RICE BIOENGINEERING GRADUATE PROGRAMS

Frequently Asked Questions

The Rice University Department of Bioengineering will no longer require applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for doctoral program admission, effective immediately. The GRE is not required for all MBE program applicants during the 2020-21 admissions cycle.

The Admission Process


Masters in Bioengineering (MBE) Program

Can you explain the structure of concentrations available within the MBE degree program?

Students in the Masters of Bioengineering (MBE) degree program choose between 2 degree concentrations: the Applied Bioengineering (AB) concentration and the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) concentration.

Students who choose the Applied Bioengineering concentration can further choose between 2 specializations according to their career interests: a Research-Based specialization and a Course-Based specialization. There are no further specializations available for the GMI concentration.

Masters of Bioengineering Degree Program
Why would I want to get an MBE?

The MBE degree will further improve and deepen your knowledge of bioengineering at a graduate level. This will be attractive to industry and business, and should further improve your job opportunities beyond only having a BS degree.

What if I decide I want to perform research, but don’t want to get a PhD?

If you want to perform research outside of a PhD program, students in the MBE Applied Bioengineering (AB) concentration can apply for the MBE-AB-Research based specialization.

If you are still a Rice undergraduate bioengineering major, you may want to try BIOE 400 (undergraduate research) before you graduate. You might also look for a technician position in a research lab at one of the Texas Medical Center institutions or at a research institute in your home town. Most importantly, you should try to find out how research experience will enrich your future career interests.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

The minimum GPA for admission to the MBE in Global Medical Innovation concentration is 3.2
The minimum GPA for admission to the MBE in Applied Bioengineering concentration is 3.0

Are MBE applicants required to go through an interview?

Applicants to the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) MBE concentration must attend a required interview, whether virtually or in-person.

Applicants to the Applied Bioengineering (AB) MBE concentration are not required to attend an interview.

Can I transfer from the MBE program into the PhD program?

No, a student in the MBE program must reapply to the PhD program.

Can the classes taken during the MBE program apply towards the PhD program if I am accepted into a PhD program?

This is a very strong possibility, but it depends on the policies of the PhD program to which you applied. In the Rice University Department of Bioengineering, we waive up to 12 credits for our students who enter with a masters degree.

If I enroll in the PhD program then decide after a couple of years that research is not for me, can I leave the program with an MBE degree?

Admission into the professional MBE degree program is granted separately from admission into the PhD degree program.

Students who wish to change from a thesis program to a professional degree program must petition the department in writing. Upon recommendation of the department, the request is sent to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for consideration and final approval.

If approved, students who received tuition waivers while enrolled in the thesis program may be expected to repay the tuition before their professional degrees are awarded. Students must meet the MBE degree requirements, which are very different from those of the PhD degree.

Professional degree programs terminate when the degree is awarded. Students who wish to continue graduate study after completing a professional program must reapply for admission into a research program.

Can I take bioengineering courses my senior year at Rice University, have them not apply toward my BS, but have them apply toward the MBE?

Yes, after you have completed the 131 credit hour requirement for your BS in bioengineering (as demonstrated by a degree audit), any additional graduate level courses you take during your fourth year at Rice can be applied towards the completion of the MBE degree. These courses must be part of the approved MBE curriculum. Note, however, that you do have to be admitted to the MBE program, and admission is not guaranteed. Learn more about taking a fifth year as a Rice undergraduate.

Do you provide financial aid and how do I apply?

The Applied Bioengineering concentration in the MBE program has a research-based speciality and therefore, students who elect to pursue this specialty should receive a stipend. The Rice University Office of Financial Aid does not offer scholarships to students in other MBE concentrations or concentration specializations within the Department of Bioengineering, but there are loan options and payment plans available for consideration. Visit their website for resources and additional information.

What are my options for housing while pursuing my MBE at Rice University?

Rice University offers Graduate Student Housing--visit their website to explore their available options.

Other off-campus accommodations can be found at Apartment Finder, Zillow, PadMapper, and an externally-managed Facebook group dedicated to Rice Student Housing. A few nearby neighborhoods to consider accommodations in are Montrose, Midtown, West University and Upper Kirby.

Rice University and the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), which houses the Department of Bioengineering along with several other life sciences departments and laboratories, are located along the MetroRail Red Line. There are several Houston BCycle stations in and around campus, and secure bicycle parking in the BRC parking garage.


MBE in Global Medical Innovation (GMI)

I am ready to apply to the MBE program. What are the next steps?

When you are ready, attach the following documents to your application at gradapply.rice.edu. The GRE is not required for all MBE program applicants during the 2020-21 admissions cycle.

  • Unofficial transcripts from your previous institution(s)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose (~500 words)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Application fee of $85

If you are an international student, TOEFL or IELTS scores that are less than three years old are required.

What is the timeline once I’ve submitted my application?

Application deadline for the Global Medical Innovation program is December 31, 2020. MD/MBE applications are due January 31, 2021.
December 31: Application Deadline
Mid to late January: Virtual Interviews
Mid to late February: Invitations for in-person interviews and campus visit
Early March: Admissions decisions sent
Early June: Orientation and Summer program start
May: Graduation

What can I expect to do upon graduating from this program?

Alumni of the Rice University MBE in Global Medical Innovation have been placed into competitive jobs, primarily in new product development and clinical specialist roles at large medical device companies, including Medtronic, Abbott, Boston Scientific, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, BD, GE Healthcare, Cook and Baxter.

Can I work on campus or get a paid internship while completing my MBE in Global Medical Innovation?

