MSE advising manual
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We hope that this handbook will provide assistance and advice to the students and faculty involved in the MSE Program. This guide explains some of the intricacies of University and Departmental policy and procedure. If there are any areas which you feel have not been addressed, please contact the program manager.
Although the physical home of the MSE program is on the Homewood campus, the program is both interdivisional and interdepartmental. Therefore, although Biomedical Engineering students in the MSE program are enrolled in the Whiting School of Engineering, they also have access to the resources of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. lt should be noted that the duality of the department offers many advantages and opportunities, it can also compromise communication between the program office and students. We encourage you to check the web site and your email regularly for information or changes regarding the program.
We hope that you will always feel comfortable enough to seek assistance or clarification when you have a problem. Please contact the program manager with any questions you may have.
II. Program Description
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The MSE degree program in the Department of Biomedical Engineering is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in research and development, academics, or medicine. The program has two degree options: a course-based plan consisting of 30 credits (equivalent to 10 full courses) and a thesis-based track that requires 24 credits (equivalent to 8 courses) PLUS a thesis project. In both cases, considerable latitude is provided to tailor the curriculum to a student’s background and interests.
Our goal is to educate students in the interdisciplinary fields of engineering and medicine. Students in the master’s program receive:
- Sound theoretical instruction in the traditional engineering disciplines;
- Exposure to specialized topics in biomedical engineering;
- Practical training in the form of supervised projects.
III. General Information
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- Before You Get Here
In early summer, before your first semester, you will receive a packet containing information regarding housing, tuition/living expenses, etc. Please note that registration materials for first-year students are mailed to the Department in August. It is best to wait until your arrival to make a final decision on courses for the semester, however you may want to familiarize yourself with what courses are available. During orientation, before classes start, you can then speak with other students, the program director, and other faculty members to finalize your schedule.
- Registering for Classes
Students will meet with their advisor (and/or advising committee) in advance of each semester (as notified by email) to determine their course schedule. The program manager, program director, or faculty advisor will release registration holds after the advising session, allowing students to register online.
- Adding and Dropping Classes
The add/drop deadline is 6 weeks after the first day of classes. Please fill out an add/drop form and have your advisor or the program manager sign it. Please check the academic calendar for specific deadlines.
- Auditing Classes
Students may audit courses with the approval of their Faculty Advisor. Auditing a course generally allows a student to gain knowledge about a subject that may lie outside of their particular area of study. Students should discuss the expectations with the course instructor before deciding to audit a course. General guidelines for auditing classes are as follows: students must attend class, students must complete homework assignments, students must participate in class, students are exempt from quizzes and examinations, and students receive no credit for the course. If students stop attending the course, they must submit an add/drop form to the registrar.
- Medical Insurance
Medical insurance must be carried by all students. The University provides insurance to any student not covered by an outside insurance plan. You must have proof of insurance to register.
- Financial Planning
The acceptance letter provided to students outlines the financial obligations of the students and department based on current rates of tuition, salary paid for providing service as a teaching assistant, and financial assistance available for thesis track students while they complete their research project. Students who are interested in gaining employment as teaching assistants should express interest to the program manager as early as possible after acceptance to (i) help identify teaching slots that are compatible with a student’s educational background and (ii) finalize assignments of slots to specific students. In addition, students who will require visas to attend Johns Hopkins should begin making arrangements with the program manager as early as possible after acceptance into the program.
- MSE Students’ Association
During the summer of 1993 the MSE Students’ Association (MSA) was formed. Students meet monthly to discuss common interests, academic issues, employment opportunities, etc. Some meetings feature industry representatives speaking on employment prospects within industry and particularly within their corporations. The MSA also sponsors various social events throughout the academic year and helps to coordinate group participation in sports such as softball. Members are also active participants in planning events such as the annual Prospective MSE Student Visit. Notices for meetings are posted via email. All students are encouraged to attend these meetings.
- Course Selection (Course-based degree option)
Course selection will be guided by:
- Descriptions of the focus areas provided on the internet accompanied by lists of approved courses
- Discussion with a student’s Faculty Advisor, the Program Administrator, or the Program Director
Course substitutions and “double counting” for Hopkins undergraduate students:
- Course substitutions for BME students who have already completed required coursework (e.g., the Systems Bioengineering courses) will be required.
- Whiting School policies for “double counting” 600-level or higher courses will apply.
- Choosing a Research Advisor and Thesis Committee (Thesis-track students)
Thesis track students are encouraged to identify potential Research Advisors before matriculating into the program. Next, during their first or second semester (the reduced course load of 24 credits (8 classes) will allow time for rotations in prospective laboratories. In this way, a student and mentor can assess mutual compatibility and interests, a student can get “up to speed” on laboratory techniques, and a project can be designed). Students then will begin full time research in the summer after their second semester generally completing their project in an additional 12 to 15 months. If a student chooses a thesis advisor outside of primary BME faculty, that student must have a BME faculty advisor on their thesis committee. This advisor may be the program director or an advisor familiar with the project that the student chooses in consultation with the program manager. You should notify the Program Administrator as soon as you have selected an advisor. The program manager will help arrange funding and payroll with your advisor. You should establish project and payroll expectations before deciding on an advisor. It can be detrimental to both student and advisor if a student is unhappy and must switch labs in the middle of the program. Although students are welcome to complete their research project outside of the department provided that the project is BME-related, all students must have at least one full-time BME faculty member on their thesis committee.
