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DEGREE Biomedical Engineering, PhD

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Doctoral degree in biomedical engineering

As a PhD student in biomedical engineering, you’ll work alongside world-class faculty mentors and lead research that solves critical challenges in biology and medicine. You’ll also enhance your skills in using advanced engineering methods of analysis and design.

At a glance

Biomedical engineering department

AIMBE fellows
undergraduate ranking among public universities
graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline September 1
Summer Deadline December 1
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering (biomedical, chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.) or science (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, immunology, physics, etc.). Each application is judged on the basis of:

All applicants must satisfy requirements that are set forth by the Graduate School. Admitted applicants to the program may be required to make up deficiency course requirements.

To apply to the Biomedical Engineering program, complete applications, including supportive materials, must be submitted as described below and received by the application deadline.

Summer admissions are generally limited to continuing Biomedical Engineering students at UW–Madison or applicants who have research assistantships already arranged with UW faculty.

Official Academic Transcript

Electronically submit one copy of your transcript of all undergraduate and previous graduate work in your online application to the Graduate School. Unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted for review. Official copies are required if an applicant is recommended for admission. Do not send transcripts or any other application materials to the Graduate School or the Biomedical Engineering department unless requested. If you have questions, contact

English Proficiency Test Scores (if applicable)

An applicant whose TOEFL (iBT) score is below 92; TOEFL (PBT) score is below 580; or IELTS score is below 7 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. Depending on the result, an applicant may need to register for recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in the first semester of enrollment.

All Biomedical Engineering PhD students will participate in teaching during their graduate degree. International students whose native language is not English must take the SPEAK test during their first semester on campus, unless they have achieved a score 26 or greater on the speaking section of the iBT TOEFL (8.0 for the IELTS). Any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) coursework must be completed during the first year.

Three Letters of Recommendation

These letters are required from people who can accurately judge the applicant’s academic or research performance. Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically to graduate programs through the online application. Applicants should not send any more than three letters (if more than three are sent, only the first three will be considered). See the Graduate School for FAQs regarding letters of recommendation.

Statement of Purpose

In this document, applicants should explain why they want to pursue further education in Biomedical Engineering and discuss which UW faculty members they would be interested in doing research with during their graduate study. See the Graduate School for more advice on how to structure a personal statement.


Upload your resume in your application.

Application Fee

Submission must be accompanied by the one-time application fee. It is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa). This fee cannot be waived or deferred. Fee grants are available through the Graduate School under certain conditions.


Tuition and segregated fee rates are always listed per semester (not for Fall and Spring combined).

View tuition rates


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Students admitted to the Biomedical Engineering PhD program are guaranteed financial support from the department in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships and fellowships. Support will continue as long as the student maintains satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Biomedical engineering is multidisciplinary, bringing together expertise in engineering, physics, materials science, computation, biology and medicine to increase our understanding of diseases, improve diagnosis, and develop treatments that benefit human health. Our researchers are pushing the boundaries of science and technology, developing new tools and techniques to help solve some of the most challenging problems in medicine and healthcare.

View our research

Minimum graduate school requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 60 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations PhD candidates are required to pass a comprehensive qualifying examination, preliminary examination, and final oral defense. Deposit of the doctoral dissertation to the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Graduate School Breadth Requirement Breadth is provided via interdisciplinary training. The central aim of biomedical engineers is to unravel gaps in biological knowledge through the use of engineering principles. Thus, the doctoral program is inherently interdisciplinary. Prior to obtaining a PhD warrant, students will prepare a summary of their effort in interdisciplinary coursework and training. The purpose of the summary will be to document the effort to meet the spirit of the minor requirement. The summary must be approved by the student’s thesis committee and filed with the department. Students may elect to pursue a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate.

Graduate Student Services
3182 Mechanical Engineering
1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706

Megan McClean, Associate Chair, Graduate Advising

View the Graduate Guide for program-specific information on admission, coursework, policies, rules and regulations.

Biomedical engineering news

Research in our department pushes the boundaries of science and technology, covering a spectrum of conditions, and is uniquely situated with access to one of the top-20 hospitals in the country, a veterinary school, and cutting-edge research centers.

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