Bioengineering

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Department of Bioengineering offers a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Bioengineering, PhD in Bioengineering, and a Master of Translational Medicine (MTM). The PhD and MTM are operated in partnership with UC San Francisco, and degrees are granted jointly by UCSF and UC Berkeley.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

The Master of Engineering is a one-year master’s degree with a strong emphasis on engineering and entrepreneurship designed for students planning to move directly into industry after completing the program.

Master of Translational Medicine (MTM)

The Master of Translational Medicine is a unique one-year program designed for engineers, scientists, and clinicians who seek to bring innovative treatments and devices into clinical use. 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD in Bioengineering is granted jointly by Berkeley and UCSF, two of the top public universities in the world in engineering and health sciences. Our interdisciplinary program combines the outstanding resources in biomedical and clinical sciences at UCSF with the excellence in engineering, physical, and life sciences at Berkeley.

Administered by the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley and the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF, all students in the program are simultaneously enrolled in the graduate divisions of both the San Francisco and Berkeley campuses and are free to take advantage of courses and research opportunities on both campuses. The program awards the PhD in Bioengineering degree from both campuses.

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Admissions

Admission to the Master of Engineering

Please see more information on the department website.

Admission to the Master of Translational Medicine

Please see more information about the MTM Program.

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy

Please see detailed guidelines and instructions on the graduate program website.

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Curriculum

In general, the program of study includes a major and a minor field of study. Due to the wide variety of topics included in bioengineering and the variety of student interests, major and minor sub fields will be chosen by the student in consultation with their primary graduate adviser, taking into account the student’s prior training, research interests, and career goals. Students who already hold a master’s or other professional degree (MD, DDS, or DVM) may not be required to complete minor coursework.

Sixteen semester units of graduate-level coursework must be taken in the major field and 8 units of upper division or graduate coursework in the minor field, excluding seminars and research. The course requirements are designed to develop a strong and useful knowledge base in both biology and engineering. Students must also enroll in two graduate seminar courses and complete two semester or three quarter units in ethics.

Laboratory Rotations

Students should perform three 12-week rotations in different graduate group faculty laboratories during the first year. The objective of the research rotation is to allow students to become familiar with different areas of research, learn new experimental techniques, obtain experience in unique research laboratories, and ultimately to identify a lab in which to conduct dissertation research. The research being performed during a rotation may correspond to the initial stages of a thesis project or may be on an entirely different topic.

Teaching

Anticipating future careers which may include teaching, all graduate students participate in undergraduate instruction by serving as a Graduate Student Instructor for at least one semester.

Qualifying Examination

An oral qualifying examination must be taken in the spring of the second year or the fall of the third year. In this examination, students demonstrate their ability to recognize research problems of fundamental importance, to propose appropriate experimental approaches to address these problems and to display comprehensive knowledge of their disciplinary area and related subjects.

Dissertation Work 

After advancing to candidacy, a student meets each fall semester with his or her thesis committee to discuss the dissertation project, to review results, and to chart directions for their third and subsequent years. In the final years in the program, students complete a dissertation based on original laboratory research. It generally takes five and a half years to complete the doctoral program.

Please see the graduate program website for more details. 

Master's Degree Requirements

Curriculum

Please see the department website for the full MEng curriculum, and the MTM website for MTM curriculum.

Both degrees culminate with a capstone experience requiring significant work on a group design project.

Courses

Bioengineering

Contact Information

Department of Bioengineering

306 Stanley Hall

MC 1762

Phone: 510-642-5833

bioeng@berkeley.edu

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Department Chair

Daniel Fletcher, PhD

Phone: 510-642-5833

bioe_chair@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Kristin Olson

kaolson@berkeley.edu

Executive Director, MTM Program

Michael "Moose" O'Donnell, PhD

Phone: 510-664-4472

mooseo@berkeley.edu

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