5th Year Master's Program

Brown undergraduates with concentrations in engineering (all disciplines, not just BME), physics, applied math, or computer science can apply for the 5th Year Master's Program in Biomedical Engineering.

Students with degrees in the biological sciences require documented completion of coursework in these quantitative areas to be considered for the program. Students without this background, who are interested in applied sciences, should consider our sister program in Biotechnology.


What are the benefits of the 5th Year Program?

  • You may be able to accelerate completion of your program and finish in one year.
    • You may request that up to 2 advanced level (1000, 2000) biology or engineering courses taken as a Brown undergraduate be applied towards your Master's degree. This can lower the number of courses you will need to take and will lower the number of courses that the Registrar charges you. 
    • Learn more about tuition and fees. Important Notes:
      • The Grad School's tuition rates are based on a 4-course per semester schedule, but our 5th program averages a 3-course per semester schedule.

      • The BME Master's Program does not follow the pay scale for the Engineering Master's program (it's cheaper!).

  • Continue an ongoing research project i.e. an honors thesis toward publication or a design project toward commercialization
  • High degree satisfaction and great post-placement opportunities
    • Companies our recent 5th Year Alums have been hired by (2014-2017):


Meet some of our 5th year alums:

Admission Requirements

  • Open only to students currently enrolled at Brown. To be eligible for a 5th year, you must apply before you complete your undergraduate studies, but admission can be deferred once accepted into the program.
  • Must meet or exceed requirements for undergraduate concentration in engineering at Brown.
  • Do not have to take GREs.
  • Must fill out graduate school application, 2 letters of recommendation, provide a personal statement, CV/Resume, and indicate interest in Biomedical Engineering 5th Year Program.
    • One of the 2 letters of recommendation must be from a Brown faculty accepting the student into his/her lab (thesis advisor) with a strong commitment to act as the student’s mentor.
    • A supplemental form requesting undergraduate course transfer and a proposed course of study must also be included with the application.
  • Must choose a Brown faculty member to be thesis advisor before start of the program.

Graduation Requirements

  • A minimum of 8 tuition units
    • Not more than 3 of which are for independent study
    • At least 5 structured (not seminar, not independent study) advanced-level (1000 or 2000) biology and engineering courses
      • at least 2 in biology
      • at least 2 in engineering.
  • Must receive a grade of B or better, courses must be taken for a grade rather than credit/no credit.
  • A maximum of 2 advanced level courses can be applied toward a Master's degree as long as they are not used towards fulfillment of undergraduate concentration.
  • Must complete ethics module. 
  • Submit final thesis, present work as a seminar, and pass final oral examination by Thesis Committee.


Typical 5th Year Program Timeline: