Coursework Biomedical Engineer

General Information | The Program | Requirements | Courses |
Undergraduate Major | Minor

The Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Major

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.


Mathematics 21A or 21AH; 21B or 21BH; 21C or 21CH; 21D16
Mathematics 22A-22B6
Physics 9A or 9HA; 9B,9C15
Chemistry 2A or 2AH; 2B or 2BH, 2C or 2CH15
Chemistry 8A or 118A; Chemistry 8B or 118B6
Engineering 6, 178
University Writing Program 1, 1Y, or 1V, or English 3, or Comparative Literature 1, 2, 3, or 4, or Native American Studies 5 (grade of C- or better required)4
Biological Sciences 2A5
Biomedical Engineering 1, 206

Upper Division Required Courses

Engineering 100 or Electrical and Computer Engineering 1003
Engineering 105, 1907
Biomedical Engineering 116 or Neurobiology Physiology Behavior 1015
Biomedical Engineering 105, 106, 108, 109, 110A-110B-110L, 11130
Science electives7
To be chosen according to specialization. Biological Sciences 2B, 2C, Engineering Computer Science 30, 40, Physics 9D, Biomedical Engineering 102, 161A, 161L, 161S, Chemistry 118C or any graded upper division course in the Biological Sciences, Chemistry or Physics that is designated as Science and Engineering topical breadth. Four units of Biomedical Engineering 192 or 199 with the approval of the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Committee.
Engineering electives24
Any graded upper division Biomedical Engineering course (except Biomedical Engineering 102, 161A, 161L, 161S). 4 units of Biomedical Engineering 192 or 199 with the approval of the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Committee.
No more than four units allowed from lower division coursework. Engineering 4, 35, 45, or 45Y, 102, 103, 104, 104L, 106; Electrical and Computer Engineering 110A, 110B, 118, 130A, 130B, 140A, 140B, 150A, 150B, 157A, 157B, 160; Biological Systems Engineering 128, 130, 165, 175; Chemical Engineering 141, 144, 145A, 145B, 155, 160, 161A, 161B, 161L, 170; Computer Science 124; Materials Science and Engineering 147, 160, 162, 162L, 164, 172, 172L, 174, 174L, 180, 181, 182; Mechanical Engineering 50, 150A, 150B, 151, 152, 154, 165, 171, 172.
Upper Division Composition Requirement0-4
One course from the following (a grade of C- or better is required): University Writing Program 101; 102 B, 102E; 104 A, 104E, 104F, 104I, 104T; or passing the Upper Division Composition Exam.
Additional upper division elective policies:
  • 2 units from Chemistry 118AB may be applied towards Science electives if 118AB are also used to satisfy lower division subject credit.
  • 2 units from Electrical and Computer Engineering 100 may be applied towards Engineering electives if Electrical and Computer Engineering 100 is taken to satisfy upper division subject credit.
Science electives and engineering electives are to be selected in consultation with a staff or faculty adviser.

Biomedical Engineering Minor

The minor in Biomedical Engineering is restricted to enrolled College of Engineering students. The intent is to build upon their existing core strengths and add expertise in biomedical applications. This additional training would make students more attractive to employers in the medical device industry, and would also position students for graduate training in health related applications of engineering. The minor requires two life sciences courses not typically required for engineering students, one at the cellular level (Biomedical Engineering 102) and the other at the physiological level (Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior 101 or Biomedical Engineering 116). The remaining 12 units are to be selected in consultation with an adviser from the list of upper division Biomedical Engineering courses. Students will be advised to select additional courses to complement their existing curricula. Examples of relevant coursework for different majors are provided as a reference. These listings classify the upper division Biomedical Engineering courses into categories and provide a suggested subset of coursework for the majors most likely to have students interested in health-related applications.

Minor Requirements:

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. A grade of C- or better is required for all courses used to satisfy minor requirements with an overall GPA of 2.000 or better in courses required for the minor. No more than one course can be counted towards both the student's major and the minor.


Biomedical Engineering


Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior 101 or Biomedical Engineering 116, and Biomedical Engineering 1029
Biomedical Engineering 117, 118, 126, 140, 141, 142, 143, 151, 152, 161A, 161L, 162, 163, 167, 173, 189A, 189B, 189C12
*Electives to be chosen in consultation with the Biomedical Engineering Departmental Adviser.
Minor Advisers. Rosalind Christian, Anthony Passerini

Areas of Specialization

As Biomedical engineering is defined so broadly, 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 (including the design of wheelchairs and prosthetics) as well as the study of mechanical forces produced by biological systems. Biomechanics allows a better understanding of the fluid dynamics of blood flow and the forces acting on tissue in the artery to allow the design of better cardiovascular interventions. This field involves more intensive study of mechanics, dynamics and thermodynamics.
Cellular and Tissue Engineering  
This focus area applies biomedical engineering principles to control behavior at the gene, protein, cell, and tissue level. Scientists in this area can work in diverse areas including cellular therapies, protein production, gene therapy, tissue engineering and regeneration, and biomaterials development. This field can require study in biomedical transport, natural or synthetic biomaterials, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. It draws heavily from knowledge in the chemical and biological sciences.
The visualization of anatomical structure, physiological processes, metabolic activity and molecular expression in living tissues is important to accomplish goals that include the diagnosis of disease, the development of new therapeutics, the evaluation of the response to therapeutics, and the guidance of interventional procedures. Our program has a particular strength in molecular imaging, in which molecular-scale events are detected within living systems. An imaging bioengineer can work in areas ranging from developing instruments for imaging, to creating algorithms for three-dimensional reconstruction of imaging data, to generating new contrast agents for enhancing image quality. Depending upon the area of interest, this field can require further study in electronics signal processing, chemistry or computer programming.
Medical Devices
This is a diverse area that can include the development of instruments, apparatuses, machines, implants, or in-vitro reagents intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease. Biomedical engineers have begun to combine technologies including pharmaceuticals, electronics and mechanical devices in the development of combination medical treatments.
Systems & Synthetic Biology
In this area, concepts, principles and techniques from engineering are applied to understand and build biological processes and systems at a fundamental level. Engineers describe biochemical, genetic and mechanical processes mathematically and integrate this information into models of natural and synthetic systems. These models are studied analytically, computationally and statistically to uncover design principles of natural systems and to guide development of methods capable of redirecting normal expression for biotechnological purposes or correcting pathological expression for therapeutic purposes.
Pre-Medical Students
Engineering is playing an increasing role in the practice of medicine, and students interested in medicine can focus on the intersection of engineering and medicine. To meet admission requirements for medical school, students must complete extra course work. These courses are in addition to the listed Department of Biomedical Engineering curricular requirements.


The Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering requires 133 semester credit hours for completion. Many students can claim credit for some BSBME degree requirements through college credit for AP and SAT/ACT Writing scores.


In years 3 and 4, students identify one of four technical areas in which they focus 12 hours of technical elective coursework (at least 6 of the 12 hours must be engineering courses).

Degree Planning Materials

Curriculum requirements and resources are provided by active catalog below. Most BME students are currently on the most recent 2016-2018 catalog:


  • Degree requirements
  • Technical area requirements
  • Electives lists
  • Four-year planning worksheet


  • Degree requirements
  • Technical area requirements
  • Electives lists
  • Four-year planning worksheet


  • Degree requirements
  • Technical area requirements
  • Electives lists
  • Four-year planning worksheet


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