Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

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.

What makes the program unique?

The Biomedical Engineering Program at UBC is a part of the School of Biomedical Engineering, which falls under both the Faculty of Applied Science and Faculty of Medicine. 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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 93

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Property field_prog_lang_test_min

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

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. In exceptional cases, applicants from Canadian or US institutions who hold a bachelor's degree with an overall average in the A grade range and who demonstrate advanced research ability may be granted direct admission to our doctoral degree program. Please see the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for more information. Applicants from international institutions will have specific minimum admission requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Highlights

Recent research highlights include: Overdoes Detection Device, Surgical Screw Cover, Magnetic Drug Implant, Parkinson’s App Painless, and Inexpensive Microneedle System Non-Invasive Migraine Monitoring Technique

Research Focus

UBC Biomedical Engineering researchers work in a wide range of areas. Our main research themes include Cellular and Molecular Engineering (including Regenerative Medicine, Synthetic Biology, and Imumune Engineering); Imaging and Computational Biology (including AI & Multiscale Imaging, Bioinformatics/Systems Biology, and Computational Modeling & Automation); Human Interfacing Devices (including Therapeutic Delivery Systems & Nanodevices, Bionics & Bio-Sensors, Biomaterials, and Biomechanics/Injury Prevention).

We are now building capacity to increase research opportunities in areas of global importance including molecular and cellular engineering and synthetic biology, genomics and nano-devices, immune-engineering and advanced biomaterials, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence and simulation systems with biomedical application, visualization and imaging from nanomolecular to physiological scales.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

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 RAs offered will vary depending on lab and research space as well as available funding.

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 61 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $37,837.
  • 28 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 28 students was $6,360.
  • 55 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 55 students was $24,643.
  • 6 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 6 students was $5,499.
  • 61 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 61 students was $7,444.
  • 12 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 12 students was $23,014.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

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 Education
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Mahidol University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Cook Biotech Inc.
Response Biomedical Corp
AR Medical Technologies
MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Engineer
Manager, Product Development
Chief Operating Officer
CTO
Biomechanical Engineer
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These 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.
Career Options

The PhD program in Biomedical Engineering is designed to prepare students for employment in the public or private sector, or to pursue further studies. Graduates find employment at academic institutions and in high level research and development positions in industry and other institutions. Recent graduates have gone on to work at BCIT, Phillips, and Precision Nanosystems. A burgeoning field, ample opportunities exist in the medical instrument industry, pharmaceutical/biochemical industry, hospitals, medical research facilities and educational institutions, and regulatory bodies, governments, and industry associations.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications6465817853
Offers112822149
New Registrations91918118
Total Enrolment8983685544

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 85% based on 29 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 17 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 3.75 years and the maximum time is 8.88 years with an average of 5.75 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 28 June 2024 - 9:00am - Room 203

Emily Bliven
Orthopaedic Implants for Preventing Hip Fracture in a Fall: A Biomechanical Investigation

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 - 1:00pm - 773, Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre, 2635 Laurel Street

Carly Jones
Bone Marrow Lesions and Cartilage Health in the Hip: Quantitative Imaging and Indentation Testing

