Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering


The interdisciplinary master's degree program in biomedical engineering combines core coursework with focused areas of proficiency that allow students more in-depth exposure to areas of particular interest. The program's introductory course is team-taught by biomedical engineering faculty from a range of disciplines, and outside lecturers are invited to give students a broad exposure to the field.

You can choose from two degree options:

  • Plan A: Requires core and specialized coursework and a thesis on an area of interest in biomedical engineering.
  • Plan B: The coursework-only option requires additional coursework credits in lieu of a thesis. Students choosing this option will not be eligible for graduate assistantships.

Both programs require students to complete core coursework as well as classes in three focal areas.

View the Biomedical Engineering graduate program handbook.

Areas of proficiency

One of the strengths of our program is the wide range of specializations students can choose from. Students must choose three areas of proficiency from the list below, with at least one coming from the area of life and medical sciences and one from engineering and physical sciences.  Proficiency will be assessed based on coursework (typically two semesters at the graduate level) and a comprehensive exam.

Your advisory committee must approve your areas of proficiency to ensure combinations of coursework that provide an optimum background for your sub-specialty and support your proposed research interests. Possible areas are listed below:

Engineering and physical sciences

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Materials engineering
  • Solid mechanics
  • Heat transfer & thermodynamics
  • Dynamics & vibrations
  • Communications & signal processing
  • Computers
  • Control systems
  • Electronics
  • Fields & waves

Life and medical sciences

  • Anatomy (structural biology)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell & molecular biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology

Advisory Committee

Your advisory committee plays a key role in guiding you through your graduate degree in biomedical engineering.

First-year advising

Entering graduate students will be advised by the Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Committee until a formal student committee has been established. First-year students will meet with the Curriculum Committee to determine initial coursework. Courses may be added to address gaps in your undergraduate preparation or waived for students who have completed some graduate training.

Graduate student committees

Sometime during your first semester of coursework, you should establish your advisory committee. Each committee should have at least four members on it: three from within the biomedical engineering faculty and one from outside the program.

Within biomedical engineering, each student will select a primary mentor, who is primarily responsible for directing your progress. A secondary mentor must also be selected with a background specialty that complements that of your primary mentor. For example, if your primary mentor has a background in Engineering and Physical Sciences, your secondary mentor should have a background in Life and Medical Sciences or vice versa.

In addition, we recommend that at least one member of each committee have a formal background in biomedical engineering. The Biomedical Engineering Program Director may waive this requirement if the proposed committee members adequately represent the broad field of biomedical engineering. The director must approve all student advisory committees.


Applicants should identify a general area of research interest prior to submitting an application. The admissions committee considers areas of common interest among students and biomedical engineering faculty during the admissions process. You are encouraged to contact individual biomedical engineering faculty members, faculty members throughout the campus or email the BME office to discuss research interests.

Applicants to the master's degree program should have a strong undergraduate background in math and science. In general, we recommend applicants meet the following requirements:

Academic preparation

  • 2 semesters of biology or physiology
  • 2 semesters of physics or biophysics
  • 2 semesters of chemistry or biochemistry
  • Calculus (including differential equations)
  • Proficiency in at least one computer programming language

Admissions standards

  • GPA of 3.0
  • Combined (verbal + quantitative) GRE scores of 301+
  • Quantitative GRE scores of 156 (720 in old system)
  • Analytical GRE scores of 4/6 (3.5 in old system)
  • TOEFL scores of 550 (required for international students only)

How to Apply


Contact Dr. Bahram Parvin
Director, Biomedical Engineering
University of Nevada, Reno
Mail Stop 260
Reno, NV 89557-0260
(775) 784-6927

Applicants to the biomedical engineering degree program should apply through The Graduate School website. The graduate school application requires the following:

  1. Three letters of recommendation. 
  2. Official college transcripts
  3. Copy of your GRE scores
  4. Copy of TOEFL scores, for international students
  5. Statement of purpose

In addition, the biomedical engineering program requires an additional page to be submitted with the application that contains the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Are you interested in continuing on to a doctorate in the program?
  3. Brief description of research plans you have discussed with faculty members identified in your Graduate School application
  4. The BME program does not restrict entry to the fall or spring terms. Often students can begin their program by performing a research rotation almost any time of the year. Please identify a general start date (which can also be the beginning of the fall or spring term, as described in the Graduate School application).
  5. Brief paragraph describing your career goals in the area of biomedical engineering
  6. Sentence describing how you learned about our program

Application deadlines

Applications must be submitted by the following deadlines for full consideration.

  • Fall semester: February 1
  • Spring semester: November 1

Financial support

Master's degree students pursuing Plan A, the thesis option, are eligible to apply for department assistantships. Assistantships include tuition and fees as well as a stipend for living expenses.

  • Teaching assistantships are very limited and highly competitive. International students typically need to complete at least one semester in the program before being considered for teaching assistantships.
  • Research assistantships are offered by individual faculty. Prospective students are encouraged to contact faculty directly to inquire about research opportunities.

No student can be considered for any form of financial support until after being admitted into the program.

Housing Options

The University offers on-campus housing for graduate students. Visit the graduate housing website to learn more about living at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Electrical and Biomedical Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6927
Fax (775) 784-6627
Location Scrugham Engineering and Mines