option of completing a professional capstone project in either the drug discovery and design orpProcess development courses.

Doctor of Philosophy

The objective of the PhD program is to train individuals for careers in bioengineering research and teaching. The program has three major objectives: (1) breadth of knowledge about engineering, biology, medicine, and the interdisciplinary interface between these different fields; (2) depth of knowledge and expertise in a particular scientific specialty; (3) demonstrated independence as a bioengineering researcher. These objectives are fulfilled through a combination of educational and research experiences. The program is rigorous but maintains flexibility to accommodate qualified students from diverse academic backgrounds. Entrance to the PhD program does not require prior completion of the MS degree and may be made directly after the BS An optional dual PhD degree in bioengineering and nanotechnology is available; see www.nano.washington.edu for more information.

Admission Requirements

See the application process detailed in the MS section.

While it is not required to complete an MS degree before beginning the PhD, every graduate student is expected to have the following courses as part of her or his undergraduate education: ordinary differential equations, linear algebra, signal analysis, probability theory and statistics, programming, electrical engineering and physics, chemistry, materials science, processes and mathematics, and cell and molecular biology. Admitted students must be knowledgeable of these topics prior to entrance to the PhD program.

Degree Requirements

90 credits, to include:

Students must complete a one-quarter teaching assistantship. The timing of the teaching assistantship is decided in consultation with the department and the faculty adviser.

All core and elective courses must be taken for a numerical grade. A single course may not count for two separate requirements. Required courses include:

  1. Molecular Bioengineering: BIOEN 501
  2. Cellular Bioengineering: BIOEN 502
  3. Systems Bioengineering: BIOEN 503
  4. Biostatistics
  5. Bioengineering seminar: BIOEN 510
  6. 16 credits of bioengineering elective courses, chosen in consultation with faculty adviser
  7. 27 credits of dissertation writing (BIOEN 800)

Ordinarily, a student progressing well follows this schedule:

  1. First Year: Complete one to three lab rotations and select a thesis adviser no later than the end of spring quarter.
  2. Second Year: Pass the qualifying examination and form a Supervisory Committee by the end of that year.
  3. Third Year: Pass the general examination.
  4. Fourth Year (and subsequent years): Make an annual progress report to, and receive feedback from, the Supervisory Committee.
  5. Fifth Year: Defend the dissertation.

Medical Scientist Program

A Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) exists for the support of individuals interested in coordinated graduate school/medical school study leading to both the MD and PhD degrees. Students entering this highly competitive program are given an opportunity to pursue a flexible, combined course of study and research. Early inquiry is essential for this option. Contact the MSTP office at (206) 685-0762.

Research Facilities

As the department is established within the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine, bioengineering students have access to all engineering and health science departments and facilities. A wide range of technologies and virtually all aspects of biomedical research tools are available.

Financial Support

Financial support is available to qualified graduate students in the form of traineeships, fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships. Funding is derived from federal research and training programs, the Graduate School Fund for Excellence and Innovation, and programs sponsored by private agencies. Questions regarding financial support may be directed to the adviser.