The Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses of the University of Massachusetts offer joint Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology.
Applicants from many different science/engineering undergraduate programs are invited to apply. Because the degree brings together biomedical engineering with biotechnology, it is designed equally for students with life sciences or engineering/physical science backgrounds. One's specific background will be of less interest in determining qualification for entrance than will be one's personal and career goals, demonstrated ability an research potential and commitment to an interdisciplinary, team-work approach.
Applicants will be accepted from individuals holding appropriate bachelor's degrees or master's degrees (or the US baccalaureate equivalents from a foreign institution). Applicants should have a background in life science, physical science or engineering. All applicants must have taken a full year (two semester or three quarter sequence) of calculus and the successful applicants will normally have had undergraduate coursework in statistics/experimental design and in life science/biomedical science.
Applicants are encouraged to contact participating faculty to explore how they might fit into a specific specialization option before submitting their application and to report on the results of those contacts in their Statement of Purpose (see below). A personal interview with the applicant by the campus Advising/Admissions/Curriculum Committee (AACC) may be recommended but is not required.
Applicants submit the following and are expected to meet the standards indicated:
Individual circumstances can be taken into account and extraordinary qualifications in some areas can be used to outweigh weaknesses in others.
Along with an admissions decision comes consideration of the appropriate program of courses for the applicant. The interdisciplinary nature of our program gives special importance to the advising relationship in forming a specific academic program to meet each student's specific goals. Applicants may be offered admission with a number of courses identified as conditional requirements that they will need to take to fill in for gaps in preparation or knowledge. Each admitted student is assigned to a faculty advisor, who is identified in the letter of admission. Acceptance into the program is subject to the availability of appropriate advisors.
Transfer of Credits/Advanced Standing
For students who have previously completed graduate course work, the admission committees on each campus may approve the transfer of graduate credits for courses from an accredited United States college or university that received a grade of B (not B-) or better if those courses were not already used in the degree requirements of another earned degree. The graduate school at each campus will govern the maximum number of credits that may be transferred into the program. The transfer credit may replace core or specialization course requirements. The project/directed studies, seminar and dissertation research credits will not be accepted for transfer from institutions outside of the UMass system.
Students may also have core courses waived without transfer of course credit. Students would still be responsible for the full credits required of each degree (31 credits for the MS and 63 credits for the Ph.D.), but would not have to take the waived course.
Students who join the program with an earned master's degree may receive Advanced Standing in the doctoral program. The number of credits required to complete the Ph.D. will be determined by the home campus AACC, but at a minimum 9 course (core or specialization) credits, the capstone project course (3 credits), doctoral seminar (taken twice, 1 credit each) and 30 dissertation research credits will e required. The capstone project may be waived for students who have completed a master's thesis or research project at one of the UMass campuses. These students will be required to complete a minimum of 12 course (core or specialization) credits. Students with Advanced Standing will be required to pass the Qualifying Examination before progressing to the dissertation stage. Doctoral students who enter the program with advanced standing will not earn the MS. To earn the MS, a student must complete or transfer in credit to meet the core (16 credits), specialization (12 credits) and capstone project course (3 credits) requirements.
The curriculum is organized around common experiences, including common core courses, a capstone project and intercampus graduate research presentations. The program makes some use of distance learning/on-line/faculty exchange for delivery of courses and seminars and the campuses are close enough to permit commuting between them. The program encourages a multidisciplinary team approach during the Instrumentation and Laboratory Experience & the capstone project. Industry representation occurs in the introductory core course, in the capstone project and from an outside advisory group. In addition, each student pursues a sequence of courses and then completes a capstone project in a specialization option.
Biomedical Engineering Specialization Options
Biotechnology Specialization Options
General Program Requirements
The program of courses includes a core requirement, specialization requirement and capstone requirement. As students advance, they will have to meet requirements in addition to satisfactory completion of courses, lab experience and capstone project.
The Master of Science requires completion or transfer of at least 31 total credits. Students must meet the specific requirements of their "home campus" for such matters as grade averages, documentation of completion of requirements and registration for program continuation if needed. No courses receiving a grade below C (2.0) can receive credit. Grades earned below C are still calculated in the student's grade point average.
Students are limited in the number of Directed or Independent Study courses credits that they can apply toward their program. No more than 6 credits of coursework below the level of dissertation registrations may be in the form of Directed or Independent Study. All courses must be conducted at the graduate level.
Students must pursue and complete a program of study approved by their assigned advisor. The interdisciplinary nature of this program makes close contact between each student and his or her advisor important
Core Course Requirements (16 credits)
The core courses provide a common foundation for all students, either from life science or physical science/engineering backgrounds. Proposed core courses must be approved by the IACC.
Specialization Course Requirements (12 credits)
Specialization courses will help the student attain depth in focused areas. Each specialization option represents an area in biotechnology or biomedical engineering, within which are found a selection of appropriate graduate courses.
Faculty involved in each specialization will see to an appropriate combination of depth and breath in the student's selection of specialization courses. They may announce some structure to the course selection allowed within the area. With the approval of their advisor, students will select 12 credits of course work (minimum) from within one or the specializations. Any graduate course approved by the advisor may be used to satisfy this requirement. Many specialization options will require more than 12 credits of additional course work.
Capstone Requirements (3 credits)
As students transition from coursework to some real time experience, they undertake a capstone project course. This is designed to be a culminating experience in which the student synthesizes course knowledge and experimental skills into a brief but detailed experimental study, which also involves cross-field interdisciplinary cooperation. Although in some cases this project may be done individually under the supervision of one faculty member, it is expected that students will join in a team-based, collaborative effort involving students from a number of different disciplines, post-doctoral fellow and industry representatives; with intercampus participation.
Approved UMass Lowell course: BMBT-6000 Capstone Project (3 credits)
Annually in May, a Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Research Symposium will be held, rotating each year to a different campus, at which the students from all four campuses will present their projects in a poster session and/or orally. Participation in this non-credit activity is required.
Earning the Master of Science Degree
Following successful presentation of the capstone project and with a minimum of 31 credits completed or transferred in required an approved courses, the student will be awarded the Master of Science degree as a credential along the way toward the doctorate. Students must have at least a cumulative B average to receive the Master of Science degree and advance to the Qualifying Examination. (Students not working up to that level are subject to review for dismissal from the program. Specific standards are set for graduate students on each "home campus" for continuation in graduate programs.)
Professional Science Master's Option
The Professional Science Master's (PSM) option is a two-year program designed to enhance core science curricula with business fundamentals, communications, ethics and project management. Students put their skills and knowledge into practice during a required internship. (Students who are employed full-time may be able to substitute a project for the required internship.) The program provides its graduates with the following knowledge, skills and abilities:
As well as the skills listed above, the Ph.D. program aims to provide its doctoral recipients with the following additional knowledge, skills and abilities:
Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree Program
The program participates in the University's effort to encourage outstanding graduate students to begin study toward an advanced degree while still undergraduates. Arrangements are possible for joint programs, that combine a bachelor's degree in one of the other departments in the University with a master's degree in the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology program. Such arrangements are made for eligible students after discussions with graduate coordinators in both departments (see eligibility requirements).