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Want to learn more about biomedical engineering at UT Austin? Check out the Lab Coats Podcast. Hosted by graduate students Shane Allen and Ahmed Hassan, this podcast discusses emerging topics in biomedicine with students, faculty, and other leading experts in the field. Listen here and everywhere podcasts are heard. 


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Ph.D. Program


Personalized Learning Plan

The concept of a Personal Learning Plan is to tailor educational experiences to meet individual needs. Courses are selected in consultation with the student's supervisor, dissertation committee, and the graduate advisor to ensure adequate breadth and depth.

Graduate Coursework Requirements

26 credit hours are required. Coursework consists of eight technical courses (total of 24 semester credit hours). All students enroll in at least two semesters of Graduate Seminar in Biomedical Engineering (total of 2 semester credit hours). All eight of the technical courses must be graduate level and taken for a letter grade.

Five of the eight technical courses (3 credit hours each, 15 credit hours total) must meet the following requirements:

  • Biological or clinical sciences
  • Basic or applied mathematics
    • To meet this requirement, a statistics course is encouraged, but another mathematics topic may be approved in some circumstances.
  • Students must take a course from three of the four technical areas below:
    • Technical area 1: Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation.
    • Technical area 2: Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering.
    • Technical area 3: Computational Biomedical Engineering.
    • Technical area 4: Biomechanics.


Qualifying Exam

Students must pass a qualifying exam, typically at the end of their first year. This is required for students to continue in the Ph.D. program. This exam has both written and oral components and is administered by a committee of BME faculty. Detailed instructions for the qualifying exam are available from the Graduate Coordinator and are provided to students in advance.

Upon passage of the qualifying exam, students enter candidacy. Students identify a doctoral dissertation committee of at least four faculty members in consultation with their supervisor and the graduate advisor.

Dissertation Proposal

Students are required to propose their dissertation typically at the end of their third year. This proposal exam includes both a written and an oral component. The written component involves submitting an NSF- or NIH-style proposal (maximum 15 pages) to the student’s dissertation committee no less than two weeks prior to defending it orally to the same committee.

Final Oral Defense

Students complete their final oral defense typically at the end of their fifth year. The Graduate School provides critical information regarding deadlines, paperwork, and scheduling. Students file to graduate at the beginning of their last semester.

Teaching Assistant Requirements

All Ph.D. students are expected to serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for two semesters. The department recommends that students participate as a TA sometime between their first and third years, but the timing of this service will depend on the needs of the department and the recommendation of the student's research supervisor. Students who receive full funding from fellowships can apply for a waiver.



Contact Us

 Lacy White220
Lacy White, Graduate Coordinator

headshot of Andrew Dunn
Andrew Dunn, Ph.D., Graduate Advisor, Professor

Frequently Asked Questions