BME Graduate Program: BS/MS Fast Track

Overview  ||  Who can apply?  ||  How does it work?  ||  How to apply?  ||  Who to contact?


The BS/MS fast-track degree program is for eligible students who seek to complete both the BS degree and the MS degrees at The University of Iowa in Biomedical Engineering in five years. A traditional MS (thesis) degree requires completion of 30 graduate level credit hours. The fast-track program allows for 12 credit hours to be counted towards both their BS and MS degrees. Thus, only 18 additional credits hours and MS thesis effort are needed to complete the MS degree requirements.


Who can apply?

  • Current status as a junior level student (in the spring semester of junior year) in Biomedical Engineering at University of Iowa
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5
  • Have identified a research mentor

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How does it work?

Students interested in the fast-track program will apply to the Program in the first semester of their junior year and if admitted, will enter into the combined undergraduate/graduate program in the first semester of their senior year. It is expected that students will have found a research mentor who will supervise their research through their MS graduation.  Admission into the BME Fast-Track program is competitive and applicants are strongly encouraged to have an ongoing research involvement at the time of application in the area in which they desire to perform thesis research.  Upon approval from the department, the student will continue on to submit an official application with the Graduate College.

In the senior year, the fast-track student will enroll in the courses necessary for completion of the traditional BS degree in Biomedical Engineering with two exceptions:

  • Replace Biomed Eng Senior Design 1 (51:085; BME 4910; 4 hours) with Fast-Track Biomed Eng Design 1-A (51:178; BME:5910; 3 hours) and Fast-Track Biomed Eng Design 1-B (51:180; BME:5911; 1 hour)
  • Replace Biomed Eng Senior Design 2 (51:086; BME 4920; 4 hours) with Fast-Track Biomed Eng Design 2-A (51:179; BME:5920; 3 hours) and Fast-Track Biomed Eng Design 2-B (51:183; BME:5921; 1 hour)

The senior design project should be completed as an individual project, not within a group as performed by students seeking the traditional BS degree. Care should be taken in choosing the design project such that it would extend into an MS thesis project in the subsequent graduate year. In the second semester of the senior year, the fast-track student will be assessed graduate level tuition and fees for courses taken.

In the fifth year, the fast-track student will take graduate level courses needed for an MS degree with the exception that he/she may double-count 12 credit hours from his/her undergraduate program. The following courses may be used for BME-Fast-Track MS graduate credit:

  • Human Physiology (HHP:3500; 3 hours)
  • Introduction to Biostatistics (BIOS:4120 or STAT:3510; 3 hours)
  • Fast-Track Biomed Eng Design 1-A (BME:5910; 3 hours) and 2-A (BME:5920; 3 hours). These 6 semester hours will count toward Research Biomed Eng MS Thesis (BME:5999; 6 hours). Therefore, although fast-track students will work toward and defend their MS thesis, they will not have to register for the 6 MS Thesis semester hours as performed by regular MS degree seekers.

When the MS degree requirements are completed (18 additional credit hours of graduate level course work), students will graduate with both the BS and the MS degrees in Biomedical Engineering. If upon completion of the MS degree, the student wishes to pursue a Ph.D. in the BME program, then he/she may apply Human Physiology (HHP:3500) and Intro to Biostatistics (BIOS:4120 or STAT:3510) toward their Ph.D. degree course requirements, but not the Fast-Track Biomed Design 1-A (BME 5910) and 2-A (BME 5920) courses. That is, while 12 credit hours may be double counted for the BS/MS fast track degrees, only 6 hours may be double counted if the student continues on toward a Ph.D. degree.

In addition to course work, fast track BS/MS students must perform MS thesis research and successfully defend their thesis. Requirements for completing the MS thesis are the same as those for traditional MS thesis degree.

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How to apply?

Submit the BME application to the Department of Biomedical Engineering by April 1st of your junior year.  There will be no “off-cycle” applications accepted. Upon departmental approval, apply to The University of Iowa Graduate College through the Office of Graduate Admissions by May 1st.

BME application due by April 1st of junior year:

  • The BS/MS fast-track application form.
  • Transcript (a printout of the grade report will do).
  • A letter of support from a faculty member willing to serve as research mentor through the fifth year/MS graduation.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores (recommended, but not required at the time of the departmental application). Even if a student is approved by the department without GRE scores, it is required for admission by the graduate college. Therefore, the test must be taken by July 15th in the summer preceding the senior year and the scores submitted before beginning of the senior year. If GRE test scores are inadequate (the department recommends a score of 310 or higher on Verbal + Quantitative sections), the student may be asked to retake the test to obtain an adequate score for continuation in the program.

By May 1st of their junior year, the student must  submit a formal application and supplemental materials to The University of Iowa Graduate College. Upon admission to the BS/MS program, the student may enroll in the fast-track senior design courses.

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Who to Contact?

Email admissions staff at, or call at 319-335-5632.