Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
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Phd programs

The M.S. and the Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering are jointly offered between the Health Science Center and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).  The primary objective of this program is to broadly train students in the principles of biomedical engineering so they are well prepared to participate in the development of new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.  

As the program is multidisciplinary, the curriculum is designed to provide a synergistic combination of formal courses, seminars, teaching opportunities, interactions with clinicians, and individualized biomedical engineering research experiences in the laboratories of the biomedical engineering faculty. All students are required to take core courses in the areas of Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Bioelectronics/Imaging and Biology, Physiology, as well as Responsible Conduct of Research, and Experimental Design and Data Analysis. In addition to the basic core curriculum, students are required to take additional coursework in the area of specialization. Students have access to the bioengineering and biosciences laboratories at both the Health Science Center and UTSA. This provides a unique opportunity to have learning experiences in medical, dental, bioscience, and engineering environments. 

Biomedical Engineering Admissions Requirements

Baccalaureate or master’s degree in a natural science or engineering discipline, competitive academic history (minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0), references,Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) [international applicants only], 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of applicant’s research experience(s) and interest in graduate study in BME. A typical successful applicant will have completed one year of calculus-based/engineering Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics (up to Differential Equations or Engineering Analysis I).  Students deficient in one or more of these will be required to take selected courses as a condition of acceptance. All facets of each applicant are considered in the admission process. Application to this joint degree program is managed through a central application process through UTSA. All applicants are required to follow UTSA’s admissions requirements, and the requirements of UT Health San Antonio (background checks, GRE scores, immunizations and international transcript review/translation/certification).

Biomedical Engineering Degree Requirements

A minimum of 82.0 credit hours and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 is required for the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. Undergraduate courses, general education courses, and prerequisites for graduate courses cannot be counted toward this total. For students with a master's degree, course credit allowed for transfer will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Biomedical Engineering COGS. If recommended by the COGS, the request will then be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.  In addition, all doctoral candidates must register for the Dissertation course (BME 7099) for at least two semesters in order to graduate; only one of the terms may be a summer session. The student is required to demonstrate intellectual command of the subject area of the graduate program and capability to carry out independent and original investigation in the area. The student must successfully defend a dissertation and be recommended by their program COGS for approval of their degree to the Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Biomedical Engineering Plan of Study

* Please note that courses with the prefix BME are taken at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Biomedical Engineering Objectives/Program Outcomes

  1. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of biology concepts for biomedical applications. Fundamental knowledge of biology is evaluated.
  2. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of biomaterials concepts. Fundamental biomaterials knowledge and the students' ability to apply knowledge of biomaterials are evaluated.
  3. BME students will demonstrate their understanding of biomechanics concepts. Fundamental knowledge of biomechanics is evaluated.
  4. BME students will be able to design and carry out research experiments. Foundation of knowledge, application of knowledge, and research skills are evaluated.
  5. BME students will be able to communicate research findings to diverse audiences.
  6. BME students will be able to teach and disseminate knowledge.
  7. BME students will conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner in all biomedical engineering research.
  8. BME students will critically evaluate scientific literature.

BIME 5091. Independent Study. 0.5-3 Credit Hours.

This course will be arranged through BME faculty. Topic and mode of study are agreed upon by student and instructor. Semester hours are variable and credit hours will be determined by topic. The course is offered all terms. The course may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisites: Graduate student standing and consent of instructor.

BIME 6004. Biology For Bioengineers. 3 Credit Hours.

This course provides a broad background in biological concepts with specific attention given to biological processes important in bioengineering. Topics will include biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and physiology. Applications will emphasize understanding cellular processes important in bioengineering, such as gene therapy and tissue repair and regeneration. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor Open for Cross Enrollment on Space Available Basis.

BIME 6006. Human Physiology for Bioengineers. 3 Credit Hours.

