In keeping with the two-fold mission of the Department of Bioengineering to
We require that students master basic mathematical skills in analytical geometry, calculus, linear algebra,
differential equations, and statistics as preparation for mastery of bioengineering applications. The basic math
courses include :
Students interested in a MATH Minor should consider taking MATH 1270 instead of MATH 0290 and either MATH 1180 or MATH 1185 instead of MATH 0280. See
GET A MINOR for more information.
Engineering practice is frequently described as "applied science". In addition to knowledge of and ability to use basic physics and chemistry, bioengineers need to be conversant with and able to use concepts of biology and physiology. Because of the importance of cellular processes in bioengineering applications, we have developed our
own (required) 2-course sequence in cell and molecular biology.
We DO NOT accept general biology (BIOSC 0150 and 0160) as meeting the cell biology requirement or as advanced engineering/science electives.
The Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) requires all undergraduates to complete at least six humanities and social science (Hum/SS) elective courses from the SSoE
APPROVED HUM/SS ELECTIVES LIST in order to satisfy SSoE and ABET accreditation requirements for breadth and depth. Complete rules for breadth and depth can be found at the Approved Electives webpage.
While only approved humanities and social science courses can be used to satisfy the Hum/SS requirements for the Bioengineering degree, the approved list is not static!! New courses are added frequently. If you wish to take a course not on the approved list, you need to make a request to the
Undergraduate Coordinator BEFORE taking the course. Fill out the
HUM/SS APPROVAL REQUEST FORM and e-mail it to the Undergraduate Coordinator, who will seek approval from Engineering Administration and let you know whether the course has been approved. Please do not request a class from a department which is not on
the approved list (e.g., Administration of Justice, Business, etc).
The Department of Bioengineering feels that ethics is such an integral part of societal practice of bioengineering that we have developed our own bioethics course,
BIOENG 1241 (3 credits) : Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Bioengineering (Fall & Spring) that emphasizes the fact that we practice bioengineering in the real world and that we need to be aware of the broad societal impact of doing so. BIOENG 1241 is a REQUIRED course for all bioengineering undergraduate
students. Because of the strong humanities and social science basis, BIOENG 1241 is acceptable as one of the required six Hum/SS electives. Thus bioengineering undergraduates need at least five additional Hum/SS elective courses drawn from the School's list of approved courses.
The SSoE breadth and depth rules for Hum/SS electives, for the purposes of the Bioengineering program, are interpreted as: students must have at least two courses from the same department (both cannot have an "*" designation) to satisfy the depth requirement; and, students must have courses from at least three different
departments (in addition to BIOENG 1241) to satisfy the breadth requirement.
UNIVERSITY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS web site has current information about Hum/SS course offerings. Please note that SAS courses cross-listed with CGS that are designated as self-paced (self), online (www) or hybrid online (hybrid) are
not acceptable for fulfilling the humanities/social science requirement.
Note : Students may use an ENGR study abroad experience, such as the Plus3 program, either as an Advanced Engineering/Science elective or as a Hum/SS elective.
"W" requirement : All students must have a "W"riting course, designated as such in their academic record, in order to satisfy graduation requirements. The "W" can be satisfied by a course in any department. However, most students choose to take a three-credit course in the humanities/social sciences. A one-credit "W"
addition to a three credit course is also acceptable. A two-credit "W" course satisfies the "W" requirement, but cannot be used to satisfy a course requirement. Listings of "W" courses can be found at the
UNIVERSITY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS web site.
Note: ENGCMP 0400 (Written Professional Communication) satisfies the "W" requirement, but is not an acceptable Hum/SS elective.
The basic engineering courses include :
The common Freshman courses, ENGR 0011/ENGR 0711 and ENGR 0012/ENGR 0016/ENGR 0712/ENGR 0716 are integrated with the Freshman math, physics, and chemistry courses with the specific goals of (1) introducing students to fundamentals of engineering
common to all engineering disciplines, (2) providing an overview of how engineers integrate math, physics, chemistry, and communications into solving practical problems of interest to society, and (3) providing a rigorous foundation in design of computer
programs to solve engineering problems.
ENGR 0135 is a basic course in statics and mechanics of materials that applies concepts from physics in understanding the effect of external forces acting on particles and deformable bodies with emphasis on how material responses to external
forces impact engineering choices of appropriate materials to use to meet design specifications.
In keeping with the Department of Bioengineering philosophy that bioengineers draw from all engineering
disciplines in the practice of bioengineering and that, therefore, bioengineers should be conversant with and able
to employ the basic skills of the various engineering disciplines, the Bioengineering Core consists of
The Bioengineering Core has been designed to provide students with exposure to the basic engineering disciplines
that bioengineers use in preparation for being a functional member of a multidisciplinary team working to creatively
solve biomedical problems.
BIOENG 1210 and 1220 provide knowledge and applications in thermal/fluid engineering which
are important in design and operation of cellular engineering and tissue culture applications and artificial organs
BIOENG 1310 and 1320 provide fundamental knowledge and applications in electrical
engineering that are required for data acquisition, signal processing, imaging, and systems control. BIOENG 1255
(biological insights through mathematical modeling), 1580 (biological insights through signal processing in
general), and 1680 (applications in biological control systems) are more in-depth application of concepts presented
in 1310 and 1320.
