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.

Learn more about admissions process for the McCormick School of Engineering

Start the Online Application

Jump to a Section

Applications and Admissions

How do I apply for admission to the BME MS-only 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?

No. We generally admit MS students for admission during Fall quarter only.

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?

No. Because of the difficulty of accurately assessing qualifications of students in the absence of official transcripts, letters of recommendation and other information, we cannot honor these requests. 

Is the MS-only program a track toward earning the PhD?

No. Students in the MS-only 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. Interested students must have a MS GPA greater than 3.5 to be considered; though a GPA of 3.5 does not guarantee admission.  Please submit the following with your application by December 15:
  • 3 new recommendation letters (These should not be the letters that you submitted with your MS application. One letter should be from the faculty member who will serve as your advisor and must include a commitment to provide full funding for the duration of the PhD. Transfer students are not eligible for departmental fellowships.)
  • Statement of research that you plan to do in the PhD program (1 page max)
  • Northwestern transcript
  • Plan of study for all remaining courses relevant to the PhD
In addition, please have your advisor send a letter of support with commitment of funding for your PhD career to the BME Director of Graduate Admissions (this can be sent care of, but request that this be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Admissions).

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

How many letters of recommendation are required?

We require at least two (three preferred) letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation should be submitted online only.

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

Past academic performance, work experience, research experience, test scores, letters of recommendation and statement of purpose 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-only program. Can I automatically be considered for the MS-only program without reapplying?

If a decision has not yet been made on your PhD application, you may send a letter to the graduate school requesting administrative reassignment of your application from the PhD to the MS-only program. However, if you were already denied admission to the PhD program, you must wait until the following year to reapply through the graduate school for admission to the MS-only program.

Return to Top

Admissions Prerequisites and Testing

I do not have a degree in biomedical engineering. Am I eligible to apply for admission to the BME MS-only 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. Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted prior to meeting these requirements, but is expected to meet them before enrolling.

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

The BME department does not enforce minimum GPA or GRE scores for applicants. However, admission is competitive. The average GPA of the entering class is 3.5. 

How many letters of recommendation are required?

We require at least two (three preferred) letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation should be submitted online only.

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?

All applicants must take and submit the results of the general GRE exam. Official scores must be less than five years old and include results from the new analytical writing section. The institutional code assigned to The Graduate School at Northwestern is 1565. Be sure to include this number, and only this number, on your test form. If your results are not sent to this code, we will not receive them. If you are unable to submit an official copy from Educational Testing Services (ETS), you may submit your test results via screenshot or in PDF format. It must clearly show that these were taken from the ETS website. We also accept MCAT scores in lieu of GRE scores.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Students whose first language is not English must take and submit the results of the TOEFL 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.

Return to Top

Financial Aid and Funding

Is financial aid available for MS-only students?

The BME department generally does not offer financial aid to students in the MS-only program.