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Apply to the PhD Program

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is uniquely positioned within the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Whiting School of Engineering, giving our students access to top clinicians, researchers, and engineers. Our students are passionate about discovery and innovation, with a demonstrated trajectory of laboratory experience, and maturing knowledge of biology, engineering, and science.

The following statistics are for the matriculating class of 2023

  • 850+
    Students applied to the BME PhD program
  • 47%
    Of the applicants were women
  • 54%
    Of the applicants were international students (representing 50 countries)
  • 100
    Students were offered admission

Admitted students come from many backgrounds and majors, and not all were undergraduate engineering majors. However, all have demonstrated a strong quantitative training. The median GPA is typically ~3.8, but we operate a holistic review process and have no minimum GPA or GRE thresholds for review. Don’t think that one bad grade or a tough semester stands in your way. We review the whole application and evaluate the potential of the person who wrote it, not just a set of numerical metrics.

Two students sit with a professor at a table with a laptop.

Recruiting and Program Information

We generally recruit students in seven broad areas:

  • Biomedical Data Science
  • Computational Medicine
  • Genomics & Systems Biology
  • Imaging & Medical Devices
  • Immunoengineering
  • Neuroengineering
  • Translational Cell & Tissue Engineering

Not all students fit neatly into one of these areas; much of the best research comes from interdisciplinary work. These areas serve as a starting point to find faculty members who match your interests, and will form part of the community you join when you matriculate. Learn more about our research areas here

In their first year, students have the option to take a variety of advanced courses in science, engineering, and medicine. Students who apply to our program should have a strong background in quantitative sciences – e.g. engineering, physics, mathematics or applied math, as well as sufficient experience in chemistry and biology. Applicants with a strong background in biological sciences who also demonstrate ability and potential in quantitative sciences are encouraged to apply. 

The admissions process is led by committees organized by the seven research focus areas listed above. When you apply, you should specify the research area (or areas) in which you are most interested, and describe the kind of research you want to pursue. Learn more about our admissions committees and find tips for choosing a research area on your application here

Accepted students will receive a full fellowship, which includes a yearly stipend, full tuition, matriculation fee, and individual medical and dental insurance. The BME PhD program extends two types of admissions offers. Students who receive a rotation offer are free to choose from almost any research lab in the university. To facilitate this process, these students do two or more rotations during their first year and typically choose a lab by the end of their first year. Students who receive a direct-match offer to work in specific laboratories forego the rotation process and start their thesis research from day one. Other than laboratory rotations, there are no differences between the two types of admissions offers. 

BME Application Assistance Program

The BME Application Assistance Program (BMEAAP) is a student-run initiative that supports prospective applicants by pairing them with current graduate students who are available to review application materials and answer questions about the BME program. This initiative aims to encourage applications from motivated students from non-traditional paths or groups that are historically underrepresented in STEM, and who may lack support in their pursuit of higher education. Participation in the AAP is strictly voluntary and will not be a factor in admissions decisions. Information provided to AAP members is confidential and will not be shared with the Johns Hopkins BME admissions committees. Information for the 2023-24 BMEAAP application cycle is coming soon.

Learn more about the Application Assistance Program

Relocation Grant

We recognize that it can be financially burdensome to relocate to a new city to attend a PhD program. Students who are admitted to PhD programs at JHU can apply to receive a $1500 need-based grant to offset the costs of relocating to JHU. These grants provide funding to a portion of incoming students who, without this money, may otherwise not be able to afford to relocate to JHU for their PhD program. This is not a merit-based grant. Applications will be evaluated solely based on financial need. For more information, visit the Office of the Provost webpage on Need-based Relocation Grants for Incoming PhD Students.


The application deadline for Fall 2024 is December 1, 2023, 11:59:59 pm ET.

Please complete your application using the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine online application system. Applications should be complete when submitted. In order to be considered complete, your application must have:

  • Transcripts from each college or university attended. You may upload unofficial transcripts to the online application for review. Applicants who receive and accept an offer of admission are required to submit official transcripts to [email protected].  
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members who are acquainted with you and your academic work. These letters should include comments on your aptitude and promise for independent research.
  • A personal statement indicating the basis of your interest in graduate study and your career objectives. Include discussion of any research experience you have had. Also mention which faculty members you would be most interested in working with and why. This statement should be no longer than one page (single-sided) with the following specifications: Times New Roman, 12-point font and 0.5 inch margins.
  • A current C.V. summarizing your academic, professional, and research experience.
  • TOEFL scores (for international students only; official copy). The TOEFL requirement is waived for students who have studied at a university within the U.S. or if you received your degree from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction.

