Biomedical Engineering, Bachelor of Science College of Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Major

The Biomedical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge of engineering principles with the biomedical sciences. It is a very diverse field with biomedical engineers working in areas ranging from medical imaging to regenerative medicine. Some major contributions of Biomedical Engineering include the left ventricular assist device (LVAD), artificial joints, hemodialysis, bioengineered skin, coronary stents, computed tomography (CT), and flexible endoscopes.

Students who choose biomedical engineering are interested in contributing to human health and quality of life, but do not routinely interact directly with patients, as do physicians. Due to the need to complete additional coursework beyond BME degree requirements, this major is not a primary route for pre-medical studies.

The mission of the BS degree program of the Department of Biomedical Engineering is to combine exceptional teaching with state-of-the-art research for the advancement of technologies and computational techniques that meet medical and societal challenges.

The educational objectives of our program are that a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering should prepare students to:

  • Be successfully engaged in their chosen career through engineering practice, academic or clinical research, healthcare, education, service, or related activities, or through the pursuit of graduate or professional degrees; and
  • Contribute effectively to society through responsible professional practice, fostering of cross-disciplinary collaboration, generation of innovative solutions to problems, and continuous pursuit of knowledge for personal and technological advancement.

The biomedical engineering curriculum is designed to provide a solid interdisciplinary foundation in life and physical sciences, mathematics and engineering, while allowing for sufficient flexibility in the upper division requirements to encourage students to explore specializations within the field. Our instructional program is designed to impart knowledge of contemporary issues at the forefront of biomedical engineering research. Employment opportunities exist in industry, hospitals, academic research and teaching institutions, national laboratories, and government regulatory agencies. The major also provides excellent grounding in the skills necessary for graduate-level studies in engineering disciplines and biological sciences, as well as for professional studies in health (medicine, dentistry, optometry, prosthetics), business and law. Exclusive of General Education units, the minimum number of units required for the Biomedical Engineering degree is 158.

For information about graduate degree options, see Biomedical Engineering (Graduate Group).

Areas of Specialization

As Biomedical engineering is a broad field, specializing in a subfield of engineering can provide more in-depth expertise in a focus area. Through the judicious selection of upper division engineering and science electives, students can create this depth in one of our suggested areas of specialization or in an area of the student's choosing. One of the strengths of the UC Davis program is the flexibility to design one's own emphasis of study. These specializations are neither required nor degree-notated.


This is a broad subfield that includes orthopedic/rehabilitation engineering and the study of mechanical forces produced by biological systems. This subfield helps us understand the fluid dynamics of blood flow and the forces acting on tissue in the artery allowing us to design better cardiovascular interventional devices. This field involves a more intensive study of mechanics, dynamics and thermodynamics.

Cellular & Tissue

The cellular and tissue specialization applies biomedical engineering principles to control behavior at the gene, protein, cell, and tissue level. Engineers in this area work with cellular therapies, protein production, gene therapy, tissue engineering and regeneration, and biomaterials development. This subfield draws heavily from the chemical and biological sciences and can involve studying biomedical transport, natural or synthetic biomaterials, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.


Visualizing anatomical structure, physiological processes, metabolic activity and molecular expression in living tissues is essential for the diagnosis of disease, development of new therapeutics, evaluation of the response to therapeutics, and guidance of interventional procedures. An imaging biomedical engineer can develop instruments for imaging, create algorithms for three-dimensional reconstruction of imaging data, and generate new contrast agents to enhance image quality. Our program has a particular strength in molecular imaging, which involves detecting molecular-scale events within living systems. Depending upon your area of interest, the imaging specialization can require further study in electronics, signal processing, chemistry or computer programming.

Medical Devices

Biomedical engineers can develop devices, instruments and implants ranging from the nano- to macro-scale that can be used in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease. This involves combining technologies like pharmaceuticals, electronics and mechanical devices to develop combination medical treatments.

Systems & Synthetic Biology

In systems and synthetic biology, students apply engineering principles to better understand, design and build biological systems at the cellular level. They integrate cellular, biochemical, genetic, electromechanical and computational approaches in their work, which can be applied to health and other applications. Systems and synthetic biology specialists can build engineered or artificial cells for fighting cancer or antibiotic resistance, improve tissue engineering and drug production approaches and study how complex and dynamic molecular systems control cellular behavior.

Pre-Medical Student

As engineering is playing an increasing role in the practice of medicine, students can focus on the intersection of engineering and medicine for future careers as physician-scientists. Please note that to meet admission requirements for medical school, students must complete extra coursework in addition to the listed Department of Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Requirements.

The Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering

Doctoral and master's degrees in Biomedical Engineering are offered through the interdisciplinary Graduate Group in Biomedical Engineering; see Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group.

