A Duke BME PhD student works in a laboratory.

PhD—Doctoral Study

As a part of Duke BME's PhD program, you'll join a thriving, interdisciplinary research community with unique opportunities in translational research

The Duke Difference

How to Apply

via gradschool.duke.edu

Mercy Asiedu

"At Duke, I had experiences and opportunities in global health research that I could not have had at any other university."

Mercy Asiedu, PhD
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

World-Class Research

A wide breadth of faculty expertise, with translational focus

The duke BME PhD Program experience

First-Day Mentorship and Support

  • Full funding, plus conference & travel support
  • Direct admission to a Duke BME research group
  • Membership and representation via BEPSA, Duke BME's PhD student association

A Highly Entrepreneurial Culture

Dedicated Professional Development and Career Services

  • PhD Plus—Seminars, workshops and networking opportunities to build professional skills
  • Positive career outcomes for our graduates—a track-record of jobs in academia and industry

Grant-Supported Training Programs

  • Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering
  • Integrative Bioinformatics
  • Medical Imaging
  • Medical Scientist (MD-PhD)

Graduate Certificates

  • Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering
  • Nanoscience
  • Photonics

More about these certificate and training programs »

BioMedical Engineering PHD Details

Degree Requirements

  • 30 Credits of Coursework
  • 2 Seminars
  • 2 Semesters of Teaching Assistantship (TA)
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
    • Orientation
    • 3 Workshops
  • Thesis and Defense

Sample Timeline

Milestone Year of Study
Preliminary Exam Year 2–3
Thesis Proposal Year 4+
Thesis Defense Year 5-6


The program of coursework, including the applicability of any transfer credits, is determined by the student, their advisor, and their committee. The minimum required amount of coursework is 30 units.

The advanced math (3 units required) and life science (3 units required) courses and up to one (1) independent study class may be used toward this requirement. See Duke BME's list of potential life science and advanced math courses; however, students are not limited solely to these courses.

Ungraded seminars do not count toward the 30-unit requirement. Students are encouraged to discuss class selection with their advisor upon matriculation and frequently throughout their course of study.

Each committee meeting should include an update on progress towards coursework requirements. The student’s committee retains the power to approve the coursework or request that the student take additional courses. Note: students seeking a master’s degree en route to a PhD must satisfy the degree requirements for the master’s degree. These are not necessarily aligned with the PhD coursework requirements, and so special consideration should be taken.


Two semesters of BME Seminar are required. New matriculants take BME 702s (Fall only). Second-year students take BME 701s (Spring only).

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Two (2) semesters are required. Students typically fulfill their Teaching Assistant (TA) assignments in years 2–5. Students must sign up for the TA seminar during the semester in which they TA, and they must also complete a Pratt School of Engineering TA training session.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

RCR training at Duke challenges students to engage in ethical decision-making through active learning—by using realistic scenarios and current issues.

One (1) orientation session and 3 workshops are required. More details »

Admissions Profile

Recently admitted applicants have strong academic records and compelling evidence that they are serious about preparing for a career in research. Specifics vary widely depending on many factors, including the resources available to each applicant. Applications are reviewed holistically and consider all of the materials submitted in the application package.

 Average scores of recently admitted applicants:

  • GRE scores are not required.
  • UGPA: 3.7

Minimum Requirements:

  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.2
  • TOEFL score: 90 (Internet-based test)

Take the Next Step

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall entry—December 15
  • Spring entry—October 1

How to Apply

via gradschool.duke.edu