The NIH Bioengineering Consortium defines bioengineering research as follows:
"Bioengineering integrates physical, chemical, or mathematical sciences and engineering principles for the study of biology, medicine, behavior, or health. It advances fundamental concepts, creates knowledge from the molecular to the organ systems levels, and develops innovative biologics, materials, processes, implants, devices, and informatics approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, for patient rehabilitation, and for improving health."
The Bioengineering Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, based in the College of Engineering. Faculty from all five engineering departments as well as from the Department of Biological Sciences. The program is intended to provide an environment for students to undertake advanced studies related to biomedical problems ranging from device design to cell mechanics and tissue engineering.
Bioengineering students undertake unique research projects related to a variety of biomedical problems ranging from cell mechanobiology, to regenerative medicine, to the mechanics of biological materials. Students are guided and encouraged to take leadership roles in their research, so that they are acknowledged leaders in their fields upon graduation. To achieve this, students publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and present at international conferences.
The coursework requirements are intentionally flexible to allow each student, along with faculty mentors, to design a program that matches his or her educational goals and background. Students are encouraged to take graduate coursework from any appropriate department across the colleges of engineering and science at Notre Dame. At least three courses should be from a single engineering discipline, with a primarily engineering science focus. These courses are intended to provide the student with a strong background in a specific field of engineering, which will provide them with the necessary background to apply engineering and mathematics to solve problems related to biomedical science.
The main examinations in the program are research based. In the qualifying examination, students are expected to write a short paper describing their research activities over the first year in residence, and to present and discuss the paper in front of a group of three faculty members. The candidacy examination requires the student to write a complete proposal for their doctoral research in the form of a grant application. The final dissertation defense provides the student with the opportunity to present their research findings and to engage their committee in a detailed discussion of the methods, results, and interpretations of their work.
Bioengineering Ph.D. students undertake a program of research and coursework that prepares them for careers in industry or academic research. The program is research focused, and is intended for individuals who have a desire to pursue biomedical research or to be technology leaders in industry. If you are self-motivated, respond positively to challenges, and are inquisitive, then a Ph.D. may be what you are looking for.
Applicants to the program should have an undergraduate degree in engineering or related field, such as the biological or physical sciences. Students with an undergraduate degree in biology should have at least one year of college level calculus and physics. Students in the physical sciences and mathematics with specific interests in biological systems are similarly welcome to apply. A masters degree is not required, and undergraduates should apply directly to the Ph.D. program.
The GRE general test is required. There is no minimum score, but successful applicants generally score higher than 725 on the mathematics portion of the test. Undergraduate GPA and letters of recommendation play a major role in the selection. All letters should come from faculty members who can judge your academic potential. Applications should be submitted directly to the Graduate School, but applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members directly in order to determine if the program offers research opportunities that are well aligned with your interests.