Master's Admissions—Frequently Asked Questions

While you are selecting a master degree program, we know that you will have questions. Below are answers to questions we frequently hear from applicants.

If you have a question that is not answered below, please feel free to contact the BME Director of Master's Studies.

How do I know which degree—PhD, MS or MEng—is right for me?

We have an option that is right for you! You might begin your path by reviewing our degree comparison chart.

The chart quickly details options for graduate education in biomedical engineering at Duke. As you make your choice, consider your career goals.

Many of our Master of Science (MS) graduates continue on to elite PhD programs, or preparation for leadership for engineering positions in industry or government. A Master of Engineering (MEng) degree provides rigorous technical training in combination with business education and industry exposure – excellent preparation for a career in today's high-tech industries.

Our PhD program provide outstanding technical training to prepare you for research leadership in any academic, government or industry realm.

What are the application requirements for engineering graduate programs at Duke?

Our entire application process takes place online.

The Graduate School at Duke processes all applications for Master of Science (MS) and PhD.

The Pratt School of Engineering Professional Master’s Program processes all applications for Master of Engineering (MEng).

In general, you will need the following documents to apply for any graduate engineering program at Duke:

  • An official transcript that states you hold a BS degree or equivalent in engineering or science.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test is optional
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Written statement of purpose that describes your specific academic and career interests
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score (if applicable), IETLS (International English Language Testing System) score1, or a waiver2


1 IELTS is less commonly submitted by applicants.

2Consider the program to which you are applying, and then read the Duke Graduate School minimum scores and TOEFL/IETLS Waiver Policy and Master of Engineering (MEng) TOEFL Waiver Policy

As a Master of Engineering (MEng) applicant, what do I need to be considered for financial support?

Please see our MEng website for more information regarding tuition and financial aid in our Master of Engineering program.

Do I need to provide proof of financial ability when I apply to a Duke master's program?

No. Proof that you can afford to pay for graduate studies at Duke is not required at the time of application.

However, once accepted, master's students are required to show proof of financial ability to maintain their cost of living and cost of study.

Find more information at The Graduate School's website.

Does Duke BME have a Conditional Acceptance policy?

No. The Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs in biomedical engineering (BME) do not offer conditional acceptance or admission.

How do I choose a master's adviser?

All master's students enter the program under the Director of Master's Studies. If they decide to pursue a research track, the principal investigator of that lab generally becomes their adviser.

How do I match my interests with BME research and curriculum?

The best way is to find out more about us. The Duke BME website is full of information about our research strengths and our world-class faculty members. We also encourage you to review news and video of our recent breakthroughs and achievements. Follow Duke BME on Facebook.

Why not sign up to receive our free Duke BME email newsletter?

Send Us Email

We enjoy talking to prospective students. Email the BME Director of Graduate Studies for Master Programs (DMS). The DMS will be happy to answer your questions and suggest additional sources of information.

If you find an individual Duke BME faculty member with whom you'd like to work, please feel free to email her or him to discuss your mutual interests. Email addresses are listed for nearly all of our faculty members on our departmental websites.

Visit Us

Visiting Duke? We'd love to meet you. If you email us a week or more before your trip, we can arrange for you to meet with a current student and get a tour.

How long does it take to complete a master's degree at Duke?

Usually 1.5 to 2 calendar years. Both the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs require 30 units of course credit, which usually translates to 10 courses. Most students complete these 10 courses in three or four semesters, or 1.5 to 2 years.

Is there a teaching assistant (TA) requirement for master's students?

No. But master's students who qualify may become Teaching Assistants (TAs) in paid hourly positions.

To qualify, a student must:

  • Have a minimum 3.5 GPA
  • Be recommended by a primary faculty member
  • Have taken and done well in the class being considered

Contact BME Director of Master Studies (DMS) for more information.

May I take courses in other departments and across Duke?

Yes! We encourage students to build an interdisciplinary educational experience tailor to their future plans. Duke offers a wide range of opportunities, and students are encouraged to work with their advisers to develop plans that take full advantage of course opportunities in the School of Medicine, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Duke basic science departments.

