Admissions Requirements

Applicants may apply to the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering through theUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Graduate School or the North Carolina State University Graduate School. Applications to the department are pooled and reviewed by BME faculty on both campuses. Applicants must submit:

  • Transcript(s) documenting an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering or a quantitative science.
  • Scores from the GRE general exam taken within the last five years. UNC institution code: #5816. NCSU institution code: #5496.
  • A 1–2 page personal statement discussing research interests and relevant background experience. The statement must identify professors within the department whom you are interested in working with.
  • Three recommendation letters that discuss your potential for graduate study.
  • TOEFL scores (international applicants only).

ADMISSIONS DEADLINE: All materials must be received by December 13, 2016 for the Fall 2017 admissions cycle.

What is the average GPA/GRE for applicants?

The admissions committee considers the entire applicant package and places great weight on the personal statement and recommendation letters. Students with lower GPA or GRE scores but who have strong letters and an exceptional personal statement are much more competitive than students with outstanding scores who have mediocre letters and a poorly written statement.

The UNC and NCSU graduate schools require a minimum GPA of 3.0 and V/Q GRE scores greater than the 50th percentile for admission. Historically, admitted BME applicants have GPAs above 3.33/4.0 and V/Q GRE scores above the 50th/70th percentile, respectively.

I have an undergraduate degree in biology. Will my application be competitive?

An applicant with an engineering degree and at least one undergraduate biology course is the most competitive applicant. Exceptional applicants without advanced math have been admitted in the past, but they are expected to make up their course deficiencies. If you have a life or physicals sciences degree, plan on taking math through differential equations either before admissions or during your first year of study in the graduate program.

Can MCAT scores be substituted for GRE scores?

MCAT scores are only considered for admission if the applicant is applying to the MD/PhD program at UNC.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

All international applicants must submit scores from the TOEFL that are no older than 24 months from the first term of graduate study.
The required minimum total score on the exams are:

  • The internet-based TOEFL exam = 79.
  • The paper-based TOEFL exam = 550 with a minimum of 50 in each section.
  • The IELTS exam = 7

What funding opportunities are available?

The department guarantees all admitted PhD students funding for the first year. This funding comes from one of three sources: internal fellowships, teaching assistantships (TAs), and research assistantships (RAs). Internal fellowships and TAs are funded from department and university resources. RAs are granted by faculty members to students who are interested in working on projects in faculty member’s lab. After the first year of study students are expected to transfer to RAs. Regardless of the funding source, tuition and health insurance are paid for the student by the department or faculty grant. Student out-of-pocket expenses are limited to student fees.

How do I check on my admission status?

You will receive a computer generated email once your application is entered into the application database. This signifies that the Graduate School has received your application and payment, and has forwarded the application to the Department of Biomedical Engineering. You will receive subsequent emails as materials are added to your file or if you are missing material.

Check the status of your UNC application or NCSU application by clicking on the appropriate link.

I do not have a car. How will I travel between campuses?

Students can ride a departmental van, free of charge, that runs hourly five days a week between UNC and NCSU. Total travel time is approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

I have a question that is not listed. Whom do I contact?

The BME Graduate Coordinator will help you with any admissions issues.