Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)
Biomedical Engineers apply their knowledge in engineering, biology, and medicine to healthcare and medical device industries. Biomedical Engineering is a distinct field that encompasses engineering disciplines, biology, life sciences, medicine, clinical applications, and the improvement of human health. Since 2006, our PhD program has trained students in the fundamentals of Biomedical Engineering, providing extensive research experience in biomechanics, biomaterials, biochemical processing, cellular engineering, imaging, medical devices, micro-electro-mechanical implantable systems, and physiological modeling, simulation, monitoring, and control, as well as medical robotics. Graduates continue on to PhD programs as well as research and development positions in industry and other institutions. The research supervisor's department will determine the student's home department (Electrical & Computer, Chemical & Biological, Materials, Mechanical Engineering).
What makes the program unique?
The Biomedical Engineering Program at UBC is a collaborative undertaking of the following four departments: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Engineering. This unique interdisciplinary structure provides students with unparalleled access to engineering experts across varied Biomedical Engineering research areas at UBC. It emphasizes a balance of biomedical engineering and life science study with a focus on clinical and industrial application. Our graduates have gone on to become industry leaders, especially in the medical device industry, and provide a network of professionals within the community.
Biomedical Engineering at UBC is the only program in Canada to offer the Engineers in Scrubs (EiS) training program. The EiS program began as an NSERC-funded Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program designed to foster innovation in medical technology by training biomedical engineers in clinical environments. Students receive a significant portion of their training in hospital settings, and the program focuses on the medical technology innovation process. This program complements the research training of MASc and PhD students and allows them to work closely with medical professionals in identifying clinical problems and developing a solution.
Recent research highlights include:
Overdoes Detection Device
Surgical Screw Cover
Magnetic Drug Implant
Painless and Inexpensive Microneedle System
Non-Invasive Migraine Monitoring Technique
UBC Biomedical Engineering researchers work in a wide range of areas. Our main research clusters (RC) include: Imaging, Modeling, Simulation, and Guided Interventions; BIOMEMs and Bio-Optics; Musculoskeletal Biomechanics, Injury, Disease, and Restorative Treatments; Rehabilitative and Assistive Technologies and Human-Environment Interactions; and Physiological Modeling and Control.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Language Requirements (Details)
English minimum requirements are determined by the research supervisor's home department.
Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Prior degree requirements
Applicants to the BME program should normally hold a research master's degree in engineering or a closely-related degree with significant technical, analytical and mathematical components (e.g., physics, biophysics, chemistry, computer science). Students with degrees in other fields (e.g., life sciences, kinesiology, physical therapy) may be considered for the program if they have adequate technical preparation. We do not have direct entry to the PhD program for applicants without a research master's degree. Applicants without a master's degree interested in pursuing a PhD should apply to the Master of Applied Science.
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date15 November 2019
January 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 March 2020
The majority of PhD students are offered research assistantships (RAs) by faculty members. RAs are funded by research grants for specific projects which almost always constitute thesis projects. Although you will automatically be considered for an RA when submitting your online application, to successfully secure an RA appointment you are encouraged to make contact with a research supervisor. The number of RA’s offered will vary depending on lab and research space as well as available funding.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
8 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 7 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
Sample Employers in Higher EducationBritish Columbia Institute of Technology
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationCook Biotech Inc.