Lower Division Required Courses
Students are encouraged to adhere carefully to all prerequisite requirements. The instructor is authorized to drop students from a course for which stated prerequisites have not been completed.
MAT 021ACalculus4
MAT 021BCalculus4
MAT 021CCalculus4
MAT 021DVector Analysis4
MAT 022ALinear Algebra3-4
or MAT 027A Linear Algebra with Applications to Biology
MAT 022BDifferential Equations3-4
or MAT 027B Differential Equations with Applications to Biology
PHY 009AClassical Physics5
or PHY 009HA Honors Physics
PHY 009BClassical Physics5
PHY 009CClassical Physics5
CHE 002A
CHE 002B
CHE 002C
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry
and General Chemistry
CHE 008AOrganic Chemistry: Brief Course2-4
or CHE 118A Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
CHE 008BOrganic Chemistry: Brief Course4
or CHE 118B Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
ENG 006Engineering Problem Solving4
ENG 017Circuits I4
Biological Science
BIS 002AIntroduction to Biology: Essentials of Life on Earth5
Biomedical Engineering
BIM 001Introduction to Biomedical Engineering2
BIM 020Fundamentals of Bioengineering4
BIM 020LGraphics Design for BME2
Choose one; a grade of C- or better is required:4
Introduction to Academic Literacies
Introduction to Academic Literacies
Introduction to Literature
Major Works of the Ancient World
Major Works of the Medieval & Early Modern World
Major Works of the Modern World
Major Works of the Contemporary World
Introduction to Native American Literature
Lower Division Required Courses Subtotal83-87
Upper Division Required Courses
ENG 100Electronic Circuits & Systems3-5
or EEC 100 Circuits II
ENG 105Thermodynamics4
ENG 190Professional Responsibilities of Engineers3
Biomedical Engineering
BIM 116Physiology for Biomedical Engineers 5
or NPB 101 Systemic Physiology
BIM 105Probability & Data Science for Biomedical Engineers4
BIM 106Biotransport Phenomena4
BIM 107Manufacturing Processes for BME2
BIM 108Biomedical Signals & Control4
BIM 109Biomaterials4
BIM 110ABiomedical Engineering Senior Design Experience3
BIM 110BBiomedical Engineering Senior Design Experience3
BIM 110CBiomedical Engineering Senior Design Experience3
BIM 111Biomedical Instrumentation Laboratory6
Science & Engineering Electives are to be selected in consultation with a staff or faculty advisor.
Science Electives
To be chosen according to specialization:7
Introduction to Biology: Principles of Ecology & Evolution
Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity & the Tree of Life
Introduction to Programming
Introduction to Data Structures
Modern Physics
Cellular Dynamics
Biomolecular Engineering
Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory
Biomolecular Engineering: Brief Course
Any letter graded upper division course in the Biological Sciences, Chemistry or Physics that is designated as Science & Engineering topical breadth.
With the approval of the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Committee; 4 units:
Internship in Biomedical Engineering
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Engineering Electives
Any letter graded upper division Biomedical Engineering course; except:20
Cellular Dynamics
Biomolecular Engineering
Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory
Biomolecular Engineering: Brief Course
With the approval of the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Committee; 4 units:
Internship in Biomedical Engineering
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
No more than 4 units allowed from lower division coursework.
Properties of Materials
Properties of Materials
Fluid Mechanics
Mechanics of Materials
Mechanics of Materials Laboratory
Engineering Economics
Electronic Circuits I
Electronic Circuits II
Digital Integrated Circuits
Electromagnetics I
Introductory Electromagnetics II
Principles of Device Physics I
Principles of Device Physics II
Introduction to Signals & Systems
Digital Signals & Systems
Control Systems
Control Systems
Signal Analysis & Communications
Biomechanics & Ergonomics
Modeling of Dynamic Processes in Biological Systems
Bioinstrumentation & Control
Rheology of Biological Materials
Fluid Mechanics for Biochemical & Chemical Engineers
Rheology & Polymer Processing
Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics Laboratory
Chemical Engineering Transport Lab
Chemical Engineering Kinetics & Reactor Design Laboratory
Fundamentals of Biomanufacturing
Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals
Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory
Introduction to Colloid & Surface Phenomena
Theory & Practice of Bioinformatics
Principles of Polymer Materials Science
Thermodynamics of Materials
Structure & Characterization of Engineering Materials
Structure & Characterization of Materials Laboratory
Kinetics of Materials
Smart Materials
Smart Materials Laboratory
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Mechanical Behavior Laboratory
Materials in Engineering Design
Manufacturing of 3D & Composite Materials
Failure Analysis
Mechanical Design
Mechanical Design
Statistical Methods in Design & Manufacturing
Computer-Aided Mechanism Design
Heat Transfer
Analysis, Simulation & Design of Mechatronic Systems
Automatic Control of Engineering Systems
Additional Elective Policies 1
Upper Division Composition Requirement
Choose one; grade of C- or better is required:0-4
Advanced Composition
Advanced Composition
Writing in the Disciplines: Biology
Writing in the Disciplines: Engineering
Writing in the Professions: Business Writing
Writing in the Professions: Business Writing
Writing in the Professions: Science
Writing in the Professions: Health
Writing in the Professions: Health
Writing in the Professions: Internships
Writing in the Professions: Technical Writing
Passing the Upper Division Composition Exam offered by the College of Letters & Science.
Upper Division Required Courses Subtotal75-81
Total Units158-162

2 units from CHE 118A may be applied towards Science Electives if CHE 118A is also used to satisfy lower division subject credit. 2 units from EEC 100 may be applied towards Engineering Electives if EEC 100 is taken to satisfy upper division subject credit. 1 unit from MAT 027A/BIS 027A and 1 unit from MAT 027B/BIS 027B may be applied to Science Electives.