Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. and the Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering are jointly offered between the Health Science Center and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).  The primary objective of this program is to broadly train students in the principles of biomedical engineering so they are well prepared to participate in the development of new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.  

As the program is multidisciplinary, the curriculum is designed to provide a synergistic combination of formal courses, seminars, teaching opportunities, interactions with clinicians, and individualized biomedical engineering research experiences in the laboratories of the biomedical engineering faculty. All students are required to take core courses in the areas of Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Bioelectronics/Imaging and Biology, Physiology, as well as Responsible Conduct of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research, and Experimental Design and Data Analysis. In addition to the basic core curriculum, students are required to take additional coursework in the area of specialization. Students have access to the bioengineering and biosciences laboratories at both the Health Science Center and UTSA. This provides a unique opportunity to have learning experiences in medical, dental, bioscience, and engineering environments. 

Biomedical Engineering Admissions Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission to the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering program are described below. Note that admission is competitive and satisfying these requirements does not guarantee admission.

Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester credit hours of coursework with a major in a recognized science or engineering discipline. All students should have had sufficient background in engineering, chemistry, biology, and physics prior to being admitted to the program. It is expected that these students will have B.S. degrees with an emphasis in either engineering, physical science, or biological science disciplines. All students are required to have completed at least one year of engineering physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics (up to Differential Equations I or Applied Engineering Analysis I). Students with deficiencies in the above courses will be required to satisfactorily complete selected courses as a condition of acceptance.

A satisfactory score, as evaluated by the Admissions Committee for Biomedical Engineering, is required on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students whose native language is not English must achieve a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper version or 79 on the Internet version. The applicant’s performance on a standardized test will be considered in addition to other criteria for admission or competitive scholarship awards and will not be used as the sole criterion for consideration of an applicant.

Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.

A complete application includes the application form, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a résumé, and a statement of the applicant’s research experience, interests, and goals. TOEFL scores are required for those applicants whose native language is not English.

Biomedical Engineering Degree Requirements

Thesis Option

A minimum of 32.0 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering thesis option. Undergraduate courses, general education courses, and prerequisites for graduate courses cannot be counted toward this total. For transferring students, course credit allowed for transfer will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Biomedical Engineering Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS). If recommended by COGS, the request will then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. Regardless of their area of specialization, all students are required to take a total of 17.0 semester credit hours of Required Core Courses.  In addition, all students must register for three semesters of Research seminar, a minimum of 6 semester credit hours of approved Elective Courses, and a minimum of 6 semester credit hours of biomedical engineering Master’s Thesis Research.  The courses taken by students are intended to focus and support the individual’s mastery of his or her particular area of specialization.  The student must successfully present their Thesis and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Non-thesis Option

A non-thesis option is available upon approval from the Program Director and the Graduate Advisor of Record. Typically, a Master's degree (non-thesis option) plan of study will consist of at least 36.0 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Undergraduate courses, general education courses, and prerequisites for graduate courses cannot be counted toward this total. For transferring students, course credit allowed for transfer will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Biomedical Engineering Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS). If recommended by COGS, the request will then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. Regardless of their area of specialization, all students are required to take a total of 18.0 semester credit hours of Required Core Courses. In addition, all students must register for three semesters of Research seminar and a minimum of 15 semester credit hours of approved Elective courses.

Biomedical Engineering Plans of Study

For the thesis option, a minimum of 32.0 semester credit hours is needed to obtain a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering.

For the non-thesis option, a minimum of 36.0 semester credit hours is needed to obtain a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering.

* Please note that courses with the prefix BME are taken at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

M.S., thesis option

First Year
FallCredit Hours
BIME 6004Biology For Bioengineers 3
BIME 6090 or BME 6011Seminar 1
BME 6903  3
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 7.0
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
TSCI 5070Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research 2
BIME 6006Human Physiology for Bioengineers 3
BME 6803  3
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 8.0
First Year
SummerCredit Hours
BIME 6098 or BME 6986Thesis 1-12
BIME 6097Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-24.0
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
BIME 6090Seminar 1
BIME 6097Research 1-12
BIME 6098 or BME 6986Thesis 1-12
BME 6703  3
BME 6033  3
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 9.0-31.0
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
Elective(s)- see department  varies
BIME 6097, BME 7951, BME 7952, BME 7953, or or BME 7956Research 1-12
BIME 6098 or BME 6986Thesis 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-24.0
Second Year
SummerCredit Hours
BIME 6098 or BME 6986Thesis 1-12
BIME 6097, BME 7951, BME 7952, BME 2953, or or BME 7956Research 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 2.0-24.0
Third Year
FallCredit Hours
BIME 6098 or BME 6986Thesis 1-12
 Total Credit Hours: 1.0-12.0

