Biomedical Science PhD

Major: Biomedical Science
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 90.0 
Co-op Option: None
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.

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

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.

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
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 870Graduate Research Talks (must be taken 9 times) *9.0
BMES 897Research51.0
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.

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.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
BMES 5053.0BMES 5063.0BMES 5073.0BMES 8979.0
BMES 5104.0BMES 5113.0BMES 5383.0 
BMES 546 or 5504.0BMES 5154.0BMES 8640.0 
BMES 8640.0BMES 8640.0Choose one of the following3.0 
 11 10 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 8975.0 
 9 9 6 
Total Credits 90

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.