Engineering: Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

About the Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering is an interdisciplinary doctoral program offered on a collegiate basis. Students in the interdisciplinary doctoral program have access to all the academic resources available in the College of Engineering rather than to just those within a department; however, students must identify a primary discipline upon application to the doctoral program. 

The PhD program in Biomedical Engineering requires three core courses: Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering, Biometry, and Physiology for Engineers. Fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering covers how basic engineering concepts, such as fluid/solid mechanics, signals/controls, circuits, and materials, fit within biomedical engineering. Biometry covers applied statistical methods for biological and engineering problems, while Physiology provides an in-depth study of several topics in human physiology. In addition to the core courses, 38 elective course credits are selected with a specific dissertation project in mind. Biomedical engineering graduate electives include advanced courses in Bioinstrumentation, Optics, Continuum Mechanics, Biotransport, Microfluidics, Tissue Engineering, and Drug Delivery. Graduate students additionally have the option to take courses in Innovation, Product Design, or Business to meet their career goals.

Salary and Career Outlook

Recently, several popular news outlets such as CNNMoney and Forbes rated Biomedical Engineering as the best job and college major, respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes Biomedical Engineering growth from 2012-2022 at 27%, which is much faster than average. Our students get jobs in companies ranging from start-ups to international pharmaceutical companies or even start their own companies.

The PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering will provide graduates with expertise to continue in research and development in industry or in the government, or as a professor in academia. The starting salary for these different career options is varied, but each is likely to offer freedom to design experiments and run a research laboratory.

Average salaries range from $60,000 – $90,000 for students with a Ph.D. in BME.

Why Akron?

For PhD programs, the flexibility of the course requirements, in addition to the specific research training available are critical to produce a well-trained student. We encourage each student to take courses outside their direct area of research, to develop the well-rounded engineer while training students for tomorrow. Our faculty directly supervise and instruct our graduate students, with faculty frequently in the research laboratories alongside the students. This direct training offers a distinct advantage over programs where faculty members are not readily available or are not proximate to his/her research laboratory. 

For doctoral graduate students who anticipate an academic career, the College of Engineering has a “Doctoral Teaching Program” through which students get to (i) teach in an engineering class under the mentorship of an experienced faculty member, and (ii) earn up to $3,000 as an additional stipend. The benefits to the students are that they gain real-world experience and can grow professionally under the direction of a University Professor.

All of our graduate students are encouraged to participate in entrepreneurship programs. This program has led to many BME graduate students receiving financial support for their entrepreneurial ideas – including additional support from the State of Ohio.

All BME graduate students are required to participate in a “Colloquium Series” in which they attend a weekly seminar given by a nationally-know researcher. This seminar is usually followed by lunch meetings with the invited speaker, where the graduate students get scientific and career advice.

Contact Information

            Graduate Coordinator:           Dr. Rebecca Kuntz Willits

                                                            Auburn Science and Engineering Center,

                                                            Room 275D


                                                            (330) 972-6587

            Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                                            Polsky Building, Room 467


                                                            (330) 972-7664