Undergraduate Study

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The biomedical engineering program provides training that is quantitative, emphasizes problem-solving and design, and treats phenomena from the molecular to the systems level. Required courses in mathematics, engineering, and science establish a strong foundation for biomedical engineering major courses.

Degree Requirements

Below are the degree requirements for students who entered in Fall 2023 or later. Students who entered prior to Fall 2023 should view the curriculum planning resources for students who enrolled prior to Fall 2023. Students must complete a minimum of 48 courses, including the following. Only Social sciences/humanities and unrestricted courses may be taken P/N.

Mathematics (4 courses)

  • MATH 220-1, 2 (Single Variable Calculus)
  • MATH 228-1, 2 (Multivariable Calculus)

Basic Sciences (4 courses)

  • PHYSICS 135-2, 3 (General Physics) plus labs 136-2, 3
  • CHEM 131 and 132 (General Chemistry) or 151 and 152 (General Chemistry) or 171 and 172 (Accelerated Chemistry) plus labs

Engineering Analysis (4 courses)

  • GEN ENG 205-1 (Computational Methods and Linear Algebra)
  • GEN ENG 205-2 (Linear Algebra and Mechanics)
  • GEN ENG 205-3 (Dynamic System Modeling)
  • GEN ENG 205-4 (Differential Equations)

Engineering Design and Communication (3 courses)

Social Sciences/Humanities Theme and Unrestricted Electives (12 courses)

See the McCormick theme requirement webpage for more information.

Biomedical Engineering Program (21 courses)

  • Basic Engineering (5 courses)
    • Take all of these courses:
    • BMD_ENG 220 Introduction to Biostatistics or IEMS 303 Statistics I
    • BMD_ENG 270 Fluid Mechanics or MECH ENG 241 Fluid Mechanics I
    • COMP_SCI 150 Fundamentals of Computer Programming 1.5 
    • Take 2 of the following 3 courses:
    • BMD_ENG 250 Thermodynamics or MECH ENG 222 Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics I
    • BMD_ENG 271 Introduction to Biomechanics
    • MAT_SCI 201 Principles of the Properties of Materials
  • Core (10 courses + 1 zero credit seminar)
  • Technical Electives (2 units)

    Technical electives (2 units required).  These may include: BIOL_SCI 202, BIOL_SCI 301, BMD_ENG 250, BMD_ENG 271, CHEM 215-2, CHEM 215-3, DSGN 240 (0.5 unit), DSGN 321 (0.5 unit), COMP_SCI 211, MAT_SCI 201, and graded, 300-level or higher courses in engineering*, science, or mathematics.  

    Three, 0.34 unit science labs may also be combined and counted as a technical elective. Six total labs can be used.   

    BMD_ENG 250-0, BMD_ENG 271-0, or MAT_SCI 201-0 may also be used as a technical elective course as long as it not used as a basic engineering course.  

    *These courses don’t need to carry 100% engineering topics. Any 395 course must be approved; not all are acceptable. BME 399 Independent Study is only graded P/N and may not be used as a technical elective.  BME 499 is graded and may be used as a technical elective. 

  • Biomedical Engineering Electives (4 courses)

    Four courses must be completed. Two must be from category A below. Two must be from category B, which includes many courses. Please see the PDF version of the curriculum for category B options.
    Students may choose to focus all these courses in a particular area of biomedical engineering, but this is optional.

    Category A courses are:

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Curriculum Planning Resources

The documents listed below outline degree requirements and will help Biomedical Engineering students plan for completing their degree. The following curriculum planning guides and forms are available:

Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

The bachelor of science in biomedical engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the General Criteria and the Biomedical Engineering Program Criteria.

Northwestern University BME Undergraduates FAQ