Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree

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Overview

The biomedical and chemical engineering Ph.D. program provides you with the knowledge, training, and expertise to tackle important problems in industry, academia, government, and health care.

In the biomedical and chemical engineering Ph.D. program you will complete a number of classes in your first two years of study, including foundational courses with other engineering doctorate students, discipline-specific courses within biomedical and chemical engineering, and elective courses you select with your research advisor. You will complete a research thesis project with your faculty advisor in their lab and may have the opportunity to complete a complementary industrial co-op or internship. You will graduate from the program as a highly skilled researcher who is well positioned to be a leader in the next generation of engineers who will help tackle the challenging and complex problems facing our society.

Plan of Study

The curriculum for the biomedical and chemical engineering Ph.D. program provides the knowledge and skills to develop successful independent researchers.  

Core Courses: Core courses, which are usually completed during the first two semesters of the program, serve as foundational preparation for elective courses. They develop your core competency skills for research, introduce the research landscape in biomedical and chemical engineering, and helping prepare you for the qualifying exam.

Discipline Concentration Elective Courses: The discipline concentration elective courses provide rigorous education in a field of research in biomedical and chemical engineering. Students may choose elective courses in consultation with the dissertation and research advisor, and from courses offered by the department of biomedical engineering and the department of chemical engineering.

Focus Area Elective Courses: Focus area elective courses provide the flexibility for you to engage in trans-disciplinary learning. In consultation with your dissertation and research advisor, you will select graduate level elective courses offered by any of the departments in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. In addition, and subject to the program director’s approval, you may choose graduate courses offered by any of the RIT colleges.

Qualifying Exam: You will complete a qualifying exam at the end of your first year of study. The exam evaluates your aptitude, potential, and competency in conducting doctorate-level research. Through written documentation and a presentation of your work, you will critically review a recent peer-reviewed journal article in your field and propose a creative extension of the work. 

Dissertation Proposal and Candidacy Exam: You will present and defend a dissertation proposal to your dissertation committee typically during your third year of study. The proposal provides the opportunity for you to elaborate on your research plans and to obtain feedback from your dissertation committee on the direction and approach of your research.

Research Review Meetings: Research review meetings provide comprehensive feedback regarding your dissertation research progress and expected outcomes prior to the defense of your full dissertation. 

Dissertation Presentation and Defense: You will prepare an original, technically rigorous, and well-written dissertation that describes your research body of work and novel contributions that have resulted from your doctoral studies in biomedical and chemical engineering. You will present and defend your dissertation and its accompanying research to your dissertation committee.

Experiential Learning

Internships

You may apply for internships in industry or at one of the national laboratories that align with your thesis research. Internships provide an opportunity for hands-on research experience, professional networking, and can serve to advance your thesis work. In addition, you may identify research opportunities at the National Labs Career Fair, an annual event hosted by RIT that brings representatives to campus from the United States’ federally-funded research and development labs.

Explore salary and career information for Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Ph.D. 

Curriculum for Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Ph.D.

Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, Ph.D. degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ENGR-701
Interdisciplinary Research Methods
This course emphasizes collaboration in modern research environment and consists of five modules. Students will introduced to the concepts of inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research conducted from both a scientific and an engineering perspective. Students will learn how to write a dissertation proposal, statement of work, timeline for their program of study and the elements of an effective literature review. Students will develop skills related to reviewing and annotating technical papers, conducting a literature search and proper citation. Students will demonstrate an understanding of (a) ethics as it relates to the responsible conduct of research, (b) ethical responsibility in the context of the engineering professions, (c) ethics as it relates to authorship and plagiarism, (d) basic criteria for ethical decision making and (e) identify professional standards and code of ethics relevant to their discipline. Students demonstrate an ability to identify and explain the potential benefits of their research discoveries to a range of stakeholders, including policy makers and the general public. Lecture 3 (Fall).
3
ENGR-702
Translating Discovery into Practice
This course provides graduate students with the professional skills needed by PhD graduates within their major research focus area to move the results of their research from the lab into practice. Students will demonstrate a strong contextual understanding for their research efforts. Students will learn professional skills related to Teamwork; Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization; Research Management; Policy and Societal Context; and Technical Writing. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
ENGR-795
Doctoral Seminar
This seminar course presents topics of contemporary interest to graduate students enrolled in the program. Presentations include off campus speakers, and assistance with progressing on your research. Selected students and faculty may make presentations on current research under way in the department. All doctoral engineering students enrolled full time are required to attend each semester they are on campus. (Graduate standing in a technical discipline) (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
2
ENGR-892
Graduate Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students may count a maximum of 9 credits of ENGR-892 towards degree requirements. If the student enrolls cumulatively in more than 9 credits of ENGR-892, the additional credits above 9 will not be counted towards the degree. Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
3
 
Engineering Foundation 1, 2*
6
 
Discipline Concentration 1, 2†
6
Second Year
ENGR-795
Doctoral Seminar
This seminar course presents topics of contemporary interest to graduate students enrolled in the program. Presentations include off campus speakers, and assistance with progressing on your research. Selected students and faculty may make presentations on current research under way in the department. All doctoral engineering students enrolled full time are required to attend each semester they are on campus. (Graduate standing in a technical discipline) (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Seminar 1 (Fall, Spring).
1
ENGR-892
Graduate Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students may count a maximum of 9 credits of ENGR-892 towards degree requirements. If the student enrolls cumulatively in more than 9 credits of ENGR-892, the additional credits above 9 will not be counted towards the degree. Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
6
 
Discipline Concentration 3†
3
 
Focus Area Elective 1, 2, 3, 4‡
12
Third Year
ENGR-890
Dissertation and Research
Doctoral-level research by the candidate on an appropriate topic as arranged between the candidate and the research advisor. Students must successfully pass the PhD Candidacy examination prior to enrolling in this course Research 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
21
Total Semester Credit Hours
66

* Engineering Foundation Electives:
ENGR-707 - Engineering Analysis
ENGR-709 - Advanced Engineering Mathematics
BIME-750 - Statistical Analysis and Modeling of Biomedical Data

† Discipline Concentration: Any graduate level course offered by the departments of biomedical or chemical engineering, exclusive of capstones.

‡ Focus Area Elective: Any graduate level course offered by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, exclusive of capstones.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in biomedical and chemical engineering, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in engineering. Other degrees may also be accepted, but students may be required to take bridge courses. Please contact the program director for more information.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit a Statement of Purpose for Research.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae highlighting educational background and experiences.
  • Submit at least two letters of academic and/or professional recommendation. Letters for doctoral candidates must be confidential and must be submitted directly from the referee to RIT.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based) or IELTS score of 7.0 is required.

Students are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members to discuss research interests and potential opportunities available in each faculty members’ laboratories.

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Research

Research conducted by students in the Ph.D. program in biomedical and chemical engineering span a range of areas. Visit the department of biomedical engineering's research initiatives to learn more.