Response Biomedical Corp
AR Medical Technologies
MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationResearch Engineer
Manager, Product Development
Chief Operating Officer
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Abolmaesumi, Purang (Biomedical Engineering with emphasis on computer-assisted surgery, image-guided therapy and medical image analysis, prostate cancer)
Bamji, Shernaz (synapse biology, primary neuronal cultures, transgenic mouse models, neurodevelopmental disease)
Cheung, Karen (Biomedical Technologies, microfluidics, tissue engineering, biosensors, additive manufacturing, organ-on-chip, BioMEMS, neural interfaces)
Chiao, Mu (MEMS, Micro Sensors, Micro Actuators, BioMEMS, Nanotechnology, Bioengineering, Electronic Packaging, Nanoscience, Energy sources for micro-electro-mechanical systems)
Cripton, Peter (Trauma / Injuries, Cranio-Encephalic and Spinal Cord Trauma, Mechanical Systems, spinal cord injury, neurotrauma, traumatic brain injury, biomechanics, injury prevention, hip fracture, spine biomechanics)
Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
Garbi, Rafeef (Biomedical Technologies, Imaging, Artificial Intelligence, Medical Image Computing, Machine learning, Computer Vision, Image Analysis, Biomedical Engineering, Deep Learning)
Grecov, Dana (Rheology, Rheometry, Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, Computational Fluid Mechanics, Liquid Crystals, Biolubricants, Lubricants, Journal Bearings, Multi-Phase Flow, Synovial Joints, Synovial Fluid, Arthrithis, Liquid crystals and nanomaterials, Biofluid Mechanics)
Haas, Kurt (Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration, Neurological Diseases, Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases, Neuronal and Synaptic Activity, Neuronal Systems, Neuronal Modeling, Neuronal Communication and Neurotransmission, Autism, Epilepsy, Synaptic Plasticity, Dendritogenesis, Brain Circuit Development, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Neuronal Computation)
Hodgson, Antony (Bioengineering, Biomechanics, Medical or Surgical Robotics, Medical Engineering, Electoral Reform, Single Transferable Vote, STV, Citizens’ Assembly, Fair Voting )
Hoodless, Pamela (Embryonic Development, Genomics, Heart Valve / Valvular Diseases, Liver, Stem Cells and Organogenesis, Developmental Genetics, Embryology, Transcriptional regulation, Epigenetics, Heart valve formation, Liver development)
Kastrup, Christian (drug delivery, coagulation, biomaterials, atherosclerosis, in-vivo imaging, microfluidics )
Kieffer, Tim (Diabetes)
Levings, Megan (Immune homeostasis)
Lynn, Francis (diabetes, ß-cell development, ß-cell biology, Human pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR/Cas, transcriptional regulation)
Ma, Hongshen (Microfluidics; Instrumentation; Cell Sorting; Cell Biomechanics; Circulating Tumor Cells; Malaria and Red Blood Cell Deformability; Single Cell Technologies; Cell Migration and Chemotaxis)
Madden, John (Functional and Intelligent Materials, artificial muscle, wearables, smart materials, electronic skin, supercapacitors, electrochemical devices, medical devices)
McNagny, Kelly Marshall (Cancer of the Reproductive System, Cell Therapy of Cancer, Breast Cancer, Crohn's Disease, Allergies, Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases, Immune System, Immunotherapy, Immune Mediators: Cytokines and Chemokines, Embryonic Development, Stem Cells, Immunology, Inflammation, Mouse models of human disease, Tissue degeneration/regeneration, Cancer, innate immune response, kidney function)
Nabi, Ivan Robert (Intracellular signaling during neurite outgrowth and sprouting, Identification of small molecules that stimulate neurite outgrowth and regeneration, Examination of the role of semaphorins during embryonic development )
Oxland, Thomas (Spinal Cord Injury, Aging Spine, Orthopaedic Implants)
Piret, James (Biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine Cell-based therapies have the potential to provide improved treatments for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes)
Rohling, Robert (Medical Imaging, Medical Information Systems, Robotics, Interventional Ultrasound, 3D Imaging, Spatial Compounding, Robotic System Calibration, Elastography, BioMEMS, Biomedical Engineering, Medical imaging and information systems, robetics, ultrasound imaging in 2D and 3D, biomedical technologies)
Roskelley, Calvin (Breast cancer, ovarian cancer )
Rossi, Fabio (Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine blood, Stem cells, regeneration, gene therapy, control of cell fate)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Felipe Eltit
"Dr. Eltit explored the mechanisms of medical implants failure. His project described the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which patients develop adverse reactions to metal elements. The conclusions of his work will lead to the introduction of new therapeutic strategies in orthopaedic surgery." (May 2019)
- Dr. Qiong Wang
"Dr. Wang studied the corrosion process of hip implants and the associated clinical failures. His research showed unexpected vulnerability of hip implants to corrosion under mechanical wear. His findings revealed the unknown failure process of current materials used in hip implants and called for the development of new materials in the future." (May 2019)
- Dr. Fahime Sheikhzadeh
"Dr. Sheikhzadeh worked on improving the diagnostic process of cervical cancer. She demonstrated that novel imaging technologies could be employed to reduce unnecessary biopsies and developed algorithms to differentiate between grades of precancerous tissue. Her work will lead to fast and cost-effective diagnosis of this type of cancer." (November 2018)
- Dr. James Robertson Baylis
"Dr. Baylis examined treatments for bleeding using self-propelling particles. These micro-rockets, loaded with pro-coagulant and applied directly to the wound site, can travel against the flow of blood to stop bleeding at its source. He further developed new bandages, which could stop massive bleeding during surgery or emergency situations." (November 2018)
- Dr. Youngjin Yoo
"Dr. Yoo investigated new computational methods, based on artificial intelligence, that automatically identify changes in brain images. These changes signify how a patient with neurological disorders may get worse over time. His research will help doctors gain more useful information from each patient's MRI and give personalized treatment for each person." (November 2018)