2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bioengineering, PhD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Offerings

Department Chair:

Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, 329 Link Hall, 315-443-1931; fax: 315-443-9175


Rebecca Bader, Jesse Q. Bond, Katie D. Cadwell, Ruth Chen, Jeremy L. Gilbert, Julie M. Hasenwinkel, James H. Henderson, George C. Martin, Patrick T. Mather, Shikha Nangia, Dacheng Ren, Ashok Sangani, Pranav Soman, Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, Lawrence L. Tavlarides, Angela Zachman

Adjunct/Research Faculty:

Jurgen Babirad, Gino Duca, Bart Farrell, Erik Finkelstein, Shelley Stephens, Kent Ogden, David Quinn, Suresh Santanam, Fred Werner

Affiliate Faculty:

Joseph Chaiken, Andria Costello Staniec, Martin Forstner, Yan-Yeung Luk, Juntao Luo, Cristina Marchetti

Emeritus Faculty:

Gustav Engbretson, John Heydweiller, Philip Rice, Klaus Schroder, Robert L. Smith, S. Alexander Stern, Chi Tien, Josef Zwislocki

Graduate Bioengineering Program Director:

James Henderson, 318 Bowne Hall, 315-443-9739; jhhender@syr.edu

The Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering offers a comprehensive set of graduate programs in bioengineering and chemical engineering, including master’s of science (MS) degrees and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees. Graduates of these programs work in the medical profession, the biomechanics and bioinstrumentation industries, the chemical engineering industry, the government, and in education.

The graduate program in bioengineering provides a wide range of opportunities for advanced study in this interdisciplinary field. This graduate program is linked with and focused on research programs in biomaterials and tissue engineering; biomechanics; orthopedic biomechanics; cardiac bioengineering; and neural engineering. Which degree to consider depends on one’s career goals.

Major research laboratories include the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, the Institute for Human Performance, and laboratories at nearby SUNY Upstate Medical University. Strong collaboration between Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University faculty, students, and staff provides opportunities for bioengineering research in clinical and basic science departments at Upstate, as well as in-depth study at one of the Syracuse University bioengineering research centers.

Major Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-based degree program involving a high level of training in advanced bioengineering. A dissertation consisting of original research in a specialty area within the bioengineering program is required. A minimum of 42 credit hours is required for the completion of the PhD degree. No dissertation credits are required. A student entering the PhD program with an MS degree may apply up to 30 credits toward the required coursework, with the approval of the program director. A minimum of three years of graduate study is required and students typically complete all requirements within five years.

The requirements for the PhD degree in Bioengineering are:

  • 42 total credits including:
  • at least 36 credits of coursework;
    • 15 credits of Bioengineering (BEN) courses,
    • 3 credits of ethics, and
    • 18 credits of technical electives, to be chosen in consultation with the dissertation advisor
    • 6 credits of thesis (transferable from the MS) or additional technical electives.
  • successful completion of qualifying and candidacy examinations;
  • no more than 33.3% of coursework at 500-level;
  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the set of courses included on the Program of Study;
  • a minimum GPA of 2.8 for all credits earned;
  • student must complete a dissertation and defend it in an oral examination, but no dissertation credits are required.

Required coursework can include Independent Study credits. Those entering the program post-BS degree can take up to 6 credits. Those entering the program, post-MS degree, can take up to 3 credits. The independent study cannot by supervised by the dissertation advisor. Note: A student must be enrolled for at least three academic years of full-time graduate level study beyond the baccalaureate degree.

PhD Exams and Timing:

All PhD students must pass a Qualifying Exam and a Dissertation Proposal Defense/Candidacy Examination. The timing of these exams differs depending upon what path a student takes through the various degree programs, as explained in this section.

Qualifying Examination:

Students who enter the PhD program with a BS are required to take the PhD Qualifying Examination within the 1st month of the 4th semester of study. Students who enter the PhD program with an MS degree are required to take the Qualifying Examination within the 1st month of the beginning of the 3rd semester of study.

