Frequently Asked Questions
What areas of research are offered at Purdue in biomedical engineering?
Primary areas of research include: Engineered Biomaterials & Biomechanics; Imaging; Instrumentation; Quantitative Cellular & Systems Engineering.
May I contact faculty to ask about their research?
Yes, you may contact BME faculty members to discuss their current research projects. Be specific about your interests in their research and also about your background (skills and knowledge) and how you could contribute to their research group. This discussion will allow both you and the faculty member to assess the alignment of research interests.
If I provide my qualifications, can someone review them and let me know my chances of admission?
Because many factors go into the decision process by the admissions committee and since BME admissions are very much faculty-driven, no one person in the BME program is able to comment on an applicant's chances of admission. You should refer to our target criteria located on the following webpage: https://engineering.purdue.edu/BME/Academics/Graduate
If you meet or exceed the requirements listed and have research experience, you could be a competitive applicant. In that case, you should submit a complete application by the appropriate published deadline in order to be considered. Applications complete by the published deadlines will be made available to all BME faculty members and the BME Admissions Committee for their review and consideration.
How do I obtain an application and other Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering information?
The Purdue University Graduate School application is available online only, and the Weldon School has little or no printed materials to mail. Your best resource for everything about graduate programs in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and related programs is our website at https://engineering.purdue.edu/BME/Academics/Graduate
If you have additional, specific questions not answered on the website, please send them to WeldonBMEGrad@purdue.edu.
What is the fall application deadline to your program?
December 15 is the priority deadline for the next fall semester. This means applications that are complete by this date will receive top priority for admission and funding that is available. We strongly recommend that you apply well in advance of this deadline to ensure there is sufficient time to complete your application. It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure all required materials have been received on or before the deadline, including taking the TOEFL (as required) early in the process, and following up with recommenders for letters.
What happens if my application is not complete until after the priority deadline of December 15?
Applications completed after the deadline will not receive the benefit of a complete evaluation and review, which is used to determine priority admission and funding. Late applications may still be made available to BME faculty members and then it will be at their discretion to pursue the application or not. Please understand that the application deadline is firm in order to be fair to all applicants – even one day past the deadline is too late to be considered for priority admission and funding.
Do you accept spring or summer admissions?
The Weldon School has no summer admissions for our research-based graduate programs and limited spring admissions for the same. Spring admissions are limited based on current research opportunities and research assistantship availability. Spring applicants must have research interests that align with a BME faculty member or members who currently have research opportunities available in his or her lab. We do offer spring and summer admissions for our non-thesis master's degree programs.
Do you accept transfer students?
Transfer students are treated in the same manner as new applicants and are required to submit a complete Purdue University Graduate School application including all required supplemental documents by the published deadlines.
How many applications does your program receive?
We receive approximately 300 applications per year.
If I do not have an engineering degree, may I still be admitted to your graduate program?
For non-engineers, such as life scientists and chemists, we do have a PhD degree program jointly administered by the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Veterinary Medicine. This program is called Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (IBSC). The curriculum and admissions requirements for the IBSC program differ from the PhD program for engineers in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, but IBSC students may still work in research groups and under the direct supervision of a biomedical engineering faculty member. For more information, visit the IBSC program page.
NOTE: The Weldon School does not have an MS degree program for students who do not hold an engineering degree. Occasionally, we do admit students directly to our MS or PhD programs who have life science degrees but who have completed programs that were highly quantitative in nature.
Am I required to have a BME degree in order to apply to the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering?
We routinely accept students to our program who have degrees in other engineering fields and physics. Not having had life science courses in your previous degree program will not hurt your chances of admission; however, please realize that since our curriculum requires admitted students to take graduate-level life science courses, you may need to take one or two undergraduate courses in the life sciences in order to be comfortable in a graduate-level life science course. If you have a non-engineering degree, such as Biology or Chemistry, please refer to the question above that begins “If I do not have an engineering degree…”
Do you have direct admissions to the PhD program from a BS degree?
Students with strong undergraduate academic records and research experience may apply for the direct PhD program. Students admitted for a direct PhD begin on a PhD immediately upon entrance into the Graduate School. If a PhD is your ultimate degree objective, the direct PhD option reduces your course requirements and can accelerate your progress towards the PhD degree.
If I apply for the PhD but my record is not strong enough for PhD admission, will I automatically be considered for entrance to the MS degree program instead?
