Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering Major, B.S.

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
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry I
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1, F
4
ENGL 105IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric 23
MATH 231IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 1, H, F4
MATH 232IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 1, H, F4
PHYS 118IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity 1, F4
H

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

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

1

 With a grade of C or better. AP, IB, or transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

2

 With a grade of C- or better. Transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

More information about this process is available on the department website.

Program Enhancement Fee

Students will be charged an additional fee of $750/semester ($1,500/year). The money is directly applied to the undergraduate program to enhance the undergraduate laboratory, internship, and outreach experience.

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.

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.

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 cumulative GPA of 2.000 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 205Biomedical Mechanics4
BMME 209Materials Science of Biomaterials4
BMME 298Biomedical Engineering Design and Manufacturing I2
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their third year:
BMME 207Biomedical Electronics4
BMME 301Human Physiology : Electrical Analysis4
BMME 302Human Physiology: Mechanical Analysis4
BMME 398IDEAs in Action General Education logo Biomedical Engineering Design and Manufacturing II H2
Take three gateway electives to prepare for specialty electives in two areas9
Biotransport
Biochemistry for Biomedical Engineers
Introduction to Biological Chemistry
Biomaterials
Biomedical Solid Mechanics
Biocontrols
Systems and Signals
Biomedical Microcontroller Applications
Bioinstrumentation
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their final year:
BMME 697IDEAs in Action General Education logo BME Senior Design: Product Development (BME 451)3
BMME 698IDEAs in Action General Education logo Biomedical Engineering Senior Design: Product Implementation and Strategy (BME 452)3
Four electives from no more than two specialization areas12
STEM elective - an upper level (300 or greater) math, science or engineering course (must be engineering if CHEM 430 replaces BMME 325 as a gateway elective)3
Additional Requirements
Students should take the following courses, preferably in their first two years:
BIOL 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory (BIO 183) H, F
4
CHEM 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry I
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I (CH 101 + 102) F
4
CHEM 102
102L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II (CH 201 + 202) H, F
4
CHEM 261Introduction to Organic Chemistry I (CH 221 + CH 222) H3
MATH 231IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I (MA 141) H, F4
MATH 232IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II (MA 241) H, F4
MATH 233IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of Several Variables (MA 242) H, F4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 118IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity (PY 205 + 206) F4
PHYS 119IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta (PY 208 + 209) F4
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.

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

STEM Elective 

This list includes courses at UNC. It does not include BME gateway electives or specialization electives, but any of those courses will meet the engineering elective requirement. It must be an extra course and cannot double count for the gateway/specialty electives requirements. 

Additional 300 or greater level math and science courses may be approved by the student's advisor to meet this requirement. 

APPL 430Optical Instrumentation for Scientists and Engineers3
APPL 465Sponge Bob Square Pants and Other Soft Materials3
APPL 490Special Topics (Bioelectronic Materials)1-3
BIOL 202IDEAs in Action General Education logo Molecular Biology and Genetics H, F4
CHEM 430Introduction to Biological Chemistry (GN 311) H3
STOR 320IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Data Science4
STOR 435Introduction to Probability3
STOR 455Methods of Data Analysis3
H

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

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

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

Phamacoengineering

BMME 485Biotechnology3
BMME 495IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Engineering as a Technical Elective3
BMME 511Genetic Engineering3
BMME 523Biomolecular Engineering3
BMME 524Biomolecular Sensing Technologies3
BMME 527Targeted Photomedicine3
N. C. State Campus
BME 516 Advanced Drug Delivery3
BME 570ImmunoEngineering3

Biosignals and Imaging

UNC Campus
BMME 461Introduction to Medical Imaging3
BMME 575Practical Machine Learning for Biosignal Analysis3
BMME 576Mathematics for Image Computing3
BMME 581Microcontroller Applications II3
MATH 528Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences I3
or MA 501
Adv. Math. for Sci. & Engrs. I (NC State)
BMME 495IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Engineering as a Technical Elective (BME 418: Wearable Biosensors)3
N.C. State Campus
BME 412Biomedical Signal Processing3
BME 418Wearable Biosensors3
BME 425Bioelectricity3
BME 463Biomedical Optics and Lasers3
BME 565Microscopy3
ECE 455Computer Control of Robots 3
ECE 456Mechatronics3
ECE 461Embedded Systems3
ECE 505Neural Interface Engineering3

