Biomedical Science

Major: Biomedical Science
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0 (MS) or 90.0 (PhD)
Co-op Option: Available for full-time, on-campus master's-level students
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 26.0102
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 19-1042

About the Program

The Biomedical Science program at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems applies fundamental biological research, analysis and technology to human health. The program educates students whose undergraduate education is in basic life sciences (e.g., biology) or paramedical disciplines in quantitative data analysis, mathematical modeling, systems analysis and informatics.

For students entering with degrees in physics, mathematics, and/or computer science, the School, in close collaboration with the Department of Biology, provides the coursework needed to acquire proficiency in the life sciences.

Master students can choose to include a 6 months co-op cycle as part of their studies. Students may also choose to enroll in concentrations such as biomedical technology development, biomaterials and tissue engineering, or bioinformatics. They can also specialize in neuroengineering, biomechanics or imaging and devices. Students who graduate with a master's degree from the biomedical science program often continue clinical training in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine; pursue further graduate study toward the PhD degree; or work in industry in such fields as health care, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, etc.

The Biomedical Science program has an articulation with Intensive Medical Sciences (IMS) program at the Drexel College of Medicine, which can be pursued after taking one year of required classes. The IMS program is a rigorous one-year graduate program designed to help students develop strong academic portfolios and become attractive candidates for medical school.

Additional Information

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

Andres Kriete, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
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 (MS)

The core requirements for the master's in biomedical science encompass approximately 45.0 course credits (most courses carry three credits each). Students who choose the non-thesis option cannot register for thesis or research credits. 

The curriculum includes room for specialization in several areas in biomedical engineering, as well as concentrations in biomaterials and tissue engineering, bioinformatics and biomedical technology development.


Four concentrations are available:

  • 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.
  • Bioinformatics
    This specialization emphasized 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, machine learning, stochastic analysis, and biostatistics.
  • Biomedical Technology Development
    This concentration area aims to provide engineers with the comprehensive education and training necessary to succeed in careers in business, industry, non-profit organizations, and government agencies involving biomedical technology development.
  • Pediatric Engineering
    ​This concentration provides a foundation for future scientific and technical careers in pediatric engineering, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
Required Courses
BMES 505Mathematics for Biomedical Sciences I3.0
BMES 506Mathematics for Biomedical Sciences II3.0
BMES 507Mathematics for Biomedical Sciences III3.0
BMES 510Biomedical Statistics4.0
BMES 511Principles of Systems Analysis Applied to Biomedicine I3.0
BMES 512Principles of Systems Analysis Applied to Biomedicine II3.0-4.0
or BMES 543 Quantitative Systems Biology
or BMES 611 Biological Control Systems
BMES 515Experimental Design in Biomedical Research4.0
BMES 538Biomedical Ethics and Law3.0
BMES 546Biocomputational Languages4.0
or BMES 550 Advanced Biocomputational Languages
BMES 864Seminar (Must be taken 3 times)0.0
BMES Electives - Select a minimum of 9.0 credits from the list below9.0-15.0
Cardiovascular Engineering
Entrepreneurship for Biomedical Engineering and Science
Intermediate Biostatistics
Interpretation of Biomedical Data
Introduction to Biosensors
Advanced 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
Machine Learning in Biomedical Applications
Structural Bioinformatics and Drug Design
Genomic and Sequencing Technologies
Biomedical Signal Processing
Medical Device Development
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
Experimental Methods in Neuroengineering
Neural Signals
Principles in Neuroengineering
Neural Aspects of Posture and Locomotion I
Medical Instrumentation
Medical Instrumentation II
Hospital Administration
General Electives in the fields of science, engineering, or medicine including additional BMES classes6.0-12.0
The sum of electives, core credits, and/or thesis credits must total 45.0 credits. Elective choices would depend upon the student's area(s) of focus or concentration but must be within the fields of science, engineering, or medicine. A concentration may substitute for elective credits. A minimum of 15 credits of BMES elective courses are required.
Master's Thesis
Total Credits45.0-67.0

Biomedical Technology Development Concentration (Optional)

Students enrolled in this 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.

BMES 509Entrepreneurship for Biomedical Engineering and Science3.0
BMES 534Design Thinking for Biomedical Engineers3.0
BMES 538Biomedical Ethics and Law3.0
BMES 588Medical Device Development3.0
BMES 596Clinical Practicum3.0
Total Credits15.0

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Concentration (Optional)

This concentration 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

BMES 631Tissue Engineering I4.0
BMES 632Tissue Engineering II4.0
BMES 660Biomaterials I4.0
BMES 661Biomaterials II4.0
BMES 675Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering III4.0
Total Credits20.0

Bioinformatics Concentration (Optional)

This concentration emphasizes a systems engineering approach to provide a foundation in systems biology and pathology informatics. Students are provided students 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.

BMES 543Quantitative Systems Biology4.0
BMES 544Genome Information Engineering4.0
BMES 547Machine Learning in Biomedical Applications3.0
or BMES 549 Genomic and Sequencing Technologies
BMES 551Biomedical Signal Processing3.0
BMES 604Pharmacogenomics3.0
Total Credits17.0

Pediatric Engineering Concentration (Optional)

This concentration aims to train students: 1) to develop a fundamental understanding of childhood injury and disease, healthcare, and treatment, and 2) to apply scientific and engineering concepts, methods, and approaches to address healthcare challenges with direct relevance to pediatric patients.  