No, because all applications are reviewed following the same standards.
I am undecided on whether to pursue a master’s degree or a PhD. Are my admission chances better for one over the other?
Our program generally admits more PhD students than master’s. If you have a strong academic background, research experience, and with an interest in earning a PhD, it is better to apply for the PhD program.
How do I obtain an application form?
The Purdue University Graduate School application is available online only. See the link to the application on the BME graduate program website. Your statement of purpose, c.v., letters of recommendation, and copies of official transcripts should all be submitted via the online application system.
What do I write for the Statement of Purpose?
A statement of purpose should be approximately 300-500 words and should outline your purpose for undertaking or continuing graduate study and your professional plans, career goals, and research interests. You may also explain any irregularities or special circumstances applicable to your background and elaborate on your special abilities, awards, achievements, scholarly publications, and/or professional history. In addition to the above, you should also describe in detail 1) What factors are most important to your professional growth and success; 2) What factors are most important to you in choosing a graduate school program; and 3) What factors motivated you to apply to the graduate program of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.
If the person writing my letter of recommendation does not want to submit online, where should he/she mail the letter?
On-line submission of letters of recommendation is preferred.
What is the application fee and how do I pay it?
All domestic applicants must pay a $60 nonrefundable application fee, and international applicants must pay a $75 nonrefundable application fee. The application fee must be paid by credit card at the time of submission of your online application.
May I receive a waiver of the application fee?
The application fee is a Purdue University Graduate School requirement for all applicants. The Weldon School does not have the responsibility or authority to waive the fee.
May I send copies of my transcripts for the application?
An official transcript for every institution of higher education attended must be uploaded to your online application (plus, if applicable, certified English translations of the transcripts, copies of diplomas and their English translations). Unofficial documents uploaded to the online application system will not suffice. If admitted, the applicant will be required during the first session of enrollment to submit final, official transcripts to the Purdue Graduate School. If completion of the degree is a condition for a waiver of the TOEFL requirement, the applicant will be required to submit official evidence of being awarded the degree no later than the first day of classes. Official transcripts cannot be returned to the applicant.
My original language transcript is not in English. Am I required to submit a translation?
Yes. In addition to the official, original language transcript you must also send a certified English translation of the transcript (and of the diploma as applicable).
I would like for my current semester grades to be included in my application review. May I wait until the semester ends to submit my official transcript?
If waiting to request your transcript means your application will not be complete by the applicable deadline, do not delay in requesting your transcript. Applications that are incomplete as of the deadline will not receive priority consideration for admission and funding no matter the reason. Once your current semester grades are in, you may provide an updated transcript and we will add it to your file.
Will Purdue accept electronic copies of transcripts?
Electronic transcripts from accredited U.S. institutions only will be accepted, and only if they are sent directly to the Purdue University Graduate School (instructions to follow). Electronic transcripts sent directly to the Weldon School will not suffice. The Purdue University Graduate School has established an account for receiving official transcripts through eSCRIP-SAFE.com. All electronic transcripts from this service must be sent directly from your university to the Purdue University Graduate School at email@example.com. Applicants need only send official transcripts if admitted so for application purposes, upload the official documents as previously described.
I have uploaded my statement of purpose and c.v., official transcripts, and my three letters of recommendation have been submitted via the online application system. Should I also mail hard copies of the same to the Weldon School?
It is unnecessary to mail duplicate materials and we ask that you do not do so in order to save time and resources. Via Purdue’s application system, the Weldon School will have access to all materials that are submitted online for both BME and IBSC applications.
When will I know a decision about my application?
Offers of admission are typically made to top candidates by mid-February. If an applicant is not denied and is not immediately admitted, please recognize that a hold may be placed on the application where the applicant may be admitted if space becomes available (e.g., if an offer made to another candidate is declined). We will not be able to tell applicants in this situation exactly when a final admission decision will be made, but we can tell you that this may take place in mid- to late- April. In that case, if the applicant receives an offer from another university, he/she should seriously consider the other offer before the April 15 decision deadline passes.
My application was previously submitted online and all required documents received in the BME Graduate Office, but now I want to add something (e.g., revised statement of purpose, updated c.v., recent publication). How do I accomplish this?
Once the online application is submitted, you will be unable to revise it or add additional documents. Applications complete by the December 15 deadline, will be reviewed and evaluated with the application documents in receipt at that time. You may notify the BME Graduate Office of the new item to be added to your file, and email the documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. The documentation will be added to your file where BME faculty members who are interested in your application will have access to them.
