VCU Bulletins

Biomedical Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Graduate program director
Jennifer S. Wayne, Ph.D.
Professor and associate chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
(804) 828-2595

Additional contact
Gerald E. Miller, Ph.D.
Professor and chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
(804) 828-7263

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Biomedical Engineering, Master of Science (M.S.)
Medicine, Doctor of (M.D.)/Biomedical Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) [combined]

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Biomedical Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Semester(s) of entry:
Fall (preferred)


Jun 1 (Feb 15 for financial assistance)
Nov 15
Test requirements:
GRE – General

International students require TOEFL
Special requirements:
Acceptance of an applicant is based upon the recommendation of the admissions committee with approval of the department chair and the associate dean for graduate studies.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, biomedical engineering has the following admission criteria for all entering graduate students:

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.0 during the previous 60 credit hours (for applicants with a B.S.)
  2. Minimum GRE score of 300 (combined verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning) including a minimum 148 on the quantitative reasoning
  3. Minimum TOEFL score of 101 Internet-based for students whose first or native language is not English

Biomedical engineering will accept a maximum of six credit hours for transfer into either the M.S. or Ph.D. program if the original grades for such courses are B or higher (or equivalent).

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program mission

The mission of the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering is to educate biomedical engineering students to be significant contributors in health care and in research and development in biomedicine and bioengineering. The curriculum closely links technical fundamentals in science, engineering and the life sciences, together with the ability to function on multidisciplinary teams, to communicate effectively and to achieve the knowledge tools necessary for lifelong learning.

The purpose of the program is to:

  1. Provide students with a graduate education that prepares them for current and future challenges in biomedical engineering
  2. Produce graduates who possess the necessary advanced analytical and technical skills in engineering and sciences — responds directly to the higher goals of fulfilling the needs of industry for effective, productive engineers and of providing economic development for the region, state and nation
  3. Produce graduates who possess a facility with both written and oral communications — emanates from the requirement that engineers must be able to interact and share ideas with others in the work environment, and at a higher level, be capable of creative self-expression and leadership
  4. Produce graduates who demonstrate creativity and innovation in solving technological problems — stems from the realization that new knowledge and new solutions to existing problems are necessary to meet the needs of our changing society and to advance the quality of human life

Graduates possess the ability to formulate, analyze and solve problems, analytically and/or experimentally, in the biomedical engineering industry, in the clinical setting or in biomedical research. The career paths of BME graduates in these arenas would be enhanced as a result of these skills. Graduates can work effectively in teams to solve biomedical and/or clinical problems including the interconnection of engineering and clinical personnel toward the solution of problems of compelling clinical and biomedical interest and need, with particular reference to the biomedical engineering industry, in the clinical setting or in biomedical research. The career paths of BME graduates in these arenas would be enhanced as a result of these skills.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Fundamentals in math and science: Graduates can analyze and solve problems in the foundation areas of mathematics, the sciences and statistics.
  2. Fundamentals in engineering: Graduates can analyze and solve problems in the foundation engineering areas of instrumentation, signal processing, mechanics and materials.
  3. Fundamentals in life science: Graduates can analyze and solve problems in the life sciences, including physiology, and understand the relationship between the life sciences, mathematics and engineering.
  4. Experimental skills: Graduates can formulate lab experiments, collect and analyze data from physical and simulated systems to solve technical problems, and conduct physiology and life science laboratory experiments to integrate engineering and physiology.
  5. Design and analysis: Graduates can design and implement an optimized solution to meet a set of specifications and constraints; graduates can design systems used in biomedical applications which involve the interconnection between engineering and the life sciences; graduates can analyze biomedical problems and develop solutions which are originally open-ended.
  6. Innovation and creativity: Graduates can examine technological challenges in biomedical and health-related topics in new ways and develop innovative solutions.
  7. Communication skills: Graduates can organize and write well-organized and accurate theses/dissertations/technical reports, including appropriate citations; graduates can deliver oral presentations to peers and supervisors using the latest presentation technologies.
  8. Lifelong learning and multidisciplinary teams: Graduates can understand the need for and have an appreciation of multidisciplinary teams in biomedical engineering and related fields; graduates have a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, lifelong learning; graduates have an understanding of the knowledge tools necessary to achieve lifelong learning and career development.

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must meet the following requirements:

The Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering program is nominally a three-year program. Prior evidence of completion of physiology and/or statistics may result in a waiver of the requirements for these courses as determined by the graduate program director and/or the department chair. These credit hours would be replaced by other graduate-level didactic course work reflective of the field of study. A period of residence of at least three consecutive terms is required. Residency is defined as registration for at least nine credit hours per term. A time limit of eight calendar years, beginning at the time of first registration, is placed on work to be credited toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

At the conclusion of the first year of doctoral study (or when the core course requirements have been satisfied), each doctoral student must successfully complete written and oral portions of a comprehensive examination. This examination is designed to test the student on fundamental knowledge in engineering as evidenced by the core (and related elective) courses within the curriculum. Upon completion of this examination, a doctoral student is permitted to initiate a doctoral research project and to complete additional course work consisting of biomedical engineering, clinical and science electives.

Upon completion of all course work and the intended research, a doctoral student must prepare a dissertation describing the completed research. A dissertation defense, under the direction of the advisory committee, will be scheduled to examine the student’s research, dissertation documentation and underlying fundamental knowledge needed to complete the research. Upon successful completion of the defense and dissertation, the doctoral student may apply for graduation from Virginia Commonwealth University with the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
Required biomedical engineering courses 12
EGRB 507 Biomedical Electronics and Instrumentation 3
EGRB 511 Fundamentals of Biomechanics 3
EGRB 603 Biomedical Signal Processing 3
EGRB 613 Biomaterials 3
Required courses in other departments 8
Physiology and statistics (PHIS 501; BIOS or STAT at 500 level or above)  
Minimum elective courses 15
(e.g. EGRB, EGRM, ENGR, PHYS, MATH, BIOL, PHIS, BIOC at 500 level or above)  
Research 37
EGRB 690 Biomedical Engineering Research Seminar 4
EGRB 697 Directed Research in Biomedical Engineering 33
(required at a level to be determined by each student’s graduate advisory committee)  
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 72

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

Other information

Student handbook is available on the School of Engineering website.



Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us:

Last update: 12/18/2014

Created by VCU University Relations

The VCU Bulletin is in transition! As we move from this first iteration of our online Bulletin to a new product and process, what you find on this website is information for the 2014-15 academic year.

While much of the curricular information remains the same, changes that were approved with the effective date of fall 2015 will not be reflected on this website. Prospective students may wish to contact the school or department that administers their program of interest in order to discuss the most current curriculum and concentration options.

Enrolled students who are completing their studies under an effective Bulletin may continue to access the archives at, where past Bulletins are available to reference or download.

Our anticipated launch of the new VCU Bulletin is July 2015. To follow our progress, visit the new Bulletin blog.