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The Master of Bioengineering (M.B.E.)

Rice University's Master of Bioengineering (M.B.E.) is a widely recognized, non-thesis degree that provides students with greater depth in their bioengineering training to advance their career objectives. The degree has two tracks to choose from:

  • The Global Medical Innovation (GMI) track is designed specifically for students who want to pursue a career in the global medical technology industry; and
  • The Applied Bioengineering track is designed as a flexible degree for students who want to pursue careers in research, medicine or related fields.  

Move ForwardBoth tracks require 30 credit hours of study and result in the M.B.E. degree. A minimum of 24 of the 30 credits must be taken at Rice. Both tracks have the same prerequisites, though applicants will be evaluated considering the different purposes of each track.

Applicants may apply to both tracks. Students may enroll for the Applied Bioengineering track on a full-time or part-time basis, which includes at least three hours a semester. Students in the GMI track are expected to enroll on a full-time basis. All curriculum must be approved by the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee and the Bioengineering Department. This is done on a case-by-case basis.

M.B.E. prerequisite courses

Both tracks require prerequisite courses to ensure students are prepared for graduate-level courses in bioengineering. Fundamentals of Systems Physiology (BIOE 322 or equivalent, 3 credit hours), Cell Biology (BIOC 341 or equivalent, 3 credit hours), and Statistics (BIOE 440 or equivalent, 1 credit hour) are prerequisite courses. If a student does not have evidence on their undergraduate transcript that they have received credit for these courses they must take them as part of the M.B.E. curriculum. Prerequisite courses may be taken for a standard letter grade or pass/fail credit, and will not count toward the required 30 hours regardless of the grade mode. All BIOE courses must be taken for a standard letter grade.   

Global Medical Innovation (GMI)

Medical technology innovation today requires global perspectives in invention and implementation. Products must be engineered and accelerated through streamlined processes so they are cost-effective, sustainable and accessible. Rice University is preparing engineers to work in this growing and dynamic international landscape.

In the fall of 2015, Rice launched a new track with the M.B.E. degree to prepare engineers for careers in medical technology through education in innovation, emerging-market design projects, and internships. The track builds on Rice’s award-winning design program at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, the successful history of innovation with Rice 360° Institute for Global Health, and through collaborations with the Texas Medical Center and international partners.   


The GMI track specifically targets students who have an undergraduate degree in engineering (mechanical, electrical, chemical, or bioengineering/ medical) or a related field, and who are interested in pursuing a career in the private, public, or non-profit sectors of medical technology.  

Upon completing the GMI track of the M.B.E. degree, graduates will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of bioengineering topics in at least one of the following areas: Biomaterials and Drug Delivery, Biomedical Imaging and Diagnostics, Computational and Theoretical Bioengineering, Tissue Engineering and Biomechanics, or Systems and Synthetic Biology.
  2. Develop effective medical products, from concept to commercialization, within a team environment.
  3. Comprehend and navigate the global medical technology industry by leveraging an internship experience.
  4. Gain employment or advance professionally in a technical field related to bioengineering.

GMI curriculum

The GMI curriculum consists of:

  • Medical Technology Design 1 (BIOE 527, 3 credits);
  • Medical Technology Design 2 (BIOE 529, 3 credits);
  • Medical Technology Implementation 1 (BIOE 528, 3 credits);
  • Medical Technology Implementation 2 (BIOE 530, 3 credits);
  • Medical Technology Design Seminar 1 (BIOE 627, 1.5 credits);
  • Medical Technology Design Seminar 2 (BIOE 628, 1.5 credits);
  • One graduate-level elective (500 and above) BIOE course (3 credits);
  • An internship (BIOE 600), which may be completed during the summer (full-time) or during the fall and winter semesters (part-time). The students traveled to Costa Rica for a global design internship during summer of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Subsequent students may fulfill this requirement with an industry internship, or Independent Study (BIOE 506) in the summer, or during the fall and winter semesters. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students are responsible for obtaining and selecting an internship that best aligns with their career goals (6 Credits).
  • Applied Statistics for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (BIOE 539, 3 credits); and
  • One Professional Development elective, 500 level or above, chosen from approved courses.

All students must maintain an average GPA of 3.2 or higher. 

If you have additional questions about the Global Medical Innovation track, email gmi@rice.edu.

Applied Bioengineering

The Applied Bioengineering track gives students the flexibility to craft their own curriculum depending on their interests and career goals. Upon completing the M.B.E. degree, students will be able to:

  1. Apply and integrate advanced knowledge of bioengineering topics in at least one of the following areas: Biomaterials and Drug Delivery, Biomedical Imaging and Diagnostics, Computational and Theoretical Bioengineering, Tissue Engineering and Biomechanics, or Systems and Synthetic Biology.
  2. Apply knowledge from engineering and other disciplines to identify, formulate, and solve novel and complex problems that require advanced knowledge in bioengineering.
  3. Select and apply quantitative analytic techniques to analyze bioengineering data.
  4. Gain admission to a graduate or professional program, if students want to pursue further education.

Students in the Applied Bioengineering track are required to complete 30 credit hours of upper-level courses, including:

  • Eighteen bioengineering credits at the graduate level (500 and above);
  • Medical Technology Design Seminar 1 (BIOE 627, 1.5 credits);
  • Medical Technology Design Seminar 2 (BIOE 628, 1.5 credits);
  • Applied Statistics for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (BIOE 539, 3 credits), OR a Graduate-level MATH, STAT, or CAAM (3 credits, 400-level courses or above may be considered);
  • One graduate-level elective (3 credits - may be non-BIOE, but must be relevant to bioengineering degree); and
  • Professional Development elective(s) (3 total credits - 500 level or above, chosen from approved courses listed below).

All students must maintain an average GPA of 3.2 or higher.

If you have additional questions about the Applied Bioengineering track, email ges@rice.edu.

Approved M.B.E. Professional Development Electives

The following is a list of approved Professional Development electives for both M.B.E. tracks.

  • Life Science Entrepreneurship (BIOE 633, 1.5 credits)
  • Technical and Managerial Communications (ENGI 510, 3 credits)
  • Leading Teams and Innovation (ENGI 515, 3 credits)
  • Ethics and Engineering Leadership (ENGI 529, 3 credits)
  • Strategic Thinking (ENGI 545/LEAD 545, 3 credits)
  • Management for Science and Engineers (ENGI 610, 3 credits)
  • Leadership Coaching for Engineers (ENGI 615, 3 credits)
  • Technology Entrepreneurship (MGMT 734, 3 credits)
  • Communication for Engineers (ENGI 542, 3 credits)

Policies in graduate studies and program details are found in the Rice University General Announcements. Links to Department of Bioengineering Student Handbooks are on the sidebar to the left titled Additional Information.