PhD Program Requirements

Overview of Requirements

The procedures for satisfying the requirements for the PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering include:

  • Successful completion of an approved program of graduate coursework
  • Passing the Preliminary Examination
  • Passing the PhD Qualifying Examination
  • Providing annual updates via the Annual Review Report
  • Fulfilling the Progress Meeting Requirement
  • Defense and approval of the PhD dissertation

PhD Required Coursework

Students completing the PhD program must complete at least four (4) Biomedical Engineering (BE) courses, including required courses: BE 501 Human Biology for Biomedical Engineers (3 credit hours) and BE 502 Quantitative Analysis in Biomedical Engineering (3 credit hours). View Course Descriptions for graduate courses offered within the Biomedical Engineering department.

PhD students must complete a minimum of twelve to thirty (12-30) credit hours of BE 699 Dissertation Research

Remaining credits can be obtained through other graduate courses offered by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, or other relevant programs with department approval.

Summary of PhD Required Coursework








INFORMAL (optional)


If informal credits are not taken, student must take lecture credits















30 Credits 12 Credits (max) 30 Credits (max)  

4 BE courses required = 12 cr.

(Including BE 501
& BE 502)




BE 598 Individual Problems




BE 596 Graduate Internship

BE 699 PhD Dissertation












Contact Information

Biomedical Engineering

332 Bonner Hall
University at Buffalo
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1920
Phone: (716) 645-8500
Fax: (716) 645-2207

Admissions Questions:
Department Email:

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Fall Admission

January 15: Full consideration for funding/fellowships
April 1: International applicants who require a visa
August 1: Domestic applicants

Spring Admission

September 1: International applicants who require a visa
December 15: Domestic applicants

We accept applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.

PhD Advisory Committee

Students pursuing the PhD are guided by a dissertation advisory committee. This committee is arranged to oversee all degree requirements for the student, and has the responsibility of evaluating and approving the student’s program of coursework as well as advising the PhD dissertation. The advisory committee is also responsible for administering the student’s preliminary and qualifying exam. The committee must be composed of a core or affiliated faculty member from the Department who must be a member of the University Graduate Faculty, and at least two additional members who hold the rank of assistant professor or higher in the University Graduate Faculty. Note that Associate Members of the Graduate Faculty may not serve on doctoral committees as one of the three required core committee members, but may serve as additional committee members.

PhD Examination Stages

Each student desiring to be admitted to formal candidacy for the PhD degree will be required to take the two-part examination process conducted by the Department.  

Part I. Preliminary Examination: This exam is the first step along the path to the PhD. The intent of this exam is to evaluate if the student has the ability to formulate a research problem, to state hypotheses or outline design objectives, to propose a research plan using feasible design, experiment and analysis techniques to either test those hypotheses or achieve the design objectives, and to interpret data (if any). It must be completed within 12 months after the student enters the PhD program.

For this exam, the student should prepare a written research plan, give an oral presentation on their research topic followed by an oral exam. Please see more details about Preliminary Examination in the “Information for Current Students” section.

Part II. Qualifying Examination: The Qualifying Exam (QE) is the second step along the path to the PhD. It must be completed within 12 months of completing the Preliminary Exam. The intent of the qualifying exam is to evaluate student’s overall progress and potential for graduate research as well as their ability to develop an organized research, to conduct research with proper planning and to demonstrate their potential to achieve the research goals. A graduate student is officially considered to be a student for the PhD degree only upon successful completion of the departmental PhD qualifying examination.

For this exam, the student should prepare a written research proposal, give an oral presentation on their research topic followed by an oral exam. Please see more details about Qualifying Examination in the “Information for Current Students” section.

BME Seminar Requirement

Biomedical Engineering will offer biweekly seminars seminars in both Fall and Spring semesters. The seminars will be offered by experts in various areas of Biomedical Engineering research. A 1-credit hour seminar course (BE 500) will be offered each semester, and PhD students can take this course three times to replace one 3-credit lecture course. PhD students are not required to register for the seminar course, but all are required to attend a certain number of seminars before graduation.

Students enrolled in the seminar course are expected to maintain a 100% in-person attendance rate. Students who have not registered for the seminar course must ensure a minimum attendance of 50% throughout the entirety of their PhD studies. The department will verify compliance with this requirement prior to the student's graduation.

Policies and Procedures

For Biomedical Engineering specific information, see Information for Current Students.

For guidelines from The Graduate School, please visit the Policies & Procedures section of their website.