Medical Microdevices

UNC Campus
BMME 441Thermal Physics3
or MSE 301
Intro to Thermo (NC State)
or MAE 201
Engr. Thermo I (NC State)
BMME 455Biofluid Mechanics3
or CE 382
Hydraulics (NC State)
or MAE 308
Fluid Mechanics (NC State)
BMME 486Biomedical Instrumentation Design and Prototyping II2
BMME 495IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Engineering as a Technical Elective3
N.C. State Campus
BME 412Biomedical Signal Processing3
BME 418Wearable Biosensors3
BME 522Medical Instrumentation3
E 304Intro to Nano Science and Technology3
ECE 436Digital Control Systems3
ECE 505Neural Interface Engineering3

Regenerative Medicine

UNC Campus
BMME 420Introduction to Synthetic Biology3
BMME 441Thermal Physics3
or MAE 201
Engr. Thermo I (NC State)
or MSE 301
Intro to Thermo (NC State)
BMME 435Biological Physics3
BMME 455Biofluid Mechanics3
or CE 382
Hydraulics (NC State)
or MAE 308
Fluid Mechanics (NC State)
BMME 470Analysis of Tissue Engineering Technologies 3
BMME 495IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Engineering as a Technical Elective3
BMME 511Genetic Engineering3
N.C. State Campus
BME 429Cellular Engineering3
BME 448Functional Tissue Engineering3
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 495IDEAs in Action General Education logo Undergraduate Research in Biomedical Engineering as a Technical Elective3
BMME 505Skeletal Biomechanics3
N.C. State Campus
BME 418Wearable Biosensors3
BME 425Bioelectricity3
BME 444Orthopedic Biomechanics3
BME 467Mechanics of Tissues and Implants Requirements3
BME 545Bone Mechanobiology3
BME 556Rehabilitation Robotics3

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
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric 2
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch F 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Global Language through level 3 2, 3 3-4
Major Courses
MATH 231 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable I 1, H, F 4
MATH 232 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of One Variable II 1, H, F 4
PHYS 118 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity 1, F 4
CHEM 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry I
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I 1, F
4
BIOL 101
101L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Principles of Biology
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Biology Laboratory H, F
4
Hours 34-35
Sophomore Year
Major Courses
MATH 233 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Calculus of Functions of Several Variables H, F 4
MATH 383
383L
First Course in Differential Equations
and First Course in Differential Equations Laboratory H
4
PHYS 119 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introductory Calculus-based Electromagnetism and Quanta F 4
CHEM 102
102L
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II H, F
4
CHEM 261 Introduction to Organic Chemistry I H 3
BMME 298 Biomedical Engineering Design and Manufacturing I 2
COMP 116
Introduction to Scientific Programming
or Computer Methods in Biomedical Engineering
3
BMME 205 Biomedical Mechanics (Fall only) 4
BMME 209 Materials Science of Biomaterials (Spring only) 4
Additional Courses
Lifetime Fitness 1
Hours 33
Junior Year
Major Courses
BMME 207 Biomedical Electronics (Fall only) 4
BMME 301 Human Physiology : Electrical Analysis (Spring only) 4
BMME 302 Human Physiology: Mechanical Analysis (Fall only) 4
BMME 398 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Biomedical Engineering Design and Manufacturing II H 2
BMME ---Gateway elective I 3
BMME ---Gateway elective 2 3
BMME ---Gateway elective 3 3
STEM Elective 3
Additional Courses
Remaining IDEAs in Action requirements or electives 4
Hours 30
Senior Year
Major Courses
BMME ---Specialty Elective 1 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 2 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 3 3
BMME ---Specialty Elective 4 3
BMME 697 IDEAs in Action General Education logo BME Senior Design: Product Development (Fall only) 3
BMME 698 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Biomedical Engineering Senior Design: Product Implementation and Strategy (Spring only) 3
Additional Courses
Remaining IDEAs in Action requirements or electives to reach 124 credits 9
Hours 27
Total Hours 124-125
H

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

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

1

 With a grade of C or better. AP, IB, or transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

2

 With a grade of C or better. Transfer credit will be accepted according to university policies.

3

Students may wish to consider completing their GLBL-LANG requirement over the summer, in the second year, or through transfer credit to allow for taking fewer hours per semester in the first year.

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 for approval to enroll in BMME 691H. Additional information can be found in the Academic Credit for Research section of the web page.

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 website. 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.

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Visit Program Website

Chair

Paul Dayton

padayton@email.unc.edu

Associate Chair for Research

Shawn Gomez

smgomez@unc.edu

Associate Chair for Education, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Lianne Cartee

lacartee@email.unc.edu

Director of Graduate Studies

Matthew Fisher

mattfish@email.unc.edu

Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, Curriculum Advisor

Naji Husseini

najihuss@email.unc.edu

Student Services Coordinator

Vacant