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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 (Electrical engineering, computer engineering, and information engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; Artificial Intelligence; Biomedical Engineering; Biomedical Technologies; Cancer Imaging; Computer Assisted Interventions; Image Guided Surgery; Machine Learning; Medical Imaging; Surgical Robotics; Ultrasound Imaging)
  • Bacca, Mattia (Mechanical engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; Solid Mechanics; Biophysics; Soft materials; Fracture Mechanics and Adhesion)
  • Bamji, Shernaz (Medical and biomedical engineering; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; neurodevelopmental disease; primary neuronal cultures; synapse biology; transgenic mouse models)
  • Bashashati Saghezchi, Ali (Bioinformatics; Medical and biomedical engineering; Artificial Intelligence; Computational Pathology; Cancer Genomics; Computational Biology; Digital Pathology; Image Processing; Machine Learning; Ovarian Cancer; Signal Processing; Multi-modal Learning)
  • Blakney, Anna (Biomedical materials; Medical molecular engineering of nucleic acids and proteins; Gene and molecular therapy; Gene delivery; RNA; Biomaterials; Immunoengineering)
  • Cembrowski, Mark Steven (Molecular neuroscience; Mathematical modelling and simulation; Mechanisms of memory in the brain; Anxiety; Big Data; Bioinformatics; Cell types; Computation; CRISPR-Cas9; Fear; Genetics; modeling; Neural circuits; neuroscience; Neuroscience of memory; PTSD; RNAseq)
  • Cheung, Karen (Electrical engineering, computer engineering, and information engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; additive manufacturing; BioMEMS; Biomedical Technologies; biosensors; microfluidics; neural interfaces; organ-on-chip; Tissue Engineering)
  • Chiao, Mu (MEMS, Micro Sensors, Micro Actuators, BioMEMS, Nanotechnology, Bioengineering, Electronic Packaging, Nanoscience, Energy sources for micro-electro-mechanical systems)
  • Conway, Edward (Basic medicine and life sciences; coagulation; Innate immunity; Inflammation; vascular biologh)
  • Cripton, Peter (Mechanical engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; biomechanics; Cranio-Encephalic and Spinal Cord Trauma; hip fracture; injury prevention; Mechanical Systems; neurotrauma; Spinal cord injury; spine biomechanics; Trauma / Injuries; Traumatic Brain Injury; Sex Differences in Seat Belt Performance)
  • de Boer, Carl (Gene regulation)
  • Dumont, Guy A (biomedical engineering; automatic drug delivery; mobile health; global health; anesthesia; physiological monitoring;, Adaptive control, predictive control, control of distributed parameters systems, advanced process control, applications of wavelet analysis, biomedical applications of control, pulp and paper process control)
  • Fels, S Sidney (Human computer interaction, human 3D biomechanical modeling, speech synthesis, medical applications of modeling, computer vision, interactive arts and music)
  • Field, Thalia (stroke; Clinical trials; cerebral venous thrombosis; outcomes; cognition; Machine Learning)
  • Garbi, Rafeef (Bioinformatics; Electrical engineering, computer engineering, and information engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; Artificial Intelligence; Biomedical Engineering; Biomedical Technologies; Computer Vision; Deep Learning; image analysis; Imaging; Machine Learning; Medical Image Computing)
  • Goerges, Matthias (Electronic health (e-Health); Health information systems (including surveillance); Expert systems technologies in artificial intelligence; Anesthesiology; Medical devices; Human-computer systems and interface; Bio-signal processing and analysis; Digital health; predictive analytics; decision support systems; Critical Care Medicine; Biomedical Technologies; Health Care Technologies; Human Computer Interaction and Design; Medical informatics; Software Development; patient-oriented research; Data sharing / open data)
  • 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 (Medical and biomedical engineering; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Autism; Brain Circuit Development; Dendritogenesis; Epilepsy; Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases; Neurodevelopmental disorders; Neurological diseases; Neuronal Communication and Neurotransmission; Neuronal Computation; Neuronal Modeling; Neuronal Systems; Neuronal and Synaptic Activity; Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration; Synaptic Plasticity)
  • Hacihaliloglu, Ilker (Bio-signal processing and analysis; Medical biotechnology; Biomedical signal processing; Image guided surgery systems; Medical and biomedical engineering, n.e.c.; Data analytics and signal processing, n.e.c.; Artificial intelligence (AI); Extraction of relevant information from 3D medical images; Image Guided Surgery; computer assisted diagnosis; Deep Learning; point of care ultrasound; ultrasound image processing; Brain Health; orthopedic surgery; liver disease; lung disease; traumatic Brian injury; neurosurgery; Biomedical Engineering)
  • Hodgson, Antony (Image guided surgery systems; computer assisted orthopaedic surgery; Medical Imaging; surgical navigation; orthopaedics; biomechanics; surgical robots; Image Processing; Machine Learning)
  • Hoodless, Pamela (Computational cell biology; Cancer; Genomics; Medical and biomedical engineering; Nucleic acids studies; Developmental Genetics; Embryology; Embryonic Development; Epigenetics; Heart Valve / Valvular Diseases; Heart valve formation; Liver; Liver development; Stem Cells and Organogenesis; transcriptional regulation)
  • Ju, Myeong Jin (Medical and biomedical engineering; algorithms for quantitatively imaging biological dynamics in human retina; cellular resolution functional retinal imaging systems; Medical Imaging; optical imaging systems; signal processing algorithms)
  • Kaigala, Govind (enabling technologies for healthcare and life-sciences; new concepts and devices (liquid scanning probes) for manipulating biointerfaces)
  • Karsan, Aly (Hematological tumours; Cancer molecular targets; Leukemia; Hematopoiesis; Genomics and epigenomics; Noncoding RNAs; Aging)

