Joint Graduate Program | Biomedical Engineering | UTSA UTHSCSA

Program Information

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) jointly offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering. The objective of the program is to train students in the use of basic biomedical engineering approaches for the investigation of fundamental bioengineering questions associated with the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. The educational goals of this program are founded on the belief that the basic scientific approach is critical to the fundamental understanding of human health and the treatment of disease.

The program is designed to build on the scientific interactions and cooperation between the biomedical engineering and clinical scientists of the UT Health San Antonio and the engineering and basic science faculty at the UTSA. It is felt that this distinctive type of research environment will offer the students maximum opportunity to develop into well-rounded, competitive biomedical engineering professionals. Because engineers, basic scientists and clinicians will participate in the education and training of each student, the new graduates from this program will be uniquely trained in the fundamental sciences and engineering related to medicine. The Joint program has outstanding faculty, several of whom are leaders in their respective fields and internationally recognized.

There are core and associated faculty affiliated with the Biomedical Engineering Program, both with primary appointments at UTSA and UT Health San Antonio. They are at all academic ranks (Instructor through Professor/Chairman/Dean). Faculty at UTSA were drawn from both the College of Engineering:

  • Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and
  • the College of Sciences: Biology and Chemistry

Similarly, Faculty at UT Health San Antonio were drawn from the Medical School including:

  • Departments of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine, Physiology, Radiological Sciences, Medicine/Cardiology, Orthopedics, Rehabilitative Medicine and
  • Research Imaging Center from the Dental School: Community Dentistry, Periodontics, Restorative Dentistry.

In addition, external Faculty members are drawn from local companies and research institutes involved in bioscience research. The BME Program has a number of outstanding faculty, several of whom are leaders in their respective fields and internationally recognized. The Joint Program's Core Faculty is almost equally divided between The University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.


  • If interested in Faculty Appointment, Contact:
  • UTSA Faculty (appointment period)

    UT Health San Antonio Faculty

    Military Faculty

    • Bynum, James (Oct. 1, 2018 - Sept. 31, 2021)
    • Dion, Gregory (Oct. 1, 2018 - Sept. 31, 2021)
    • Poenitzch, Vicky (Nov. 1, 2016 - Oct. 31, 2019)

    BME Advisory Council Members

    • Mark Niederauer (Chair) - Chief Technology Officer, EO2 Concepts
    • Dan Nicolella - Institute Engineer, Materials Engineering Dept, Mechanical Engineering Division, SwRI
    • Cheryl Blanchard - Chief Executive Officer, MicroCHIPS, Inc.
    • Animesh Agarwal - Professor of Orthopaedics, Chief of Trauma Division, UT Health San Antonio
    • Neal Vail
    • David Devore - Founder, GRAPLON Technologies
    • Kris Kieswetter - Sr. Director, Innovation & Strategic Marketing, Acelity
    • Ann Salamone - President, Rochal Industries, LLC
    • Ben Tranchina - Chief Executive Officer, DxUPClose, Inc
    • Joe McDonough - Director, Microencapsulation & Nanomaterials, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Division, SwRI

    As the program is multi- and inter-disciplinary, the curriculum is designed to provide a synergistic combination of formal courses, seminars, teaching opportunities, interactions with clinicians, and individualized biomedical engineering research experiences in the laboratories of the Biomedical Engineering faculty.

    All students are required to take core courses in the areas of Biomaterials, Biomechanics, Bioelectronics/Imaging, and Biology (Cell and Molecular Biology and either Gross Human Anatomy or Human Physiology), as well as Analytic Techniques in Engineering Analysis, Ethics in Research, Experimental Design and Data Analysis, Lab Rotation, Supervised Teaching, and Introduction to Clinical Practices. In addition to the basic core curriculum, students are required to take additional coursework in their area of specialization. Overall, students must complete a minimum of 81 hours of graduate work and must maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.0.

    The required and selected courses are intended to focus and support the individual's mastery of his or her particular area of expertise. Throughout their graduate training, students have access to the bioengineering and biosciences laboratories at both UT Health San Antonio and UTSA. This provides a unique opportunity to have learning experiences in medical, dental, bioscience, and engineering environments.

    The Deans of the Graduate School and College of Engineering at UTSA and The Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio have overall responsibility for the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering. The graduate faculty of the Biomedical Engineering program, along with the Program Director and Associate Director, are responsible for curriculum development and ongoing review. The Program Director and Associate Director advise all graduate students, maintain records, and represent the program.

