Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering Major, B.S.

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Visit Program Website

Nancy Allbritton, Chair

nlallbri@unc.edu

Caterina Gallippi, Director of Graduate Studies

cmgallip@email.unc.edu

Lianne Cartee, Director of Undergraduate Studies

lacartee@email.unc.edu

Sandy Henriquez, Curriculum Advisor (students with last names beginning with A-F)

aphenriq@email.unc.edu

Naji Husseini, Curriculum Advisor (students with last names beginning with G-J)

najihuss@email.unc.edu

Devin Hubbard, Curriculum Advisor (students with last names beginning with K-P)

dhubbard@email.unc.edu

Richard Goldberg, Curriculum Advisor (students with last names beginning with Q-Z)

r.goldberg@unc.edu

In this major, students learn to apply engineering principles to solve problems in medicine and biology. This is a field of great breadth that incorporates medical imaging, informatics, micro and nanosystems, prosthetics, medical devices, tissue engineering and genomics, drug delivery, and applications of signal processing and control.

Admission

Students may declare the biomedical and health sciences engineering major as early as their first year. However, students who wish to complete the biomedical and health sciences engineering major must apply for admission to the program. Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission to the program is granted to rising sophomores, and students will apply in the fall, spring or summer of their first year. Rising juniors may also apply, but admission to rising juniors will only be granted on a limited basis if space is available. Students who are not accepted to the program must select a different major. 

In order to apply, students must complete the following courses.

CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1
4
ENGL 105English Composition and Rhetoric 23
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 1, H4
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 1, H4
PHYS 118Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity 14
or PHYS 116 Mechanics
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

More information about this process is available on the department Web site.

Advising

The department provides both curriculum advising and career advising. BME curriculum advisors provide guidance on course and curriculum issues. The advisors are a small group of faculty members and staff who have expertise in the BME curriculum. Students can meet with their designated curriculum advisors at any time. After admission to the program, BME students must get their planned courses approved by a curriculum advisor each semester in order to register for classes. Students can also schedule a meeting with an advisor for additional assistance. The department sends out instructions on this procedure every semester.

BME career advisors provide guidance on issues related to careers, internships, graduate school, etc. Starting in the sophomore year, each student is assigned to a BME faculty member as his or her career advisor.

First-year students receive advising through the Academic Advising Program. A first-year student can also meet their designated curriculum advisor in BME by scheduling an advising appointment. BME curriculum advisors do not advise students on General Education requirements. Advisors from the Academic Advising Program can provide assistance with these requirements.

Other resources for help: The BME Club offers peer advising around the time of registration each semester. Through this program, seniors provide advising assistance to younger students. More information is sent out to students before these sessions.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the biomedical and health sciences engineering program, students should be able to:

General engineering outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  • Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • Demonstrate an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgements, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  • Demonstrate an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  • Demonstrate an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgement to draw conclusions
  • Demonstrate an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies

BME-specific program criteria:

  • Apply principles of engineering, biology, human physiology, chemistry, calculus-based physics, mathematics (through differential equations), and statistics
  • Solve bio/biomedical engineering problems, including those associated with the interaction between living and non-living systems
  • Analyze, model, design, and realize bio/biomedical engineering devices, systems, components, or processes
  • Make measurements on and interpret data from living systems

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill or North Carolina State University (N.C. State) courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill or N.C. State
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The first two years of study have many courses in common with the B.S. programs in chemistry, physics, computer science, or mathematical sciences. The curriculum, as for all sciences, is vertically structured, with experience and knowledge from each course serving as a foundation for subsequent courses. Students’ attention to prerequisites is important. The specific requirements are listed below. Students are also encouraged to engage in research in a laboratory at UNC–Chapel Hill or elsewhere, or have an internship experience in industry.

The degree program requires 124 hours.

Students who are admitted to the program may take courses at N.C. State. Most classes designated BMME ### are offered as BMME ### on the UNC campus and BME ### on the N.C. State campus. Other N.C. State course numbers are designated in parentheses.

