The Department of Biomedical Engineering offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree (MS), the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD), and the Doctor of Engineering Science degree (EngScD). We also offer the PhD component of the MD/PhD program in collaboration with Columbia University Medical School.

Application

Full application details are available on the Graduate Student Affairs site.

Housing

Graduate students have a number of housing opportunities in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. The three main sources are University Apartment Housing (UAH), International House, and off-campus listings. UAH operates Columbia-owned apartments and dormitory-style suites in the Morningside area within walking distance of the campus.

Applicants who already have a Master of Science degree or equivalent may apply directly to the doctoral degree program. All applicants are expected to have earned the bachelor’s degree in engineering or in a cognate scientific program.

Applications for admission with financial aid are due in December for the fall semester in the next academic year. All applications must be submitted by mid-February for the fall semester and by the beginning of October for the spring semester.

Requirements

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE General Test only) is required of all applicants.

Students whose bachelor’s degree was not earned in a country where English is the dominant spoken language:

  1. Are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  2. Are required to take Columbia’s American Language Program (ALP) English Placement Test (EPT) at orientation upon arrival.
    M.S. candidates must reach level 8 on the EPT. Doctoral degree candidates must attain level 10. It is strongly recommended the students enroll in an appropriate ALP course if they have not achieved the required proficiency after the first examination.

Individual tracks require applicants to have taken the following foundation courses:

Biomechanics: One year of biology and/or physiology, solid mechanics, statics and dynamics, fluid mechanics, ordinary differential equations.

Cellular and Tissue Engineering: One year of organic chemistry or biochemistry with laboratory. One year of biology and/or physiology, fluid mechanics, rate processes, ordinary differential equations.

Biomedical Imaging: Linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, Fourier analysis, digital signal processing, and one year of biology and/ or physiology and/or biochemistry.

Applicants lacking some of these courses may be considered for admission with stipulated deficiencies that must be satisfied in addition to the requirements of the degree program.

The Engineering School does not admit students holding the BS degree directly to doctoral studies; admission is offered either to the MS program or to the MS program/doctoral track. Admissions standards for the latter category are generally higher than for the former.

Applicants holding an appropriate MS degree from another institution may apply directly to the doctoral program. The Department of Biomedical Engineering also admits students into the 4-2 program, which provides the opportunity for students holding a bachelor’s degree from certain physical sciences to receive the MS degree after two years of study at Columbia.

Financial Aid

Students admitted to the graduate program are eligible for merit-based financial aid. Research assistantships are provided to all students admitted into the doctoral program, and they provide a yearly stipend of approximately $25,500 (as at 2007) along with tuition wavier. However, all graduate students (and applicants) are strongly encouraged to apply for external funding and fellowships. Contact our graduate chair Professor Helen Lu for information.

Graduate Fellowships

All graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for individual fellowships, such as those awarded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. Students in our department have been highly successful in obtaining these awards and some (but not all) opportunities are listed below. Once admitted, our graduate fellowship adviser, Professor Helen Lu can provide more information on applying for external fellowships.

Do not hesitate to contact individual faculty advisers to discuss application support.

Eligible master’s students from underrepresented minorities can apply for GEM Fellowships.

Every year, we elect several of our most outstanding new applicants to receive a Presidential Fellowship from the Office of the Dean of Engineering. This prestigious award covers stipend and full tuition for graduate studies within the Department for a minimum of four years.