Graduate Program FAQ's

Prospective Student Information: When do I apply and how?

A formal application should be submitted to the registrar as early as possible in the academic year preceding the year you in which you wish to matriculate. Applications can be downloaded directly from graduate school website. Decisions about fall admissions will be made starting in late February. Check out our "How to Apply" section for more. The BME Graduate Brochure provides more information regarding our graduate program.

What are the criteria used to judge applicants?

Admissions is based on superior undergraduate performance (especially in math, science and/or engineering), scores of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and three letters of recommendation. Prior experience in a research setting is an important factor in the evaluation process. Results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) are required of international students.

What kind of undergraduate background do students have entering the program?

While an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering is advantageous, we also accept students with degrees in other engineering disciplines, applied math, physics and the sciences. Minor deficiencies can be made up through course work in any of the relevant undergraduate departments at Stony Brook after entering the graduate program.

What are the specific course requirements of the program?

In addition to the general areas above, we require our incoming students to have a strong background in mathematics, general chemistry, physics and physiology. It is helpful to have a good command of statistics.

How much will graduate school cost?

Most students pursuing a doctoral degree will be supported by a stipend. In combination with a tuition waiver, this stipend is sufficient to cover the normal living expenses during graduate school. Depending on availability, some students pursuing just a master's degree may also receive a tuition waiver. Typically, those pursuing a master's degree with a thesis will usually also receive a stipend as a research assistant while they are performing thesis-related research. Students are also eligible to receive federal and state students loans. The SUNY Graduate School website also lists over twenty additional links to other organizations providing financial resources for graduate studies. You may be interested in our site areas: Find Funding, Internships, or Grants Resources.

How long will this program take me?

On the average at Stony Brook, it takes 5 years to earn a Ph.D. degree. It is reasonable to plan between 4 to 6 years. This is similar to the national average for obtaining a Ph.D. in a biomedical science, which is 5.5 years. All students matriculating into the Ph.D. program are required to first obtain a master's degree. Hence, if you are entering as a first-year graduate student in BME, you will typically obtain a master's degree in BME from Stony Brook within two years. The first year is occupied by course work and laboratory rotations. For students planning on going directly into industry and who are in the Master's Non-Thesis Option, they will complete their course work and master's degree in the third semester. For students pursuing the Master's with Thesis Option, the second year entails some coursework but largely is devoted to performing your master's thesis research. Second year graduate students desiring to pursue their Ph.D. will typically take a qualifying exam at the end of the second year before entering the period of dissertation research. Students who already have a relevant master's degree may apply directly to the Ph.D. program. These students should contact BME faculty prior to the admissions deadline and arrange to interview for positions in their respective laboratories. Contact the Graduate Program Director if you have any questions.

When do I get to work in the lab?

All first-year students perform two laboratory rotations in their first academic year. We encourage you to choose one of these rotations in a laboratory in which you are considering doing your master's and/or doctoral dissertation research.

When do I choose a mentor for my thesis or dissertation?

We ask that first-year graduate students select a master's mentor no later than the middle of their second semester. Ph.D. students should select a dissertation mentor no later than the end of the second academic year. A listing of potential graduate research opportunitites has been prepared.

Are there opportunities to teach in the program?

All doctoral students are required to teach (be the primary instructor of) a one semester course within their field. Master's students receiving graduate assistant stipends (first-year stipends) will typically work as teaching assistants.

How can I learn all the other things that will make me a better biomedical engineer/scientist?

There are several courses offered by the graduate school at Stony Brook in ethics and professional development including lecture/seminar preparation, and how to write papers and grants. Ample information is also provided about various career opportunities. There are many opportunities for the students to get experience giving talks and thinking on their feet. You may be interested in our BME resources or Career resource sections.

How will this program make me competitive in my engineering/scientific career?

Our graduate program is designed to produce the integrative biomedical engineers/scientists of the future who are as comfortable thinking in terms of biology, as they are in engineering. The program teaches the student how to ask a question, evaluate what is known and what is worth asking and then use the best methodology to generate an answer. It is this vertical approach to problem solving that will bring the wealth of basic science research into the practice in the biomedical engineering settings.

Want facts and figures, see our Chairs Perspective.

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