Core Requirements
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their second year:
BMME 201Computer Methods in Biomedical Engineering (CSC 113)3
or COMP 116 Introduction to Scientific Programming
BMME 205Introduction to Biomedical Mechanics4
or BMME 160
BMME 215L
Statics
and Biomedical Mechanics Lab
BMME 209Introduction to the Materials Science of Biomaterials4
or BMME 150
BMME 219L
Introduction to Materials Science
and Materials Science of Biomaterials Lab
BMME 298 (BME Design and Manufacturing I)2
or BMME 210 BME Design and Manufacturing I
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their third year:
BMME 207 (Biomedical Electronics)4
or BMME 350 Electronics for Biomedical Engineers
BMME 301 (Human Physiology: Electrical Analysis )4
or BMME 351 Human Physiology and Biological Measurements for Engineers
BMME 302 (Human Physiology: Mechanical Analysis)4
BMME 398 (BME Design and Manufacturing II)2
or BMME 310 BME Design and Manufacturing II
Take three gateway electives to prepare for specialty electives in two areas9
Biotransport
Biochemistry for Biomedical Engineers
BMME 335
(Biomaterials)
Biomaterials
Biomedical Solid Mechanics
Biocontrols
BMME 365
(Linear Systems in Biomedical Engineering)
Systems and Signals
BMME 375
(Biomedical Microcontroller Applications)
Microcontroller Applications I
BMME 385
(Bioinstrumentation)
Biomedical Instrumentation I
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their final year:
BMME 697Senior Design Project I (BME 451)3
BMME 698Biomedical Engineering Senior Design II (BME 452)3
Four electives from no more than two specialization areas12
Engineering elective - an upper level (300 or greater) engineering course3
Additional Requirements
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their first two years:
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory (BIO 183) H
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I (CH 101 + 102)
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II (CH 201 + 202) H
4
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I (CH 221 + CH 222) H3
MATH 231Calculus of Functions of One Variable I (MA 141) H4
MATH 232Calculus of Functions of One Variable II (MA 241) H4
MATH 233Calculus of Functions of Several Variables (MA 242) H4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 116Mechanics (PY 205 + 206) H4
or PHYS 118 Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
PHYS 117Electromagnetism and Optics (PY 208 + 209) H4
or PHYS 119 Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
Remaining General Education courses and electives to reach 124 hours28
Total Hours124
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Students must satisfy all Foundations, Approaches, and Connections requirements, as outlined elsewhere in this catalog. Some General Education requirements should be met with specific courses as listed above.

Biosignals and Imaging

UNC Campus
BMME 461Introduction to Medical Imaging3
BMME 576Mathematics for Image Computing3
BMME 581Microcontroller Applications II3
MATH 528Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences I3
N.C. State Campus
BME 412Biomedical Signal Processing3
ECE 455Computer Control of Robots 3
ECE 456Mechatronics3
ECE 461Embedded Systems3

Medical Microdevices

UNC Campus
BMME 441Thermal Physics (or MAE 201, or MSE 301)3
BMME 455Biofluid Mechanics (or MAE 308, or CE 382)3
BMME 581Microcontroller Applications II3
N.C. State Campus
BME 412Biomedical Signal Processing3
BME 418Wearable Biosensors3
BME 522Medical Instrumentation3
BME 536Digital Control Systems3
ECE 505Neural Interface Engineering3
E 304Intro to Nano Science and Technology3

Regenerative Medicine

UNC Campus
BMME 420Introduction to Synthetic Biology3
BMME 441Thermal Physics (or MAE 201, or MSE 301)3
BMME 455Biofluid Mechanics (or MAE 308, or CE 382)3
BMME 470Tissue Engineering3
PHYS 405Biological Physics3
N.C. State Campus
BME 462Biomaterials Characterization3
BME 484Fundamentals of Tissue Engineering3
BIT 466 & BME 483Animal Cell Culture; Tissue Engineering Technologies2+2
TE 463Polymer Engineering3

Rehabilitation Engineering

UNC Campus
BMME 405Biomechanics of Movement3
BMME 445Systems Neuroscience3
BMME 447Neural Basis of Rehabilitation Engineering3
BMME 505Skeletal Biomechanics3
N.C. State Campus
BME 418Wearable Biosensors3
BME 425Bioelectricity3
BME 444Orthopedic Biomechanics3
BME 467Mechanics of Tissues and Implants Requirements3

