The Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis requires students to complete all of the courses in the core curriculum, five upper-level engineering electives (two from Tier I and three from Tier II), five humanity/social science electives and three general electives.

Students must also meet all McKelvey School of Engineering and WashU requirements (including the English composition requirement) and, to satisfy ABET requirements for a professional degree, must accrue 47 engineering topics credits over their coursework. The total BME curriculum requires a total of 120 credit hours.

Curriculum Core

Physical Sciences (18 credit hours)
  • Chem 111A: General Chemistry I and Chem 112A: General Chemistry II (6 credit hours)
  • Chem 151: Chemistry Lab I and Chem 152: Chemistry Lab II (4 credit hours)
  • Physics I, Physics I Lab Phys 191, 191L; Physics II, Physics II Lab Phys 192/192L (8 credit hours)
Biological Sciences (6 credit hours)
  • Biol 2960: Principles of Biology I (4 credit hours)
  • Biol 3058: Physiological Control Systems (2 credit hours)
Mathematics (18 credit hours)
  • Math 132: Calculus II and Math 233: Calculus III (6 credit hours)
  • Math 217: Differential Equations (3 credit hours)
  • ESE 318: Engineering Mathematics A and ESE 319: Engineering Mathematics B (6 credit hours)
  • ESE 326: Probability and Statistics for Engineers (3 credit hours)
Engineering Science (12 credit hours)
  • CSE 131: Computer Science I (3 credit hours)
  • Three Tier II courses (9 credit hours)
Biomedical Engineering (35 credit hours)
  • BME 140: Intro to Biomedical Engineering (3 credit hours)
  • BME 220: Intro to Biomedical Circuits (4 credit hours), can substitute ESE 230: Intro. to Electrical Networks (4 credit hours)
  • BME 240: Biomechanics (4 credit hours)
  • BME 301A: Quantitative Physiology I and BME 301B: Quantitative Physiology II (8 credit hours)
  • BME 320B: Bioengineering Thermodynamics (3 credit hours)
  • BME 366: Transport (3 credit hours)
  • BME 401A: Senior Capstone Design A and BME 401B: Senior Capstone Design B (4 credit hours)
  • Two Tier I courses (6 credit hours)
Other (31 credit hours)
  • Humanities/Social Sciences (H/SS) (15 credit hours)
  • General electives (10 credit hours)
  • Eng 4501: Engineering Ethics and Sustainability (1 credit hour)
  • Eng 4502: Engineering Leadership and Team Building (1 credit hour)
  • Eng 4503: Conflict Management and Negotiation (1 credit hour)
  • Eng 310: Technical Writing (3 credit hours)

Specialized Interests

Sophomores with an interest in integrating biomedical engineering with upper-level coursework in one of the other four departments within the McKelvey School of Engineering should take the corresponding sophomore-level course listed below as one of their electives. This course does not fulfill a core or upper-level requirement, but will substantively improve preparation for integrative courses taken within BME and across the school.
  • CSE 247: Data Structures and Algorithms
  • EECE 201: Engineering Analysis of Chemical Systems
  • ESE 232: Introduction to Electronic Circuits
  • MEMS 255: Engineering Mechanics II

Double Majors

Students majoring in biomedical engineering may choose to double major within the McKelvey School of Engineering, leading to a second professional Bachelor of Science degree in one of the other engineering disciplines in four years. A degree in biomedical engineering combined with a professional degree in one of the traditional engineering disciplines can be expected to enhance employment options in the industry.

Depending upon the second major chosen, total unit requirements may range from 140 to 148 (or fewer if the student enters with AP credits). Hence, some summer work may be necessary in order to complete a double major within four academic years. To determine the specific requirements to be satisfied for both degrees, students are urged to consult with an adviser in the second department and their four-year adviser as early as possible.


A majority of undergraduate engineering students pursue a minor in engineering or other disciplines, such as business. For biomedical engineering majors, there are four engineering minors that are easily obtainable within the typical four-year BME curriculum. These recommended minors require four or less additional classes – many of which count towards the electives within the BME major.

Recommended engineering minors for biomedical engineering students:

  • Bioinformatics: Bioinformatics is a joint program of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering, and the Department of Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences. Mindful of the emerging opportunities at the interface of biology and computer science, the biology and computer science and engineering departments are sponsoring a bioinformatics minor that will serve students from both departments, as well as other students from the natural sciences and engineering with an interest in this field.
  • Computer science: As computing drives innovation in nearly all industries, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers a minor in computer science to provide a basic foundation in software and computer science.
  • Electrical engineering: This program covers classes in several fields of science and engineering, encompassing electronics, solid-state devices, applied electromagnetics, RF and microwave technology, fiber-optic communication, applied optics, nano-photonics, sensors, and medical and biological imaging technology.
  • Mechanical engineering: The minor in mechanical engineering complements studies in a field related to mechanical engineering, such as biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, chemistry or architecture. The minor is intended to provide students with a credential that could enhance their opportunities for employment or graduate study.

The engineering school offers additional minors; however, they typically require 15 units or more of coursework outside the standard BME curriculum. Students who enter with significant transfer credit or advanced placement may be able to complete these minors in the standard four years; otherwise, students will typically require a summer semester or two to complete these minors.