MSE program degree requirements

The BME department offers two degree options:

Course-Based Degree Option

Core Biomedical Engineering Requirements

  • Competency in Biomedical Engineering will be demonstrated by completing two (of the three) Systems Bioengineering courses.
  • Overall 5 (or more) courses for the M.S.E. degree are expected to be qualifying BME courses (Qualifying BME courses have “580” or “585” as their first three numerical digits (i.e., or

Focus Area Requirements

Students are expected to select one of the following focus areas:

A minimum of 5 courses for the M.S.E. degree are expected to be from the selected focus area (an overview of each area and course options are provided at the links listed above)

Tips on selecting the thesis or course-based degree option, and choosing a focus area can be found here.


  • Any Johns Hopkins’ graduate (typically 600 or 700 level) math, science, engineering, or medicine/public health course qualifies. In some cases advanced undergraduate level (i.e., 400 level) courses are allowed if a corresponding 600 level course is not taught. Please check with your advisor before enrolling.
  • Ideally, the electives will align with a student’s focus area and career objectives

Thesis-based Degree Option

Each student will take a minimum of 24 credits (the equivalent of 8 full courses) at the 400-level or higher and complete a thesis, including one or more research/practicum courses.

Students fulfill the course requirement by taking two courses in the Systems Bioengineering (SBE) sequence (580.721, 580.722, 580.779) and other advanced engineering, math and science courses. (JHU undergraduates will replace the SBE sequence and take two additional courses in advanced engineering, math or science.)

Thesis track students must also complete a thesis based on a research topic requiring application of quantitative or applied engineering principles to biomedical engineering.

Course Selection, Approval, and “Double-Counting” Policies

Course selection will be guided by a description of potential tracks/focus areas that will be provided online, and through discussion with a committee that consists of the BME MSE Director and Administrator for non-thesis track students, and the BME MSE Administrator and Research Advisor for thesis track students.

Course approval will be managed through course selection approval forms and checklists similar to those used for the BME undergraduate program and other Whiting School of Engineering Master’s programs.

Whiting School policies allowing the “double counting” of two full 600-level or higher courses for both an undergraduate degree and the BME MSE degree will apply.

Double counting will NOT apply towards the Systems Bioengineering requirement, for which Hopkins BME undergrads are required to take the 400-level courses. Instead students will be required to take two additional courses approved by the student’s advisor, consistent with current policy for the thesis-based MSE degree option.

Double counting will not apply to non-Hopkins courses (i.e., credit towards the MSE degree will only be awarded to courses taken at Johns Hopkins.