When self-reporting my GPA on the application, should I convert it to a 4.0 grading scale?
You should self-report your GPA exactly as it appears on your official transcript. You may also include the highest score on your school’s scale, e.g., 7/10. Provide complete, accurate information on all sections of the application. Incomplete or incorrect information could hinder the review and consideration of your application.
How will I know when my application is complete?
Applicants may follow the status of the application for receipt of transcripts and letters of recommendation by logging in to the same Purdue University Graduate School application website through which you originally applied at https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/admissions/ If the status is marked as “Awaiting Materials,” required documents are still needed. Please note that updating receipt of application materials and the application status is in part a manual process by one person in the BME Graduate Office so it may take few days for updates to appear in the system. Once the status is changed to “Awaiting Decision,” this means all application materials have been received and the application is considered complete. All application materials that are received on or before the deadline will be considered as ‘on time’ even if you don’t see a status update until a few days later.
It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure all application materials have been received in BME by the applicable deadline, including following up with those designated to write letters of recommendation, requesting official transcripts well in advance of the deadline and TOEFL scores, and directing application materials to the correct School and address.
How and when will I learn the application admission decision?
Fall entry application reviews will begin around mid-December and may continue through March or later depending on the faculty’s progress with recruitment. Applicants in whom a faculty member is interested should be contacted directly by that faculty member for additional discussion and possible invitation to interview. For applicants who will not be offered admission, the online application status will be changed to reflect this and the applicant will receive email notification from the Purdue Graduate School.
I will receive my BS or MS degree from a US institution, or from an international, but English-speaking university. Do I have to take the TOEFL exam?
Non-native speakers of English who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The Graduate School will routinely waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement for applicants who have received a baccalaureate degree or graduate or professional degree, within the last 24 months, from a school where English is the primary language of instruction in a country/location where English is the native language as determined by the graduate school.
What are the TOEFL minimum scores that are accepted? Should I apply if I do not meet the minimums?
International non-native speakers of English must achieve a TOEFL iBT overall score of 77 or higher to be considered for admission to a degree program. In addition to the overall required score, applicants who take the TOEFL iBT must achieve the following minimum test scores: reading, 19; listening, 14; speaking, 18, and writing, 18. The Graduate School also accepts IELTS (Academic Module) scores of 6.5 or higher. The scores must be documented by an official report from Educational Testing Service or IELTS, and must be no more than 24 months old at the time the application credentials are reviewed in the Graduate School. If your TOEFL scores do not meet these minimum requirements, DO NOT apply to Purdue as your application will not be reviewed.
My TOEFL scores are lower than the Purdue University Graduate School’s required minimum scores. If I retake the TOEFL and earn the appropriate scores, will my application still be considered?
If you provide acceptable TOEFL scores prior to the December 15 deadline and as long as your application is otherwise complete, you will be considered for priority admission and funding. If acceptable TOEFL scores arrive after the December 15 deadline, your application will not receive the benefit of a complete evaluation, which is used to determine priority admission and funding, but may still be made available to BME faculty members and then it will be at their discretion to pursue the application or not.
Is the GRE required?
No. The GRE is not required and will not be used in admissions and funding decisions.
What should I do if my TOEFL scores will not be released from ETS until near the application deadline?
Students should “self report” their TOEFL scores on the application and if desired provide a photocopy of their scores for the Weldon School’s internal review purposes pending receipt of the official score report from ETS. An offer of admission cannot be made, however, until official scores have been received from ETS.
What is the minimum GPA that is acceptable? Should I apply if I do not meet the minimum?
Students with GPAs lower than 3.0 may only be granted conditional admittance. The Weldon School rarely admits students whose GPA is below 3.0. Our target GPAs may be found here: https://engineering.purdue.edu/BME/Academics/Graduate If you do not meet the target GPA, but if you are above the minimum GPA of 3.0, you are still encouraged to apply. The Admissions Committee and BME faculty members will consider all parts of your application and weaker areas may be off-set by stronger areas of your application.
What funding opportunities are available for graduate studies with the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering?
Admitted PhD students receive a salary and tuition waiver generally for the first year of their graduate studies. Some form of funding support should be anticipated for the remaining years as long as satisfactory progress is made in academic and in research endeavors. Master's degree funding support may be available at the discretion of the faculty research advisor. Forms of support include Research Assistantships (RA), Fellowships, and Teaching Assistantships (TA).
