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Bioengineering BS/MS

Accelerated BS (BNG) / MS (BMEBT) 

Program overview

The accelerated BS/MS program in Bioengineering is an integrated degree program in which qualified students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering (BNG) and a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology (BMEBT) in five years. The credit hour requirements are 120 for the B.S. and 31 for M.S. students. Students enrolled in this program can take up to nine (9) credits (three 500‐level or higher graduate courses) from the BMEBT-approved graduate courses approved as BS BNG Specializations. These courses will also be double-counted towards the MS program, thereby reducing the overall time required for the MS degree completion.

BS/MS program advantages

The accelerated, combined BS/MS program in Bioengineering is designed for highly motivated and qualified undergraduate students who wish to pursue an advanced degree.

The accelerated BS/MS program offers:

  • greater flexibility to schedule courses to complete the prerequisites for advanced study;
  • a seamless transition to the Master’s degree;
  • the opportunity to complete the requirements for the MS degree within a year of completing the BS; and,
  • ability to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of your college studies and experiences

Admissions requirements

Interested and qualified undergraduate students will generally apply for the accelerated program at the beginning of the second semester of their junior year (sixth semester of the BS program). The program is competitive and admission is based on overall academic performance, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose.

Eligibility and admission criteria

  • Currently enrolled in the BS BNG program at UMassD and have not yet received an undergraduate BS BNG degree.
  • Completed at least 60 credit hours in the BS BNG major.
  • Transfer students: completed a minimum of two semesters as a full-time student at UMassD, a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.20 and a major GPA of at least 3.20 at the time of application.
  • Completed all lower-division BNG course requirements and at least 9 credits of 300-level coursework in the major.

Application process

Interested students first complete a BNG-BMEBT BS-MS Pre-Application Form and submit to the BMEBT MS Program Committee in the BNG department. Once pre-approved, complete application packages should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies here:

Applications must include a completed graduate application form, a brief statement of purpose explaining motivation for graduate study, curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation including at least two from bioengineering faculty, and an approved program of study. No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or TOEFL exam scores are required. Presently, application fees are waived if students meet eligibility requirements.

Applications will be reviewed by the BMEBT MS Program Committee in the BNG department. Acceptance into the BS/MS program is conditional upon admission to the UMass Dartmouth Graduate program.

Students provisionally admitted to the BS/MS program will be assigned a graduate academic advisor. Applicants must consult with their academic advisor during the second semester of the junior year or earlier, and complete a combined BS/MS Program of Study listing all courses to be taken from the senior year through the end of the Master’s program. The program of study (POS) must be approved by the faculty adviser and the BMEBT graduate program director.

Students may also be admitted to the BS/MS program via a nomination process. A faculty member may nominate a student with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or above. A memorandum of nomination must be submitted that includes a justification for considering the candidate. The candidate must complete the normally required application process.

Degree requirements

The requirements for BS-BNG degree and PhD-BMEBT degree stay the same for students pursuing the degrees separately. BS BNG degree requirements are included in Appendix C. All students must complete a total of 31 credit hours as described in the MS program. Requirements for the MS degree are based on the core curriculum for the intercampus BMEBT program excluding BMB 530 Instrumentation and Laboratory Experience which is covered in undergraduate laboratory courses. Both a thesis and non-thesis/capstone project option are offered. All students will complete a capstone project (3 credits) supplemented by either a technical elective (3 credits) or Master’s thesis (3 credits) depending on their degree option. The BS degree must be awarded before the student can be considered a graduate student.

Students can double count up to nine (9) credit hours (three 500‐level or higher graduate courses) from the list of approved BMEBT graduate courses, including specialization courses in the combined BS/MS program. A grade of ‘B’ or better is required in any graduate course to be double counted toward both degrees.