M.S., Non-thesis Option

First Year
FallCredit Hours
BME 6903  
BIME 6004Biology For Bioengineers 3
BIME 6090 or BME 6001Seminar 1
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 4.0
First Year
SpringCredit Hours
TSCI 5070Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research 2
BIME 6090 or BME 6001Seminar 1
BME 6803  3
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 6.0
First Year
SummerCredit Hours
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 0.0
Second Year
FallCredit Hours
BIME 6090 or BME 6001Seminar 1
BME 6703  3
BME 6033  3
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 7.0
Second Year
SpringCredit Hours
BME 6961 (take during last semester)  1
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 1.0
Second Year
SummerCredit Hours
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 0.0
Third Year
FallCredit Hours
BME 6961 (take during last semester)  1
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 1.0
Third Year
SpringCredit Hours
BME 6961 (take during last semester)  1
Elective(s)- see department  varies
 Total Credit Hours: 1.0

Biomedical Engineering Objectives/Program Outcomes

  1. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of fundamental biology concepts for biomedical applications. Fundamental knowledge of biology is evaluated.
  2. BME students will be able to design and carry out research experiments. Fundamental research skills are evaluated.
  3. BME students will be able to communicate research findings to diverse audience.
  4. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of biomaterials concepts. Fundamental biomaterials knowledge and the students' abilities to apply the knowledge of biomaterials are evaluated.
  5. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of biomechanics concepts. Fundamental knowledge of biomechanics is evaluated.
  6. BME students will conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner in all biomedical engineering research.
  7. BME students will critically evaluate scientific literature.

BIME 5091. Independent Study. 0.5-3 Credit Hours.

This course will be arranged through BME faculty. Topic and mode of study are agreed upon by student and instructor. Semester hours are variable and credit hours will be determined by topic. The course is offered all terms. The course may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisites: Graduate student standing and consent of instructor.

BIME 6004. Biology For Bioengineers. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a broad background in biological concepts with specific attention given to biological processes important in bioengineering. Topics will include biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and physiology. Applications will emphasize understanding cellular processes important in bioengineering, such as gene therapy and tissue repair and regeneration. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor Open for Cross Enrollment on Space Available basis.

BIME 6006. Human Physiology for Bioengineers. 3 Credit Hours.

The objective of this course is to introduce students to human physiology with emphasis on physical principles, guiding rules, and quantitative approaches. The course will focus on cellular function and physiological processes as applied to human systems including cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, nervous, digestive, renal, reproductive and endocrine. An undergraduate biology course or an equivalent to it is required prior to registering for this course. Open for Cross Enrollment on Space Available basis.

BIME 6071. Supervised Teaching. 1 Credit Hour.

Supervised teaching of undergraduate, graduate, medical/dental students, or clinical residents will be required for at least one semester. For example, students may be required to lecture at undergraduate courses at UTSA, or lecture to orthopaedic/dental residents about implants and materials at the HSC. The exact nature of the teaching will be determined based on each student's program of study. Prerequisites: admitted to candidacy and consent of the supervising professor, program director, and COGS chair.

BIME 6090. Seminar. 1 Credit Hour.

Students will have the opportunity to hear presentations from outside speakers, BME faculty, and peers. Prerequisites: Graduate (Ph.D.) student standing; required of all students during fall and spring semesters while pursuing doctoral studies.

BIME 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of independent, original research under the direction of a faculty advisor.

BIME 6098. Thesis. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Registration for at least one term is required of M.S. candidates. Prerequisite: admission to candidacy for Master of Science degree.

BIME 7099. Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Registration for at least two semesters (12 SCH) after they have been admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree is required for Ph.D. candidates. Prerequisite: admission to candidacy for Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biomedical Engineering, and consent of supervising professor, program director, and COGS chair.

CSBL 5022. Inter-professional Human Gross Anatomy. 5.5 Credit Hours.

This courses will teach structural and functional anatomy of the normal human body. Lectures will serve as introductory information for the laboratory dissections to follow and to clarify the interactions of the various anatomical components to accomplish the function of the body. The course will cover the central and peripheral nervous systems, vertebral column and back, the upper and lower limbs, head and neck, body wall, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and perineum. Special emphasis will be placed on the laboratory experience in which the learner will perform a detailed dissection of the entire human body in order to achieve an understanding of the three-dimensional relationships and thus the interactive function of the body. The dissections will allow the student to understand the anatomical basis for disease and dysfunction in organ systems and their applications to clinical practice. They will be supplemented by the study of prosected specimens where possible, models skeletons, and other demonstration materials.

CSBL 5095. Experimental Design And Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to experimental design and statistical analysis. The emphasis of the course will be on the selection and application of proper tests of statistical significance. Practical experience will be provided in the use of both parametric and nonparametric methods of statistical evaluation. Among the topics to be covered are: data reduction, types of distributions, hypothesis testing, scales of measurement, chi square analysis, the special case of the comparison of two groups; analysis of variance; a posteriori multiple comparisons tests, tests of the assumptions of parametric analyses, advanced forms of the analysis of variance, linear regression, and correlation analysis. This course involves the use of statistical software; therefore, access to a laptop or a computer with web access for classes and examinations is required.

INTD 5007. Advanced Cellular And Molecular Biology. 4 Credit Hours.

