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University of California, San Diego

Department of Bioengineering

La Jolla, CA


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UC San Diego's Leading-Edge Bioengineering Graduate Program Nationally Ranked

One of the youngest and most provocative engineering disciplines, bioengineering uses the principles and tools of traditional engineering specialties and applies them to solving biomedical problems. The broad spectrum of bioengineering has a foundation in all of the engineering sciences, as well as physiology and other biomedical sciences. Students with an undergraduate education in engineering disciplines learn how to use engineering concepts and methodology to analyze and solve biological problems associated with genes, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and systems, with applications to clinical medicine and biology. Situated on the West Coast in La Jolla, California, one of the richest biotech areas in the country, the University of California San Diego's Department of Bioengineering has played an important role in the birth of the discipline and continues to be on the leading edge of bioengineering's evolution since the 1960s. UCSD's bioengineering program is recognized as one of the top three bioengineering and biotechnology degree programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

New Focus Areas on Biological Hierarchy Levels

Building on its tradition of highly collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship, the bioengineering department has developed a program based on integrative bioengineering. This means that research activities are integrated at all levels of biomedical engineering design, from genes and molecules to the whole organism; this includes interaction between engineering and biomedical sciences, coordination of research and education, partnerships between neighboring institutions, and collaboration with industry and clinical medicine for effective technology transfer. The integrative approach is based on the department's existing strengths, the potential for development, and the relevance of the field to important medical problems. At the molecular engineering level, the focus is molecular biomechanics; at the cell/tissue engineering level, the focus is cell-matrix engineering; and at the organ systems bioengineering level, the focus areas are bioinformatics and system engineering approaches to cardiovascular functional genomics. In each focus area, a coordinated program is being implemented that combines experimentation and theoretical modeling, so that the information generated from experimental investigations can be integrated and synthesized by the application of engineering concepts and techniques.

Faculty Members Are World Leaders in Bioengineering Research

Graduate students have the opportunity to work with internationally acclaimed bioengineering faculty on numerous research projects across campus and at surrounding institutions. A research powerhouse, the University of California is ranked 5th in the nation for annual federal research and development spending. UCSD researchers are among the ranks of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, members of the National Academies, and recipients of MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." Every day, dozens of faculty researchers work in such areas as: bioengineering analysis of blood flow; microvascular perfusion and exchange; cell mechanics in the passive and active state; fluid flow in the interstitium, lymphatics, bone, and joints; biomechanical properties of tissues; molecular biology of cells and membranes in relation to cell deformability and adhesion; healing and reconstruction of soft connective tissues; implantable biosensors; and tissue engineering.

Bioengineering Research Facilities

The department's bioengineering research laboratories are fully equipped for modern bioengineering research and feature several state-of-the-art core facilities, including biotechnology, microfabrication, cell engineering, and microscopy cores and a vivarium. The state-of-the-art instrumentation includes access to high-throughput (Solexa) sequencers, mass spectrometry for proteomics and metabolomics, live-cell imaging, and new-generation cell-sorting/selection equipment, and excellent computing and network facilities.

Master's and Doctoral Graduate Programs in Bioengineering

UCSD's graduate programs in bioengineering are nationally ranked. They include a master's program in bioengineering (master's degree in bioengineering), a graduate engineering degree (M.Eng), and a doctoral program in bioengineering (doctoral degree in bioengineering). The 48-credit M.S. graduate curriculum emphasizes physiology, tissue engineering, biomechanics, and transport phenomena and involves a combination of 36 credits of biotech, bioengineering, and engineering courses and 12 credits of bioengineering research. Associated courses are available in applied mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, solid and fluid mechanics, electronics, computers, information sciences, system analysis, neurosciences, pathology, pharmacology, and clinical subjects. The Master of Engineering in Bioengineering (M.Eng.) degree program is a non-thesis graduate degree and is normally considered to be a terminal professional degree. Doctoral candidates in the bioengineering graduate program complete a combination of coursework, teaching experience as a graduate student teaching assistant, and original thesis research. The doctoral bioengineering program prepares students for careers in research and/or teaching in academia or research institutions, or for careers in the biomedical industry or other bioengineering-related venues.

The University of California at San Diego

One of ten campuses in the University of California System, UCSD comprises the general campus, the School of Medicine, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Established in 1960 in the San Diego community of La Jolla, UCSD soon became one of the major universities in the country. The campus spreads from the scenic coastline, where the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is located, across a large wooded portion of the Torrey Pines Mesa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. To the east and north lie mountains, and to the south are Mexico and the almost uninhabited West Coast seacoast of Baja, California.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Engineering (M Eng)
Master of Science (MS)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 35
Doctoral Degrees 24

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required
2 quarters teaching 20 hours a week or 4 quarters teaching 10 hours a week


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
Application Fee - International
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 13th Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Exam GRE General Test
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0 (for M Eng), 3.4 (for MS)
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.4

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 550
TOEFL IBT score: 80
IELTS: Required IELTS Paper score: 7

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Male (59%)
Female (40%)


Focus of faculty research: Bioinformatics and systems biology, multi-scale biology, quantitative biology, biomaterials, biosensors, neural engineering, integrative genomics, biophotonics
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA  92093
United States
Contact Kun Zhang
Phone: 858-822-3441

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University of California, San Diego
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