Master of Science Curriculum Summary

For students with a strong engineering background, a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study is required for the Master of Science (MS) Degree. The student’s advisory committee will help the student develop a plan of work tailored to fit the student’s career goals.


A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study is required for the MS Degree. Refer to the curriculum summary for the Master’s degree for details of current requirements. Typical Master’s course hours include:

  1. BME Seminar (BME 802 / BMME 890) – each semester prior to graduation (except the semester prior to graduation)
  2. Bio/Med: Graduate Biochemistry in the Fall semester and Systems Physiology in the Spring semester
  3. Engineering: 6 hours (refer to Approved Course List B1-3 Engineering)
  4. Graduate-level mathematics: 3 hours (refer to Approved Course List)
  5. Graduate-level statistics: 3 hours
  6. Scientific/Technical Electives: 6 hours or more (with approval of advisor)
  7. Thesis research : minimum of 3 hours

Students previously completing equivalent coursework in graduate math and statistics may be exempted from this requirement by permission of the DGP.

Master of Science Milestones
Master of Science Milestones

  • It is recommended that MS students apply for residency as soon as possible after admission into the program.
  • MS committees must have a minimum of 3 committee members.
  • The committee must be composed of a majority (2 of 3) of BME core or affiliated faculty.
Advisory Committee and Plan of Graduate Work
All students in the MS program must have a graduate advisor who is full member of the Graduate Faculty in Biomedical Engineering. A majority of the persons signing a master’s thesis must be regular members of the UNC or NCSU Biomedical Engineering Faculty. Other members may be special appointees to the Graduate Faculty.
The Comprehensive Examination is to be taken after all course work is completed and is intended to assess the student’s ability to integrate coursework with practical problems in biomedical engineering. The MS Comprehensive Exam may be written or oral, the format chosen by agreement among committee members and the student. If an oral exam is chosen, it may be conducted at the same time as the presentation of the thesis. If a written exam is chosen, it should be completed before the presentation of the thesis.
Thesis and Defense
The MS thesis should show the student’s ability to conduct a research project from beginning to end, including the ability to clearly document the work done by the student. For example, it may be a report on a series of experiments, or it may be the design and fabrication of an instrument for research or a mathematical or computer model of some aspect of a biological system. Guidelines for theses are provided in the Graduate School Handbook at UNC Chapel Hill or NC State. This examination will be open to all members of the Department and will be announced on both campuses by the Chair of the student’s Advisory Committee.
Continuous Enrollment and Time Limits

The Graduate School has a continuous enrollment policy. While pursuing a graduate degree, the student must be registered every Fall and Spring semester until completion. Otherwise, a student must request an official leave of absence from the Graduate School.

Additionally, MS students must be registered in any semester, including the summer, that they plan to defend the dissertation.

MS students based at UNC have five (5) calendar years from the date of first registration in the master’s program to complete the master’s degree. MS students based at NCSU have six (6) calendar years to complete their program.