BMES 509Entrepreneurship for Biomedical Engineering and Science3.0
BMES 528Pediatric Engineering I3.0
BMES 529Pediatric Engineering II3.0
BMES 538Biomedical Ethics and Law3.0
Total Credits12.0

Sample Plan of Study (MS)

First Year
BMES 5053.0BMES 5063.0BMES 5073.0
BMES 5104.0BMES 5113.0BMES 5383.0
BMES 546 or 5504.0BMES 5154.0BMES 8640.0
BMES 8640.0BMES 8640.0Choose one of the following courses3.0
 11 10 9
Second Year
Elective Courses and/or Research*9.0-12.0Elective Courses and/or Thesis**6.0-9.0 
 9-12 6-9 
Total Credits 45-51

Degree Requirements (PhD)

Students with training in natural science or engineering, as well as individuals with academic or professional degrees in the medical science disciplines will be considered for admission to the doctoral program.

To be awarded the PhD degree, students must complete 90.0 required credits and fulfill a 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 Science, 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 Science at the School of Biomedical Engineering, those courses they took would apply. 

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 Science.

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

Thesis Advisor/Plan of Study

During the first year of the program all Doctoral students are required to identify a Thesis Advisor and complete a plan of study. The student’s Thesis Advisor and the Graduate Advisor will guide the student in developing this plan of study. Each plan of study is individually tailored to the student, and includes a combination of research and course credits most beneficial and complimentary to the student’s chosen thesis topic.

The Candidacy Examination

Doctoral students must successfully pass a candidacy examination, preferably at the end of the first year of their study.

The overall objective of the candidacy examination is to test the student's basic knowledge and preparedness to proceed toward a PhD in Biomedical Science. After a satisfactory performance on the candidacy examination the student is awarded the Doctoral Candidate status. Candidates must submit a Thesis Proposal by the end of the second year and defend it in an oral presentation to a committee of five faculty members.

Thesis Defense

After the student has successfully completed all the necessary research and composed a thesis manuscript, in accordance with the guidelines specified by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, he or she then must formally defend their thesis. A formal thesis defense includes an oral presentation of research accomplishments in front of a committee of faculty members. The thesis defense is open to the general public.

Additional Information

Prospective PhD students are welcome to contact the school to discuss their research interests. For a more detailed description of the PhD requirements, please visit the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems' Biomedical Science website.

For more information, visit the School’s Graduate Programs webpage.

Intensive Medical Sciences Pathway to the MS in Biomedical Science

The School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems collaborates with the Drexel College of Medicine, specifically with the Intensive Medical Sciences program (IMS), to offer a unique pathway to a master's in Biomedical Science degree. Students take one year of studies in the MS Biomedical Science program and another year in the IMS program (described below). This involves completing the core sequence and a thesis or taking a non-thesis option with additional coursework. 

Intensive Medical Sciences Program Curriculum

The IMS curriculum involves a full-time commitment to rigorous coursework with strong academic requirements. Six major medical school equivalent courses are taken over two semesters. These include Medical Biochemistry, Medical Physiology, Medical Microanatomy, Medical Immunology, Medical Neuroanatomy, and Medical Nutrition. The courses are taught by the medical school faculty and students are guided by advisors when completing their medical school applications.

In addition to rigorous science courses, students also take a medical ethics course in the fall semester, followed by a professionalism course in the spring. The campuses are approximately five miles apart, and a University shuttle provides free transportation between the two.

Additionally, course conferences and laboratory components for IMS students are conducted at the Health Sciences Campus where the program is based. The IMS curriculum allows exposure to both medical school lectures and individual attention from medical school professors in small group conferences.

Additional Information

For more information, visit Drexel's College of Medicine's Intensive Medical Sciences program webpage.

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. Optical brain imaging, cognitive neuroengineering, brain computer interface (BCI), functional ner infrared (fNIR), and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).
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
Jamie 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 Research Professor. Cognitive neuroengineering, functional brain imaging, near infrared spectroscopy, medical sensor development, biomedical signal processing, human performance assessment, and cognitive aging
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 Lewin, PhD (University of Denmark, Copenhagen-Lyngby) Richard B. Beard Professor, School Of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems. Professor. Biomedical ultrasonics, piezoelectric and polymer transducers and hydrophones; shock wave sensors.
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. Contribution of mechanical forces to tumor invasion and metastasis, with a particular emphasis on how biomechanical signals may drive the invasive switch, and how the biomechanical microenvironment interacts with cytokine signaling and the extracellular matrix to influence tumor and stromal cell behavior.
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). Associate 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). Associate Professor. Computational and experimental fluid dynamics; cardiovascular modeling, including transient, fluid-structure interaction, and patient-specific anatomical studies; bench-to-bedside development of medical devices; artificial organs research; prediction and quantification of blood trauma and thrombosis in medical devices; design of therapeutic alternatives for patients with dysfunctional single ventricle physiology; human factors engineering of mechanical circulatory assist devices
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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