Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

For centuries humans have used technological elements to improve biological components -- prosthetics being one well-known example -- but today's biomedical engineers solve problems in ways earlier practitioners could scarcely have imagined.

Program at a glance

Application deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students wishing to start at the beginning of an academic semester should meet the deadlines below.

  • Fall enrollment: Feb. 1
  • Spring enrollment: Nov. 1

Admissions requirements

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Minimum GRE: 301
  • Minimum TOEFL: 550

Graduate Program Director: Bahram Parvin,

Why choose this Ph.D. in biomedical engineering?

The University's Ph.D. in biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary program that combines a strong foundation in the field with focused coursework and research on a specific area within biomedical engineering. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in four subspecialties related to their research. At least one area must come from the life and medical sciences grouping and one area must come from engineering and physical sciences.

Possible life and medical sciences subspecialties:

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

 Possible engineering and physical sciences subspecialties:

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

Faculty advisors

Each student in the program will also select a primary mentor, who is primarily responsible for directing the student's progress. A secondary mentor must also be selected with a background specialty that complements that of your primary mentor. For example, if the primary mentor has a background in engineering and physical sciences, the secondary mentor should have a background in life and medical sciences or vice versa. This ensures students develop well-rounded expertise within biomedical engineering

Members of the biomedical engineering faculty come from numerous University departments, including:

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • School of Medicine

To learn more about the faculty and its areas of expertise, visit the biomedical engineering faculty page. To learn more about the types of research we conduct, visit our research page. You can also view the Biomedical Engineering graduate program handbook.

How do I apply?

Here are the basic admissions requirements for the program:

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

Additionally, applicants to the Ph.D. program should generally have completed the following coursework requirements:

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

Applicants to the biomedical engineering degree program should apply through the Graduate School website. The biomedical engineering program also requires an additional page to be submitted with the application that contains the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Brief description of research plans you have discussed with faculty members identified in your Graduate School application
  3. A proposed start date for the program (which can also be the beginning of the fall or spring term, as described in the Graduate School application)
  4. Brief paragraph describing your career goals in the area of biomedical engineering
  5. Sentence describing how you learned about our program

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 to discuss research interests.

The University's BME Ph.D. program does not restrict entry to the fall or spring terms. Students may begin their program by performing a research rotation almost any time of the year. For students wishing to begin at the start of a semester, however, applications must be submitted by:

  • February 1 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for spring semester

Application fee waiver

Students with qualifying GRE and TOEFL scores can have their application fee waived. Please visit the College of Engineering's fee waiver webpage for details.

Is funding available?

Students in this program are eligible to apply for department assistantships:

  • 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.

Assistantships include tuition and fees as well as a stipend for living expenses. Students will be considered for available assistantships only after they are admitted to the program. You can learn more about assistantships on the Graduate School website.

What's next?

You can apply now if you are ready to begin at the University of Nevada, Reno. If you would like to learn more about this program, please contact:

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

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Electrical and Biomedical Engineering

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