The Qualifying Examination is based on the student’s critical analysis and study of a research topic that is outside of, but related to, the student’s planned dissertation research area. The student is expected to critically analyze a published journal article, assigned by the faculty. The chair of the examination committee assigns the journal article, in consultation with the entire examination committee and the student’s advisor. A written report of not more than 15 pages must be provided to the examination committee at least two weeks prior to the oral examination.

A committee consisting of at least three tenured or tenure-track BMCE faculty, appointed by the Bioengineering Graduate Program Director, evaluates the student’s performance based on the technical content and quality of the written report and the students’ presentation and ability to answer questions in the oral examination. The outcome of the oral examination will be communicated to the student by the committee at the time of the examination. After the examination has been completed, the student’s eligibility to pursue the PhD is decided by the faculty of the Department on the basis of the student’s performance on the examination, the student’s academic record, and the student’s progress in his/her research. The decision to continue to candidacy will be communicated to the student after the faculty vote.

Dissertation Proposal Defense/Candidacy Examination:

All PhD students must defend their Dissertation Proposal within one calendar year of passing the Qualifying Examination. Several months before the Dissertation Proposal Defense/Candidacy Examination, the student should recruit faculty members to serve on a committee for that purpose. The committee membership should be essentially the same as the ultimate Oral Defense committee (see below), except that the outside Chair is not necessary for this defense/examination. The committee must have at least five members, including the dissertation advisor, at least three of which must be BMCE tenured or tenure-track faculty members. The student must obtain a Candidacy Examination Form from the Graduate Secretary and submit this form to the Department in order to schedule the examination. The form must include the title and abstract of the proposal, names of the committee members, and the advisor’s signature. The Graduate Program Director’s signature is also required, effectively assigning the committee. The Program Director also assigns a chair for the committee


A written proposal must be circulated to the committee no later than two weeks prior to the examination. The proposal is limited to 15 pages, single-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, with at least 1 inch margin in all directions. Page limit includes all figures and tables. Additional pages are only allowed for references. No appendices may be included. Any proposal that does not meet these requirements will be returned for revision before it can be accepted for review. Student should discuss with advisor about the content of the proposal. As a general guideline, the proposal may include Introduction, Hypothesis (or motivating need if it is not a hypothesis driven project), Research Objectives, Work done to date, and Research Plan. The examination is open to all faculty members and students. After the presentation, the committee meets in executive session and votes. The student is informed of the result of this vote immediately afterward. The committee prepares a Candidacy Examination Outcome Form. This form includes the dates of the examination, the names of all committee members, the results of the committee votes, and whether or not the student passes the examination. It is signed by the examination committee chair. The student receives a copy of this form, with the original retained in the student’s records. Upon successful completion of the Dissertation Proposal/Candidacy Examination, the student enters candidacy for the doctoral program.

Oral Dissertation Defense:

The Oral Dissertation Defense and submission of the dissertation document to the Syracuse University Graduate School and Department are the final requirements of the PhD program. All students are required to submit two copies of the final version of the dissertation, with the signed title page, to the Department in fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD degree. Defenses must comply with the requirements of the Graduate School as described elsewhere in this Graduate Course Catalog. The Oral Defense Committee consists of six members, including a Chair (must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member from outside the Department, the advisor, and four other tenured or tenure-track faculty members, some of whom may be from outside the University, if appropriate. If a proposed committee member is not a full-time or adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University (i.e. from SUNY-ESF, Upstate Medical University, etc.), the student must petition the Department to allow this person to serve as a committee member. Students must submit a Request for Examination Form to the GEMC at least three full weeks prior to the oral defense. The dissertation document must be delivered to the Oral Defense Committee at least two weeks prior to the date of the oral defense.

CURRENT RESEARCH AREAS - Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering

  • Biomaterials &Tissue Engineering
  • Catalysis & Reaction Engineering
  • Complex Fluids, Soft Matter & Rheology
  • Corrosion and Electrochemistry
  • Drug Delivery
  • Molecular Biotechnology
  • Multiscle Modeling and Simulation
  • Nanotechnology
  • Sustainable Energy Production
  • Systems Biology/Metabolic Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Offerings