Bioengineering PhD Model Program

Bioengineering is a diverse and growing field encompassing many topics including biomaterials, biomechanics including robotics, biophysics and neuromotor control.  

The guidelines given here form a starting point for a discussion with the faculty about areas of interest. Students should become familiar with both these bioengineering course guidelines as well as the school's overall PhD course requirements, and work in close consultation with their advisors to develop an individualized program plan that is consistent with those requirements. Courses provide the background knowledge that is needed to successfully complete research and allow students to learn more broadly about a field or related fields in a structured fashion.

Students can consider structuring their coursework in the following framework:

  1. Applied math and computation, 2-3 courses. The goal is to acquire analytical and computational tools for modeling and data analysis. Typical courses include AM 121, AM 201, AM 205, AM 216, AM 232, AC 209a.
  2. Depth in a specific field of engineering or applied science, 3-5 courses. Students should acquire expertise that allows them to address cutting-edge problems in their chosen field. The choice of field will depend on the thesis research area and intended career focus. Examples:
    • Cells, Tissues, and Biomaterials: ES 222, ES 230, ES 221, ES 228, ES 220, ES 293, ES 240, AP 225, AP 235
    • Applied Mechanics: ES 240, ES 241, ES 246, ES 228, ES 220, AP 235
    • Signal, Image and Data Processing: ES 201, ES 226r, ES 250, ES 255, AM 254, CS 283
    • Controls and Robotics: ES 201, ES 202, ES 226r, ES 249, ES 259, ES 252r, CS 289
    • Medical Imaging & Image Processing: CS 283, ES 250, ES 258, ES 293
    • Design and Instrumentation: ES 227, ES 228, ES 259, ES 276, ES 277, ES 291, PHY 223
  3. Physiology and biology, 1-2 courses. Background in biological function that informs thesis research and prepares students for future research in bioengineering. Subject areas may range from molecular to cellular to organs to system-level anatomy and function. Typical courses include: ES 222, CELLBIO 304qc.

It is also worth noting that Harvard and MIT students may cross register for courses at either institution.

The Model Program provided above is intended to provide guidance and should not be construed as a requirement; students, in consultation with their advisor(s), have the flexibility to construct any Ph.D. Program Plan that meets the overall PhD Program course requirements.