Doctoral Program (PhD)

The Biological and Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program focuses on the interdisciplinary application of methods, paradigms, technologies, and devices from engineering and the natural sciences to problems in biology, medicine, and the life sciences. With its unique multidisciplinary environment, and taking advantage of research collaborations between staff in the Faculties of Medicine, Science, and Engineering, BBME offers thesis-based Ph.D. degree that span broad themes, including: biomodelling, biosignal processing, medical imaging, nanotechnology, artificial cells and organs, probiotics, bioinformatics, orthopaedics, biological materials and mechanobiology, motor proteins and the cytoskeleton, biosensors and biological therapeutics, biological networks, and computational biology. BBME’s internationally-renowned staff provide frequent and stimulating interactions with physicians, scientists, and the biomedical industry. Through courses and thesis research, this program will prepare students for careers in industry, academia, hospitals and government.

Details of the Program

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biological and Biomedical Engineering

    Offered by:Biological & Biomedical Engr
    Degree:Doctor of Philosophy

Program Requirement:

The goal of the Biological and Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program is for students to gain advanced training in the interdisciplinary application of methods, paradigms, technologies, and devices from engineering and the natural sciences to problems in biology, medicine, and the life sciences. The program will focus in an area of choice while integrating quantitative concepts and engineering tools for the study of life sciences and/or for patient care. As part of the Ph.D. requirement, the student will integrate the scientific method, develop critical and deep thinking, and acquire advanced writing and presentation skills that will form the foundation for his/her career. Under the guidance of his/her supervisor, the student will tackle a research challenge and make original contributions to the advancement of science and engineering in an area of Biological and Biomedical Engineering. The program will prepare students for careers in academia, industry, hospitals and government. Students who complete the program will obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in Biological and Biomedical Engineering. The best preparation for this program is a Master’s degree in BBME or a related discipline.


A thesis for the doctoral degree must constitute original scholarship and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge. It must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate ability to plan and carry out research, organize results, and defend the approach and conclusions in a scholarly manner. The research presented must meet current standards of the discipline; as well, the thesis must clearly demonstrate how the research advances knowledge in the field. Finally, the thesis must be written in compliance with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication in the public domain.

    Required Course

    • BBME 701 Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam
        Offered in the:
      • Fall
      • Winter
      • Summer

    Students must be registered in this course at the time of the Thesis Proposal and Comprehensive Exam Meeting.

    Further courses may be required by the supervisor(s) in consultation with the Graduate Program Director, depending on the educational background of individual students.

      Who Can Apply?

      Admission to the Ph.D. Program requires that:

      Students must meet the university’s admissions standards and the minimum academic background prerequisites for applicants to the BIOLOGICAL AND BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Doctoral program and, additionally, hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a discipline relevant for advanced study and research in Biological and Biomedical Engineering as determined by the admissions committee. These are summarized below.

      • Applicants for the Ph.D. Program must already hold a research-based Master's degree in Biological and Biomedical Engineering or related field involving course work equivalent to that of the Biological and Biomedical Engineering Master’s program or of the Biomedical Engineering program at McGill. Students lacking prerequisites or graduate courses may be accepted to the program on the condition that they make up the missing background.
      • Applicants should have a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 3.3 out of 4 (or the equivalent) in their Master’s and their undergraduate programs.
      • Students in the program’s Master’s program may transfer to the Ph.D. program using the “fast track” procedure.

       Applicants must meet the same background requirements as the Master’s program.

      Language Requirements

      Non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English, or who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction, must submit documented proof of competency in English by one of the following methods:

      • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): A total score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test with a minimum score of 20 in each section.  A minimum score of 600 is required for the paper-based test; or
      • An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a band score of 7.0 or greater (Academic module).
      • The examinations must have been taken no more than two years prior to the application date. See the GPS website for English Language Proficiency and for further details about submitting test scores.
      • GRE is NOT required.

      Please note that we cannot prescreen applicants over the phone or e-mail. You need to formally apply in order for us to objectively evaluate the entirety of your application.

      How to Apply?

      See How to Apply in the left navigation menu.

      How long does it take to complete?

      The Ph.D. program requires a minimum residency of six complete terms. The typical time spent to complete a Ph.D. degree in Biological and Biomedical Engineering is five years. Each term after completion of the required residency is considered an additional session at reduced fees.


      If you have questions, please contact us at info.bbme [at]

      Additional information for graduate students can be found on the GPS website:

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