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.
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||$1,632.61||$2,868.22|
|Tuition per year||$4,897.83||$8,604.66|
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$923.38 (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. 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)
Abugharbieh, Rafeef (Medical image computing)
Baldwin, Susan (Bioprocess engineering, bioremediation, biomedical reaction modelling)
Cheung, Karen (Biotechnology, MEMS and BioMEMS, Microtechnology, Lab-on-a-Chip, Microfluidics, neural implants, biomedical engineering, Biomedical microsystems for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, dielectric spectroscopy for flow cytometry, implantable polymer-based microelectrode arrays, integrated cell culture systems)
Chiao, Mu (MEMS, Micro Sensors, Micro Actuators, BioMEMS, Nanotechnology, Bioengineering, Electronic Packaging, Nanoscience, Energy sources for micro-electro-mechanical systems)
Chrostowski, Lukas (silicon photonics, biosensors, biophotonics, quantum computing, optoelectronics, photonics, optics, semiconductor lasers)
Cripton, Peter (spinal cord injury, neurotrauma, traumatic brain injury, biomechanics, injury prevention, hip fracture, spine biomechanics)
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)
Feng, James Jingtao (Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
Fernlund, Goran (Polymer matrix composites, Biomaterials, Adhesive bonding)
Gopaluni, Bhushan (Modelling and experiment design, identification for control)
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)
Guy, Pierre (hip fracture prevention, treatment and post injury function; BC Hip fracture Redesign; Laboratory Hip Fracture Mechanics; Proximal Humerus Fracture Care RCT)
Hansen, Carl (Single-Cell Analysis, Molecular Diagnostics, genomics)
Hatzikiriakos, Savvas (Polymer melt and suspension rheology, food rheology, polymer melt processing, superhydrophobicity, surface science, winter sports expert, ski/skate performance and snow/ice friction. )
Haynes, Charles (Protein purification, recombinant proteins, molecular thermodynamics, biocompatible polymers)
Hodgson, Antony (Bioengineering, Biomechanics, Medical or Surgical Robotics, Medical Engineering, Electoral Reform, Single Transferable Vote, STV, Citizens’ Assembly, Fair Voting )
Ivanov, Andre (microelectronics; integrated circuits, computer chip design, smart grid, engineering curriculum, Computer and Software Systems, Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies)
Kastrup, Christian (drug delivery, coagulation, biomaterials, atherosclerosis, in-vivo imaging, microfluidics )
Ko, Frank (Textile Structural Composites)
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 (artificial muscle, wearables, smart materials, electronic skin)
Marziali, Andre (Teaching methods, pedagogy, Robotics in education, Nanotechnology, Engineering Physics, Genomics, Biophysics, Genomics Technologies)
McKeown, Martin (novel treatments for Parkinson's, Monitoring Parkinson's , brain stimulation, biomedical engineering)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Navid Shirzad
"Dr. Lambert-Shirzad studied arm motion coordination in healthy and post-stroke populations. He created a mathematical model to show how a stroke alters healthy motion coordination patterns. This model provides a better understanding of impairment post-stroke and will aid in the design of more efficient therapies for people with stroke." (November 2017)
- Dr. Arezoo Abdolla Bidshahri
"Dr. Bidshahri completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering. During her PhD, she developed a powerful cancer genetic test that can detect any possible mutation at a cancer hotspot. This test is now being used at the BC Cancer Agency to ensure that colorectal cancer patients are receiving the appropriate treatment." (November 2017)
- Dr. Bulmaro Adolfo Valdes Benavides
"Dr. Valdés studied how robots and motion-tracking technology improve therapy effectiveness for people post-stroke. Through realtime force and visual feedback, findings showed reduced undesirable trunk compensation during upper-limb exercise. His results support the idea of using technology for the rehabilitation of people with stroke." (November 2017)
- Dr. Quan Guo
"Dr. Guo developed a novel microfluidic chip to process human blood and sort individual red and white blood cells based on their mechanical deformability. This technique has not only improved the diagnostic sensitivity of malaria, humanity's most devastating infectious disease, but also enabled the sorting of white blood cells based on their phenotypes." (May 2017)
- Dr. Darek Joseph Sikorski
"Dr. Sikorski developed small volume methods to grow and analyze single mammalian cells. These studies assist us in understanding how single cell differences affect populations of cells." (May 2017)