Biomedical Engineering PhD

Major: Biomedical Engineering
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 90.0 
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.0501
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 17-2031

About the Program

The curriculum develops graduates who can identify and address unmet clinical, diagnostic, and healthcare needs by using their knowledge of modern theories, engineering systems, and mathematical and engineering tools. Biomedical engineers require the analytical tools and broad knowledge of modern engineering and science, fundamental understanding of the biological or physiological system, and familiarity with recent technological breakthroughs.

Additional Information

Natalia Broz
Associate Director for Graduate Programs
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Carolyn Riley
Associate Director of Professional Programs

Andres Kriete, PhD
Associate Director for Graduate Studies
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

For more information, visit the the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems website.

Degree Requirements

To be awarded the PhD degree, students must complete 90.0 required credits and fulfill the one-year residency requirement.

The following milestones have to be satisfied during the course of the program:

  • Students must successfully pass the candidacy examination.
  • Students must submit a PhD dissertation proposal and successfully defend it.
  • Students must write a dissertation and successfully pass final oral defense.

Post-Baccalaureate Requirements and Post-Master's Requirements

Both post-baccalaureate and post-master's students are admitted into the doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering but have slightly differing sets of requirements.

For post-master’s students, 45.0 of the credits that they earned toward their master’s degree may be applied toward the PhD. If coming from the master’s program in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, those courses they took would apply. For non-Drexel students who have completed their master’s elsewhere, there may be exceptions made. If these students believe that they have covered the material of the required courses in another program, they must show evidence of such material and obtain a formal waiver of this requirement from the graduate advisor.

For post-baccalaureate students, students must complete a minimum of 90.0 credits and a research thesis. These 90.0 credits include the core courses required by Drexel’s MS in Biomedical Engineering.

Core Courses
BMES 501Medical Sciences I3.0
BMES 502Medical Sciences II3.0
BMES 864Seminar0.0
BMES 870Graduate Research Talks (must be taken 9 times) *9.0
Modeling-Intensive Courses: Select two6.0
Biological Control Systems
Transport Phenomena in Living Systems I
Biosimulation I
Biosimulation II
Mathematical Modeling of Cellular Behavior
Biocomputational Modeling and Simulation
Neural Signals
Additional Courses **
BMES 510Biomedical Statistics4.0
BMES 538Biomedical Ethics and Law3.0
BMES 546Biocomputational Languages4.0
or BMES 550 Advanced Biocomputational Languages
BMES Electives10.0
Medical Sciences III
Cardiovascular Engineering
Entrepreneurship for Biomedical Engineering and Science
Experimental Design in Biomedical Research
Intermediate Biostatistics
Interpretation of Biomedical Data
Introduction to Biosensors
Pediatric Engineering I
Pediatric Engineering II
Chronobioengineering I
Chronobioengineering II
Design Thinking for Biomedical Engineers
Introduction to Product Design for Biomedical Engineers
Nano and Molecular Mechanics of Biological Materials
Quantitative Systems Biology
Genome Information Engineering
Structural Bioinformatics and Drug Design
Genomic and Sequencing Technologies
Biomedical Signal Processing
Medical Device Development
Biological Control Systems
Medical Imaging Systems I
Medical Imaging Systems II
Medical Imaging Systems III
Tissue Engineering I
Tissue Engineering II
Biomedical Mechanics I
Biomedical Mechanics II
Transport Phenomena in Living Systems I
Biomaterials I
Biomaterials II
Biosimulation I
Biosimulation II
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering III
Mathematical Modeling of Cellular Behavior
Biocomputational Modeling and Simulation
Experimental Methods in Neuroengineering
Neural Signals
Principles in Neuroengineering
Neural Aspects of Posture and Locomotion I
Neural Networks
Medical Instrumentation
Medical Instrumentation II
Hospital Administration
BMES 897Research48.0
Total Credits90.0

PHD students in the 2nd through 4th years are required to enroll in BMES 870 for the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters (thus taking the course 9 times). Students with extenuating circumstances (e.g., study or research abroad, leave of absence) may petition the graduate advisor to waive the requirement for a given term.


In addition to the required courses, post-baccalaureate PhD students must take at least 21.0 more credits in courses approved by their academic advisor. The balance may be taken as research and/or thesis/dissertation credits.

For post-master's students, 45.0 of the credits that they earned toward their Master's degree may be applied toward the PhD. If coming from the Master's program in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, those courses they took would apply. For non-Drexel students who have completed their master's elsewhere, there may be exceptions made. If these students believe that they have covered the material of the required courses in another program, they must show evidence of such material and obtain a formal waiver of this requirement from the Graduate Advisor.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
BMES 5013.0BMES 5023.0BMES 5383.0BMES 8975.0
BMES 5104.0BMES 8640.0BMES 8640.0BMES Elective4.0
BMES 546 or 5504.0Modeling-Intensive Course3.0Modeling-Intensive Course3.0 
BMES 8640.0BMES Elective3.0BMES Elective3.0 
 11 9 9 9
Second Year
BMES 8701.0BMES 8701.0BMES 8701.0VACATION
BMES 8978.0BMES 8978.0BMES 8978.0 
 9 9 9 0
Third Year
BMES 8701.0BMES 8701.0BMES 8701.0 
BMES 8978.0BMES 8978.0BMES 8976.0 
 9 9 7 
Total Credits 90

Areas of Specialization

Areas of specialization can be pursued within the Biomedical Engineering graduate program. Students can plan their own focus area that will give them strength in a particular sub-discipline. Alternatively, the student can specialize by conducting research and writing a thesis.

