Admissions Requirements

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Earn a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at OHSU

The Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program serves as the center of innovation for the School of Medicine. We train future innovators, entrepreneurs and scientific leaders. Are you ready to join us?

Admissions Requirements

Admissions update: COVID-19
To ensure the safety of our applicants, student, faculty and staff, admissions interviews and recruitment events will take place online this year.

Application deadline for fall start 2024: December 15, 2023

Ph.D. applicants who have accepted offers of admission and later wish to request a deferral may write to, using the subject line "PhD Deferral Request."

General Requirements

  • A baccalaureate or equivalent degree from a recognized academic institution (accredited U.S., or equivalent foreign institution). 
  • Demonstration of thorough training and background in the quantitative sciences and a strong interest and aptitude for research prior to applying to graduate school.
  • A cumulative grade-point average of all undergraduate courses of at least 3.0 (based on a letter grade system of A-4 points, B-3 points, C-2 points, D-1 point, F-0 points), or its equivalent in other grading systems
  • Standardized tests, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), are not a requirement for admission to the School of Medicine.
  • There are no specific undergraduate course requirements for admission. However, we are looking for applicants with undergraduate coursework in engineering and other basic sciences with strong mathematics backgrounds.

For more information about general admissions requirements, please visit the School of Medicine Graduate Studies website.

International Students

We welcome international students! If English is not your native language,  take either the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or English Language Testing System (IELTS). This requirement will be waived if you received an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited college or university in an English-speaking country. A waiver may also be requested if you can provide strong evidence of fluency in reading and writing English.

Applicants with foreign degrees are strongly encouraged to obtain a World Education Services International Credential Advantage Package (WES ICAP) course-by-course credential evaluation. No official foreign transcript are needed in addition to the evaluation if the WES ICAP. Applicants are responsible for the full cost of this service. Please contact us to determine if the WES ICAP is required during the application process. 

How to apply

We accept Ph.D. student applications year-round, but prospective students are encouraged to apply by December 15 for starting the fall term of the following year.  OHSU online application

The School of Medicine approves application fee waivers for applicants who are experiencing economic instability.  Application Fee Waiver 

Please direct questions about the online application to: or call Customer Service 857-304-2017 Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm EST.


The online application requires uploading UNOFFICIAL transcripts from all colleges and universities attended for the initial review of your admissions file. Transcripts must document coursework completed, grades received and degrees awarded; transcripts must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation.

OFFICIAL transcripts will be required upon acceptance in order to be matriculated into the program

Official transcripts should be submitted to:

OHSU SOM Graduate Admissions
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd L102GS
Portland, OR 97239

Transcripts from Foreign Institutions:

OHSU strongly encourages all applicants with foreign degrees to obtain a World Education Service International Credential Advantage Package (WES ICAP) course-by-course credential evaluation. Please consult WES's website for more information and instructions. Applicants are responsible for the full cost of this service. 


Three letters of reference should be requested from persons who have a thorough knowledge of your background, qualifications, and potential for success in research and graduate school.

BME specifics

OHSU School of Medicine graduate application will also have questions asked specifically from the Biomedical Engineering graduate program. You will be asked to provide information about the following:

  • Your insight into the diversity you bring to OHSU
  • Any adversity you have faced (optional)
  • Honors, awards, fellowships and distinctions
  • Publication and original work
  • Membership(s) in professional organizations
  • A description of your interest in OHSU
  • Research area of interest
  • A list several faculty within Biomedical Engineering who are engaged in research which is of most interest to you.

You will also be asked to provide a personal statement and any other documents of interest.

Admissions Process

All application received are reviewed by at least three members of the admission committee. All members of this committee go through the OHSU Campus wide Unconscious Bias Training to ensure that our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is upheld during the admissions process. 

Selected applicants are invited to interview at our recruitment event held at the end of February each year. Admissions decisions are made subsequent to this event and communicated to applicants in a timely manner.

Admissions Committee

An Admissions Committee is formed to review applications submitted to the main admissions cycle (deadline December 15). The Admissions Committee meets on three different occasions: admissions pre-meeting, admissions review meeting, and admissions decision meeting. Off-cycle applications are reviewed 2 months prior to the start of the admission quarter by at least 3 faculty members of the BME Education Committee. The BME Education Committee consists of the Department Chair, the Program Director, 3 BME graduate faculty members, the Program coordinator and the Department Administrator. All applications are reviewed based on an established rubric for the following areas: Education, Research, Letters of Recommendation, Honors/Awards/Publications, Writing, Fit, and
Diversity contribution.

Our BME Program Guidelines outline our admissions process in detail. 

