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Graduate Admissions

UNC-CH / NC State

Joint Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program



Thank you for your interest in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University. Both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered through the graduate program. A committee comprised of faculty and staff of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program makes admissions decisions. Since graduate degrees are more specialized than baccalaureate degrees, prospective graduate students are expected to have an area of interest in mind when they apply for admission to the department. Applicants may be asked to fill out an area of interest form, which will assist our faculty in reviewing the applications. It is not possible to guarantee that any particular faculty member reviews a particular application. The faculty associated with the various research areas can be found via the faculty by research areas web pages. All admitted students have a "home" institution that is the university through which they applied or at which their research advisor is based. However, all students have access to resources at both universities including faculty, classes, research laboratories, and extracurricular activities at the two universities.

BME Admission Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to admissions to the joint graduate program:

    • A prior undergraduate or graduate degree in a field of engineering, physical science, or biological science. An engineering degree with some college-level biology is preferred. Official transcripts must be submitted to the graduate school.
    • An overall undergraduate GPA in the above average category (3.33 above/4.0), and excellent prior graduate work, if any, is expected.
    • GRE scores within the last five years from the general GRE exam. The GRE General Test percentile scores at, or better than, the 50th percentile for verbal, the 70th percentile for quantitative, and the 30th percentile for analytical writing. Institution code for ETS - #5816 applications through UNC, #5496 applications through NC State. Department code is not necessary. The MCAT may be substituted for the GRE.
    • A one to two page personal statement about research interests and background. We pay particular attention to the student's goals and interest in BME.
    • Three strong recommendations from persons able to comment on the applicant's qualifications for graduate study
    • All international applicants must submit TOEFL scores. TOEFL date must be no older than two years (24 months) prior to the beginning of the requested entry term. On the TOEFL iBT a minimum of 80 is required (minimum in Listening 18, reading 18, Writing 18, Speaking 20). For exceptions to the TOEFL score requirement please check the admission website for your application: (NCSU admissions, see section N) or (UNC admissions "TOEFL or IELTS Score").

The Graduate School
North Carolina State University
Room 240, Research Building III
1005 Capability Drive
Campus Box 7102
Raleigh, NC 27695
The Graduate School
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 4010, Bynum Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  1. Any other non-electronic supplemental documents should be sent directly to the address shown below.

    ATTN: BME Admissions
    Biomedical Engineering
    Campus Box 7115
    Engineering Building III
    North Carolina State University
    Raleigh, NC 27695-7115 USA

Admission Deadlines

Application deadline is the last date that you may pay your application fee and complete your application online in order to be considered for Fall admission. Only in unusual circumstances and after written consultation with the director of graduate programs/studies is admission for other semesters considered. Review of your application does not begin until all of your application materials and credentials have been received. Since available financial aid is offered to the most qualified students at the earliest possible date, applicants are encouraged to complete the application and submit all supporting documentation well ahead of this deadline.

Admission Status
Due to the high number of applications, we cannot respond to inquiries seeking confirmation of receipt of materials. December, January, and February are particularly busy months and we are processing hundreds of applications and materials. Your patience during this process is appreciated.

You will receive a computer generated email message when your application is entered into the applicant database and as materials are added to your file. This signifies that the Graduate School has received your application and payment, and has forwarded the application to the Department of Biomedical Engineering. This email will inform you of any missing materials.

You may monitor the status of your UNC application at

You may monitor the status of your NCSU application at

Financial Aid/Funding
The Biomedical Engineering Department offers financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships (TA's and RA's). The research assistantship is granted directly by an individual researcher to students who are interested in working on projects in the researcher's area and for which the researcher has funding. Teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis and are funded from teaching resources in the department. TAs are expected to transfer to RA status within the first few semesters of enrollment. No additional application is used for considering students for assistantships; it is based on the graduate admission application. Tuition and health insurance are paid for the student by the department or faculty grant. Out of pocket expenses paid to the university are limited to student fees (Students are responsible for their own transportation as needed between the universities (34 miles apart).

For most purposes, graduate funding falls into two major categories: institutional funds that are already "owned by" or awarded to a university, and nationally competitive funds that are awarded by national, regional, or private agencies to individual graduate students and thus may be taken from one institution to another. While students typically face stiff competition for any graduate funding, the pool of applicants for "intra-institutional" funds is usually smaller than for these national and regional funds for which graduate students from hundreds of institutions are competing.

The Graduate Schools at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State have their own various fellowships and grants available to graduate students. Additional information on financial aid opportunities can be found at:

NC State's Graduate School

UNC's Graduate School

Getting Graduate Financial Aid

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a merit-based program that is designated for seniors and recent graduates.

Contact Information
Students interested in graduate opportunities in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering should contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Helpful Hints for Applying to the BME Program

  • DO Apply early. Many fellowships for applicants are decided well before the final deadline - so complete your application before December 17.
  • DO Learn about the research areas of faculty in the department. You may contact the faculty by email to see if they are accepting students into their lab for the following semester. Keep your emails brief and concise - faculty do not have time to read very long messages from hundreds of students that apply to the program. Contacting faculty by phone is discouraged, unless the faculty member specifically requests a phone meeting.
  • DO Indicate faculty that you would be interested in working with and/or that are aligned with your research interests.
  • DO Apply and submit supplemental materials online.  Online applications are given preference in the application review process.
  • DO NOT send faculty your resume, CV, or application documents, unless a faculty member specifically asks for them. Individual faculty are not able to admit students into the program, all decisions are performed by the admissions committee based on documents submitted through the university applications process. Documents that are submitted to faculty unrequested will be deleted.