Are applicants required to send bank statements or other financial documents as part of the application packet?
No. Submission of letters or documents which attest to the applicant's ability to financially support him/herself through graduate school is unnecessary and discouraged for application to the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.
What is the procedure to be considered for funding?
In order to receive priority consideration for admission and funding, an applicant must submit a complete application (online application submitted, fee paid, all required supporting documents received) no later than the published application deadline for the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Domestic applicants should also submit the diversity essay as part of the application in order to be considered for certain fellowships. You must include in your diversity essay the name of your U.S. high school or U.S.-accredited high school and its address.
Should international students submit the diversity essay as part of the online application?
Unless an applicant attended a U.S. high school or U.S.-accredited high school it is unnecessary to submit the diversity essay.
What is the demographic make-up of the student population for the MD/PHD program?
From 2003-2011 the program matriculated a total of 44 students, with 16 being females (36%). Of these 44 matriculated students, 23% self-identified as being from underrepresented populations. 7 of the 16 female students have been in BME.
Can students in the BME portion of the MD/PHD program perform rotations with different PIs?
Yes. During the first two summers that students are part of the MD/PHD program, they can choose to rotate in multiple labs with faculty who have appointments in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering who’s labs are at the West Lafayette or Indianapolis campuses.
Are students in BME really able to complete the PHD in three years as part of the MD/PHD as advertised on the program’s website?
Approximately one-third of the students in BME are able to complete the PHD in three years of full-time study after MS2. The remainder of students finish within the following year after completing additional journal articles and translational research projects.
Are students able to remain engaged with the School of Medicine while pursuing the PHD in BME at Purdue?
Yes. There are numerous events throughout the year in which students participate (e.g. summer & winter research retreats, monthly dinners with invited speakers, poster sessions, and social events) to remain connected with their peers in the MD/PHD program and the School of Medicine.
How many students in the MD/PHD program have been in Biomedical Engineering?
Of the 44 students who have matriculated in the MD/PHD program since 2003, a total of 18 are BMEs.
What is the MD/PhD application procedure if I have an interest in BME?
Admission to both Indiana University School of Medicine and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering is required. This process may be initiated by choosing the appropriate box on the AMCAS application for the M.D./Ph.D. Program. After the AMCAS application review, the Combined Degree Admissions Committee will extend invitations for interviews to qualified candidates who will then have the opportunity to indicate BME on the Research Area/s of Interest form. Applicants should wait to submit the Purdue University Graduate School application until notified to do so, and further instructions will be provided at that time.
Additional information and instructions for applying to the MD/PhD program are found on the following website:
What is the Purdue University application fee and how do I pay it?
All domestic applicants must pay a $60 application fee by credit card at the time of submission of your online application. Once you are instructed to submit the Purdue University Graduate School application, mark your entry semester of interest as the upcoming summer. The Weldon School will reimburse you for the Purdue application fee and you will be contacted regarding the fee reimbursement process and documentation required.
What areas of research are offered at Purdue in biomedical engineering?
The Weldon School’s key research areas include: Engineered Biomaterials & Biomechanics; Imaging; Instrumentation; Quantitative Cellular & Systems Engineering.
May I contact faculty to ask about their research?
Yes. Please feel free to contact BME faculty members to discuss their current research projects. Be specific about your interests in their research and also about your background (skills and knowledge) and how you can contribute to their research group. This discussion will allow both you and the faculty member to assess if your research interests are well-aligned.
If I am accepted into the MD/PhD program and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, when will I begin my studies?
Students accepted into the MD/PhD program and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering will have a research experience at Purdue University during the summer before the first year of medical school begins in the fall. The BME Graduate Office will work with you to make the appropriate arrangements.
May I pursue an MS in Biomedical Engineering via distance?
Students may pursue a Master of Science or Master of Science in Engineering degree with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering via distance. The distance master’s program is offered through Purdue’s Division of Engineering Professional Education. See https://engineering.purdue.edu/ProEd/credit/bme for admissions information. The research-based MSBME and PhD programs through the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering are offered on-campus only.
How do I apply for the specialty programs such as Biomedical Entrepreneurship or Regulatory Affairs?
Students admitted to the BME graduate program are eligible to pursue these areas of study without submitting a separate Graduate School application. Students should work with their research advisor on the appropriateness of registration in these programs.