Curriculum and Policies

Overview  ||  Core and Elective courses  ||  Seminars  ||  Academic standing and review procedures

Curriculum overview

The field of Biomedical Engineering is rapidly evolving to include, in addition to the established disciplines such as solid biomechanics, cardiovascular and fluid biomechanics, biomaterials, bioinstrumentation, and biomedical imaging, the more recently developed fields of tissue and cellular engineering, computational biology, bioinformatics, and cellular systems modeling. The graduate curriculum in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa has been designed to foster continued development in the established biomedical engineering disciplines, and to embrace newly emerging applications of engineering approaches to problems of broad interest in the life sciences. To accomplish these goals, a course of study that is individually tailored to a student's research interest is developed through close interaction between the student and their Examining Committee.

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Core Coursework (required for all MS and PhD students)

All MS and PhD students must successfully complete the Graduate Core Courses as part of their graduate curriculum. Students are expected to complete the Graduate Core Courses during their first year of study.

  • Human Physiology, HHP:3500
  • Mathematical Methods in Engineering, ME:5113 or equivalent 3000-level Mathematics course (e.g., MATH:3xxx excluding History of Math or Philosophy of Math)
  • Engineering Ethics, ENGR:7270

Engineering Coursework Requirement

  • All MS and PhD students must complete 18 semester hours at 5000-level or above from the College of Engineering or courses from the approved elective list1,2.  This requirement must be satisfied by the end of the student's studies.

1 BS/MS fast track students may include courses taken during year 4 and/or year 5
2 MSTP students will have a reduced requirement of 12 credit hours of 5000-level or above courses from the College of Engineering

Depending upon a student’s performance in these Graduate Core Courses and the nature of their research project, the student’s examining committee may specify additional course work to be completed to satisfy the Graduate Core Coursework requirement.

Graduate Core Courses may be substituted by other equivalent courses at the discretion of the student’s Examining Committee. Equivalent coursework taken as part of either student’s’ undergraduate or graduate studies prior to starting the BME graduate programs at the University of Iowa may satisfy one or more of the Graduate Core Coursework requirements. Students wishing to request a substitution or a waiver of a Graduate Core course (only Human Physiology) must submit a Core Course substitution or waiver form. Relevant forms may be obtained from the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Approved Electives

The following list includes the 3000 and 4000-level College of Engineering courses have been pre-approved to count towards BME graduate course requirements.  5000-level and above courses offered in the College of Engineering are automatically approved for graduate credit (with the exception of non-BME seminar courses).  If you are interested a College of Engineering course not included on this list please consult with the BME Graduate Coordinator or Director of Graduate Studies prior to enrolling. 

BME:4310 Computational Biochemistry ME:3179 Continuum Mechanics
CBE:4156 Scan Electrn Microscopy & Xray Microanaly ME:4080 Experimental Engineering
CEE:4511 Numerical Calculations ME:4110 Computer-Aided Engineering
CEE:4410 Interdisciplinary Scientific Visualization ME:4111 Scientific Computing & Machine Learning
CEE:4187 Statistics for Experimenters ME:4112 Engineering Design Optimization 
ECE:3330 Introduction to Software Design ME:4115 Finite Element I
ECE:4480 Knowledge Discovery ME:4117 Finite Element Analysis
IE:3400 Human Factors ME:4140 Modern Robotics & Automation
IE:3450 Ergonomics ME:4150 Artificial Intelligence in Engineering 
IE:4172 Big Data Analytics ME:4650 Mechatronics Engr Smart Device Design


3000-level and above courses offered outside of the College of Engineering (ACB, BIOS, CS, CPH, HHP, MATH, etc.) will count towards graduate credit requirements provided that the course pertains to your research expertise.  Please consult with your academic and research advisors prior to enrolling in your electives.

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Attendance and participation at seminars is an important part of graduate education. All Biomedical Engineering graduate students are required to attend the weekly BME Graduate Seminar, BME:5010:0001. In the case of a course schedule conflict, a student may request to be excused from attending the seminar.

In these cases the student would still register for seminar, but would choose section two (BME:5010:0002) and submit a Graduate Seminar waiver form (download from the BME graduate program Forms and Documents page) no later than the last day for graduate students to late register or add courses. Even if the petition to waive/substitute the seminar is approved, the student should still register for the BME Graduate Seminar section two.

All PhD students in their final year are encouraged to present their thesis research in the BME Graduate Seminar. Communicate with the seminar instructor.

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Academic Standing, Probation, Dismissal and Review Procedures

A student in the M.S. program shall be placed on probation if, after completing nine (9) semester hours of graduate work, his/her cumulative grade point average on graduate work done at The University of Iowa falls below 2.75, per Graduate College policy. The corresponding minimum requirement on cumulative course work taken in the Ph.D. program is 3.00. If a student is not removed from probation after one semester he/she may be denied permission to re-register. Students may also be denied re-registration or be dismissed directly for less than full professional conduct. The student is also subject to the more general provisions of the University's current "Policies and Regulations Affecting Students" document, a copy of which is provided to students at registration. Should a student feel his/her dismissal is unfair the student may seek departmental faculty review of the dismissal. The procedure for academic dismissal is described in the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

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Feedback Form

We welcome any comments, suggestions, or concerns about our graduate program.  All feedback is anonymous.