The objective of this course is to introduce students to human physiology with emphasis on physical principles, guiding rules, and quantitative approaches. The course will focus on cellular function and physiological processes as applied to human systems including cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, nervous, digestive, renal, reproductive and endocrine. An undergraduate biology course or an equivalent to it is required prior to registering for this course. Open for Cross Enrollment on Space Available Basis.

BIME 6071. Supervised Teaching. 1 Credit Hour.

Supervised teaching of undergraduate, graduate, medical/dental students, or clinical residents will be required for at least one semester. For example, students may be required to lecture at undergraduate courses at UTSA, or lecture to orthopaedic/dental residents about implants and materials at the HSC. The exact nature of the teaching will be determined based on each student's program of study. Prerequisites: admitted to candidacy and consent of the supervising professor, program director, and COGS chair.

BIME 6090. Seminar. 1 Credit Hour.

Students will have the opportunity to hear presentations from outside speakers, BME faculty, and peers. Prerequisites: Graduate (Ph.D.) student standing; required of all students during fall and spring semesters while pursuing doctoral studies.

BIME 6097. Research. 1-12 Credit Hours.

This course consists of independent, original research under the direction of a faculty advisor.

BIME 7099. Dissertation. 1-12 Credit Hours.

Registration for at least two semesters (12 SCH) after they have been admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree is required for Ph.D. candidates. Prerequisite: admission to candidacy for Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biomedical Engineering, and consent of supervising professor, program director, and COGS chair.

CSAT 5022. Inter-professional Human Gross Anatomy. 5.5 Credit Hours.

This courses will teach structural and functional anatomy of the normal human body. Lectures will serve as introductory information for the laboratory dissections to follow and to clarify the interactions of the various anatomical components to accomplish the function of the body. The course will cover the central and peripheral nervous systems, vertebral column and back, the upper and lower limbs, head and neck, body wall, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and perineum. Special emphasis will be placed on the laboratory experience in which the learner will perform a detailed dissection of the entire human body in order to achieve an understanding of the three-dimensional relationships and thus the interactive function of the body. The dissections will allow the student to understand the anatomical basis for disease and dysfunction in organ systems and their applications to clinical practice. They will be supplemented by the study of prosected specimens where possible, models skeletons, and other demonstration materials.

CSAT 5095. Experimental Design And Data Analysis. 3 Credit Hours.

The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to experimental design and statistical analysis. The emphasis of the course will be on the selection and application of proper tests of statistical significance. Practical experience will be provided in the use of both parametric and nonparametric methods of statistical evaluation. Among the topics to be covered are: data reduction, types of distributions, hypothesis testing, scales of measurement, chi square analysis, the special case of the comparison of two groups; analysis of variance; a posteriori multiple comparisons tests, tests of the assumptions of parametric analyses, advanced forms of the analysis of variance, linear regression, and correlation analysis. This course involves the use of statistical software; therefore, access to a laptop or a computer with web access for classes and examinations is required.

RADI 5015. Physics Of Diagnostic Imaging 1. 3 Credit Hours.

This course introduces the student to the basic principles and radiological practice using noninvasive imaging systems. Topics include production of x-rays, interaction of radiation with matter, and the physics of imaging using computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

TSCI 5070. Responsible Conduct of Research. 2 Credit Hours.

This interdisciplinary course is designed to train participants in the responsible conduct of patient-oriented clinical research. Students will have the opportunity to learn to and, by the end of the course, be required to: (1) delineate a history of hallmark abuses of humans enrolled in clinical research; (2) describe the evolution of national and international codes and regulations guiding inclusion of human subjects in clinical investigations; (3) list the elements of informed consent and describe procedures and precautions for enrolling special populations into clinical investigation; (4) write a consent form in understandable language; (5) recognize different forms of scientific misconduct; (6) describe the role and processes of a peer review board to judge violations in research ethics; (7) develop strategies for self-assessment and validation of scientific objectivity in one's own research; and (8) recognize the ethical responsibilities and consequences of whistle blowing.


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San Antonio , United States