The cornerstone of our success as a leader in bioengineering is capitalizing on Rice’s proximity to the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical complex in the world, which has promoted several long-term collaborative efforts with the member institutions of the TMC.
Rice bioengineering faculty members have inter-institutional projects with research institutes in the U.S. and abroad and over 35 funded projects in research and education with TMC partners that are advancing life sciences, streamlining the development of new biomaterials and products, and shaping the future of health care.
For nearly 30 years, we have jointly administered an M.D./Ph.D. Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) with Baylor College of Medicine. The MSTP program serves as an important tool to facilitate translational research. Currently, there are 11 bioengineering students in the program. To apply or learn more about the program, visit https://www.bcm.edu/education/programs/md-phd-program/admissions.
To encourage close contact between students and faculty and to foster quality research, the Ph.D. program is limited to approximately 20 to 25 entering candidates per year. The typical course of study for a Ph.D. in bioengineering is four to six years.
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 required prerequisites that must be taken during undergraduate training. 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 Ph.D. curriculum.
The Rice bioengineering program is comprehensive and provides students with a fundamental understanding of the life and medical sciences, advanced analytical and engineering capabilities, and translational research that transfers biotechnical advances from bench to bedside.
With this educational background, doctoral graduates will be well prepared to:
The Ph.D. curriculum has three components: foundation, supporting, and advanced topics courses. Collectively, the components afford students broad exposure to their chosen field of research interest. First year Ph.D. students enjoy the opportunity to rotate in faculty labs their first semester after they matriculate. This helps students identify the bioengineering field that best suits their post-graduate career goals.
The following core courses are required for all Ph.D. students:
Students must take a minimum of five graduate level (500 or above) bioengineering (BIOE) courses for a total of 15 credit hours.
There are six specialization tracks that reflect research interests within the Bioengineering Department. Students may elect a specialization track and take three supporting courses in that area of interest. Student must consult with his or her adviser regarding appropriate courses to support their chosen track.
A large array of advanced specialty courses is available to Rice bioengineering graduate students. Each student should select the courses most appropriate for his/her research with the help of the thesis adviser. Advanced topic courses may be used to meet the 30 semester hours of graduate level courses.
Students must register for the graduate seminars (BIOE 698 in the fall and BIOE 699 in the spring) every semester of their first three years of study. Students beyond their third year are not required to attend, but are highly encouraged to do so. These courses are given on a pass/fail basis only. Attendance at the seminars is mandatory unless the absence has been excused in advance by the course administrator. Graduate students may miss up to two seminars per semester. Seminars are given by leaders from the field of bioengineering. Following each seminar, there is time scheduled for graduate students to meet with the speaker for an informal discussion. Attendance at these sessions is not mandatory, but strongly recommended.
The university minimum requirement for the doctorate degree is 90 semester hours. The Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering must:
No foreign language is required for an advanced degree in bioengineering. About four to six years of study are normally necessary to complete the Ph.D. degree requirements.
Policies in graduate studies and program details are found in the Rice University General Announcements. Department of Bioengineering Student Handbooks, which are available to current students, are found in the BIOE Forms Library under Graduate Student Life.