Frequently Asked Questions

APPLICANTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How do I apply to the UF BME Program?

A: The Admissions page of our website provides detailed instructions as to how to apply to our program and the application materials required. These instructions should provide all the information needed to complete an application to UF.

Q: What is the minimum entrance requirements for applicants who have not earned a degree in BME?

A: The BME program recognizes that students outside of BME or even engineering may be interested in earning a graduate degree in our program. As such, we have the following minimum coursework requirements for admission to both our MS or PhD programs.

Pre-Professional Courses

Students must demonstrate competence in each of the following areas or their equivalents:

  • 3 Courses of Calculus
  • 1 Course of Differential Equations
  • 2 Courses of Physics with Calculus
  • 1 Course of General Chemistry
  • 1 Course of General Biology
  • 1 Course of Organic Chemistry
  • 1 Course in Technical Communications.
  • 1 Course covering one advanced programming language (C, C++, Java, etc.)

Engineering Courses

Students must have taken at least one course from three of the following six areas:

  • Statics or Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, or Fluid Flow
  • Electrical Circuits or Electronics
  • Engineering Materials 
  • Engineering Economy or Management
  • Engineering Mathematics or Statistics

Students not meeting the minimum Entrance Requirements should include a statement in their application outlining how they will meet these requirements prior to admission. For select cases, exceptional students not meeting 1 or 2 of these course requirements may be admitted to the program via a Conditional Admission, whereby the student must take the missed courses within the 1st  semester of enrollment into the program. Students may be granted special permission to take courses during their second semester. Courses taken to meet this requirement may not count towards their graduate degree.

Q: What is the minimum admission criteria for the UF BME Graduate Program?

A: The UF Graduate School requires a recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution and, for applicants with a bachelor’s degree only, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (US system), calculated from all grades and credits. For applicants from countries (including Puerto Rico) where English is not the official language, a minimum score on one of these English Language Skills tests: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 550 paper, or 80 Internet; International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6; Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): 77, or documented successful completion of the University of Florida English Language Institute program.

While the above outlines the minimum admission requirements, acceptance into the BME program is highly competitive. Typically, only 20% of all MS applicants and less than 8% of all PhD applicants, on average, are accepted into our program. Acceptance is based on several factors, including coursework, GPA, GRE, letters of recommendation, research interests, and potential for a faculty match (for PhD applicants).

As a general indicator, the average admissions scores for PhD applicants recently admitted to the BME graduate program are as follows:

PhDs

GRE Quantitative: 160

GRE Verbal: 158

Undergraduate GPA: 3.7

(Note that these represent only averages and meeting this criteria does not result in admission to our program)

Q: Do I need to earn a Master’s degree prior to admission to the PhD program?

A:  The UF BME PhD program admits students who have earned only a B.S. degree and those with both a B.S. and M.S., so having an MS is not required prior to admission and earning one is not required to make an application competitive. For applicants with weaker undergraduate academic records, however, the successful completion of an MS in BME, with a strong GPA and research productivity, can serve to strengthen their PhD application.

Q: I forgot to attach a required document to my application. What should I do?

A: Check your application status to determine file completion. The information you receive will identify the status of your application to UF, what, if any, materials are missing, and provide instructions on how to proceed. If materials missing are items not required by UF for application completion (e.g. resume, Program of study), email these items directly to grad@bme.ufl.edu with the subject title “MISSING APPLICATION MATERIAL”.  Items sent via email cannot be guaranteed to be linked to your application, due to the high volume of requests, so the best option is to ensure that all documents are properly uploaded prior to submitting the application.

Q: I sent my documents into the admissions office, but it is not updated on the application. What is the delay and should I be concerned?

A: First check your application status to determine file completion. During peak application windows (November 1 through January 30), it may take up to 30 days for the UF Office of Admissions to record exam scores to your application.  If you have requested your exam scores via ETS or other testing agency at least 30 days prior and your application status indicates scores remain outstanding, please contact the Office of Admissions directly gradpro@admissions.ufl.edu or our department at grad@bme.ufl.edu.

Q: How do I know if I have to take an English Language Proficiency test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS)?

A: The full graduate school policy for English Language Proficiency can be accessed HERE.  Please note that our department does NOT offer exemptions for English language proficiency.

Q: Are Official Transcripts and Test scores really required?

A: These items are required by the UF Graduate School. As such, we have no control over these requirements and must follow them to admit a student to our program. Failure to submit the required documents will prevent review of your application by our department

Q: I did not do as well as I had hoped on the GRE. Should I retake it?

A: It depends. While applications are looked at holistically and other factors will contribute toward our admission decision beside the GRE component, GRE and GPA scores are criteria weighed in your application, so performing the best you can on this test is important. If you do retake it, note that official GRE and TOEFL scores are not self-reported.  You must have official documents/scores sent directly to the Office of Admissions (See Admissions page for details).

Q: Will my application be considered if my recommenders have not all submitted their recommendation letters?

A: It may be reviewed, but the application cannot be accepted until all recommendations are completed. Further, we strongly suggest all letters are submitted before the application deadline to create the most competitive application possible, as applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis.

Q: Am I required to pay the application fee?

A: Yes, all applications will not be reviewed until the application fee has been paid or waived. Application waivers are only available through the College of Engineering (the department does not issue these) and are only available to selected applicants. See HERE to apply.

Q: When should I expect to hear back about my admissions decision?

A: The timing can vary, depending on the applied degree (MS or PhD) and departmental needs. The department targets reaching out to top PhD applicants between Jan and Feb. MS applicants should be admitted in March. Final decisions for all applications should be made by April 15th. Note that admitted students will receive a letter via email, while denied applicants will be notified via the UF Application systems. Students should periodically check the email listed on their application and check the status of their application HERE. As we have an exceptionally high demand during the admission time, we are unable to provide personalized updates regarding admission status.