Academic regulations and performance

Students in the combined BS/MS program must adhere to the following rules:

  • Students must take at least one graduate course each semester during their senior year. Students may complete no more than 9 credits of designated (Appendix E) graduate courses (500‐level or higher) to be counted as undergraduate specializations.
  • To remain in good standing and make satisfactory progress in the combined BS/MS program students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.00/4.00 in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.00/4.00 in all graduate courses taken. If a student’s GPA drops below 3.00, the student will be placed on academic probation for one semester. If the student raises their GPA to 3.00 or above and complies with any other probationary conditions within one semester, they will be returned to satisfactory status. If after one semester the student is not able to meet the probationary conditions, s/he will be subject to dismissal. Students who fail to earn a minimum grade ‘C’ in all courses taken at the 400-level or higher will also be subject to dismissal.
  • Students enrolled in the accelerated BS/MS degree plan are expected to maintain full-time enrollment status for the duration of their program of study. Full-time denotes a minimum course load of 12 credits per semester for undergraduates and 9 credits per semester for graduate students. Students who do not complete the BS within 4 semesters of entering the combined program or the MS degree within two years of gaining graduate student status will be dismissed from the accelerated program. Any extension must be approved by the academic advisor and Graduate Program Director(s). Leave of Absence requests are directed to Student Affairs (undergraduates) or to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Students who leave the program, whether for failure to meet the program requirements or by withdrawal, will cease to be graduate students but may continue as undergraduate students if they have not been awarded the BS degree. Such students may apply for regular admission to graduate study, but they will not be permitted to use on a subsequent graduate program of study any graduate courses used to fulfill the BS degree requirements.
  • Students who do not complete all combined BS/MS degree program requirements may request by petition to have graduate hours earned converted to undergraduate hours and applied toward a traditional BS in bioengineering degree. Students reverted back to the BS degree program must satisfy all degree requirements of the BS curriculum. Graduate credit not used to fulfill the BS degree requirements will remain on the transcript and may, at some future point, be considered for transfer to another degree program.

Transitioning from undergraduate to graduate status

  • During the final semester of undergraduate coursework, students must officially file the Graduate School Admission Application before the deadline specified by the Graduate Program.
  • After satisfactory completion of the BS-BNG degree requirements the undergraduate degree will be awarded. Student’s status changes automatically from undergraduate to graduate when s/he completes the BS degree requirements. Information about financial aid eligibility can be found here: Graduate courses taken prior to admission to the Master’s program will be designated as applicable to the graduate program of study after the student receives the bachelor’s degree and enrolls in the Master’s degree program. Once a student is officially enrolled in the MS-BMEBT program they will then be eligible for graduate teaching and research assistantships and related tuition waivers. Generally, graduate assistantships are reserved for students on the thesis option.
  • Course registrations should adhere to the POS on file unless a change has been approved in advance by the student’s graduate committee and/or advisor.
  • Completion of the MS-BMEBT degree requirements will be certified by the faculty advisor, department chairperson, BMEBT Graduate Program co-Director (COE), and the COE dean before final certification by the Office of Graduate Studies.

BMEBT Master of Science Program

The Master’s degree provides additional technical depth and specializations that can lead to expanded career opportunities and responsibilities. The program is particularly suited for students with strong academic backgrounds who are motivated to pursue independent research. Participants will have an opportunity to work in a laboratory/research environment and engage in theoretical and/or experimental work with faculty and doctoral student mentors.

Student learning outcomes

The MS degree has the broad goal of educating students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in professional careers or doctoral studies in bioengineering. This is done through course work and completing an original research project.

Course work provides students with a strong foundation and problem solving skills central to the field of bioengineering. In addition, advanced courses in engineering, mathematics or the sciences offer knowledge and skills which can be applied to specialized areas of research.

MS program graduates will have the following qualities:

  • An advanced level of understanding in the general areas of bioengineering
  • Ability to synthesize and critically evaluate information pertinent to the bioengineering discipline
  • A depth of technical knowledge and an understanding of advanced topics in a chosen area of specialization
  • A demonstrated ability to integrate engineering fundamentals and problem solving skills with an understanding of the life sciences to acquire new knowledge and understanding of living systems and/or develop innovative biotechnology solutions
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments (laboratory or numerical) as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • Ability to learn independently by completing an original research project and thesis
  • Ability to effectively disseminate/communicate their knowledge and their research findings and contribution to the field

BMEBT-M.S. curriculum

The BMEBT (M.S.) program provides a broad engineering and biotechnology curriculum, while offering a focus on a specific bioengineering track that best fits students' interests and career choices. This combination gives BMEBT graduates professional flexibility, a distinct competitive advantage in the fast-changing field of bioengineering and biotechnology.

