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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:

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

Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering

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. The deadline to submit a request for placement in an engineering major occurs annually on July 1.

If the number of Engineering Undeclared students requesting the major exceeds the department capacity for such students, a matching process is implemented. Factors considered 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.

Core courses within the department form a seven-quarter curriculum designed to start spring quarter of the sophomore year. Because the curriculum is cohort-based and all students start and proceed at the same pace, Engineering Undeclared students admitted to Bioengineering after their first year are expected to start the curriculum in spring quarter of their second year.

Engineering Undeclared students in good standing with respect to the continuation criteria described below may request placement into an engineering major after completion of minimum requirements as specified below:

  1. ENGR 101 (1)
  2. English composition
  3. MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136)
  4. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143 or CHEM 145)
  5. PHYS 121
  6. One course from the list on this website. Students are encouraged to choose a course required for graduation in the majors they are considering.
  7. Minimum 2.0 grade in all courses used to satisfy placement requirements
  8. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses used to satisfy placement requirements
  9. Minimum 12 credits as a matriculated UW student. Some departments require more credits. See department websites for details.

Students in good standing who do not meet the placement requirements by July 1 will be placed into a major on a conditional basis pending the completion of all placement requirements and readiness to begin the bioengineering core sequence of courses in the following spring quarter. Additional advising resources will be available to these students. See section on College of Engineering Continuation Policy for Engineering Undeclared Students for additional details.

Current UW Students and Transfer Students

The department follows a cohort model beginning in spring quarter. Transfer students, current UW students without Engineering Undeclared status, and current UW students with Engineering Undeclared status who are eligible to begin the bioengineering core sequence of courses in their first spring quarter may apply. Admission is competitive.

Core courses within the department form a seven-quarter curriculum designed to start in the spring quarter. Because the curriculum is cohort-based and all students start and proceed at the same pace, students admitted to Bioengineering are expected to start the bioengineering curriculum in spring quarter immediately following admission.

  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; or CHEM 143, CHEM 153); PHYS 121; 5 credits English composition. All courses completed prior to application deadline
  3. Additional course requirements: AMATH 301 or CSE 142 and BIOEN 217; BIOL 180; CHEM 223 or CHEM 237; 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 or ENGR 115 completed; and MATH 307 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 declare the NME option with a department adviser.

Admission to Data Science Option (DS): By self-selection. Normally occurs winter quarter of the junior year, upon completion of all bioengineering prerequisites and formal admission to bioengineering major. Students declare the Data Science option with a department adviser.

Graduation Requirements

180 credits

Students follow requirements in effect at time of entry into the department.

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. 3 credits in Diversity (DIV), which can overlap with other areas of knowledge requirements.
  2. Written and Oral Communication (5 credits): 5 credits English composition from 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; minimum 3 credits statistics from the following: STAT 390, IND E 315, STAT 311, or Q SCI 381
  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 or ENGR 115; 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): from designated 400-level and above BIOEN-prefixed courses. Refer to departmental list.
  5. Approved Engineering Electives (9-12 credits): Chosen from a departmentally approved list or from additional bioengineering senior elective credit. Students who take BIOEN 402 need 9 approved engineering elective credits; students who instead take BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405 need 12.
  6. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each BIOEN-prefixed 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 or ENGR 115; 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 15 credits of designated 400-level and above BIOEN-prefixed nano-molecular engineering courses; refer to departmental list. 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

Data Science Option Requirements (82-85 credits):

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (4 credits): AMATH 301
  2. Bioengineering Core (37 credits): BIOEN 215 or ENGR 115; 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 to 10 credits): One of the following options: (1) BIOEN 401 plus 9 credits of BIOEN 402; (2) BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405
  4. Data Science Courses (minimum 23 credits):
    1. Introduction to Data Science: STAT 180/CSE 180/INFO 180, INFO 201, or INFO 370
    2. Programming: CSE 143 or CSE 163
    3. Machine Learning: CSE 416/STAT 416, STAT 435, or INFO 371
    4. Societal Implications of Data Science: SOC 225, B H 201, B H 311, or B H 444
    5. At least one course each in two of the following data science areas (refer to eScience Institute list):
      1. Data Management
      2. Data Visualization and Communication
      3. Data Science in Bioengineering: BIOEN 420, BIOEN 423, BIOEN 424, BIOEN 436, BIOEN 447, BIOEN 449, BIOEN 451, BIOEN 466, BIOEN 485, BIOEN 488, or BIOEN 492
  5. Electives: Data Science courses on approved list of engineering electives may be used to satisfy requirements 5.a. and 5.b., below. See department for approved list and for appropriate course combinations to satisfy minimum major requirements.
    1. Bioengineering Senior Electives: Designated 400-level and above BIOEN-prefixed courses (15 credits)
    2. Approved Engineering Electives: Chosen from departmentally-approved list of additional bioengineering senior elective credits. Students who take BIOEN 402 need 9 approved engineering elective credits, and students who take BIOEN 404 and BIOEN 405 need 12 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.