There are no restrictions on MBE GMI students working on or off campus. On campus, you can apply to work as a student worker or a grader. Off campus, students also choose to pursue internships with industry partners, such as J&J Center for Device Innovation, and receive modest stipends for this work.

How can I learn more about the projects students have worked on?

Explore our students' past projects and innovations.

What are the outcomes of the design projects?

To date, students have progressed their design projects to publication, grant proposals, in vivo studies and even clinical trials. In order for your innovations to reach patients and make a real impact, part of your task is to design for sustainability and define the path to market. Even if you don't see yourself in a medical startup for your career, we want you to think about how your device will reach patients after your graduation. Student teams are required to compete in business plan competitions and many teams have won cash prizes to support the long-term development of their technology. Students are encouraged to spin-out their technologies into startup companies or find long-term homes for continued development so that the technologies will reach actual patients. At Rice University, Master's students own the IP they generate, which enables them to spin out a startup if they choose to do so.

I do not have a degree in biomedical engineering but have a strong interest in this field. Can I still apply?

Students accepted to the Global Medical Innovation program do not exclusively come from an engineering background. All students are required to complete prerequisites in Biology, Human Physiology and Statistics. If applicants do not have these prerequisites, they must complete them by the fall of their first semester through courses offered at Rice University or elsewhere. Students with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), medical, business, or industrial design backgrounds have excelled in this program.

What is the cost of tuition?

The tuition for the Professional Master’s program in the School of Engineering for the academic year 2020 -21 is:

$2,861 per credit hour
$25,750 per semester
$51,500 per academic year

Find more information on tuition and aid for our Engineering Professional Master's Program.

Is financial assistance available?

The Rice University Office of Financial Aid does not offer scholarships to students in the Global Medical Innovation MBE concentration, but there are loan options and payment plans available for consideration. Visit their website for resources and additional information.

A limited number of merit-based scholarships may be offered to students at the time of admission. There is no application required for merit-based scholarships.

Is there a minimum GPA/GRE score requirement?

The Global Medical Innovation MBE program is a competitive program, however, we consider each application holistically and on a case-by-case basis. The average GPA for the class of 2020 was 3.75.

The GRE is not required for all MBE program applicants during the 2020-21 admissions cycle.

What is the deadline to apply to the Global Medical Innovation MBE program?

The deadline for applications is December 31.

Is there an opportunity to visit the Rice University Department of Bioengineering prior to applying?

The Global Medical Innovation MBE program offers a visit day in the spring for candidates to whom an in-person interview has been extended. To visit Rice campus, go to visit.rice.edu for more information.

Applicants can stay connected with the Department of Bioengineering on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Find GMI program-specific updates and news on Instagram and Twitter.

Is an interview required as a part of the application process?

Yes, the application process requires an initial Skype Interview and an in-person interview, if invited, with members of the selection committee.

Are there additional charges for the summer abroad program?

Tuition and fees cover all costs for the international summer program, including: airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and vaccines as required.

What are my options for housing while pursuing my MBE in Global Medical Innovation at Rice University?

Rice University offers Graduate Student Housing--visit their website to explore their available options.

Other off-campus accommodations can be found at Apartment Finder, Zillow, PadMapper, and an externally-managed Facebook group dedicated to Rice Student Housing. A few nearby neighborhoods to consider accommodations in are Montrose, Midtown, West University and Upper Kirby.

Rice University and the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), which houses a dedicated workspace for GMI students and the Department of Bioengineering, are located along the MetroRail Red Line. There are several Houston BCycle stations in and around campus, and secure bicycle parking in the BRC parking garage.


A Complete Application

The Rice Bioengineering online application system will ask candidates to electronically submit the following items by each program's corresponding deadline.

The Rice University Department of Bioengineering will no longer require applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for doctoral program admission, effective immediately. The GRE is not required for all MBE program applicants during the 2020-21 admissions cycle.

  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended
    • All applicants must attach an unofficial transcript to their application. If accepted to their graduate program of choice, students are required to also send an official copy of their transcripts.
  • A statement of purpose in addition to the “supplemental information” section of the application.
  • At least three letters of recommendation from teachers or advisors
  • In certain circumstances, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for students who have not received a degree from a university in the United States or where English is not the official language of instruction.
    • The TOEFL is administered through the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
    • The internet-based TOEFL iBL is offered more than 50 times a year and is administered online at testing sites around the world. Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test and should score at least 90 on the TOEFL iBL, or at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL or score 250 on the computer-based TOEFL.
    • Students whose native language is not English may also use the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test. For students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7.
    • Make arrangements to have all official scores sent to Rice University. The codes for submitting GRE and TOEFL scores are: 1603 for the Department Bioengineering, 6609 for Rice University, and the TOEFL code is 6609.
  • The application fee of $85. The fee can be paid either by credit card or electronic check. For all programs, payment of the fee cannot be deferred until time of enrollment. The application can be processed only when the application fee has been received.

To make sure scores are available when graduate admission decisions are made, and if applicable, register to take the GRE or TOEFL as required a minimum of 90 days prior to the PhD or MBE application deadlines mentioned above. Applicants should also request transcripts at least 30 days before graduate application deadlines to give senders time to get the material to Rice University.

SUBMIT ALL INQUIRIES/APPLICATION MATERIALS TO: COURIER DELIVERIES SHOULD BE SENT TO:

Rice University
Graduate Admissions Committee
Bioengineering Department-MS 142
PO Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Phone: 713-348-5869
Fax: 713-348-5877
Email: bioegradprogram@rice.edu

Rice University
Graduate Admissions Committee
Bioengineering Department-MS 142
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005