Q: If I am admitted, will you provide financial support?

PHD candidates

The majority of applicants admitted to our PhD program are offered a fellowship, a research assistantship, or a combination of the two. Fellowships are provided by UF Graduate School and distributed at the departmental level. Again, students do not need to apply to be considered for these UF Fellowships. Graduate Research Assistantship are typically offered for students matched directly with a Doctoral Advisor, who will provide financial support.  Fellowships and Assistantship include a stipend, a tuition waiver (to the student), and health insurance. Additional details on fellowships can be found HERE. Applicants will be notified via email if they are awarded a fellowship or assistantship.

MS Candidates

Financial support is limited for students admitted to the Masters of Engineering and Master of Science program and the department and college of engineering does not provide a scholarship or fellows that provides full support for tuition and stipend costs. The department provides limited Achievement Award Scholarship that is used to off-set tuition costs. MS applicants do not need to formally apply to be considered for this scholarship. Awarded students will be notified via email if they receive this fellowship.

Q: I want to apply to both the MS and the PhD program, do I need to fill out two separate applications?

A: No, students who apply to the PhD program are automatically considered for the MS program, should they not get admitted to the PhD program.

Q: I applied for the PhD program, so why did I get admitted to the MS program?

A: Our PhD program is highly competitive, with less than 8% of applicants receiving admission.  If you meet the minimum requirements for the PhD but are not admitted to the PhD program, we will likely offer you admission to the master’s program to offer you the opportunity to be a part of the UF BME family.

Q: As a PhD applicant, how do I go about being matched with a Doctoral advisor within the research field I am interested in?

A: When students apply, it is important that they outline their research interests that align with those offered in UF BME, as all PhD students are matched with a Doctoral Advisor that serves to mentor their research project. PhD applicants should take time to learn more about our BME Faculty (both Primary and Affiliates with BME Graduate Faculty status) through their laboratory websites, publications, and departmental newsletters. Applicants should also contact professors whose research interested align with theirs, which can help the applicant learn more about research opportunities in the faculty’s laboratory.

Students admitted to the program are either directly sponsored by a Doctoral Advisor (Graduate Research Assistantship) or sponsored by the department for Doctoral Advisor matching in the 1st semester (Graduate Student Fellowship). In the case of a Graduate Assistantship, financial support is tied to the advisor. In this manner, faculty seeking this option typically interview students directly during the admission process (Jan to April) before finalizing their sponsorship decision. For Graduate Student Fellowships, PhD applicants are admitted as departmental recruits and are provided with time from admission until the 1st semester to elect a Doctoral Advisor. In both cases, only Primary BME faculty or Affiliate Faculty with BME Graduate Faculty status are eligible to serve as Doctoral Advisors to BME students.

Q: Can I take classes online?

A: Our BME program is not an off-site program and most classes are only available on-campus. While there are selected online courses at the graduate level, most are not offered out of BME or are a part of specific certificate programs (e.g. EDGE Medical Physics Certificate program). As such, you should expect that all of your classes will be held in person in Gainesville, FL.

Q: BME offers both a Masters of Science and Masters of Engineering degrees offered. Could you explain the difference? Also, why am I only offered the option of applying to the “Masters” program on the UF Application System?

A: The UF BME program does offer both a Masters of Science (MS) and a Masters of Engineering (ME) program. The MS program is the default program that all students are admitted to during the application process. Students can elect to switch to the ME degree upon enrollment. Switching to the ME requires documentation of graduation with an engineering degree from an ABET accredited school. There is no difference in the course requirements between an MS or ME.

Q: I see that there all Masters degrees have the option of Thesis or Nonthesis. What is the difference between these two options and how to I apply to either one?

A: All Master’s students can elect to pursue a Thesis or Nonthesis option. For admission, all Master’s students are defaulted into the nonthesis option of the degree. Students can easily switch to the Thesis option during their study, by electing a Supervisory Chair and filling out this form. The primary difference between the two programs is the amount of credit that is expended towards independent research and the Final Exam required.

  1. For the non-thesis, a student must select a Supervisory Chair and complete a Capstone Project. This requires enrollment in in 1 credit of BME6907 (BME Project) in their graduating semester. This project can range from independent academic research to a report. See our current 2016 BME Graduate Guidelines for an outline of these requirements.
  2. For the thesis, a student must successfully defend a full thesis to a committee made up of three faculty members. They are also required to enroll in 3 credits of BME6971 (Master’s Research) in their graduating semester. All candidates for the Master’s degree with thesis must prepare and present a thesis that shows independent investigation and is acceptable to their Supervisory Committees and the Graduate School. The candidate should consult the Graduate School Editorial Office for instructions concerning the format of the thesis. See our current 2016 BME Graduate Guidelines for an outline of these requirements.

Q: Can I switch from MS to PhD once I am admitted?

Students meeting PhD admission requirements may transition to the PhD program, provided they have a BME Graduate Faculty fully sponsor their Graduate Assistantship. As such, all students interested in transitioning to the PhD program should explore research options with a faculty member during their MS study.

Q: What are the costs of the program?

All MS students are responsible for tuition and cost-of-living expenses. PhD students are typically offered fellowships or assistantships to cover tuition costs and provide a cost-of-living stipend. Cost estimates are provided HERE.

Q: Is there a general time frame for the program?

A: Master’s students typically take 1-2 years to complete the program, while PhD students typically take 3-5 years to complete their degrees.