BIOENG 1630, coupled with ENGR 0135, provides knowledge and applications that are required
to model and design solutions in such diverse areas as motion and balance, prosthetics design, and soft tissue
Both BIOENG 1002 and 1150 are laboratory, research-based courses that focus on
communications skills: BIOENG 1002 on preparation and public presentation of research; BIOENG 1150 on analysis and
Imaging is an integral skill in bioengineering. Several choices are offered to help meet
individual needs of students in designing a curriculum relevant to their interests and course of study. While any of
the listed courses satisfy the imaging requirement, students are encouraged to seek advisor input with respect to
which course might be best for their particular interests. Students can petition the Undergraduate Coordinator to
have a new imaging course placed on the list of acceptable courses.
Senior Design (BIOENG 1160 & 1161) is a unique two-semester capstone sequence that
challenges teams of students to develop and implement practical solutions to real problems.
Finally, BIOENG 1085 is used both as a vehicle for communication between the department and
students and to provide diverse perspectives on the professional practice of bioengineering.
While the Bioengineering Core was designed to provide students with exposure to the basic engineering disciplines that bioengineers use in preparation for being a functional member of a multidisciplinary team working to creatively solve biomedical problems,
the Bioengineering TrackTras offer students an opportunity to focus in greater depth on an area of bioengineering practice relevant to their interests. Students are encouraged to design their own curriculum, within the constraints of the track, to
prepare them for their post-graduate goals. The department offers four tracks :
Each track consists of six courses split between track requirements and track electives. Track requirements are courses that the track coordinator and associated track faculty deem essential knowledge for
professional practice in the track. Track electives (drawn from a restricted list of courses) offer an opportunity either to explore the track broadly or to focus more narrowly in an area of interest to the student.
As part of planning for post-graduate goals and the advising process, all students are required to develop a comprehensive electives plan (CEP) that details how their choices of track electives and advanced engineering/science electives
will help them achieve their individual goals.
Note : because of the large number of bioengineering students interested in careers in the health sciences (medical doctor, osteopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, physical therapist) post-graduation, CHEM 0310 (Organic Chemistry
1) and CHEM 0320 (Organic Chemistry 2) are accepted track electives in all tracks.
Note : CHEM 0320 (Organic Chemistry 2) is a prerequisite for BIOENG 1620 (Introduction to Tissue Engineering) and BIOENG 1810 (Biomaterials and Biocompatability). Students who want to take those courses need to take the CHEM
0310/0320 sequence prior to doing so.
Note : particular minors (see
GET A MINOR) are easier to obtain through specific tracks. The key to obtaining a minor that will aid the student in
fulfilling post-graduate goals is to start planning early.
Students are required to take two advanced engineering or science elective courses, as developed in their comprehensive electives plan (CEP), that complement their track electives and will help them meet their post-graduate goals.
Advanced engineering/science elective means that if the student has already taken a course in a discipline, the advanced engineering/science elective must be at a more advanced level (depth), i.e., not a course that is a prerequisite for a
course already taken, or cover a different aspect of the discipline (breadth).
Note : The
UNIVERSITY CATALOG states "Students may not earn credit for courses that substantially duplicate the content of other courses for which they have
already received credit." Other departments offer courses that substantially duplicate content in some BIOENG courses (which focus on engineering applications in biology, physiology, and medicine). Known courses under this prohibition that students cannot
use for an advanced engineering or science elective include:
ECE/CoE 0031 & MEMS 0031 (duplicates BIOENG 1310)
ENGR 0145 (duplicates BIOENG 1630)
ENGR 1010 (duplicates BIOENG 1002 & 1150)
MEMS 0051 (duplicates BIOENG 1210)
ECE/CoE 1552 & MEMS 1014 (duplicates BIOENG 1320)
Note : Students MAY NOT use any natural science course (ASTRON, BIOSC, CHEM, GEOL, NROSCI, PHYS) with a course number less than 0100 or described as "for students not majoring in the physical sciences" to satisfy an Advanced Engineering/Science
Note : Students may use an ENGR study abroad experience, such as the Plus3 program, either as an Advanced Engineering/Science elective or as a humanities/social science elective.
Note : Students who successfully complete three co-op rotations can also apply that experience to satisfy one of the electives; MPE students can use three co-op rotations to satisfy a track elective. See the
BIOENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATE GUIDEBOOK for details.
Note : All bioengineering students must have a minimum of four (4) engineering courses (any department) out of the eight (8) elective courses (six (6) track courses and two (2) advanced engineering/science courses).
We encourage our students to take full advantage of University of Pittsburgh resources and educational
opportunities. Many of our students seek a
DUAL DEGREE that augments the bioengineering experience; sometimes another engineering degree,
sometimes a degree in Arts & Sciences. Almost all obtain
MINORS AND CERTIFICATES that add
value to their education and distinguish them as they move forward in their careers. Planning for minors and
certificates is a part of developing the comprehensive electives plan (CEP) and needs to start as early as the sophomore year; perhaps, even, the freshman year!