Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering is designed to be completed in four to five years, including summers, of full-time study beyond the Bachelor of Science degree. Sixty units of credit beyond the B.S.,with a minimum grade point average of 3.0, is required for the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. candidates must take all the required core courses, complete lab rotations (BME 505a & BME 505b) and pass a screening exam at the end of their first year; pass a qualifying exam when they begin their dissertation research; and conduct an oral defense of their dissertation at the end of the program.

These are our areas of specialty in the program:

  • Biosignals & Biosystems Engineering
  • Medical Devices
  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Systems Cellular-Molecular Bioengineering
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomedical Microelectromechanical Systems (BioMEMS)

 YEAR ONE (BME PhD Core Requirements)

New PhD students in BME are required to take core courses during your 1st year. Completion of these courses during the first year makes one eligible to take the Screening Exam, which takes place at the end of the spring semester of the first year. Students should consult their potential advisors for suggestions about which courses to choose from the list.

  1. Register in BME 505a and BME 505b (lab rotations) and 
  2. Choose  ANY 4 classes from the list below (2 per semester)

Year 1, Fall
BME 501 Advanced Studies in Biomedical Systems (cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular, renal and endocrine)
BME 502 Advanced Studies of the Nervous System (structure and function of the nervous system examined from the viewpoint of computational systems science)
BME 511 Physiological Control Systems
BME 510 Cellular Systems Engineering
BME 513 Signals & Systems Analysis
BME 559 Nanomedicine & Drug Delivery

Year 1, Spring
BME 501 Advanced Studies in Biomedical Systems (cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular, renal and endocrine)
BME 513 Signals & Systems Analysis
BME 530 Introduction to Systems Biology
BME 506 Bioengineering of Disease & Cell Therapeutics
BME 525 Advanced Biomedical Imaging

Sample Schedule
Fall 2017: BME 502 (4 units), BME 511 (3 units) & BME 505a (4 units)
Spring 2018: BME 506 (3 units), BME 513 (3 units) & BME 505b (4 units)



The second year of graduate study allows you to focus on a specific area or study in biomedical engineering. Any class that you take in the program must be approved by your faculty advisor. You may also start taking BME 790 (Directed Research). See info below.


The third and fourth year of graduate study allows you to focus on a research area/topic to explore and develop for your dissertation. By the end of your third year, you should be able to take the Qualifying Exam. After passing the Qualifying Exam, you are eligible to take coursework for your dissertation. You must take at least BME 794ab for a total of 4 units.

BME 790 Directed Research (1-12 units)


BME 794abcdz
Doctoral Dissertation (2-2-2-2-0 units)


If you have not completed your research and dissertation by the end of the fourth year, please communicate with the Graduate Student Affairs Advisor for more information.

All information contained here is summarized from the USC Catalogue and is considered non-official. For all rules, regulations, procedures, and outlines, please see the current academic year USC catalogue.

Research Opportunities

Please check out our Research page for our faculty laboratory websites.