Choosing Faculty and Research Areas of Interest on Your Application

Applications are reviewed by application review committees based on the faculty members and core research areas that you select on your application (Program Details section). To ensure that your application is reviewed by the appropriate committee, please choose your faculty of interest and core research areas carefully. Please read these tips for choosing your research areas and learn more about our application review committees below:

Selecting a research area on my application

GRE Policy

The Johns Hopkins BME department has decided to make the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) exam optional. You may choose to submit GRE scores as part of your application if you have already taken the exam, and if so, the scores will be reviewed as part of our holistic review process. If you wish to submit official GRE scores, use Institution Code 5316 for applications to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine graduate programs. If you do not submit GRE scores, this will not be taken as a negative factor in the holistic review. We expect that many admitted students will choose not to submit GRE scores in their applications.



Course Prerequisites for Applicants

  • One year of college-level biology (may include quantitative biology or physiology)
  • One semester of organic chemistry is required for students interested in the Immunoengineering or Translational Cell & Tissue Engineering research areas
  • Sufficient mathematical training, typically including differential equations or other relevant mathematical preparation

If you are interested in applying and do not have the prerequisite courses, you may want to submit your application with an explanatory note indicating that, if accepted, you will make arrangements to take the prerequisites before matriculation. In the past, applicants have taken the prerequisites at their present schools, local community colleges, etc. Courses taken at any accredited college or university are acceptable.

Degree Requirements

If accepted into the program, you must have received a BA or BS degree or its equivalent prior to matriculation. A master’s degree is not required for admission to our program.

Application Process


To apply to the PhD program, you must complete the online application by December 1, 2023 at 11:59:59 pm ET. Please review the required materials on the Application tab on this page, and tips for completing your application here. The PhD program admissions committee will not consider any application until it is complete. You may check the status of your application by logging into your online account.


The admissions committee will review completed applications and invite selected applicants to interview with our faculty by phone, Zoom, or similar virtual platforms. You must complete the interview process to be considered for admission, and final admissions decisions will be made from the pool of interviewed applicants. We will send interview invitations via email in January, and faculty will conduct virtual interviews that month. Selected applicants will be invited to an in-person campus visit in late February or early March to meet current faculty and graduate students, as well as learn more about the program and the Hopkins BME environment.


Applicants will be notified via email by mid-February with the outcome of their application. A full offer of admission to the program will include a yearly stipend, full tuition, matriculation fee, and individual medical and dental insurance. This applies to every accepted applicant, regardless of citizenship or national origin. Those offered admission will be asked to communicate their decision as soon as possible. The deadline to accept an offer of admission is April 15.

Offer Types

We extend two types of admissions offers: rotation offers and direct-match offers. The only difference between these types of offers is how the student chooses their thesis lab. In all other respects, the program is the same for all students. One type of offer isn’t better than the other – some students prefer the certainty of the direct-match offer, and some students prefer the flexibility of the rotation offer.

Direct-Match Offers

Students who receive a direct-match offer typically join a specific research lab from day one of the program. Some direct-match offers allow the student to choose from a small number of labs. In these cases, students may have the opportunity to rotate within this subset of labs.

Rotation Offers

We have a limited number of rotation offers via NIH-funded training grants and other funding mechanisms that enable students to rotate through different laboratories during their first year. Students who receive a rotation offer are able to rotate with any JHU faculty (inside or outside of the BME department) who are accepting new students. Typically, rotation students do 1-3 rotations before settling on their thesis lab by the end of their first year.

Vivien Thomas PhD Scholars

The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI) is a new endowed fellowship program at Johns Hopkins for PhD students in STEM fields. It provides full tuition, stipend, and benefits while also providing targeted mentoring, networking, community, and professional development opportunities. Students who have attended a historically black college and university or other minority serving institution for undergraduate study are eligible to apply. To be considered for the VTSI, all application and supplementary materials must be received by December 1, 2023.

Vivien Thomas

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