Graduate Study
Biomedical Engineering (MS)

Applications to Northwestern University's Graduate School, and by extension to this department, must be submitted electronically. View the list of frequently asked questions below for more information regarding admissions.

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Northwestern's Biomedical Engineering MS department will be hosting three admissions information sessions via Zoom this fall/winter. 


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Applications and Admissions

How do I apply for admission to the BME MS program?

Applications for admission are submitted online through the Graduate School website.

When is the application deadline for fall admission?

The application deadline for fall admission to the MS program is January 31. Applications will not be reviewed until all required supplementary information is received and the application fee is paid to the Graduate School.

Can I apply to the MS-only program for winter or spring admission?

Yes, we admit students in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. The application deadlines are:

  • Winter: November 1st
  • Spring: January 31st
  • Fall: January 31st

When will I be notified of my admission?

Admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis.

Before I apply, can I have somebody in the BME department review my qualifications and tell me if I have a chance of being admitted?

Due to the high volume of emails we receive during this time, we cannot review individual applications. Emails sent to the BME department requesting a pre-application analysis of admission chances will not be acknowledged.

Is the MS program a track toward earning the PhD?

No. Students in the MS program must apply to be considered for the PhD program, at which time they will be considered competitively against all other PhD applicants. 

As a current MS student, how do I apply to the PhD program in BME at northwestern?

Please note that transitions from the MS program to the PhD program are very rare. The application for transfer is only open to students in the MS with thesis option, and only students who have already entered the second year of study will be considered. When applying, you must select the "TGS Transfer Student" application type. Interested students must have a MS GPA greater than 3.0 to be considered.  Please submit the following with your application by the deadline:

  • 2 new recommendation letters: these should not be the same letters that you submitted with your MS application; one letter should be from the faculty member who will serve as your advisor
  • Letter of Support: include a letter of support from your advisor with commitment of during for your PhD career because MS transfer students are not eligible for school fellowships

Please conduct your MS thesis committee update by February 15th of the second year to evaluate research process.

As a current bs/MS student, how do I apply to the PhD program in BME at northwestern?

BS/MS students are considered coming out of their undergraduate careers, but you still must select the “TGS Transfer Student” application type. Your application will be reviewed and treated like any other outside applicant. Completing your undergraduate studies at Northwestern does not guarantee admission.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

We require at least two letters of recommendation, but three are preferred. The letters of recommendation should be provided via the online CollegeNet system. They can be turned in after the application deadline, but the application will not be considered without at least two letters.

What factors are taken into consideration, and when are admission decisions made?

Past academic performance, work experience, research experience, letters of recommendation, your academic statement and personal statement are all taken into consideration, and each case is unique. Admission decisions are made after review of applications by a committee of BME faculty, after which final approval of admission recommendations is granted by the Graduate School. Generally, most admission decisions are made after the deadline.

I originally applied to the BME PhD program, but I have changed my mind and would like to be considered for the MS program. Can I automatically be considered for the MS program without reapplying?

When submitting their application, students may elect to be considered by the MS program if they are not admitted to the PhD program. These applications will be reviewed following PhD decisions and may take a few weeks to be completed.

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Admissions Prerequisites and Testing

I do not have a degree in biomedical engineering. Am I eligible to apply for admission to the BME MS program?

Students with undergraduate degrees in other engineering fields or the quantitative sciences may apply for admission and are often admitted. At a minimum, students must have a background in advanced mathematics (through ordinary differential equations, linear algebra, and vector calculus) and a basic understanding of biological sciences, physics and engineering related to their intended area of research.

Is there a minimum GPA or GRE requirement for eligibility to apply?

The Graduate School minimum GPA for applicants is 3.0. The BME follows this requirement. 

Is there a form to be used for recommendation letters?

No. Persons providing letters of recommendation should comment on your past academic/research performance and future potential.

Do I need to take the GRE exam?

GRE scores will not be accepted.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Students whose first language is not English must take and submit the results of either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Michigan English Test exam. International students who completed a BS or MS degree from an institution where English is the medium of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL exam. TOEFL scores for MS applicants must be 90 or higher. On the IELTS, the score must be 7.0 or higher. On the Michigan English Test, the score must be 61 or higher.

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Financial Aid and Funding

Is financial aid available for MS students?

The MS program is self-funded. Please see the Financial Aid department for more information.