Most students entering the Graduate Field of Biomedical Engineering have had formal training in a recognized discipline of engineering although students with a science degree that includes appropriate mathematics and physics are also eligible.
Each student's graduate program is supervised by a Special Committee composed of Graduate Faculty members chosen by the student to represent the student's major and minor subjects. The supervision of a student's program by the Special Committee allows very individualized programs tailored to the student's specific interests and allows programs that seamlessly merge traditional disciplines.
For Ph.D. degree candidates, the Special Committee is composed of at least three faculty members. Academic rigor is maintained through the intense scrutiny given by the Special Committee to each student's individual program.
Ph.D. students select one minor in the life sciences and another minor in a traditional engineering area, usually the area of undergraduate specialization. Study in the engineering minor is equivalent to the core course sequence expected of Ph.D. students majoring in that field. This combination provides breadth in general approach and depth in at least one specific engineering discipline.
The goals of the course work are both to provide students with both breadth across a wide range of BME and depth in a particular aspect of BME.
The amount of required course work depends on each student's previous preparation and goals. Ph.D. course work typically consists of six semesters of BME 7900: Biomedical Engineering Seminar, BME 7110: Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering Research I, BME 7130: Core Concepts in Disease, BME 7160: Immersion Experience in Medical Research and Clinical Practice, BME 7310: Advanced Biomedical Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems, and other advanced courses selected by the student in consultation with their Special Committee.
Subject to the student's interests, Ph.D. students are also encouraged to take a course in entrepreneurship, e.g., NBA 5070: Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers offered by the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Through BME 7900: Biomedical Engineering Seminar, students obtain a working knowledge of issues in biomedical engineering and an overview of the biomedical research activities and opportunities. The view is broad since most of the speakers are from outside of Cornell.
BME 7110: Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering Research I gives students the broad background needed to work effectively with colleagues in other subspecialties of biomedical engineering. The course introduces students to a critical review of research papers in a wide variety of biomedical engineering research topics. The course also emphasizes issues such as professional development, ethics, writing a
scientific paper, authorship issues, patents, technology transfer, conflicts of interest and preparing a research proposal.
BME 7310: Advanced Biomedical Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems emphasizes quantitative approaches to BME problems across a broad range of temporal and spatial scales, i.e., molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and whole body.
BME 7130: Core Concepts in Disease and BME 7160 Immersion Experience in Medical Research and Clinical Practice are a package that exposes students to fundamental disease processes (BME 7130) and then allows students to explore how the disease processes are manifested and diagnosed and treated in a clinical setting (BME 7160). BME 7160 Immersion Experience in Medical Research and Clinical Practice is a unique part of the student's experience. This course, which is actually offered during the summer at Cornell Weill Medical College in New York City, allows students to experience the inner workings of medicine and has transformed many students' goals. It is more fully described here.
By far the largest amount of effort in a Ph.D. program is devoted to research. Cornell's commitment to interdisciplinary research opens a broad range of research settings to BME students. Mentored by and collaborating with our outstanding faculty, the goal for every BME student is to make an important and long-lasting research contribution in their chosen specialty.