Oct 29, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biomedical Engineering, (PhD)

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PhD Degree Program

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Memphis and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, participate in the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering. The Joint Program offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering. Students may elect courses of study in the following areas:

  • Biomechanics, Movement Science, and Rehabilitation
  • Biomaterials, Drug Delivery and Regenerative Technology
  • Biosensors and Electrophysiology
  • Cellular Biomechanical Responses

All graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admission Regulations , Academic Regulations , and Minimum Degree Requirements for Graduate Academic Programs ) and the program requirements of the degree being pursued. The Joint Graduate Program uses an application website hosted at: https://uthsc.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login.


Applicants must have taken the ETS® GRE® revised General Test within five years of the application date. The GRE revised General Test is a third-party evaluative tool administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) organization. Test scores must be sent directly to Graduate Admissions from the testing agency. For the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, use the UTSHC code number for reporting GRE and TOEFL scores: 1850.


All college transcripts and test score information should also be sent directly to Graduate Admissions. The programs in the academic Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, a collaboration between the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the University of Memphis, require three (3) three letters of recommendation from separate evaluators attesting to qualifications for successfully undertaking graduate studies in order to consider your application complete.

The evaluators/faculty members who you choose should be individuals that you believe are best able to comment objectively on your intellectual and professional achievements and potential.

We may call or write your recommenders for more information.


Evaluation of Credentials: Applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign university must have their credentials evaluated. Evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site (http://www.naces.org) are acceptable. A course-by course report is required and must be sent directly to Graduate Admissions from the credentialing agency.

English Conditional Admission: International students are required to demonstrate a strong grasp of the English language before admission into graduate programs. Conditional admission may be granted depending on individual academic departmental policy. If English conditional admission is offered, students will need to register for English skills assessment and take instructional sessions (if required as a result of that assessment) through the University’s Intensive English for Internationals (IEI) program (www.memphis.edu/iei). Upon successful completion of the requisite sessions, as determined by IEI, the student’s English skills will be considered up to standard and the TOEFL/IELTS requirement may be waived depending on specific academic department policy. The student can then proceed into their graduate academic program. Please note that in order to have a complete application packet, students seeking English conditional admission will need to simultaneously apply for the IEI program through the link above and to the Graduate School (http://www.memphis.edu/graduateadmissions).

Please note that a student cannot be a graduate assistant (GA) until she/he has been fully admitted to the Biomedical Engineering graduate program. Questions can be directed to the program’s graduate coordinator. Students will pay IEI fees until they meet the language criterion. If courses are taken outside of IEI, the student will be charged additional tuition at the regular rate.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements of the two universities and the Herff College of Engineering, applicants should meet the following criteria:

  1. An appropriate bachelor’s degree (biomedical, chemical, electrical, mechanical, or others as defined by the Joint Program);

  2. An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 from an accredited college or university;

  3. It is recommended to obtain a GRE score above 300 (combined verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning) including a minimum 154 on the quantitative reasoning;

  4. Applicants whose native language is other than English and who have earned neither a bachelor’s nor a master’s degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country must have achieved a TOEFL score of at least 213/79 on the computer­based/Internet­based exam or an IELTS score of 6.5 (earned within 2 years prior to application). Any applicant whose first language is not English but who has earned a baccalaureate or master’s degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country where instruction was in English may be exempted from the requirement for the TOEFL or IELTS examination.

These are the minimum program admission requirements. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the Joint Program. Applicants are further advised that the department reserves the right to deny some applications for admission because of limited availability of faculty, funding or physical facilities to accommodate the applicant’s research interests. In unusual circumstances where the above admission requirements cannot be met, an applicant may seek exceptions by contacting the Coordinator of Graduate Studies for the Joint Program.

Graduation Requirements

Students admitted to the PhD program with a bachelor’s degree

Students admitted to the PhD program will complete 72 hours of work after the BS degree. The generic distribution of those hours is 30 credits in early doctoral education, i.e., master’s degree level, another 18 credits at late graduate (8000) level, 24 credit hours of dissertation research (BIOM 9000 ), and a noteworthy dissertation, which is typically demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications.  NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide.

Students admitted to the PhD program with a bachelor’s degree must complete a master’s degree as part of their degree plan. Though an appeal process for direct progress to the PhD exists, few should expect to bypass the MS.

Students admitted to the PhD program with a master’s degree

Students admitted to the PhD program with a master’s degree must complete an additional 42 credit hours. This will be composed of 15 credit hours of elective focus area courses (core and elective focus area courses approved by project advisory committee), 3 credit hours of project (BIOM 8991 ), 24 credit hours of dissertation research (BIOM 9000 ), and a noteworthy dissertation, which is typically demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications. NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide.

Students admitted to the PhD program with a master’s degree from any other program must work with the graduate program coordinators and their dissertation committee to develop the required degree plan. 

Requirements for all PhD students

  • The exact designation of courses for particular PhD students is left to the faculty committee, graduate coordinator, and chair.  
  • All PhD students are required to complete a comprehensive examination with at least a minimum passing score on the written portion and a satisfactory performance on the oral portion of the exam. A second and final attempt to pass this examination may be granted by the student’s advisory committee; failure to pass this exam will result in dismissal from the program.
  • All PhD students are required to complete a proposal defense examination (written proposal and oral defense) as administered by the dissertation faculty committee.
  • A Final Oral Examination is required with optional oral and written questions related to the dissertation presented, after notice of date and time per rules of Graduate School, to the faculty committee and visitors.
  • Publication of portions of the dissertation are expected; numbers and types are set by the individual’s faculty committee and are expected to be in concert with typical counts and types for that section of biomedical engineering.

Professional Development Requirements

  1. PhD degree seeking students are required to attend Joint Program weekly seminars as scheduled each semester while enrolled as a full-time student.
  2. Each semester after the first semester, each PhD student is to meet with their faculty committee; he or she will review progress to date, note planned dates for exams and presentations, and discuss research efforts for the dissertation.
  3. PhD degree seeking students must complete ethics and professional training offered by the Joint Program.

Retention Policy

  1. Students who have been admitted to the program on the condition that they complete prerequisite course work must make satisfactory progress toward this goal each semester of enrollment. Failure to make satisfactory progress may result in dismissal from the program.
  2. All students are required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00. Failure to maintain the minimum GPA is considered sufficient cause for being dismissed from the program. In addition, a student whose GPA falls below 3.0 is ineligible for a graduate assistantship.
  3. No more than seven (7) hours of C, C+, or C- grades will be counted toward degree requirements. Grades of D or F are not accepted for credit for graduation purposes, but the grades are computed in the overall cumulative GPA. Students will be evaluated by the Joint Program faculty at the end of the semester in which a third grade C, C+, or C- or lower is earned for possible dismissal from the program.
  4. Passing the proposal defense examination within 18-24 months upon matriculating into the PhD degree program (completion of the master’s degree).

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