putting liquid in science dish

Master of Science in Bioengineering

Master of Science in Bioengineering

Overview

Northeastern’s Master of Science (MS) in Bioengineering equips students with the interdisciplinary education and real-world skills to meet the growing demand for professional engineers to lead in physiological processes in health and disease and improve methods for medical devices and treatments. Our approach to focus on a specific concentration prepares graduates to excel with competitive expertise over graduate programs offering a general curriculum.

Concentrations include: cell and tissue engineering; biomechanics; biomedical devices and bioimaging; and systems, synthetic, and computational bioengineering (see details below).

The bioengineering program is designed for students with different backgrounds, including students with a BS within the STEM fields; students who would like to strengthen their academic credentials or portfolio prior to applying to medical school; and professionals within biotech industry looking to strengthen their technical background, redirect their specific expertise, and broaden future employment opportunities.

The aging of the U.S. population and the nationwide focus on health issues is carving a central role for the field. Bioengineers are advancing understanding of physiological processes in health and disease, and improving methods and devices for diagnosis and treatment.

Located directly adjacent to the world-renowned Longwood Medical Area in Boston with the world’s prestigious hospitals, and nearby Cambridge, a hub for pharmaceutical research, Northeastern provides an excellent opportunity for students to combine engineering, medicine, and biology through education, research, and professional experience with Northeastern’s top-ranked cooperative education program.

 

 

Innovative Curriculum - MS in Bioengineering

The Department strives to create an atmosphere of innovation and creativity that fosters excellence in instruction and research and provides a foundation for programs that drive forward the cutting edge of knowledge while establishing translational collaborations with clinical and industrial researchers.

Although this program is designed specifically for students with BS degrees in engineering or physics, students with a degree in biological or chemical sciences may apply. However, admission of students with different academic backgrounds will be contingent on the successful completion of undergraduate prerequisites required for the core courses of the program. This may require the student to take up to a year of undergraduate courses to fulfill the necessary requirements for enrolling in the core courses of the Bioengineering master’s (MS) curriculum.

Bioengineering faculty have established highly interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty members from the College of Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physical Therapy, and more.

Located directly adjacent to the world-renowned Longwood Medical Area in Boston with the world’s prestigious hospitals, and nearby Cambridge, a hub for pharmaceutical research, Northeastern provides an excellent opportunity for students to combine engineering, medicine, and biology through education, research, and professional experience as part of Northeastern’s top-ranked cooperative education program.

Students select from four concentrations, and a thesis option, project option, or course-only option.

Concentrations develop deep expertise in an area of particular interest and encourages individual research through a one-semester master’s project or two-semester master’s thesis in one of the following research areas.

In addition to Boston, the Systems, Synthetic, and Computational Bioengineering concentration is offered at the Roux Institute at Northeastern in Portland, Maine focused on computational medicine.

Note: a subset of electives may be offered at the regional campus.

The MS in Bioengineering provides significant opportunities for student research, working with accomplished faculty. With a premier location in downtown Boston, as well as in Portland, Maine, research in the department leverages the wealth of collaborations with neighboring universities, hospitals, medical centers and industry.

Bioengineering research enjoys strong support from multiple government agencies. NIH has historically led all other agencies in budget increases, consuming today roughly 50% of all non-defense research spending. Healthcare spending expanded from 6% of the GDP in 1960 to 15% in 2000 and has climbed to 20% in 2020, in part due to the aging of the baby-boom generation. The COVID-19 pandemic was another chief driver of healthcare needs. Biomedical advances are increasingly dependent on quantitative approaches as exemplified by bioengineering, and the general perception is that government support for this research will continue to rise (or, at the very least, erode more slowly than other areas). The energy crisis and global climate change threats have also fostered interdisciplinary research across bioengineering with other fields such as biofuel cells, bio-batteries, bioremediation, bio-carbon sequestration, etc., and many agencies such as EPA, DOE, DOD and DARPA support these research directions.

The MS programs’ student learning outcome is the ability to use basic engineering concepts flexibly in a variety of contexts.

Over 15 graduate certificates are available to provide students the opportunity to develop a specialization in an area of their choice. Certificates can be taken in addition to or in combination with a master’s degree, or provide a pathway to a master’s degree in Northeastern’s College of Engineering. Master’s programs can also be combined with a Gordon Engineering Leadership certificate. Students should consult with their faculty advisor regarding these options.

Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership

Master’s Degree in Bioengineering with Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership

Students may complete a Master of Science in Bioengineering in addition to earning a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership. Students must apply and be admitted to the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program in order to pursue this option. The program requires fulfillment of the 16-semester-hour-curriculum required to earn the Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership, which includes an industry-based challenge project with multiple mentors. The integrated 33-semester-hour degree and certificate will require 17 hours of advisor-approved bioengineering technical courses.

