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Department of Bioengineering
bioeng@rice.edu

Mailing Address:
MS-142, 6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892

Physical Address:
6500 Main Street, Suite 135
Houston, TX 77030

Phone: 713.348.5869
Fax: 713.348.5877 

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Undergraduate Curriculum 


Characteristics of a top-tier education and research university

Rice University is located in the nation’s fourth largest city - Houston, Texas. The distinctive characteristics that exemplify the quality and productivity of the Rice bioengineering program include:  

  • Undergrad CurriculumAdvantages of small classes and access to cutting-edge laboratory facilities;  
  • Multi-disciplined academic programs that build critical problem solving skills and encourage teamwork;
  • Exposure to engineering design that begins in the freshman year and extends throughout the senior year that is centered upon developing practical solutions to real-world engineering problems;
  • Integrated approach to teaching oral, visual, and written communication skills;
  • Collaborative culture that mixes teaching and research, and encourages active undergraduate participation in research;
  • Central location to the Texas Medical Center, prominent research centers, institutes, and industries; and
  • A residential college system that builds close-knit communities, encourages diversity, and is supportive of academic interests, talents and goals. 

Undergraduate bioengineering students also have tremendous opportunities to be actively involved in sculpting their education and discovering novel ideas to translate that research into practical applications.

Shaping the future of bioengineering

Today, the field of bioengineering has exploded into a vast, rapidly expanding world. While challenges in biomedical engineering and biotechnology facing the leaders of the new millennium are complex, advances are also changing the way we look at medicine, human genetics, the environment, and agriculture.

To remain competitive, future scientists must acquire a solid background in several areas of study to analyze ideas, see an even bigger picture, and work toward the development of effective solutions. We believe no single discipline acting alone will provide the answers future scientists, business leaders, professionals, and politicians will need.

ABET accreditation

The Rice undergraduate program in bioengineering attracts outstanding students who wish to integrate a broad education and research experience to pursue a career in the biomedical or biotechnology industry, and life-long learning, which may involve post-graduate education.

In the fall 2012, the program received notification of its accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. – the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. This action extends retroactively from October 1, 2009. The below links detail the program educational objectives and student outcomes, and degree requirements under this certification:

The B.S.B. degree is organized around a core of required courses and a selection of technical elective courses. Because of the number of options, students should consult early with departmental advisers to plan a program that meets their needs. To help students understand what bioengineering is all about, the department offers BIOE 202 Advances in Bioengineering - a one credit-hour course held each spring that features a series of guest lectures.  

Over 70 percent of the undergraduate students in the bioengineering program participate in research either at Rice or at an institution in the Texas Medical Center. Students conduct research during the academic year as well as during the summer. See Undergraduate Research and Internship Opportunities for additional information.

Annual student enrollment and graduation data 

As of the fall 2013 census, the Department of Bioengineering has a total of 115 undergraduate majors. Of these, all are enrolled in the B.S.B. degree program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Although undergraduates are encouraged to declare a major earlier, students are not required to declare until the spring semester of their second year. As a result, this enrollment figure understates the total number of bioengineering majors.

A total of 42 students graduated with a B.S.B. degree during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The undergraduate minor in global health technologies

The Department of Bioengineering collaborates with a number of departments to offer Rice undergraduate students a minor in global health technologies (GLHT) through the Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) initiative and the Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies. Rice 360°'s educational programs, like BTB, are designed to engage undergraduates directly in solving global health challenges.

BTB is a unique, multidisciplinary program that educates and trains students to reach beyond traditional disciplinary and geographic boundaries to understand, address and solve global health disparities. With complementary contributions from the humanities, social science, policy, bioscience, and engineering programs at Rice, the GLHT minor prepares students to integrate diverse perspectives. Students learn how to develop solutions to complex problems in global health using formal approaches of the engineering design process and the tremendous resources of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK).

Through international internships, students test and refine their solutions in the settings for which they were designed. To date, 19,000 people in 15 countries have benefited from 28 new global health technologies and programs developed by BTB students.