Internal Admissions Process

  • Pre-meeting - Prior to the application deadline, the committee meets to review expectations of the Admissions Committee, application review and interview best practices and the BME admissions rubric. 
  • Review meeting - After applications have been reviewed and evaluated based on the admissions rubric, the committee meets as a whole to review application and decide unanimously which applicants will be invited to interview. 
  • Recruitment - recruitment interview take place in February. Applicants are interviewed by 3-4 faculty and students. Faculty interviewing students are required to evaluate students based on the BME interview rubric.
  • Admissions decision meeting - a final meeting is held subsequent the recruitment interviews. Candidates are asked for their faculty choices and faculty accepting students are asked for their candidate choices. The Program Director undertakes candidate/faculty matching based on the Admissions Committee recommendations.
  • Admissions decisions - after careful consideration of the interview results, candidate application and Program Director recommendations, the Admissions Committee makes its final decisions (offer, waitlist or admissions denial) which is communicated to the candidates in a time manner.

1. What courses should I be taking in order to be considered for your program?

Although we do not exclude from consideration students who have not taken a large number of courses in the biological and chemical sciences, we are looking for students who have strong engineering backgrounds. This means that we recommend that you take and receive good grades in courses like biochemistry, organic chemistry, differential equations, physics and statistics. We also recommend a course in research methods.

2. What GPA and/or GRE test scores should I have?

There are no absolute cut-offs, but applicants who are invited to interview usually have a GPA greater than 3.0. Students with grades below this require special consideration. GRE test scores are no longer required to be considered for admission into the Biomedical Engineering graduate program.

3. What should I include in my personal statement to make it stand out?

We especially want to know about research projects that you have been involved in and the sort of research you imagine yourself doing if you were a student in our program. This might include naming faculty you would be interested in working with and what you see as your long term career plans. Please visit our faculty web pages.

4. What information would you like my recommenders to include in their letters?
Information about how long they have known you and under what circumstances (did you take a class with them or work in their lab?). We'd like to know what you do well and what things you're not as good at, plus how they think these things might affect how you would do in graduate school.

5. Do I need to complete a GRE subject test?
No. There are no GRE subject test requirements.

6. I missed your application deadline. Do you admit students mid-year?
The Biomedical Engineering program considers applications and admits students year round. 

7. I currently have a Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering/Mathematics/Something Else. May I transfer credits to your program?
A petition can be made any time during your first year to transfer credits received for formal course work (not research or independent study). Only courses in which a grade of B or better was received will be considered and a maximum of 45 quarter term credits from an accredited institution can be transferred to the Ph.D. degree at OHSU. Transfer of credits must be approved first by the Graduate Program Director, then the Graduate Council, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and the Registrar.

8. I have a master's degree. Will I have to get another in your program?
Our Ph.D. program does not require you to also get a master’s degree.

9. How much will it cost me to be a student in your program?
We provide a stipend to all students in our program. The stipend amount increases each year and amounts are established through the Graduate Researchers Union contract with OHSU. Please see the current School of Medicine stipend policy for current stipend rates. All tuition and student fees are waived or paid for the student. Students are also covered by the University's Student Health Service.

10. When is the application deadline?
December 15, 2023 for fall term of 2024. The Biomedical Engineering program accepts students all year round.

11. How many people do you admit/interview each year?
Approximately: 10-20 interviewees and 5-15 students matriculating.

12. When will I hear if you are going to interview me?
You should hear from us by the second week of January.

13. How long will it take to get my degree?
The typical student will complete the requirements for their Ph.D. degree in 4-6 years. Our current average time to degree is 4.5 years.

14. I am neither a U.S. citizen nor a permanent resident. Will you accept my application?
All students admitted to our program can expect to be supported as graduate research assistants by federally funded research training grants, by departmental funds, or by individual faculty research grants. In order to be eligible for federally funded training grant support the individual must be a U.S. citizen or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. 

Due to the above-mentioned funding challenges, it is rare that we extend offers of admission to foreign applicants. In order to do so, we would need to identify a faculty mentor with an appropriate funding source that is willing to be financially responsible for the student for their entire training period. Foreign applicants are encouraged to browse our faculty profiles to find one or more faculty members that match their career interests and to communicate directly with them about the possibility of joining their labs prior to applying for admission. Encouraging communications from the particular faculty member should be noted in your application personal statement.

15. English is not my first language. However, my English proficiency is excellent. Will I need to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement?
The TOEFL is required for all applicants for whom English is not a native language. The applicant may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement in their personal statement. The waiver is generally granted for applicants who completed their undergraduate degree at an English-speaking American university.

16. I have more questions. Who should I contact?

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Get in touch with us:

Karina Nakayama, Ph.D.

Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D.
Program Directors

Alex Breiding
Academic Coordinator