This course provides an in-depth learning experience that instructs students on the fundamentals of molecular biology and cell biology as well as prepares the student to evaluate and design new research in the cutting-edge areas of modern molecular biology and cell biology. The course combines a didactic program of lectures along with a small group discussion format in which students interact closely with a group of faculty who have active research programs. The course focuses on active areas of research in molecular biology: Chromatin structure, DNA Transcription, DNA Replication and Repair, Recombination, RNA processing and regulation, Protein processing, targeting and degradation and in cell biology: Cell Signaling and Communication, Cell Growth, and Cell Death. Each week, the faculty provide students with didactic lectures on a current research area. Students and faculty will then jointly discuss key publications that serve to bridge the gap between the fundamental underpinnings of the field and the state of the art in that area.

INTD 5040. Fundamentals Of Neuroscience1: Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Neuroscience. 2 Credit Hours.

This course is intended to introduce students to a broad survey of the basics of molecular, cellular and developmental neuroscience. The course is organized into a series of three modules: biochemical and cellular properties of nervous system cells, development of neuronal systems, and neutrotransmission and neuromodulation, which covers the fundamentals of these three areas. Current topics and concepts are discussed in discussion sessions that include student participation. Two components; Neuroscience students register for both PHYL 5041 and INTD 5040.

INTD 6033. Cell Signaling Mechanisms. 2 Credit Hours.

This course covers the molecular mechanisms of action of various extracellular mediators including hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors, cytokines, etc., and cell signaling events. Several areas will be discussed including: (1) mechanisms of mediator synthesis; (2) interaction of mediators with specific receptors; (3) modulation by mediators of various second messenger systems including cyclic nucleotides, inositol phospholipids, calcium, protein phosphorylation, ion flux, etc.; and (4) intra- and intercellular mechanism for regulating mediator action. Open for Cross Enrollment on Space Available basis.

INTD 7074. Topics In Translational Medical Product Development. 1 Credit Hour.

It is crucial to understand the intricate process of translating basic research into market driven products, navigate the complex pathways of intellectual property management and the regulatory affairs of agencies such as the FDA. This course will offer students in biomedical sciences the opportunity to integrate industry-relevant training and experience with their basic science education. The course will explore the marketing and regulatory process by which a biomedical product is developed and brought to commercialization.

MICR 5051. Intro To Immunology. 2 Credit Hours.

This course is a study of immune responses with emphasis on experimental strategies for elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms. Three phases of study: (1) immunochemistry and molecular biology of antibodies, lymphocyte receptors, and products of the major histocompatibility complex; (2) cellular interactions and immuno-regulation; and (3) immunopathologies (hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, transplantation rejection, and tumor immunology). Prerequisites: consent of instructor, courses in General Biology and Genetics recommended.

PHAR 5013. Principles Of Pharmacology & Physiology 1. 3 Credit Hours.

Topics include principles of drug action; receptor classification and quantitation; dose response relationships; cellular mechanisms of drug action; fundamental concepts of drug receptor interactions; voltage gated and ion channels; drug actions mediate by transduction and non-transduction enzymes; time course of drug action; absorption, distribution, biotransformation and elimination of drugs; pharmacokinetics; and experimental approaches to drug action.

RADI 5015. Physics Of Diagnostic Imaging 1. 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces the student to the basic principles and radiological practice using noninvasive imaging systems. Topics include production of x-rays, interaction of radiation with matter, and the physics of imaging using computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

RADI 6016. Physics of Diagnostic Imaging 2. 3 Credit Hours.

This course includes theory and applications of various forms of electronic imaging systems; advanced diagnostic imaging principles involving mathematical image analysis, digital image processing, digital image display, and concepts of electronic imaging. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

RADI 6051. Statistical Parametric Mapping. 3 Credit Hours.

Course content includes principles of NMR Spectroscopy as applied to the resolution of molecular structural problems in chemistry, biology, and medicine; and principles and methods for designing BOLD contrast MRI experiments and evaluating fMRI data.

TSCI 5070. Responsible Conduct Of Patient-Oriented Clinical Research. 2 Credit Hours.

This interdisciplinary course is designed to train participants in the responsible conduct of patient-oriented clinical research. Students will have the opportunity to learn to and, by the end of the course, be required to: (1) delineate a history of hallmark abuses of humans enrolled in clinical research; (2) describe the evolution of national and international codes and regulations guiding inclusion of human subjects in clinical investigations; (3) list the elements of informed consent and describe procedures and precautions for enrolling special populations into clinical investigation; (4) write a consent form in understandable language; (5) recognize different forms of scientific misconduct; (6) describe the role and processes of a peer review board to judge violations in research ethics; (7) develop strategies for self-assessment and validation of scientific objectivity in one's own research; and (8) recognize the ethical responsibilities and consequences of whistle blowing.

Other courses may be chosen from prescribed electives. Additional courses are only offered at UTSA. Please refer to plan of study and BME joint website for more details.