Biomedical Engineering started in 1989 as a concentration in graduate studies leading to the PhD in the Herff College of Engineering at Memphis State University. In 1994, Memphis State University became The University of Memphis (UofM) and continued the graduate studies in biomedical engineering program. In 1989 the biomedical engineering graduate degree program was established in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and the College of Graduate Health Sciences at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC)-Memphis. The two programs merged in 1996 with the support of a grant from The Whitaker Foundation to establish the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering offering both the MS and PhD degrees.
The Joint program was created to take advantage of the resources of the engineering and basic science programs at UofM and the medical and clinical programs at UTHSC. Since 1996, all students entering the graduate biomedical program are matriculated in the Joint Program with their degree awarded from both UofM and UTHSC. In 2005, The University of Memphis launched the B S in Biomedical Engineering and had its first graduate in Dec 2008.