My first language is not English, but I studied in an English-speaking country before applying to a Duke master's program. Can the TOEFL requirement be waived?

Yes, it is possible. For more information, consider the program to which you are applying, and then read:

What are the minimum admissions criteria for engineering graduate programs at Duke?

Undergraduate Degree

We require an undergraduate degree. We base admissions decisions on several factors, including letters of recommendation, your specific research or career interests, undergraduate coursework/preparation, and faculty match.

We consider all applications holistically and recognize that there are several ways of demonstrating proficiency. For example, a strong GPA score on the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), along with positive letters of recommendation speaking to your technical acumen may be sufficient.

If you do not have an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, be sure to address this in the statement of purpose you submit with your application.

GRE score is optional. 

Minimum GPA and TOEFL Score

No minimum GPA and TOEFL scores for applications to Master of Engineering (MEng) program. 

For applications to the Master of Science (MS) program, we require a minimum GPA of 3.2 from an undergraduate program.

If applicable, a minimum TOEFL score of 90 on the Internet-based test  or IELTS score of 7.0 is also required. 

Average UGPA Scores for Recently Admitted Applicants: 3.6
What are the minimum admissions criteria for students without undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering?

The Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) programs in Biomedical Engineering (BME) admit students without undergraduate degrees in biomedical sciences and engineering. The minimum requirement is that the students have taken the following college-level courses:

  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Introduction to Physics (mechanics) (or with accepted AP credit)
  • Introduction to Chemistry (or with accepted AP credits)
What career development services are available for graduate students?

In addition to the support provided through faculty advising within the department, the Duke Career Development Center offers assistance and extensive resources for graduate students. These services include counseling during graduate studies, and also professional and career counseling and support for exploration of employment opportunities upon completion of graduate study. The Duke Career Center offers confidential advising services, electronic magazine and scholarly society links, fellowship and grant links, graduate school and thesis/dissertation guides, networking information, research directories, writing and research online resources, and career and employment resources, among others.

As program completion nears, graduate students may choose to use the Duke Career Center resources to explore a broad range of employment sectors, including higher education, government, or the corporate world. There is information and training on career planning, interviewing and job search skills, resume and cover letter writing, academic and industry job searches, job listings and employment opportunities, employer research and profiles, on-campus recruiting and graduate student career symposia, and one-on-one resourcing with a PhD career counselor and through periodicals and journals widely available at the Center. The Career Library and Job Room provide a wealth of printed and database materials on career fields and specific employers. In addition, by signing up for the Career Center's mailing lists, news of career-related workshops, employment sector trends, job announcements and strategies for job hunting, or tips for exploring employment options can be delivered to your personal e-mail box.

The goal of the Duke Career Development Center is to assist graduate students in exploring career options and in locating employment opportunities that match their special interests and expertise. Career-related information and advice are readily available, and Career Counselors will work with degree candidates to develop strategies for handling transition from graduate study into college/university teaching, administration, or other professional careers. Advising on career-related concerns is confidential, and feedback on the format and content of the cv, resume, cover letter, abstract, or grant proposal is also provided.

To explore the many services offered through the Duke Career Development Center, you may visit their website at

Master of Engineering (MEng) students may take advantage of dedicated resources in the Pratt School of Engineering for career services. For more information, see:

Master of Engineering Management (MEM) also has dedicated career development support. For more information, see:

What does it cost to attend Duke for a master's student in engineering?

Master's students are required to enroll in and pay tuition for at least three semesters of full-time study.

Master of Science (MS)

Find the latest cost of attendance information at the Duke Graduate School's website.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

Find the latest cost of attendance information at

Financial Aid

We provide scholarship support in some of our master's degree programs. For information, contact Susan Brown assistant director of admissions at

Many master's students take out loans to finance their educations, and believe strongly that the return on the investment in a Duke engineering education is significant. Additionally, many master's students access their employer's sponsorship and tuition reimbursement benefits.