BME Requirements

Program requirements are described in the UCSC catalog.

Current catalog description of BME Graduate Program
The archive of PDF versions of the entire catalogs can be found at
Expectations that are not necessarily in the catalog copy.
  • Attend advancement to candidacy talks and thesis defenses. In our program, all advancements and defenses begin with a public presentation of the thesis proposal or thesis. All faculty and grad students who are in town normally attend. This provides for better communication between research groups, increased collaboration, greater breadth of education for the audience, and improved presentation skills for the students. Seeing several advancements and defenses before attempting one's own makes them a familiar task, rather than a scary barrier.
  • Annual public presentation. All students are expected to present a poster or oral presentation of their research annually (even the first-year students). Since not all students will have the opportunity to present their work at international conferences, we provide other venues: for example, the annual Graduate Student Research Symposium sponsored by the Graduate Division and the annual Research Review Day for the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. Students can also meet this expectation by giving a lecture in the BME 280B research lecture series, or by giving a lecture in any of our regularly scheduled classes. It is not met by short lab-rotation talks or 2-minute elevator talks (described below), though it may, of course, cover the same research.
  • Elevator talks. Each fall, one meeting of BME 280B is dedicated to 2-minute "elevator talks", which summarize the student's research without visual aids. All grad students are expected to give a 2-minute talk, even the first-year students.
  • Lab rotations and rotation talks. All PhD students are required to do 3 lab rotations with different supervisers. These seven week rotations are normally done in Fall and Winter of the first year. One of the rotations must be with a wet-lab superviser, though there is no requrement that wet-lab work be done during the rotation. At the end of each quarter, one session of BME 280B will be reserved for lab rotation talks, and each student doing a rotation that quarter will give a short talk (with visual aids) about the rotation.
  • Annual meetings with grad or thesis committee. Each fall, every continuing grad student needs to meet with their thesis committee (if advanced to candidacy) or the graduate committee of the program (in MS or not advanced to candidacy).Those meeting with the grad committee should arrange to meet with committee members who are not their research adviser.
  • Grad students are expected to register for a full load of units, with indenpendent study or thesis research classes when not taking many classroom classes.  The typical load is 17-19 units: 3 five-unit courses (or research), 2 units of lab-group seminar (BME 281), and (often) 2 units of BME 280B or other weekly research seminar.  Students acting as a TA take 5 fewer units (one course less).  Students taking fewer than 9 units need to apply for part-time status. A lab rotation counts as a full course.

    Note: students are expected to attend and participate in all classes and seminarts that they register for—this is a pedagogic requirement, not just a formality.

  • Although the catalog copy requires students to pass an oral qualifying exam by the end of their second year and the admission to candidacy by the end of the third year, the faculty voted to waive the oral qualifying exam for any student who is successfully admitted to candidacy by the end of their 6th registered quarter.
  • M.S. students no longer need to write a thesis (starting Winter 2010).  Instead they must do a one-quarter research project with a written report.  The easiest way to meet this requirement is with a lab rotation (BME 296) or independent research project (BME 297).