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Frequently Asked Questions

For Prospective Students

We invite you to browse our website for information on our department, faculty, graduate students, degree programs, admissions cycle, research areas, laboratory resources, courses, events, and directory.​




 I’m a biologist, not an engineer. I’m an engineer, not a doctor. I’m a computer programmer, not a biochemist. So what’s the right stuff for bioengineering?

If you are interested in working at the interface of life sciences, engineering, and clinical medicine, you have the right stuff. Bioengineers improve human health by applying engineering principles, ideas, methods, and inventions to issues in biomedical sciences, thus solving clinical problems and advancing scientific discovery.​


 My calculus is rusty. I don’t have physics. What’s MatLab? Can I apply anyway?

Yes, in special cases, an applicant who lacks recommended undergraduate-level training may be accepted on the condition that background courses are taken prior to enrolling in graduate-level courses. Please explain in your Statement of Purpose how you intend to make up any deficiency. For example, we recommend that prerequisites be completed at an accredited institution during the summer term before you matriculate in the graduate program.​


 I'm not a bioengineering student - can I take the BIOE classes anyway?

Probably no, but we encourage you to inquire at least one month before the start of classes by emailing​. Typically, Bioengineering Core classes (BIOE 5010/11, 5020/21, 5030/31 and 5040/41) are open only to BIOE students. However, you are most welcome to take BIOE elective classes such as BIOE 5063 - 3D Modeling and BIOE 5064 - Advanced MATLAB.


 Do you interview applicants?

We do not conduct interviews with MS program applicants.

Finalists for the PhD program will be interviewed via phone or in person.​​


 If you’re dual campus, where are you located?

We are a department in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, affiliated with the School of Medicine, and located on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. Our graduate students enjoy dual campus status, but we are based at the CU Anchutz campus, about 10 miles east of CU Denver. Our skyline view comprises Pikes Peak to Longs Peak.​


 How big is the incoming class?

We plan to matriculate 10 to 15 MS-Bioengineering and 5 to 10 PhD-Bioengineering candidates each year for an incoming class of 20 graduate students. Seats in the PhD program are contingent on available funding.​


 Can I (should I) apply to both the MS and PhD programs?

Well, the MS and PhD share the core curriculum, so if you prefer a stepping-stone, we recommend that you apply to the MS-Bioengineering. It can be completed in 1-2 years. Then you can decide whether to start-up a biotech company or seek a higher degree. Applicants to the PhD-Bioengineering should be prepared to undertake 3-5 years of training before starting a career in industry, government, or academia.​


 Are my test scores competitive?

Although we do not enforce a cut-off score, we do publish preferred minimum GRE and TOEFL scores as a guideline. Your entire dossier – statement of purpose, resume, letters of recommendation, and transcript – is reviewed and compared with other applications in the current admissions cycle.​


 May I waive the GRE? Do you accept GMAT or LSAT instead of GRE scores?

No, all applicants must submit GRE scores with the exception of MD-PhD students concurrently enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program who may substitute the MCAT scores.​


 May I waive the TOEFL?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis, waivers and substitutions are approved by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Applicants may request a waiver based on functional experience with English as the language of prior instruction or current employment. We may require a viva voce examination, written sample, and endorsement from your employer to document your proficiency.​


 Can I defer my seat? If not, can I reuse my prior application to reapply?

Due to increasing competition for the limited number of seats in our Graduate Program, the first of its kind in Colorado, we rarely approve deferred admissions. Instead, we prefer to offer your seat to a waitlisted student. Thus we recommend that you reapply the following year, starting a new application with updated information, including mention of your prior offer, since the applicant pool of each admissions cycle is unique.​


 Can I petition for transfer of credit? Can I graduate early?

Yes, if you follow the Graduate School Rules​. For example, credit cannot be transferred until you establish a satisfactory record of at least one term of enrollment and a minimum 3.00 GPA. Transferred courses do not reduce the residency requirement, but on a case-by-case basis may reduce the amount of work required for the degree.


 Can I study part-time in order to work part-time? What is a typical course load?

The core curriculum is designed as an intensive cohort experience – “bioengineering boot camp” – so we expect a full-time commitment to your graduate training. That said, course loads range from 5 to 15 credit hours per term; MS students take on paid or for-credit project work and internships; PhD students are appointed as Pre-Doctoral Fellows or Research Assistants; and each student is encouraged to develop a highly individualized study plan in consultation with the faculty advisor.​


 What if I want to take one or two classes? Can I use my employee tuition benefit?

You may enroll in a course for credit or non-credit by applying for admission as a non-degree student. Please contact the Office of Admissions​ for more information. To use your employee tuition benefit, please consult your supervisor.​​


 How much does it cost?

For detailed information on tuition, fees, student health insurance, and estimated cost of living, please consult the student billing calculator​ in the Bursar’s Office​.


 Is there funding available?

For PhD students, the amount of support varies by student and is based on a variety of factors. Contact the department​ for more information.​


 How do I apply for financial aid or fellowships?

All prospective students are encouraged to apply for funding from state, national, international, industrial, or foundation sources. Please consult the Health Sciences Library​ database for more information on biomedical grants, scholarships, fellowships, and loans. If you are awarded funding from an outside sponsor (for example, NIH, NSF, HHMI, NDSEG), our expectation is that you will accept the award. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information on need-based loans.​


 When do I qualify for in-state tuition rates?

Students are initially classified as in-state or out-of-state for tuition purposes at the time of application. It is our expectation that you classify as a resident prior to matriculation or petition for a change in classification at your earliest date of eligibility. Please contact the Bursar's Office​ for instructions on residency classification for tuition purposes.


 Is on-campus housing available?

No, there is no university-owned on-campus housing at the Anschutz Medical Campus. However, our neighboring communities provide affordable options for short-term sublets, long-term leases, and real estate purchases. To learn more about where other graduate students are living near the Anschutz Medical Campus, please visit the Graduate School’s Housing Information website and contact Campus Student Services​ for more information.​


 Where can I learn about student health insurance?

Please visit the Office of Student Health Insurance​ to learn more about the health plans offered, or contact Laverne Lochel at 20