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
BMME 101 Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering 1 1
MATH 231 Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 2, H 4
MATH 232 Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 2, H 4
PHYS 116
Mechanics 2, H
or Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity
4
CHEM 101
101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 2
4
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
ENGL 105 English Composition and Rhetoric 3 3
Foreign Language level 3 3
Approaches and Connections (1 course) 3
Lifetime Fitness 1
Hours 31
Sophomore Year
MATH 233 Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H 4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 117
Electromagnetism and Optics H
or Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta
4
CHEM 102
102L
General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H
4
CHEM 261 Introduction to Organic Chemistry I H 3
BMME 298
BME Design and Manufacturing I
or BME Design and Manufacturing I
2
COMP 116
Introduction to Scientific Programming
or Computer Methods in Biomedical Engineering
3
BMME 205
Introduction to Biomedical Mechanics (Fall only)
or Introduction to Materials Science and Biomedical Mechanics Lab
4
BMME 209
Introduction to the Materials Science of Biomaterials (Spring only)
or Introduction to Materials Science and Materials Science of Biomaterials Lab
4
Hours 32
Junior Year
BMME 207
Biomedical Electronics (Fall only)
or Electronics for Biomedical Engineers
4
BMME 301
Human Physiology: Electrical Analysis (Spring only)
or Human Physiology and Biological Measurements for Engineers
4
BMME 302 Human Physiology: Mechanical Analysis (Fall only) 4
BMME 398
BME Design and Manufacturing II
or BME Design and Manufacturing II
2
BMME ---Gateway elective I 3
BMME ---Gateway elective 2 3
BMME ---Gateway elective 3 3
Engineering Elective 3
Approaches and Connections (2 courses) 6
Hours 32
Senior Year
BMME ---Specialty Elective 1 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 2 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 3 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 4 3
BMME 697 Senior Design Project I (Fall only) 3
BMME 698 Biomedical Engineering Senior Design II (Spring only) 3
Remaining General Education courses and electives to reach 124 credits 12
Hours 30
Total Hours 125
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in Biomedical Engineering

Honors in Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering

Students who successfully complete a research project and have a sufficiently outstanding academic record are eligible for graduation with honors or highest honors. The requirements for graduation with honors or highest honors include

  1. overall grade point average of 3.3 or higher;
  2. completion of a two-semester research project, with course credit given in BMME 691H and BMME 692H;
  3. presentation of the research to a committee of three faculty members, both as an oral presentation and a written honors thesis; and,
  4. approval by that committee.

Additional requirements for BMME 691H and BMME 692H are given to students in those classes. For consideration for highest honors, the research project must be judged to be of publishable quality.

Students wishing to be considered for graduation with honors should apply to the director of undergraduate studies by September 15th. Additional information is sent to all students at the start of the fall semester.

Departmental Involvement

Student organizations include the BME Club. This is an official UNC–Chapel Hill club that organizes speakers, outreach to industry and the medical school, and mentoring, among other activities. This is also a joint club with the BME students at North Carolina State University.

Experiential Education

All students in biomedical engineering participate in a capstone design experience in which they develop a device or system that has biomedical applications. This project fulfills the General Education experiential education requirement. There are also opportunities for experiential education outside of the curriculum. These opportunities include Helping Hands, which develops 3-D printed prosthetic hands, and Engineering World Health, which develops medical equipment for under-resourced populations.

Undergraduate Awards

Awards are given to students in the graduating class each spring.

Undergraduate Research

Students are strongly encouraged to undertake a research project at any time during their education, but particularly during their junior and/or senior years. Through the challenge of a research project, students come face to face with the leading edge of an area, gain expertise with state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation, and experience a professional scientific career firsthand. Many undergraduate students work in the research laboratories of BME faculty members. In addition, faculty across campus conduct BME-related research, and many undergraduate students take advantage of these research opportunities in the School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy, and in the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Computer Science, and Exercise and Sport Science.

The BME department helps to coordinate research activities and facilitates connections between students and research laboratories. This is accomplished through communication via e-mail and the department Web site. Also, the department organizes laboratory open houses, enabling students to visit faculty laboratories and learn about their research opportunities. The UNC–Chapel Hill Office for Undergraduate Research is also an excellent resource for finding research opportunities.