Admissions FAQ

1. What are the criteria for admission to BME?

The admissions committee for Biomedical Engineering reviews GRE General test scores (subject scores are not necessary), performance at previous institutions/universities, at least 3 letters of recommendations, and a personal statement. Information on where to submit official transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation can be found at:

2. Do I need a biomedical engineering degree to enter the graduate program?

Some of our students do not have a BME degree when they entered our program. These students are encouraged to take prerequisite courses in areas they lack. Mostly these courses include Calculus-Multivariable, Calculus-Differential Equations, Cell Biology, and Physiology.

3. What are acceptance rates?

Since the department provides funding for all incoming PhD students for their first year, acceptance rates vary significantly from year-to-year for PhD students, depending on available funds. In the past, entering students average to about 5-10 PhD and 5-10 MS per fall term.

4. Can you assess my chances of being accepted?

The BME graduate program does not offer pre-screening of applicants prior to the application process. The average GPA and GRE scores of our students are provided below. To begin the formal application procedure, please visit the Rutgers Graduate Admissions Website.

5. What are the average academic credentials for entering students?

PhD: GPA 3.6, GRE 530/156(V), 780/161(Q), 4.5(A)
MS: GPA 3.3, GRE 530/156(V), 740/158(Q), 4.0(A)

6. Who awards the graduate degrees in the department of Biomedical Engineering?

The PhD and MS graduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering are awarded jointly by both Rutgers University, through the Graduate School of New Brunswick, and through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The Masters of Engineering degree is currently awarded through the Graduate School of New Brunswick.

7. How long will it take to complete a Masters degree?

There are two types of Masters students in BME: M.S with Thesis and M.Eng Non-Thesis. Both tracks should finish their Masters degree in 2-3 years.

8. Can I enter the program part-time?

Please contact the graduate program if you seek to pursue a part-time PhD degree. We can help evaluate your prerequisites and help position your curriculum and research plans to give you maximum flex-time. The program encourages part-time applicants particularly from regional high tech pharma and healthcare industry. In order to support the work schedules of such applicants, the BME program has recently rescheduled many of its core courses from mornings to mid-to-late afternoons. This should allow most part-time PhD students to register for one or two courses per semester while taking a half-day off from work. Several new part-time PhD applicants have expressed interested in the program or already joined the program, including employees of Johnson & Johnson and Life-Cell. This program should witness an expansion in the years to come.

9. How long will it take to complete a PhD degree?

Students should complete their PhD degrees in 5 years with a max of 7 years.

10. Can I enter the PhD program directly without completing a Masters?

Yes, students must keep in mind that the entrance criteria into the PhD program are more stringent than that of the MS program.

11. I don’t find Rutgers in the top ten BME departments in the US News and World Report. How does Rutgers compare to the top ten?

Rutgers compares exceedingly well with these department and even exceeds some of those listed in certain important objective categories. There are two main reasons that Rutgers BME is not yet on the top ten list. First, the listing is largely determined by a vague and subjective value called “reputation” which is a complex function of history, public relations, quality, and how elite the sponsoring university is. The second reason is that BME at Rutgers is fairly young; although students have been awarded MS and PhD degrees in BME since the late 1960's, the "department" was established in 1986 and the undergraduate program was established in 1999. Despite our youth, BME department is extremely dynamic and vibrant with a strong and well-funded faculty.

It is important to note that Rutgers BME was recently evaluated by the NRC (National Research Council) which puts our graduate program in the top 25% BME programs nationally. BME at Rutgers has grown in strength tremendously since the last evaluation in 2010.

12. How do graduate students obtain support for their graduate studies?

All first year PhD students are supported by departmental or university fellowships or graduate assistantships, which provide stipend, tuition remission, and sometimes student fees for the first year. After the first year, students will be supported by their advisors through fellowships and graduate assistantships. There are also a number of multi-year fellowships available for advanced students through NSF and NIH training programs. BME also has a limited number of teaching assistantships for graduate students who demonstrate outstanding teaching skills.

13. Is there funding available for Masters Students?

Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers does not currently offer financial support for MS/ME students. Financial support must be initiated from the student.

14. How do students find thesis/dissertation advisors?

Through communication! During the first year, the Bioengineering Student Society (BESS) sponsors a lunch seminar series where faculty members present research opportunities in his/her lab. Through these lunch meetings, the graduate student guide, and direct communication with faculty, students are asked to narrow their search to 3 candidate advisors during the first and second semesters of the first year. Students also have the opportunity to do laboratory rotations during the spring and summer of their first year. A final selection is generally made, at the latest, by the beginning of second academic year.

15. How do students qualify for PhD dissertation status?

PhD students must take 15 courses (3 core BME courses, 1 Advanced Math course, 1 Advanced Biology course, 1 Life Science elective, 5 Developmental courses, and 4 Bioengineering electives). The next step is a NIH-like written proposal based on BME literature designed to test the students’ ability to integrate across disciplines along with successful completion of the core BME courses. The third step is the successful defense of a written thesis proposal.

16. What percentage of students pass the Qualifier exam?

In the past 4 years, >95% of students have passed the written qualifiers on their initial attempt. Students who do not pass the first time are given a chance to revise the proposal or take additional courses to make up the deficiency.

17. Where do PhD graduates go after completing their studies?

To date, about 74% of our graduates have taken industrial positions, 14% have taken academic positions, 7% are in government labs, and 5% are self-employed in their own start-up firms.

18. What are the advantages of Rutgers BME over other institutions?

Location, location, location! New Jersey has the #1 pharmaceutical industry and the #5 medical device industry in the country. The biotechnology sector is also very strong and growing. Doing graduate work at Rutgers puts you in the center of more high technology biomedical research than anywhere in the world. A second advantage is our industrious and talented faculty.

19. What is the composition of the graduate student body?

The student body averages 120 students with the following breakdown:

  • 2/3 are PhD students
  • 1/3 are MS/ME students
  • almost 1/2 are female
  • over 3/4 are US citizens/Permanent Residents
  • over 1/5 are underrepresented minorities
Here is a sample of where our students have come from:
United States
Johns Hopkins, Cornell, MIT, U Penn, UCSD, Rutgers, Tulane, U Virginia, RPI, WPI, Case Western, U Rochester, U Toledo, Northwestern U, Princeton, Stevens, Columbia, U Maryland, U Michigan, NJIT, UT Austin, U Minnesota, Cooper Union, Drexel, U Miami, U Arizona, Boston U, Delaware State, U Massachusetts, U Washington, Lehigh
Kyoto U, Seoul National U, National Taiwan U, Tsingua U, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras, Nanyang Tech U, Nagoya Tech, Birla Inst Tech Sci, Huazhong U Sci Tech, U of Poona, U of Madras

*For other information not listed, please email us at Please notethe BME Graduate Admissions committee cannot pre-screen applicants prior to the completion of the admissions application process.