External Graduate Applicants

The Biomedical Engineering Department at Cal Poly has three tracks toward an MS in Biomedical Engineering: the Thesis track, the Project track, and the Regenerative Medicine Specialization. (Please note: The Thesis track requires a commitment from a Thesis Advisor) Therefore, external MS candidates — non-Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo applicants — who have not come to agreement with an Cal Poly Thesis advisor and who are admitted are by default admitted into the Project track. Upon arrival, MS students may petition to transfer into their desired MS track or Specialization.

When to apply: The application deadline for the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Biomedical Engineering MS program(s) is March 1st, see application deadlines.

How to apply through Cal State Apply: External applicants should visit the Graduate Admissions website to find the link to apply through Cal State Apply. For assistance to guide you through the process, select the Application Instructions. Additionally, during the application process, please note the following:

  • All applicants must provide the required number of letters of recommendation through Cal State Apply. For applications to be considered complete and reviewable, all of the EVALUATIONS must be received by Cal State Apply by the application deadline. Cal State Apply prompts both the applicant and the reviewer to meet these deadlines. (DO NOT send EVALUTATIONS directly to program graduate coordinator or departments.)
  • The GRE is not required. If you elect to include them with your application, please note: all Official GRE scores must be submitted directly to the Cal Poly Admissions Office. Applicants are to self-report GRE scores through their Cal State Apply application, and the system will verify if the GRE scores have been sent to Cal Poly.  Applicants not submitting GRE scores will not be penalized, nor will applicants who have submitted GRE scores be at an advantage. The BMED admissions process utilizes a holistic evaluation approach that considers the entirety of submitted materials in making its decisions.
  • Unofficial transcripts MUST be uploaded by all applicants (including Cal Poly undergraduates) through Cal State Apply; Official transcripts MUST be sent to the Cal Poly Admissions Office.

Is your undergraduate degree in a non-Engineering field? Eligibility: Students who are not in an undergraduate Engineer program should have successfully completed the Department approved pre-requisites before applying to the MS program. Please note that as a graduate student, you can take only 12 units beyond the required 45 units. Also note that the “approved pre-requisites” have pre-requisites. These pre-requisites are typically offered at local community colleges.

Non-Engineering applicants to the BMED MS program should have the following background:

  • †Strength of Materials, CE 204
  • †Circuit Theory, EE 201
  • †ME Dynamics, ME 212
  • Anatomy and Physiology, ZOO 331 or 332 (Not required for Biology, Kinesiology and Physiology majors)

For external applicants: The above list is subject to modification based on the applicant’s transcripts.

†Please note that the Engineering courses listed above have pre-requisites, see Cal Poly Catalog.

Where and how do I apply?  You apply at Cal State Apply.

Is the GRE required?  No, the GRE is not required. Scores may be submitted at the option of the applicant. (See “How to Apply” at the top of this page.)

What are the typical GRE scores?  The typical GRE scores are the following:

  • Quantitative Reasoning > 159
  • Verbal Reasoning > 150

What is the typical GPA for those who are admitted to the program?  Typically, applicants with a GPA ≥  3.0.

I would like to do a Thesis. How do I find a Thesis project and advisor?  Before arriving at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, please see the department faculty web page and communicate with faculty who match your interests.

  • If you have an occasion to be in the area, you are welcome to visit on campus and meet with potential advisors.
  • If you’ve been admitted and you are on campus, you should meet with faculty members and secure a project by the second quarter in residence.

I was admitted into the Project track but I want a Thesis project. How does this work?  Because we do not have a recruitment day on campus, applicants admitted to the Biomedical Engineering program are admitted into the Project track by default. After you arrive and have had some time to interact with the faculty, you may change to a Thesis project with a Thesis advisor.

What is the Project Track? How is it different from the Thesis Track? The Thesis track requires a commitment from a Thesis advisor. The Thesis project is typically an individual effort. The culminating experience requires a Thesis document and a Thesis defense with a Thesis committee. In general, Theses are published through the University Library.

The Project track is usually a team of three MS students. There are company sponsored projects that are matched with MS student interests each Fall quarter through BMED 591. Each student writes up and defends their contribution to a Project committee. Projects can be proprietary and require a non-disclosure agreement with a company; therefore, Project reports are not published through the University Library.

What’s the typical duration for a Thesis?  Theses generally take ~1.25 to 1.5 yrs.

What’s the typical duration for a Project?  Typically Project durations are designed for one calendar year, i.e., work through, defend, and graduate in summer (may or may not occur on campus).

How can I check on what courses will be offered in what quarter?  The proposed courses for the Academic Year are posted on the BMED website under Current Students > BMED Courses. https://bmed.calpoly.edu/bmed-courses

Are there Funding opportunities?  There are a variety of funding opportunities offered or assisted through Graduate Education.  Additionally, you can talk with the department office or directly with the faculty member responsible for the course to get on the list of available Instructional Student Assistants, ISAs.

Graduate Student Funding Sources: (apply early)

  • Tuition Waivers (Residents and non-Residents)
  • State University Grants
  • Graduate Equity Fellowships
  • Diverse Education Scholarship
  • Funding to present research at a profession conference
  • And Graduate Assistantships

For more information, see the Graduate Education website, under “Financial Resources.”

Department Funding Opportunities: (apply early)  Instructional Student Assistantship (ISA). Please contact the Department Office and request to be included on the list of available ISAs. In addition, please be prepared to indicate which courses you’d like to be considered for.

External Funding Sources: (apply early)  There are funding opportunities offered by the major funding agencies, e.g., NSF Graduate Student FellowshipCSUPERB student grants. Locally, please consult the Dean of Research and Graduate Education. Also, please explore the websites for the various agencies for opportunities. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Prof. Ben Hawkins, during Office Hours.