Graduate Program Requirements

Program Coursework Credits Research Credits Total Credits
Post-MS PhD 24 12 36
Post-BS PhD 30 30 60
MS-A 24 6 30
MS-B 27 3 30

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in an Engineering field from accredited institution
    • If Bachelor's degree is not in an Engineering field, please see info below concerning Make-up Courses for Non-engineering Students
  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits Calculated using all grades* from semesters or quarters covering last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits. *Grade used for repeated courses will be average of the excluded (E) and included (I) grades.
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Provide a statement of purpose
  • International Students have additional admission requirements

Credit Requirements

Graduate degrees in Biological Engineering (BE) require 15 credits of core mandatory graduate BE coursework (see chart below), and an additional 15 credits of elctive courses for a total of 30 credits. The balance of graduate courses (electives) are determined by the student, the major professor, and the student’s graduate committee. Elective courses must follow the guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies for inclusion on a student’s Program of Study and must be approved by the student’s committee.

Elective graduate courses can be chosen outside the BE department.

Required Graduate Core Courses (15 credits)
BENG 6810BENG 6810 Biochemical Engineering 3
BENG 6600BENG 6600 Downstream Processing 3
BENG 6630BENG 6630 Synthetic Biological Engineering 3
BENG 6860BENG 6860/7860 Research Orientation & Planning 2
BENG 6510BENG 6510/7510 Graduate Seminar 1
STAT 5200STAT 5200 or CEE 6660CEE 6660 Design of Experiments or
Environmental and Hydrologic Data Analysis and Experimentation
Possible Graduate Elective Courses could be:
BENG 6910BENG 6910 Biosensors 3
BENG 6890BENG 6890 Tissue Engineering 3
BENG 6620BENG 6620 Metabolic Engineering 3
BENG 6850BENG 6850 Advanced Biomaterials 3
BENG 6880BENG 6880 BioMEMS 3
BENG 6930BENG 6930 Biological Engineering Special Topics 1-3
Other Related Coursework Credit
Graduate student’s committee to choose other related graduate coursework as needed to complete the student’s program of study and support the research project.
Dissertation/Thesis Research Credits per degree program

Make-Up Courses for Non-engineering Students Seeking Admission to the BE Graduate Program

Students who do not have a B.S. degree in an accredited engineering discipline but who want a BE graduate engineering degree, either M.S. or PhD, must take the make-up courses, or their equivalents, in addition to the coursework for the specific graduate engineering degree. The make-up courses are intended to build an adequate foundation in basic fundamental and relevant engineering skills. The make-up courses will help the students prepare to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination if desired but not required. A candidate for the M.S. or PhD degree in Biological Engineering must take the make-up courses (decided by the graduate committee) or their full equivalent. The make-up courses will be documented on the student's Program of Study, in addition to all of the graduate coursework required for the M.S. or Ph.D degrees. Equivalent courses taken at other universities or through approved distance education or on-line formats can be substituted, upon the approval of the student graduate committee and the Department Head of Biological Engineering. Funding for tuition or stipend associated in fulfilling the make-up courses will be mutually agreed between the major advisor and the student. The Biological Engineering Department will not provide tuition awards for the fulfillment of make-up courses.

A student who does not have a B.S. degree in an accredited engineering discipline can elect to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination, General Exam, at their own expense, and successfully pass the exam in lieu of taking the make-up courses.

Undergraduate courses, taken for make-up purposes, cannot be taken using the Pass-Fail option (PF). An average grade of “B” or better is required over all make-up courses taken.

A potential graduate student in the Biological Engineering Program is required to have the knowledge in all areas described by the following courses. Based on the knowledge acquired from the BS and other related degrees already awarded, the student’s graduate committee will decide the remaining make-up courses to be taken from this list.

These make-up courses can be taken any time prior to graduation, but would preferably be taken early in the program of study. Consult with your advisor to determine which courses might be prerequisite to a particular graduate course to help determine the order in which the make-up courses are taken. Descriptions of all of these courses can be found in the USU on-line catalog.

The complete mathematics requirement is the equivalent of two years of university calculus. MATH 1210 (Calculus I) and MATH 1220 (Calculus II) are prerequisites for MATH 2250

Information about waiving courses

Core courses may be waived only if a class has been taken previously.

If you have taken a course or courses similar to one of our core courses previously at a different institution and wish to waive one of the courses to take another course, the process is:

  1. Approval from Major Advisor to waive course.
  2. Approval by Instructor of course to waive course.
  3. Approval by Graduate Committee to allow wavier of course.

The Requirements for the consideration of the waiver are:

  • Syllabus of class taken provided. This will be reviewed against the syllabus of the core course. The two classes must be similar enough, to the satisfaction of the course instructor.
  • Provide final grade from course. Student must have obtained a minimum grade of B for the class to qualify.
  • Provide supplemental materials.

Courses waived must be made up with a formal class.
Courses such as special topics and independent study will not be accepted.
Two course waivers maximum allowed, per student.

Comprehensive Exam & Preliminary Research Defense Proposal

PhD Requirement Only

Early in the third semester for PhD students a Comprehensive Exam & Preliminary Research Defense Proposal will be administered.

The Comprehensive Exam portion may be waived if the following criteria are met:

  • Satisfactory grades in all core courses – Min grade B+

The Preliminary Research Defense Proposal portion:

The student must writeThe student must write a proposal and present it to their committee at least two weeks before the defense. This presentation will be advertised in the department and will be open to the public. After the presentation, the student's PhD supervisory committee will ask questions and make recommendations.The student must write a proposal and present it to their committee at least two weeks before the defense. This presentation will be advertised in the department and will be open to the public. After the presentation, the student's PhD supervisory committee will ask questions and make recommendations.

Proposal requirements:

  • Literature review
  • Objectives
  • Research plan
  • Approach
  • Preliminary data (if any)
  • Length: 7-10 pages
    • Single space
    • Font size 12
    • Arial or Times New Roman

For more information, please see the BE Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Additional Resources

Questions, or concerns about anything regarding the our graduate program should be directed to Lauren Shanley at