- Leave of Absence
Students may be placed on a leave of absence when they are unable to continue their studies for health or personal reasons. Approval by the Program Director and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Whiting School is required before a student can be placed in this category. A leave of absence shall be for a specific period of time, normally not in excess of two years. Possible reasons include military service obligations or personal/family illness. Students working on their thesis, having completed all other requirements, are not entitled to leaves of absence. There is no fee for a leave of absence. The period of leave is simply regarded as an approved interruption of the degree program. When placed on a term leave of absence status, the students will receive notification from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Non-Resident Status
With the approval of the Program Director and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Whiting School a graduate student may be placed on non-resident status for a period not to exceed five years. Such status is normally reserved for candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree except the thesis and who have permission to continue thesis work away from the University. When approved for non-resident status, the student will receive notification from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A student on non-resident status will be required to pay a fee of 10% of the full-time tuition for each semester he or she is on leave. A student who is physically present on the East Baltimore or Homewood Campus throughout a given semester, or who is employed by the University in one of its academic divisions or in the central administration may not be on non-resident status. Students must apply for non-resident status no later than two weeks after the start of each semester. In order to comply with U.S. Government regulations, a foreign student requesting non-resident status must have clearance from the Office of International Faculty and Student Services.Additional academic information can be found in the Arts and Sciences / Engineering Online Catalog.
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- Course-based degree option
Before registering for courses for what you anticipate will be your final academic term, consult with the program manager, your faculty advisor, or program director to ensure that courses you selected fulfill graduation requirements. The program manager and Whiting School Administration will provide detailed instructions on the graduate process and ceremonies.
- Thesis-based degree option
When You Are Close to Finishing Your Research Project …
Make sure you have fulfilled graduation requirements. The program manager or director will be happy to discuss your graduation requirements with you at any time.Familiarize yourself with the thesis submission process and the semester deadlines as outlined below. Contact the program director or the program manager if you have any questions or concerns.
Submit your thesis to a committee of three Johns Hopkins faculty (at least one must have a primary appointment or joint appointment with the Department of Biomedical Engineering) whom you choose. The committee must approve the thesis (they may elect to have you make an oral presentation). Students must allow the reader at least two weeks to read their thesis and suggest corrections. Thesis committee members should not be hurried to rubber-stamp the thesis 24 hours before the student plans to leave town.
Thesis preparation will be done electronically and submission will be done online following instructions provided by the Sheridan Libraries Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Submit the following to the Homewood BME Office:
- A copy of the abstract and the title page of your thesis;
- The following thesis forms: signed letter of approval from your thesis committee, form letter signed by the Program Director stating that you have completed all departmental coursework requirements, “Certificate for an Advanced Degree” form signed by the Program Director;
- A note including your forwarding address and where you will be working or attending school upon graduation.
Submit an Application for Graduation to the Registrar’s Office. These forms are available online during specified periods or they can be picked up at the Registrar’s Office.
Check with the Registrar’s Office about any remaining matters — tuition, fines, incompletes, etc.
- Semester Deadlines
A student must be registered for the semester in which his or her degree is approved by the Whiting School Graduate Committee. A student who has completed all degree requirements and for whom certification for the degree has been approved before the first day of classes in a given semester does not need to register for that semester. In all other cases, registration according to the usual procedure, including payment of applicable tuition and fees, is mandatory.Semester deadlines for submitting your thesis are as follows:
- Spring (fourth semester)
The exact date for the spring deadline is determined at the beginning of the spring semester. The program manager will email the date as soon as it is determined. If you do not receive this information for some reason, you may contact the Registrar or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Whiting School to obtain the information. Degrees completed by this deadline will be conferred in May of the same semester. Degrees completed after this deadline will be conferred in May of the following academic year, however, your transcript will note the actual date you completed your degree.
- Summer (after fourth semester)
Theses may be submitted during the summer after the fourth semester. Theses must be submitted before the first day of classes of the fall semester for summer degree completion. Degrees completed by this deadline will be conferred in May of the following academic year, however, your transcript will note the actual date you completed your degree.
- Fall (after fourth semester)
There is an eight week grace period at the beginning of the fall semester following the fourth semester of graduate study. Students must register and pay all tuition and applicable registration costs in order to be eligible to graduate in this term. If a student is certain that they will finish by the eighth week, they may submit a tuition deferral form with the Office of Student Accounts in which case the student will be reimbursed for their fall semester tuition. If thesis documents are not submitted by eight weeks after the start of classes, students are responsible for the full semester’s tuition. If a student cannot submit thesis documents by this time, he/she may want to consider applying for non-resident status. Degrees completed by this deadline will be conferred in May of the following academic year; however, your transcript will note the actual date you completed your degree.
- Spring (fourth semester)
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Although the physical home of the MSE program is on the Homewood campus, the program is both interdivisional and interdepartmental. Therefore, Biomedical Engineering students of the MSE program are considered full-time students of both the School of Medicine and the Whiting School of Engineering.