Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Degree Programs 

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

Engineering Undeclared Students

See section on College of Engineering Admission for additional details on Direct-to-College admission and placement process for Engineering Undeclared students.

  1. Deadlines for requesting placement: July 1 and January 15
  2. Courses completed: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155); 5 credits of English composition
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.5 grade in CHEM 162 and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses required for placement
  4. BIOEN 215 strongly recommended

Engineering Undeclared students placed into the major winter quarter should begin the bioengineering core sequence spring quarter, and must complete all courses shown below for Upper Admission (including course requirements and additional course requirements) or wait a full year to begin the core sequence.

If the number of Engineering Undeclared students requesting the major exceeds the department capacity, a matching process is implemented. Factors considered for admission include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.

Other Current UW Students and Transfer Students

Current UW students without Engineering Undeclared status and transfer students may apply for admission. Admission is competitive.

Early Admission (Current UW Students Only)

  1. Admission is for autumn quarter only. Application deadline: July 1
  2. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155); 5 credits of English composition. All courses completed prior to application deadline.
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.5 grade in CHEM 162 and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses required for application
  4. BIOEN 215 strongly recommended

CHEM 223, CHEM 237, PHYS 122, AMATH 301, and BIOL 180 completed prior to spring quarter. MATH 307 and BIOL 200 also strongly recommended before starting major-level bioengineering sequence, which begins spring quarter.

Upper Admission (Current UW Students and Transfer Students)

  1. Admission is for spring quarter only. Application deadline: January 15
  2. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155); PHYS 121; 5 credits English composition. All courses completed prior to application deadline
  3. Additional course requirements: AMATH 301; BIOL 180; CHEM 223 or CHEM 337; PHYS 122 - all completed or in progress at time of application; all completed prior to spring quarter
  4. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.5 grade in CHEM 162; minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses required for application
  5. Strongly recommended: BIOEN 215 completed, and MATH 307 and BIOL 200 completed or in progress at time of application

Factors evaluated for admission include performance in prerequisite courses, quality of overall academic record, demonstrated ability to take at least 12 credits per quarter, record of honors, content of personal statement, applicable work or extracurricular activities, and other special circumstances as disclosed by the applicant.

Admission to Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): By self-selection. Normally occurs winter quarter of the junior year, upon completion of all bioengineering prerequisites and formal admission to the bioengineering major. Students indicate interest on the major application and discuss their interests/background in the 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); (6 credits for the NME option)

Major Requirements (75 credits):

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (4 credits): AMATH 301
  2. Bioengineering Core (37 credits): BIOEN 215, BIOEN 315, BIOEN 316, BIOEN 317, BIOEN 325, BIOEN 326, BIOEN 327, BIOEN 335, BIOEN 336, BIOEN 337, BIOEN 345, BIOEN 400
  3. Bioengineering Capstone (7-10 credits): One of the following options: (1) BIOEN 401 plus 9 credits of BIOEN 402; (2) BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405; students taking BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405 take three additional Engineering Elective credits from a departmentally approved list (see 5, below).
  4. Bioengineering Senior Electives (15 credits): 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.
  5. Approved Engineering Electives (9-12 credits): Chosen from a departmentally approved list or from additional bioengineering senior elective credit. See department for approved list. Students who take BIOEN 402 need 9 approved engineering elective credits, and students who instead take BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405 need 12.
  6. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each bioengineering course applied to the major

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option Requirements (77 credits):

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (4 credits): AMATH 301
  2. Bioengineering Core (37 credits): BIOEN 215, BIOEN 315, BIOEN 316, BIOEN 317, BIOEN 325, BIOEN 326, BIOEN 327, BIOEN 335, BIOEN 336, BIOEN 337, BIOEN 345, BIOEN 400
  3. Bioengineering Capstone (10 credits): BIOEN 401, plus 9 credits of BIOEN 402.
  4. 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 approved departmental list; additional senior elective credits as needed to total 15. The senior capstone (10 credits from BIOEN 401 and BIOEN 402) must be in an NME area.
  5. Approved Engineering Electives: 5 credits
  6. 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 Foege North building. Amenities include instructional laboratories, an advanced computing laboratory for class instruction and student use, a general computer laboratory 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 offers the Master of Science (MS), the Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PHARBE), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.

Master of Science

The master of science 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

International applications, deadline December 1; domestic applications, deadline December 15. Late and/or incomplete applications are not reviewed.

Required application items

  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.

Required courses: 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

36 credits

  1. BIOEN 501, BIOEN 502, BIOEN 503 (12 credits); biostatistics; bioengineering seminar
  2. BIOEN electives: (10 credits)
  3. BIOEN 700
  4. All core and elective courses taken for a numerical grade.
  5. A single course may not count for two separate requirements.
  6. One quarter teaching assistant

Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering

The Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PHARBE) 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. Applicants who have a bachelor's degree other than a BS, professional experience, and who have completed recommended prerequisite coursework are also considered.
  2. 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.
  3. Official GRE scores
  4. One set of official (unopened) transcripts from each non-UW institution attended
  5. 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 requirements.
    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).
  6. 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 is not guaranteed.
  7. Applicants who do not qualify for admission to the PHARBE degree program may be admitted to courses and/or to Pharmaceutical Bioengineering Certificate programs.
  8. English Proficiency: 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

  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 all 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: Professional capstone project in either the drug discovery and design orpProcess development courses.
  5. Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA

Doctor of Philosophy

Trains individuals for careers in bioengineering research and teaching. The program includes 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 may be made directly after the BS An optional dual PhD degree in bioengineering and nanotechnology is available; see www.nano.washington.edu.

Admission Requirements

See application process detailed in the MS section.

While a completed MS degree is not required before beginning the PhD, every graduate student must 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

  1. Required Courses
    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)

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

  2. One quarter teaching assistantship

A student progressing well follows this schedule:

  1. First Year: Complete one to three lab rotations and select a thesis adviser
  2. Second Year: Pass the qualifying examination and form a Supervisory Committee
  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.