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Biomaterials and tissue engineering is designed to provide students with advanced training in cellular and molecular biology relevant to tissue engineering and behavior of materials used in biomedical applications.

Biomedical Technology Development
Students pursuing the concentration will develop an understanding of critical regulatory, economic, and legal issues in addition to the project management skills that facilitate the development of new medical devices and positive working relationships with intellectual property lawyers, insurance companies, and the federal government. (This is a formal concentration with specific course requirements.)

Bioinformatics emphasizes a systems engineering approach to provide a foundation in systems biology and pathology informatics. Students are provided with hands-on experience in the application of genomic, proteomic, and other large-scale information to biomedical engineering as well as experience in advanced computational methods used in systems biology: pathway and circuitry, feedback and control, cellular automata, sets of partial differential equations, stochastic analysis, and biostatistics.

Biomechanics and Human Performance Engineering
Biomechanics and human performance engineering is designed to meet two objectives: to acquaint students with the responses of biological tissues to mechanical loads as well as with the mechanical properties of living systems, and to provide students with the background and skills needed to create work and living environments which improve human health and enhance performance. Biomechanics and human performance also involves the study of orthopedic appliances and the broader aspect of rehabilitation engineering and the management of disability.

Biomedical Systems and Imaging
Biomedical systems and imaging focuses on the theoretical and practical issues related to machine vision, image processing and analysis, and signal processing associated with such medical applications as well biomedical instrumentation and product development.

Neuroengineering is broadly defined to include the modeling of neural and endocrine systems, neural networks, complexity in physiological systems, evolutionary influences in biological control systems, neurocontrol, neurorobotics, and neuroprosthetics.

Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems Faculty

Fred D. Allen, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. . Teaching Professor. Tissue engineering, cell engineering, orthopedics, bone remodeling, wound healing, mechanotransduction, signal transduction, adhesion, migration.
Hasan Ayaz, PhD (Drexel University) School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. Associate Professor. Neuroergonomics for Brain Health and Performance, Functional Neuroimaging, Biomedical Signal Processing, Biomedical Optics, Cognitive Neuroengineering, Brain Computer Interfaces, Neurotechnology, Clinical Neuroergonomics, Systems and Applied Neuroscience, Functional Near Infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), Electroencephalogram (EEG), Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), Mobile Brain/Body Imaging (MoBI)
Sriram Balasubramanian, PhD (Wayne State University). Assistant Professor. Structural characteristics of the pediatric thoracic cage using CT scans and developing an age-equivalent animal model for pediatric long bones.
Kenneth A. Barbee, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean for Research. Professor. Cellular biomechanics of neural and vascular injury, mechanotransduction in the cardiovascular system, mechanical control of growth and development for wound healing and tissue engineering.
Paul Brandt-Rauf, MD, DrPH (Columbia University) Dean. Distinguished University Professor. Environmental health, particularly the molecular biology and molecular epidemiology of environmental carcinogenesis, and protein engineering for the development of novel peptide therapies for the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Donald Buerk, PhD (Northwestern University). Research Professor. Biotechnology, physiology, systems biology, blood flow, microcirculation, nitric oxide, oxygen transport
Jaimie Dougherty, PhD (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Brain-computer interface, neural encoding, electrophysiological signal acquisition and processing.
Lin Han, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Associate Professor. Nanoscale structure-property relationships of biological materials, genetic and molecular origins soft joint tissue diseases, biomaterials under extreme conditions, coupling between stimulus-responsiveness and geometry.
Kurtulus Izzetoglu, PhD (Drexel University). Associate Professor. Biomedical optics, biomedical signal processing, medical sensor design, functional brain imaging, cognitive neuro engineering, cognitive performance, anesthesia monitoring, brain injury models and assessment.
Andres Kriete, PhD (University in Bremen Germany) Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Teaching Professor. Systems biology, bioimaging, control theory, biology of aging.
Steven Kurtz, PhD (Cornell University). Part-time Research Professor. Computational biomechanics of bone-implant systems and impact-related injuries, orthopaedic biomechanics, contact mechanics, orthopaedic biomaterials, large-deformation mechanical behavior and wear of polymers, and degradation and crosslinking of polyolefins in implant applications.
Peter A. Lewin, PhD (University of Denmark, Copenhagen-Lyngby) Richard B. Beard Professor. Distinguished University Professor. Biomedical ultrasonics, piezoelectric and polymer transducers and hydrophones; shock wave sensors., power ultrasonics, ultrasonic metrology, tissue characterization using nonlinear acoustics, biological effects of ultrasound (chronic wound healing and noninvasive drug delivery), applications of shock waves in medicine and image reconstruction and processing.
Hualou Liang, PhD (Chinese Academy of Sciences). Professor. Neuroengineering, neuroinformatics, cognitive and computational neuroscience, neural data analysis and computational modeling, biomedical signal processing.
Donald L. McEachron, PhD (University of California at San Diego) Coordinator, Academic Assessment and Improvement. Teaching Professor. Animal behavior, autoradiography, biological rhythms, cerebral metabolism, evolutionary theory, image processing, neuroendocrinology.
Banu Onaral, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) H.H. Sun Professor; Senior Advisor to the President, Global Partnerships. Professor. Biomedical signal processing; complexity and scaling in biomedical signals and systems.
Kambiz Pourrezaei, PhD (Rensselaer Polytechnic University). Professor. Thin film technology; nanotechnology; near infrared imaging; power electronics.
Christopher Rodell, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Professor. Biomaterials, supramolecular chemistry, and drug delivery. Therapeutic applications including the etiology of disease, organ injury, cardiovascular engineering, immune engineering, and biomedical imaging.
Ahmet Sacan, PhD (Middle East Technical University). Associate Teaching Professor. Indexing and data mining in biological databases; protein sequence and structure; similarity search; protein structure modeling; protein-protein interaction; automated cell tracking.
Joseph J. Sarver, PhD (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. Neuromuscular adaptation to changes in the myo-mechanical environment.
Mark E. Schafer, PhD (Drexel University). Research Professor. Diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical ultrasound.
Patricia A. Shewokis, PhD (University of Georgia). Professor. Roles of cognition and motor function during motor skill learning; role of information feedback frequency on the memory of motor skills, noninvasive neural imaging techniques of functional near infrared spectroscopy(fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) and methodology and research design.
Adrian C. Shieh, PhD (Rice University). Associate Teaching Professor. Mechanobiology, mechanotransduction, tumor microenvironment, cell and tissue biomechanics.
Wan Y. Shih, PhD (Ohio State University). Professor. Piezoelectric microcantilever biosensors development, piezoelectric finger development, quantum dots development, tissue elasticity imaging, piezoelectric microcantilever force probes.
Kara Spiller, PhD (Drexel University). Professor. Macrophage-biometerial interactions, drug delivery systems, and chronic would healing. Cell-biomaterial interactions, biomaterial design, and international engineering education.
Marek Swoboda, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Cardiovascular engineering, cardiovascular system, diagnostic devices in cardiology, piezoelectric biosensors, and pathogen detection.
Amy Throckmorton, PhD (University of Virginia). Professor. Computational and experimental fluid dynamics; cardiovascular modeling, including steady, transient, fluid-structure interaction, lumped parameter, microelectromechanical systems, and patient-specific anatomical studies; artificial organs research; and engineering.
Bhandawat Vikas, PhD (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine). Associate Professor. Sensorimotor integration, whole-cell patch clamp and imaging in behaving animals, optogenetics, neuromechanics, locomotion.
Margaret Wheatley, PhD (University of Toronto) John M. Reid Professor. Ultrasound contrast agent development (tumor targeting and triggered drug delivery), controlled release technology (bioactive compounds), microencapsulated allografts (ex vivo gene therapy) for spinal cord repair.
Ming Xiao, PhD (Baylor University). Associate Professor. Nanotechnology, single molecule detection, single molecule fluorescent imaging, genomics, genetics, genome mapping, DNA sequencing, DNA biochemistry, and biophysics.
Yinghui Zhong, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Spinal cord repair, and engineering neural prosthesis/brain interface using biomaterials, drug delivery, and stem cell therapy.
Leonid Zubkov, PhD, DSc (St. Petersburg State University, Russia). Research Professor. Physiology, wound healing, physiologic neovascularization, near-infrared spectroscopy, optical tomography, histological techniques, computer-assisted diagnosis, infrared spectrophotometry, physiologic monitoring, experimental diabetes mellitus, penetrating wounds, diabetes complications, skin, animal models, radiation scattering, failure analysis
Catherin von Reyn, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Professor. Cell type-specific genetic engineering, whole-cell patch clamp in behaving animals, modeling, and detailed behavioral analysis to identify and characterize sensorimotor circuits.

Emeritus Faculty

Dov Jaron, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Calhoun Distinguished Professor of Engineering in Medicine. Professor Emeritus. Mathematical, computer and electromechanical simulations of the cardiovascular system.
Rahamim Seliktar, PhD (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow). Professor Emeritus. Limb prostheses, biomechanics of human motion, orthopedic biomechanics.
Hun H. Sun, PhD (Cornell University). Professor Emeritus. Biological control systems, physiological modeling, systems analysis.
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