Courses of Study 2017-2018 
    Jul 21, 2024  
Courses of Study 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biomedical Engineering

In the College of Engineering.

Course Offerings


M. C. H. van der Meulen, Chair; J.T. Butcher, Associate Chair and DUS; S. Adie, I. Brito, B. Cosgrove, I. DeVlaminck, N. de Faria, Masters of Engineering Director, P. C. Doerschuk, C. Fischbach-Teschl, C. Hernandez, J. Lammerding, N. Nishimura, W. L. Olbricht, D. A. Putnam, M. Saboncu, C. B. Schaffer, Director of Graduate Studies, M. Shuler, Y. Wang, W. R. Zipfel. Senior lecturers: S. D. Archer

Biomedical Engineering

Offered by: Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering

Contact: 108 Weill Hall, (607) 254-3368,

This major is accredited by: NY State Department of Education.

Program Mission

Cornell’s vision for Biomedical Engineering centers around a quantitative approach to understanding biology across length and time scales, with a focus on issues related to human health. The quantitative nature of this program distinguishes the major from traditional programs in biology, while the focus on human health is distinct from other programs in engineering that include the study of biological systems (e.g. Biological and Environmental Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering). Additionally, its focus on multiscale analysis of biological systems is a unique signature of Cornell Biomedical Engineering relative to programs at peer institutions.

Program Objectives

Biomedical Engineering is a leader in developing research that spans the Ithaca and New York City campuses, including Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell Tech. Our objective is to create world-class graduates to meet the 21st century needs of biomedical-related industries focused on medical devices and pharmaceuticals, as well as government and private consulting practice. We also aim to produce intellectual and technical leaders for graduate education in medicine or engineering. Most importantly, we aim to create a diverse community of life-long learners who are innovation confident, collaborative across disciplines, and community engaged.

  • Objective 1: Teach our students to apply engineering principles to understand and predict the behavior of biological and physiological systems relevant to human health and disease
  • Objective 2: Train our students in the theory and practice of biomedical engineering design and technology creation
  • Objective 3: Train our students to engineer robust solutions within highly variable and complex biomedical problems
  • Objective 4: Build critical leadership, interpersonal and professional skills to thrive within diverse team environments and prepare for life-long learning
  • Objective 5: Provide our students with opportunities for an experiential learning approach based on biomedical applications
  • Objective 6: To provide a complementary liberal education in humanities, history and social sciences

Engineering Distribution Courses:



Major Program:

Students may substitute CHEM 1570  for PHYS 2214  in the common curriculum (see note 4 below).  The following courses are required in addition to those required for the Common Curriculum.

Biomedical Engineering Concentrations (must choose one: 13 credits minimum)

1. Molecular, Cellular, and Systems Engineering (MCSE)

Required Courses:

Electives (choose 6 credits from the following courses):

3. Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation (BMII)

Required Courses:

Electives (choose 6 credits from the following courses):

4. Biomedical Mechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB)

Required Courses:

Electives (choose 6 credits from the following courses):

Additional Requirements

In addition to the two First-year Writing Seminars, a technical writing course must be taken.  This requirement will be satisfied with the BME Concentration Laboratory.


1. Recommended: ENGRD 2020 ENGRD 2020  satisfies the Common Curriculum distribution requirement and also fulfills a required Major course. It is best taken during semester 3 and must be completed before semester 5.

2. CEE 3040  alternatively satisfies this course.

3. The choice between PHYS 2214  or CHEM 1570  depends on the concentration chosen within the Major. CHEM 1570  can also be satisfied by the pre-medicine organic chemistry/biochemistry sequence. PHYS 2214  is recommended for the Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation (BMII) and Biomedical Mechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB) concentrations; CHEM 1570  is recommended for the Molecular/Cellular/ Systems Engineering (MCSE) and Biomaterials and Drug Delivery (BMDD) concentrations.


Academic Standing

Majors in Biomedical Engineering are expected to meet the following standards:

  1. Semester GPA > 2.3
  2. Cumulative GPA > 2.1
  3. No grade below C- in any Core or Concentration Course Required for Graduation (note1)
  4. No failing grade
  5. Minimum of 12 credits per semester completed with passing grades (note2)


  • Only one course below a C- within major required courses is allowed for graduation.
  • No course with a grade lower than C- may be used to satisfy a prerequisite for a subsequent BME course.

Biomedical Engineering Honors Program

To participate in this honors program, students must meet the Majors Honors Programs criteria as delineated above, and must have at least 11 credits beyond the minimum required for graduation in BME (therefore the minimum number of credits to graduate is 141). These 11 credits shall include:

  •  BTRY 3020  Biological Statistics II – With a grade of at least B+ (4 credits). NOTE: BTRY 3010  is a prerequisite for BTRY 3020 .
  • A significant research experience or honors project under the supervision of a BME faculty member using BME 4990 (Undergraduate Research) and BME 4991 (Honors Thesis), to be completed in their fourth year. A written senior honors thesis must be submitted as part of the second component. A minimum grade of A- in both courses is required for successful completion of this honors requirement. The two research courses will be taken in consecutive semesters. (6+ credits)
  • A significant teaching experience under the supervision of a BME faculty member or as part of a regularly recognized course in the department under  BME 4970 : Undergraduate Teaching. (1+ credits)

Additional criteria:

1. The student must present a poster or oral presentation in a public research forum such as a national or regional professional society meeting, Bio Expo, or other public university event by the end of the student’s project.

2. Project teams are not acceptable for Honors Thesis research unless there is a clearly defined project outside of the team effort attested by the project faculty advisor.

3. No research, independent study, or teaching experience for which the student is paid may be counted towards the credits required for the honors program.

Application Timing:

All interested students must complete a written application (available 108 Weill Hall) no later than the end of the third week of their 7th semester, but students are encouraged to make arrangements with a faculty member during their junior year.