Graduate Degree in Medical Engineering

Aims and Scope of Graduate Study in Medical Engineering

Graduate Option Rep

Hyuck Choo

Option Coordinator

Christine Garske

The Medical Engineering option at Caltech is designed for students with an engineering background who are interested in applications of micro-/nanoscale science and technology in medicine, which forms the core of Caltech’s multidisciplinary Medical Engineering. The program’s goal is to close the gap between engineering and medicine. Our Medical Engineering research and education leverage Caltech’s strengths in engineering, applied science, and other fundamental fields, to apply emerging technological advances to medicine, and to create innovative diagnostic, monitoring, and therapeutic systems. Our major tracks of research are: micro/nano medical technologies and devices, medical nanoelectronics, biomedical materials and biomechanics, fluidics and bioinspired design, and medical imaging and sensing.

Master’s Degree in Medical Engineering

The Cherng Department of Medical Engineering offers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy but does not accept students for Master-only program. A master’s degree may be awarded to a student along the way toward a PhD degree. The Option requirements for the MS degree are the same as those for the PhD degree except that the MS degree does not require research units, qualifying exam, candidacy exam, and thesis defense. In general, the degree is not conferred before the end of the first year of residence.

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Engineering

Admission to Candidacy

To be recommended for candidacy for the Ph.D. program in Medical Engineering, each student must, in addition to meeting the general Institute requirements of a minimum of 135 units of graduate work, complete all the following requirements:

  • Complete 27 units of advanced courses (i.e., 100 level or above), with a grade B or better, in mathematics as arranged with his/her adviser. Math courses that are recommended include, but are not limited to: ACM 100 ab, ACM 101, ACM 104, ACM 105, ACM 106 abc, GE/ESE 118, ACM 201 ab, ACM 210 ab, ACM/EE/CMS 116, AM 125abc, and Ma 112 ab.
  • Complete the three-term seminar sequence, MedE 100 abc (1 unit), with a pass grade.
  • Complete MedE 101 (9 units) with a pass grade.
  • Complete the two-term core Medical Engineering course sequence, MedE 201 ab (18 units), with a B grade or better.
  • Complete MedE/BE/Ae 243 (9 units), with a B grade or better.
  • Complete EE111 (9 units), with a B grade or better.
  • Complete at least 27 units of MedE 291 individual research.
  • Complete minimally an additional 42 units of advanced courses (100 level or higher and, if available, grades only) in the following 8 topical areas as arranged with the student’s adviser. Courses that are recommended but not limited to, include:
    1. Fundamental and Mathematically Oriented Engineering: APh/EE 130 (EM), CDS 101, CDS 110, CDS 140, ChE/ BE/MedE 188, ChE 103 abc, EE112, EE/Ma 126ab, EE 151, EE160, EE 161, MS 115, ME 115 ab, ME 117, ME 118, ME 119 ab.
    2. Solid Mechanics: Ae/AM/CE/ME 102 abc, Ae 160, AM/CE 151 ab, MS/ME/MedE 162.
    3. Fluid Mechanics: Ae/APh/CE/ME 101 abc, Ae 160, Ae/BE 242, ChE/BE/MedE 112.
    4. Biology and Physiology: BE 150, BE 151, BE/Bi 152, BE 159, Bi/Ch 110, Bi/Ch 113, Bi 122, Bi 129, Bi 145, Bi/CNS/NB 150, Bi/CNS 162, CNS/Bi/Ph/CS/NB 187.
    5. Biomaterials, Biomechanics, and Bioinspired Design: Ae/BE 242, BE 141, BE159, Ch/ChE 147, MS/ME/ MedE 162, ME/MS 260, MS 115.
    6. Medical Photonics and Imaging: APh/EE 130, APh/EE 131, APh/EE 132, Bi/BE 177, Bi/BE 227, ChE 114, EE/MedE 115, EE 151, EE/BE/MedE 166, MedE 205.
    7. BioSensing: APh/EE 130, APh/EE 131, APh/EE 132, EE/MedE 114ab, EE/MedE 115, EE 151, EE 161, EE BE/MedE 166, EE/APh 180.
    8. Medical Technologies and Devices: APh 109, APh 114abc, APh/EE 130, APh/EE 131, APh/EE 132, BE/EE/MedE 189, ChE/BE/MedE 112., ChE 115, E/ME/MedE105ab, EE 12, EE/MedE 114 ab, EE/MedE 124, EE 151, EE 161, EE/APh 180, EE/BE/MedE 185, EE/ MedE 187, MedE 205.
  • Pass an oral qualifying examination, arranged by the Option, on three major subjects before the beginning of the second academic year. Any delay of taking the exam must be pre-approved by the option representative. Each student should consult his/her adviser and/or the option representative to choose the three major subjects. The three subjects of the exam should include (1) engineering math, (2) the major research topical area, and (3) another related topical area. Students should take at least 27 units of advanced courses on each of the three exam subjects. If the student has a subject minor, examination on the minor subject may be included at the request of the discipline offering the minor and with the approval of his/her adviser. Note that the program is designed for the students to have multidisciplinary background.
  • Pass an oral candidacy examination on the subject of the Ph.D. research before the end of the third academic year of residency. The Ph.D. oral candidacy exam is conducted by a committee of minimum four members that is set up by the student and approved by the option representative. This examination will be a test of the candidate’s preparation and knowledge to conduct research in his or her specialized doctoral research area.

Thesis and Final Examination

The Ph.D. final thesis defense exam is conducted by a committee that are set up by the student and approved by the option representative. The committee should be made of minimum 5 members and the majority must be MedE faculty. This final examination will be given no less than two weeks after the doctoral thesis has been presented in final form, and before its approval. This examination must be taken at least four weeks before the commencement at which the degree is to be granted. This thesis examination will be a defense of the doctoral thesis and a test of the candidate’s knowledge in his or her specialized doctoral research area.

Subject Minor

A subject minor is not required, but recommended, for the Ph.D. degree in Medical Engineering. However, credits from the subject minor cannot be double-counted for the core program. Students may choose their original engineering disciplines as their minor subjects. Students are not allowed to choose Medical Engineering as a subject minor.