The curriculum for the master’s program consists of a core of required courses prescribed by the intercampus BMEBT program supplemented by elective courses that provide greater depth in a specific area of interest. All courses on the graduate program of study (POS) must be taken at UMass Dartmouth unless there has been prior approval by the advisor/program director. Students must enroll in at least two semesters of graduate seminar during the period of study.

Areas of study

Example concentrations/tracks/specializations include:

  • biomaterial
  • biomedical imaging and signal processing
  • molecular and cellular bioengineering
  • tissue engineering/regenerative medicine
  • neural engineering
  • rehabilitation engineering
  • synthetic and systems biology
  • environmental biotechnology
  • bioprocess engineering
  • bioinformatics/computational biology 

Degree options

Two degree options are available at the master’s degree level: (1) master’s capstone project, with project report and presentation, and (2) master’s thesis, including thesis defense. Both options require 31 credits of graduate work, and serve students who intend to find employment following their degree, as well as those who plan on pursuing advanced graduate studies. A thesis is presented to a faculty committee, while a project is usually presented in graduate seminar. Expectations regarding the quality of written and oral presentation are the same for both a thesis and a project. All students will complete a capstone project (3 credits) supplemented by either a technical elective (3 credits) or Master’s thesis (3 credits) depending on their chosen degree option. The program of study for both options must be developed in consultation with a Faculty Advisor and approved by the Department MS Program Committee and the BMEBT Graduate Program co-Director.

Thesis option - 3 units

The thesis option requires a minimum of 31 credit hours excluding seminar: 25 credit hours of course work plus three hours of capstone project plus three hours of thesis research. Generally, the project work will precede and align with the research topic. A thesis must be defended in an oral examination conducted by the student’s thesis committee. The results of a thesis should be publishable as a journal or conference article and demonstrate the student's ability to perform original, independent research.

Students who choose this plan are expected to submit the name of the thesis adviser to the GPD by the end of their first semester in the combined program. The faculty advisor serves as chair of the thesis supervisory committee which includes two other UMass Dartmouth faculty members. At least two members of the committee must be from the Bioengineering department. A change of advisors during the program will require approval of the department chair and GPD. An undergraduate honor’s thesis may not be substituted for the Master’s thesis; however, the topic of study may be continued.

Capstone project (on-thesis) option - 3 units

The project option requires a minimum of 31 credit hours excluding seminar: 28 credit hours of course work plus three credit hours of capstone project work in which the student applies what they have learned in their coursework to a problem of practical relevance. The topic and scope of the project must be approved in advance by a faculty advisor. The completion of the project requires that a formal report be submitted to the advisor and that a public presentation be given. The combination of the report and the presentation serves as the final exam.

Other links

Approved BNG specialization courses

  • BNG 512 - Molecular Bioengineering
  • BNG 514 - Biosoft Materials and Fluids
  • BNG 515 - Implantable Structures and Sensors
  • BNG 516 - Biomedical Devices
  • BNG 517 - Nanotechnology in Bioengineering Systems
  • BNG 518 - Biological Interactions on Material Surfaces
  • BNG 519 - Biomimetics
  • BNG 520 - Case Studies in Bioengineering
  • BNG 521 - Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • BNG 522 - Research in Bioengineering
  • BNG 523 - Biosystems Analysis and Design
  • BNG 524 - Human Organogenesis
  • BNG 526 - Metabolic Engineering
  • BNG 528 - Medical Device Regulations and Regulatory Strategies 
  • BMB 530 - Instrumentation & Lab Experience
  • BMB 575 - Polymers in Medicine
  • BMB 576 - Engineering Project Management
  • BMB 577 - Human Development and Pathophysiology
  • BMB 578 - Organic Synthesis
  • BMB 579 - Polymer Structure Properties and Applications
  • BMB 580 - Advanced Protein Chemistry
  • BMB 585 - Biomedical Tracers
  • BMB 587 - Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics
  • BMB 595 - Independent Study
  • BMB 596 - Directed Study
  • BMB 620 - Capstone Project

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