Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD is the highest degree offered in academia, and includes both formal coursework and intensive research. During their first year, doctoral students will establish a foundation in advanced biomedical engineering subjects with BME core courses, and will rotate through two or more faculty laboratories to identify the best match for their research interests.

Subsequent years include courses in engineering, life sciences and research methods; a research seminar series; and dissertation research. Students are also encouraged to participate in clinical and industrial internships that provide experience in state-of-the-art applications of biomedical engineering.


PhD students must complete a minimum of 68 units of graduate credit, and meet the UA Graduate College’s minimum units of courses in which A or B grades have been earned.

  1. 15 units of the core BME courses
  2. 15 units in the major
  3. 9 units minimum in the minor
  4. 3 units minimum in a BME-approved ethics course
  5. 6 units of seminar and student forum courses
  6. 2 units of BME 597G: Research Methods in Biomedical Engineering (laboratory rotations)
  7. 18 units of BME 920: Dissertation

Students entering the program with a master's degree may petition to apply previous graduate coursework to the PhD requirements. The Graduate College requires that at least 30 units of graduate credit must be completed at the University of Arizona.

PhD students are required to pass written and oral comprehensive examinations as well as a final dissertation defense. More complete doctoral degree requirements and examination procedures are described in the BME Graduate Student Handbook (PDF).


PhD students are guaranteed funding for five years of their doctoral degree. This funding comes from a variety of sources, including training grants, research grants, fellowships and teaching assistantships. Please see BME's Graduate Student Funding page for more information.

Doctoral Minor

PhD candidates in other disciplines may select a minor in biomedical engineering.

The doctoral minor requires 7 units selected from approved BME core courses (BME 510, BME 511, BME 516, BME 517, BME 561, BME 566, BME 586), and 2 units from either BME 597G: Research Methods in Biomedical Engineering (lab rotations) or BME 599: Independent Study for a total of 9 units.

Life science majors are not required to take BME 510 or BME 511, but must take 6 units of BME 516, BME 517, BME 561, BME 566 or BME 586, plus 3 units of independent study or laboratory rotation.

Engineering and imaging majors must take BME 510 and 511, plus 1 unit of BME 516, BME 517, BME 561, BME 566 or BME 586, or 3 units of independent study or laboratory rotation.

Students must complete these courses with a "B" average to earn the minor. In addition, the student's dissertation committee should contain at least one BME faculty member.

University of Arizona College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering 1127 E James E. Rogers Way P.O. Box 210020 Tucson, AZ 85721-0020