Concentrations

Students accepted to the Master of Science in Bioengineering program can choose from the following concentrations.


Cell and Tissue Engineering


The cell and tissue engineering concentration is appropriate for students interested in molecular, cell, and tissue engineering. Two courses Molecular Bioengineering (BIOE 5410) and Cellular Engineering (BIOE 5420) are required of all cell and tissue engineering students. There is an extensive list of approved technical electives to choose from to complete the degree.


Systems, Synthetic, and Computational Bioengineering


Systems bioengineering focuses on using engineering principles to model and understand complex biological systems, using advanced large-scale experimental technologies and specialized mathematical and computational tools. It involves procuring, manipulating, and analyzing very large data sets to study and understand biological systems. In addition, the acquired understanding of the design principles of biological systems allows design and implementation of synthetic biological systems with required functions for clinical, agricultural, environmental, and energy applications. Topics covered include statistical physics, statistical inference, dynamical and stochastic modeling, execution and analysis of quantitative experimentation, machine learning, and control and information theory. These techniques are taught in the context of biological applications. View Curriculum Requirements.


Biomechanics


Students who join the biomechanics concentration will cover multiscale mechanics, including whole-body movement, mechanical properties of biomaterials, and fluid mechanics of physiological fluids. The two courses required of all biomechanics concentration students are Multiscale Biomechanics (BIOE 5650) and Musculoskeletal Biomechanics (ME 5665).


Biomedical Devices and Bioimaging


The biomedical devices and bioimaging concentration is appropriate for students interested in the design of biomedical devices, as well as biomedical imaging and signal processing.  Three courses are required for all students in this concentration, Design of Biomedical Instrumentation (BIOE 5810)Design, Manufacture, and Evaluation of Medical Devices (BIOE 5250), and Biomedical Imaging (BIOE 5235).

Experiential Learning

Northeastern combines rigorous academics with experiential learning and research to prepare students for real world engineering challenges. The Cooperative Education Program, also known as a “co-op,” is one of the largest and most innovative in the world, and Northeastern is one of only a few that offers a Co-op Program for Graduate Students. Through this program students gain industry experience in a wide variety of organizations, from large companies to entrepreneurial start-ups, while helping to finance their education.

 

The Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering explains value of cooperative education for bioengineering students

Program Goals

Career Outlook

Bioengineering is a growing sector of the engineering profession. The aging of the U.S. population and the nationwide focus on health issues will help drive demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers. Recent high-profile reports on high rate of failures in artificial hips underline the critical need for improved engineering and materials design of long-lasting devices. Along with the demand for more sophisticated medical equipment and procedures, an increased concern for cost-effectiveness will boost demand for biomedical engineers, particularly in pharmaceutical and device manufacturing and related industries.

Employment of bioengineers and biomedical engineers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for bioengineers and biomedical engineers was $92,620 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Academic Advising

    The Academic Advisors in the Graduate Student Services office can help answer many of your questions and assist with various concerns regarding your program and student record. Use the link below to also determine which questions can be answered by your Faculty Program Advisors and OGS Advisors.

    Admissions & Aid

    Ready to take the next step? Review degree requirements to see courses needed to complete this degree. Then, explore ways to fund your education. Finally, review admissions information to see our deadlines and gather the materials you need to Apply.

    Student News

    Sign Language Robot You Can Feel

    Bioengineering alumna Samantha Johnson, E’21, ME’21, created the tactile sign language robot, TATUM, for people who are deaf and blind to communicate.  Related Article: Using Robots to Help Blind and Deaf People Communicate

    Boting Li

    Bioengineering Master’s Alumna is Lead Co-Author of Research Paper Published on Cover of Tissue Engineering Part A Journal

    While conducting research, Boting Li, ME’19, bioengineering, harvested biomaterials from Assistant Professor Sidi Bencherif’s lab and cell cultures from Assistant Professor Ambika Bajpayee’s lab to create a model to rebuild tissues caused by cartilage defects. While working on this project she developed a more effective protocol to harvest cells from bovine tissue. Her work to her becoming the lead co-author on a paper that was published in the June 2021 issue of Tissue Engineering Part A and featured on its cover.

    Using Robots to Help Blind and Deaf People Communicate

    Samantha Johnson, E’21, ME’21, bioengineering, built a robotic hand that can be used to produce tactile sign language so that people who are blind and deaf can be more independent.

    Women Who Empower Inaugural Innovator Awards

    Engineering students won Northeastern’s inaugural 2021 Women Who Empower Innovator Awards for their entrepreneurship. Emily Man, E’19, and ME’19, bioengineering, and Valeria Martinuzzi, ME’18, bioengineering, were first place winners in the Young Alumnae Graduate Award category for their work on Venova Technologies, which is developing a novel contraceptive device for women. Gabrielle Whittle, E’21, mechanical […]