MS in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon engineering courses are very popular among the international students and one of these courses is M.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Carnegie Mellon University not only believes in predicting the future but also wants to define the future of BME. BME course at CMU is completely driven by engineering excellence. Sound engineering background and knowledge related to BME allows the students to identify and deliver effective solutions to biological and medical problems.

Studying at CMU will allow you to:

— Shape the future through knowledge,

— Create engineering solutions for medicine and healthcare, and

— Be involved in top-class research.


Interdisciplinary collaboration is the very essence of the BME graduate program at CMU. Interdisciplinary research and training approach is followed by the faculty at CMU, as they get cross-appointed in multiple departments. It removes the departmental boundaries allowing both the students and faculty to interact freely across the campus. This easy flow of thoughts leads to a more wholesome learning experience for both students and teachers alike.

Research excellence

The faculty at CMU is involved in world-class research, creating cutting-edge technology in fields like neurology, biomedical computation, tissue and organ engineering, nanotechnology, robotics, cardiopulmonary engineering. Simultaneously, the faculty is involved in studying the emerging new areas in this field.

MS program

The culture of collaboration adopted by the faculty makes the students enrolled in Carnegie Mellon engineering courses well-versed to make an impact in their fields. It also enables the students to advance their careers in the field of biomedical engineering or to make a transition from any other field to the field of biomedical engineering. Flexible nature of the research advisors, allows the MS abroad program to provide a tailored experience according to the student’s needs.

Students get to choose from the traditional Research-Option M.S. program and the accelerated Practicum-Option M.S. program. A practicum course can help in providing opportunities for clinical exposure at the hospitals. It may also be combined with programs in Engineering & Technology Innovation Management or Technology Ventures to form a dual M.S. program. Students wishing to enter Carnegie Mellon’s Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering must reapply and compete with the general pool of Ph.D. applicants.

General coursework requirements

The coursework for the program covers at least three out of five core areas: biomaterials and tissue engineering, physiology and cellular/molecular biology, biomechanics, biomedical imaging and bioinformatics, and neurology. Each course has at least 9 units. Introductory courses are also provided to the students who are unfamiliar with any particular subject. A considerable flexibility is allowed in the selection of courses to enable students to follow personal interests and career plans. All students are also required to take Biomedical Engineering Seminar during each semester of residence.

Research Option

The traditional Research-Option M.S. program is more helpful for individuals, who want to follow careers that require a combination of advanced knowledge in biomedical engineering and independent research skills. Only a limited amount of financial aid is available for full-time students. This program requires 16-21 months of full-time residence to complete. It can also be attended entirely on a part-time basis. Students have the option to switch from Research Option to Practicum Option.

Research Requirement

Completion of the Research-Option M.S. program requires a detailed report describing the research work, which is required to complete the Research option M.S. program. There are close to 50 faculty members who can act as research advisors. These faculty members possess a wealth of knowledge and provide their expertise to the students. Students usually spend first two months talking to potential research advisors. By the end of the second month, an advisor is assigned to the student. It is followed by the initiation of research. During the first year, students lay the groundwork for the research. Then they shift to research during the following summer and second year.

Practicum Option

The Practicum-Option M.S. program is designed to build an in-depth knowledge of biomedical engineering. This program is not exclusive to the students from biomedical engineering background. It is also meant for students from traditional engineering or basic science disciplines, who want to develop a career in biomedical engineering. While this program is designed for 16 months of full-time residence, some students including most Carnegie Mellon graduates may be able to complete the requirements within 9 months. A minimum of one fall or spring semester of full-time residence is required for the completion of the program. Students admitted into Practicum Option get the option to switch to Research Option during the first two weeks of the course.

Practicum Requirement

A student can meet the Practicum requirement by taking either Biomedical Engineering Practicum at a local hospital or one of several courses that require a substantial project. Upon the agreement of the advisor, the graduates who have done research with a faculty member may continue the research. Students who stay for the summer after the first year may choose to perform full-time summer research. The experience they gain will count as practicum. The department upon matriculation is responsible for assigning advisors to the students for the Practicum-Option.

Difference between Research Option and Practicum Option M.S. programs –

Required research experience is the main difference. Research Option requires independent research that leads to a thesis of high quality, which is required for Research Option M.S. program. As a result, the research typically requires a lot of time and effort. Only the completion of a designated course with a project requirement is required for the Practicum Option and the research work is not of the publication level. Therefore, it is less demanding. That is why Practicum Option can be completed within a shorter period than the Research Option.


ETS is responsible for conducting the GRE and TOEFL. GRE cut-off scores are not defined by the university. The scores are evaluated in the context of the entire application package.

The TOEFL total score of 88 is acceptable with subscores of 22 or above, for all individual sections. Following are the codes defined by the ETS:

  • GRE CMU Code: 2074
  • GRE BME Department Code: 1603
  • TOEFL Code: 8468-01
  • ETS Telephone Number: 800 529 3590

Status of application

The status of the application can be monitored online. The CMU website gets updated when the supporting documents are uploaded. The submission of the documents will trigger an email to the applicant. The applicant can use that email to keep a track of the status of application. You may have to wait for 3-5 days to get an update on the application status.

Financial aid

Research-Option M.S. program

Limited financial aid can be availed through the ways mentioned below:

1. Students with a strong academic performance may receive financial aid for summer research with the advisor after the first year, upon the recommendation of a faculty committee.

2. Some students may be appointed as a paid Teaching Assistant, which involves a modest amount of work and compensation.

3. In some cases, a student may receive support from the advisor during the second year as a Research Assistant. The Department provides guidelines but in general, allows the advisor to make the decision.

4. Some students may qualify for loans through the University Enrollment Services.

Practicum-Option M.S. program

Points 2 and 4 mentioned above are available to Practicum-Option M.S. students. Students may also seek on-campus part-time employment through the Career & Professional Development Center.

Job prospects

This program aims at producing leaders and creators. Students are trained to come up with new innovations and not to just follow the majority. The students come up with engineering solutions to solve the problems related to biological and medical science. It helps in inculcating the virtues in the students that are valued by the employers.

The students are trained to become faculty at medical schools or work in medical practise. CMU graduates get great jobs and command handsome salaries in the industry. According to PayScale, the average salary of a Biomedical Engineer is $64,367.

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