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Degree plans for all graduate students in BMEN should be filed by the end of the 2nd long semester (departmental rule). Students will incur a hold and will be blocked from pre-registration if they do not file a degree plan by the deadline. Needing to travel or obtain visa documents will not be reason enough to remove the registration hold due to not having a degree plan filed. Degree plans are entered through the online submission system. Committee members will need to be decided prior to submission of the degree plan, and students should discuss their plans with each committee member prior to online submission. This means that once you work out who your committee chair will be, you should immediately seek input on who should be a part of your committee.

Committee Requirements

Ph.D. committees will consist of a committee chair (BMEN), at least two more BMEN faculty committee members, and at least one outside member (not BMEN faculty). Master of Science committees will consist of a committee chair (BMEN), at least one more BMEN faculty committee member, and at least one outside member (non BMEN faculty). Master of Engineering committees will consist of a committee chair (BMEN), and additional committee members may be requested by the chair. 

A BMEN faculty member who has an appointment in another department/program may serve as either a BMEN committee member or an outside committee member to help the student fulfill their committee requirements. To find out in which departments/programs a faculty member has appointments, visit the Graduate and Professional School's Graduate Faculty Search. If you wish to have a faculty member who is not yet affiliated with BMEN, then you will need to have a BMEN co-chair in addition to the other two BMEN faculty.

Students should contact each prospective committee member, have an interview with him/her and ask him/her to be a member of their committee. The student should review the proposed degree plan with the prospective member. The committee member's electronic approval of the degree plan indicates his/her willingness to participate in guiding and directing the student's entire academic program. Individual committee members may be replaced by petition for valid reasons. Both degree plans and petitions are submitted on-line at the Graduate and Professional School's website.

The department requires that a minimum of two committee members have a primary appointment in biomedical engineering. This means that they must be administratively located within the Biomedical Engineering Department.

Committee Responsibilities

The student’s committee has the responsibility for assessing the appropriateness of the proposed degree program, the research proposal, the thesis/dissertation and the final examination. In addition, the committee is expected to provide periodic advice and assistance to the graduate student. At the doctoral level, the committee also has the responsibility for the Ph.D. preliminary examination.

Transfer Course Requirements 

Students may transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours for M.S. and M.Eng degree plans, and 24 credit hours for Ph.D. degree plans. This must be approved by the entire Advisory Committee and the Director of Graduate Programs before submitting for approval to the Graduate and Professional School. Transfer credit must also meet the university criteria, which may be found in the Graduate Catalog. 

Distance Courses 

Students may select to take and apply distance courses to the degree plan; however, the university maintains specific restrictions for those students who are not enrolled in distance education degree programs. Master level students who are not enrolled in a distance education degree program are limited to distance courses that take up no more than 49% of the approved degree plan. Doctorate level students who are not enrolled in a distance education program are limited to 4 distance education courses on the approved degree plan. 

Undergraduate Course Usage Requirements 

Up to two upper-level undergraduate courses (300-400) may be used on the degree plan, provided that the student’s chair and committee approve. Upper-level courses may not be used if the student’s undergraduate (or previous master’s) degree was in that major. For example, students with a B.S. in BMEN may not take BMEN undergraduate classes and apply them towards their degree. Further, undergraduate classes required for leveling coursework may not be applied to the degree plan. Exceptions to this are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Graduate Committee and must be submitted before the course in question is completed. 

Degree Plan Submission 

In order to submit a graduate degree plan, students will use the Graduate and Professional School Online Document Processing Submission System (OGSDPSS). Students will need their NetID and password to log in. Before submitting the degree plan, students should complete the appropriate degree plan worksheet (included in the Forms section of this handbook), which will help in gathering all of the necessary information. After completing the worksheet, it is suggested that students meet with the Graduate Program Coordinator to make sure it meets all degree requirements. Then students can enter the degree plan online. 

Students may also find it helpful to run a degree evaluation periodically. This will show the courses they’ve taken, what semesters they were taken in, and what grades were received. This can be done by logging into the Howdy portal and clicking on the My Record tab. Once there, students should see the Degree Evaluation link toward the bottom of the page. 

Another tool students can use to help plan out their courses is the Planned Courses for Degree Plan spreadsheet (also included in the Forms section of the handbook). This document will help students plan out their courses for each semester. 

IMPORTANT: Degree plans are not considered “approved” until they receive approval by the Graduate and Professional School. Before they reach the Graduate and Professional School, they must first be approved online by the Graduate Advisor, then by the student’s committee chair and committee members, then the Director of Graduate Programs, then they go to the Graduate and Professional School for official processing and approval. As a result, this signature routing can take several weeks, and students will need to make sure they are following up with committee members to make sure they are aware they need to log in and approve. (The degree plan system is supposed to send an automated notification email, but students shouldn’t rely on these emails, especially since it’s possible for them to get caught up in junk mail.) 

Leveling Courses 

Leveling courses are required for students who after review with the student’s chair/advisor, the student is determined to not have sufficient knowledge in either general engineering or Biomedical Engineering, specially. After discussion of the student’s background, the student will then submit the Leveling Course 

Completion Form to the Graduate Academic Advisor by the middle of the student’s first semester. Failure to complete this form within the above required time frame will result in a hold being placed on the student’s academic file which will prevent registration in future terms. 

Students who have backgrounds in engineering, but disciplines other than biomedical engineering may only need to take a physiology course, but the final decision is made by the student’s graduate committee. A grade of C or better must be achieved in all leveling courses. More information about leveling can be found at this website and should be reviewed carefully by the student. 

Leveling or prerequisite courses are not counted towards degree requirements since they are graduation requirements. However, they do count toward the cumulative GPA. The only exception to this rule is physiology which the department will allow students to apply to his/her degree. 


After the degree plan has been submitted, any changes to the degree plan, including committee members, coursework, degree program, etc. should be made through a petition to the Graduate and Professional School. This is also done through Students will submit a Major/Degree/Department (MDD) petition to change their major, degree, and/or department. Students will submit a Long Form petition to request a course change, committee change, a time limit extension, or other special waivers. These submissions require the approval of the Graduate Advisor, advisory committee, Director of Graduate Programs, and the Graduate and Professional School.