FAQs for BME Graduate Programs

Q. Where are Brown’s BME graduate students employed after finishing their degrees?

A.  Our graduate program is fortunate to matriculate excellent students, and after graduation, the vast majority go onto successful careers in either academia or industry. Recent metrics indicated full employment for BME PhD graduates, with approximately half pursuing an academic track through post-doctoral research positions or directly entering as institution faculty. The other half pursue opportunities in industry or government, applying research skills and knowledge they obtained during graduate training.

Q. What kind of educational background do I need to qualify for the BME PhD Graduate Program?

A.  Entering students are expected to have an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in either engineering or science (with a strong mathematical background). 

Q. Does Brown University offer an MS program in BME?

A. Yes, also called the ScM.

Q. Are GRE and/or TOEFL required?

A. GRE scores are required for all PhD applications. While not officially required for ScM applications, they are highly recommended. Nearly all successful applicants have taken the GRE. TOEFL is required for international students.

Q. What is the average 1) GRE, 2) TOEFL, and 3) GPA scores for students applying to the BME Graduate Program?

A. The average scores are as follows:

  • GRE: Quantitative 86%; Verbal 73%; Writing 52%. 
  • TOEFL (or IELTS) Minimum score for admission consideration is 577 (paper-based test); 233 (computer-based test) or 90 (Internet-based test)
  • GPA: 3.49

 Please note: these are the average scores of the entire pool of applicants.

Q. Do we offer financial support for the PhD or ScM Programs?

A. Graduate students who are candidates for the PhD are generally accepted into the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program with a 5-year commitment of financial support while their research and academic studies progress satisfactorily. 

Students in the master’s program are normally not eligible for financial aid.

All students are encouraged to investigate external scholarship/fellowship opportunities that support master's and/or doctoral studies. The most common of these are NSF's GRFP and NIH's F31 program. 

Q. What are the requirements for the ScM Program in BME?

A. A brief overview of the requirements is as follows:

  • Open to students with appropriate backgrounds in engineering, physics, computer science, biology, biochemistry, or chemistry. 
  • Must complete a graduate school application, include three letters of recommendation and indicate interest in the BME Master’s Program. 
  • A minimum of eight tuition/enrollment units (i.e., eight courses, not more than three of which are for thesis research) are required. 
  • Must take an approved set of courses, at least five structured (not seminar, not independent study), advanced-level (1000 or 2000) biology and engineering courses, at least two in biology and at least two in engineering. 
  • Must receive a grade of “B” or better, courses must be taken for a grade rather than credit/no credit. 
  • Credit for graduate level courses taken at Brown or elsewhere are not accepted or transferable towards the degree's course requirements.
  • Must choose a thesis advisor before start of first semester.
  • Submit a final thesis, present work as a seminar and pass final oral examination by Thesis Committee.

Q. When are decisions made on who will be accepted?

A. Admission decisions are typically made in March for PhD and May for ScM.

Q. What is the deadline for submitting an application?

A. See Admissions.

Q. When will the online application be available?

A. The online application is usually available in September or October.

Q. Can the application fee be waived?

A. Yes, but only to US citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate either financial need or participation in certain specialized programs listed on the fee waiver application.  The application can be found on the Graduate School website at: http://gradschool.brown.edu/go/appfeewaiver

Q. How many applicants do you receive each year?

A. The average number of applications we receive each year is approximately 220 (150-180 PhD, 40-60 ScM).

Q. How many students are accepted into the BME Graduate Program?

A. The number of students accepted into the BME Graduate Program each year depends on lab availability as well as available funding. The PhD Program typically matriculates ~10 highly qualified students/yr (~20 accepted).

Q. How many students accepted into the PhD Program are foreign students?

A. Over the past five years, 26% of matriculants into the BME PhD Graduate Program have been foreign students.

Q. If I’m accepted into another graduate program, such as Physics or Engineering, can I transfer into the BME Program?

A. Under certain circumstances, this is possible for appropriate students.  You would need to speak with the Director of both Graduate Programs, your potential research advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Q. Where can I find a list of courses for the PhD and ScM Programs? 

A. A partial list of BME courses is available on the Center for Biomedical Engineering website. The entire course catalog can be searched through Courses at Brown. For a physical course catalog, contact the Registrar’s Office at Box K, Providence, RI 02912, (401) 863-2500.

Q. Are doctoral students awarded an ScM as part of a normal progress towards the PhD.

A. The BME graduate program has separate ScM and PhD degrees, both of which require coursework and research theses. Master's students receive only an ScM and doctoral students receive only a PhD upon successful completion of the respective programs.

Q. Is Providence, RI, a nice place to live?

A. Yes! For a brief video highlighting some of the great activities available in the city, please follow this link.