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Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2024 Dr. Primbetova has developed methods to produce therapeutic T cells and megakaryocytes using biomaterials and stem cells. Her research enables advancements of cellular therapies for blood-related diseases and genetic conditions.
2024 Dr. Iworima optimized differentiation protocols to produce stem cell-derived islets, offering a potential therapy for type 1 diabetes. She addressed manufacturing bottlenecks and identified key parameters associated with the generation of pancreatic cell types.
2024 Dr. Aleef augmented ultrasound systems with advanced elastography imaging technology to enhance the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Additionally, he developed methodologies employing cutting-edge machine learning techniques to automate, speed up, and improve prostate cancer brachytherapy treatment.
2024 Dr. Kunitskaya worked to advance economical and robust manufacturing of cancer treatments that are based on genetically modifying patient immune cells to target cancer cells. She studied the impact of process conditions on T-cells, a type of immune cells, and applied these findings to improve bioprocess operations and manufacturing technologies.
2024 Exposure to environmental pollutants such as forest fire smoke poses a significant health risk. Dr. Bennet developed a microengineered in vitro model of the human small conducting airways that mimics the 3D ECM that can be used as a tool to advance our understanding of smoke-related risks to respiratory health and aids in the advancement of the organs-on-chip field.
2024 Dr. Omidvar developed a way to make flexible ultrasound sensors using inexpensive polymers that can be rapidly produced in various shapes and sizes. His work opens a path for making new types of ultrasound devices to improve diagnosis and monitoring of a range of medical conditions.
2023 Dr. Pandey developed a system, using ultrasound imaging, to guide orthopaedic surgeons to repair bone fractures accurately without the use of X-rays or ionizing radiation. This system could be used in future surgical procedures to more effectively and safely treat fracture patients.
2023 Dr. Heydari conducted research on how groups of stem cells behave together. He showed that we can use mathematics to understand and predict their behavior. This newfound knowledge can be used to develop better methods for creating tissues and organs in stem cell research.
2023 Dr. Edgar developed methods for making immune cells from stem cells. This research contributes to efforts to create cell-based therapies for treating cancer and autoimmune disease.
2023 Dr. Cau explored new strategies for managing non-compressible internal bleeding, which is a leading cause of death in military and civilian trauma. He used a system of self-propelling particles to deliver powerful blood clotting drugs deep into the body, and showed that this technique prevented death in animal models of severe bleeding.

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Further Information

Specialization

Biomedical Engineering is a multidisciplinary field that involves the application of engineering techniques and technologies to medical and healthcare areas. Opportunities for interdisciplinary education and research exist in areas such as biomechanics, biomaterials, biochemical processing, cellular engineering, imaging, medical devices, micro-electro-mechanical implantation systems, physiological modelling, simulation, monitoring and control, as well as medical robotics.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHDBMEG
 
 
 
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