What is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical Engineering is a broad field that focuses on improving health through the integrated use of engineering, biology and medical principles. For example biomedical engineers are involved in designing new implants for those who suffer from hip fractures, developing medical devices for sensing electrical signals to detect heart problems, developing technologies to visualize and detect disease or tissue function non-invasively,  or growing tissues/organs to repair or replace tissues/organs lost to disease or injury are all possible fields for BME graduates to pursue. 

Where Do Biomedical Engineers Work?

Biomedical Engineers work in industry, in hospitals, and in research labs of government, academic, corporate and non-profit institutions. They may also work at federal and state regulatory agencies to help ensure that devices and technologies are safe and effective. 

Our program has a strong record of job placement after graduation. Approximately 55% of our students find positions working in industry, 30% continue on to with a graduate degree programs, 10% go on to medical, dental, veterinary, optometry, or other professional programs. 

Our Program

Our undergraduate program in BME is the only program within 200 miles and provides graduates with unique skills and knowledge that are applicable in a wide range of careers. Our faculty and instructors thrive on interactions with students in our classrooms and laboratories.  At the same time, our faculty members and are committed to teaching and inspiring students to achieve their goals and improving the health of everyone. 

Students take both basic and BME-specific science and engineering courses such as Calculus, Biology, Circuits, Medical Physiology, Biomechanics, and Tissue Engineering. During the senior year, students work in teams on their capstone design project. These senior projects are mentored by departmental and external biomedical and medical professionals giving our students an immersive real-world experience in biomedical device design. 

We are excited to be part of your journey to a future in biomedical engineering, or any career path you choose.  Whether you want to work in medical device industry, go to graduate school for an advanced degree in engineering or management, or go to medical school or other professional school, we will help you reach your career goals. If you are still searching for a career path, we can explore the possibilities together.

Graduate Students

Memphis, Tennessee, a vibrant entrepreneur-friendly city that is a hub for the medical device industry, is a great place to pursue biomedical engineering graduate studies. Memphis is home to over 50 medical device and biotech companies including Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, Stryker-Wright Medical Technologies Inc, Microport Orthopedics, Olympus Surgical Technologies, Bionova and SweetBio as well as premier medical institutions such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Memphis Veterans Administration Hospital, and Lebonhuer Children’s Hospital. 

Graduate studies leading to the MS (thesis and non-thesis) and PhD degrees are offered through The University of Memphis (UofM) – University of Tennessee Health Science (UTHSC) Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering.  Both campuses are located within a 15-20 minute drive of each and close to the downtown heart of the City of Memphis. 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.  All students entering the graduate biomedical program are matriculated in the Joint Program with their degree awarded from both institutions.

We have 16 nationally and internationally recognized faculty with their primary appointments in biomedical engineering; 10 on the UofM campus and 6 on the UTHSC campus. Our faculty are known for both their contributions to science and engineering and their shared passion for teaching and inspiring students to explore and discover new ways to keep people healthy. Our faculty are currently conducting highly regarded and innovative research in the major areas of

  • Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering/Regenerative Medicine and Drug Delivery
  • Biomechanics, Movement Science/Rehabilitation and Biomedical Devices
  • Neuro and cardiac electrophysiology
  • MRI and ultra-sound imaging 
  • Chemical & Bio- sensors and Diagnostic Devices

Our faculty collaborate extensively with other engineering departments in the Herff College of Engineering, across other UofM colleges and departments (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics) and with many units at UTHSC (e.g. School of Dentistry, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology, and Microbiology Immunology & Biochemistry). 

How to Apply

Applicants for Fall semester admission to the Joint Graduate Program must apply via the application portal hosted on UTHSC website at https://uthsc.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login. All applications are shared with faculty on both campuses. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty on both campuses to learn about areas of research that are of interest to them and their career goals. When admitted, students are aligned with a faculty advisor on either the UofM or UTHSC campus.

Our admissions committee is composed of members from both UofM and UTHSC campuses Your admission is to the Joint Graduate Program regardless of which campus your faculty advisor is located.  Transfer of application materials to both campuses is handled by  internal systems that the universities have developed.

The requirements for the MS and PhD programs can be found in our Graduate Catalog:

MS in Biomedical Engineering
PhD in Biomedical Engineering

For applications to be considered, all applications must be complete. Applications are complete when the following materials have been uploaded to the application site: 

  • Official transcripts;
  • Official GRE scores;
  • 3 letters of recommendation;
  • Personal statement;
  • Resume;

For international applicants: Academic transcripts with WES evaluation (the WES evaluation requirement may be waived on a case-by case basis).

For international applicants: official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE or Duolingo test scores for English language proficiency, may be waived on a case-by-case basis. Please find Additional Admissions Requirements for International Students. Deadlines for submitting applications for Fall semester admissions is May 15.  

Applications for admission to the Joint Graduate program for Spring or Summer terms are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact graduate coordinators for additional information and instruction.

John Williams, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Herff College of Engineering 
Richard A. Smith, PhD