    The day-to-day administrative operation of the BME Program is the responsibility of the Program Director, Associate Director, and the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS)/Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) (a position held by Associate Director). COGS make recommendations to the Program Director and Associate Director. The Program is supervised by a COGS/GSC composed of all BME Program faculty (both Core and Associated) who are also on the Graduate Faculty at either UTSA or UT Health San Antonio or both. From this group, subcommittee Chairs are elected to perform various activities for which the COGS/GSC is responsible such as recommending admission of applicants to the program, overseeing academic curricula, monitoring the academic progress of students in didactic and research activities, attesting eligibility for admission to candidacy for a degree, and verifying to the Graduate Faculty Council (GFC) [=Graduate Council at UTSA] that students have fulfilled all requirements for the awarding of the degree. Recommendations are made by this committee to the Program Director and Associate Director for implementation and, if warranted, forwarded to the Graduate Deans for approval.

    The Program Director and Associate Program Director were appointed from the Core faculty by the Deans at corresponding institutions, with the assistance of a committee composed of equal numbers of faculty from the two institutions. The term of the Program Director and Associate Program Director was three years. Since the expiration of his or her term, the Biomedical Engineering Program faculty elects a new Program Director and Associate Director every three years. After each election, the credentials of both newly elected Directors are forwarded to the Deans for final approval.

    COGS Members:

    • Dr. Mark Appleford
    • Dr. Teja Guda
    • Dr. Chris Rathbone
    • Dr. JingYong Ye
    • Dr. Randolph Glickman
    • Dr. Victor X Jin
    • Dr. Jack Lancaster
    • Dr. Ong
    • Dr. Eugene Sprague
    • Dr. Eric Brey

    The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and UT Health San Antonio offer many resource facilities with biotechnology equipment and state-of-the art laboratories. The Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building is a 220,000-square foot facility that won the Education Design Showcase 2006 award.

    The newest building on the 1604 campus is the Applied Engineering and Technology Building. Administrative offices are located in the AET Building in Room 1.102. The new building was completed in October 2009. This latest addition to our 1604 campus is comprised of laboratories and classrooms for College of Engineering students. It is 150,000 square feet and sits alongside the Biotechnology, Science, and Engineering Building (BSE).

    Core Facilities Available to BME Faculty and Students

    Additional Facilities Accessible to Faculty & Students

    The BME Program has enjoyed great success. Talented and productive faculty from both institutions have embraced the Program from its inception, and interest among the faculty continues to grow. Collaborations between faculty at the two institutions are expected to continue to develop and expand. The Program has attracted very well-qualified students from not only local institutions (San Antonio and Texas), but institutions across the United States and internationally.

    More active recruitment of students continues and it is expected that the caliber of our matriculating students will increase as a result. Both the students and faculty bring new ideas and additional energy to the developing biomedical industry in San Antonio and South Texas.

    This graduate program has benefited institutions through the production of joint patents, publications, and increased extramural research funding. The activities provided through this joint program have enhanced the visibility of both institutions as the biotechnology industry continues to grow in the city, state, and nation.

    Highly qualified students have been attracted to the program from its inception. Applications have been received from all over the United States, India, China, South Korea, Venezuela, and Italy. Students accepted into the program have come from many of the colleges and universities in San Antonio (UTSA, UT Health San Antonio, St. Mary's University, and Trinity University), as well as Texas (UT-Austin, Texas A & M, Southern Methodist University, and Rice), and neighboring states (Arizona State University, Tulane University, and Louisiana Tech). More distant from San Antonio, students have been accepted from North Carolina State University, Purdue University, and Florida Atlantic University as well as Zhejiang University and Indian Institute of Technology.

    Admission into the program is selective with only about 45-50% of the applicants being offered admission. Enrollment has been a subset of those offered admission and has ranged from 40-80%. The average GRE scores of all students matriculating into the Program are Verbal 523 and Quantitative 716. The average GPA for the same cohort of students was 3.46 on a 4.0 scale. The racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of the students is also one of the strengths of the BME Program and continues the historic role of both UTSA and UT Health San Antonio as minority-serving institutions within the state of Texas.

    In 2010, UTSA completed the requirements for reaffirmation of its accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits UTSA to award bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. In early 2011, UTSA received official notice of reaffirmation of accreditation from the SACSCOC President, Dr. Belle Wheelan.

    UT Health San Antonio is accredited at Level V by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-‐4097, to award certificates and baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees. UT Health San Antonio was most recently reviewed and fully reaffirmed by SACS in 2008. This accreditation includes all programs offered at the institution and extends through 2018 with an interim five year review completed in March 2014.

    The GSBS is reviewed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), 1200 E. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752, on a statewide review schedule. This THECB-mandated review is in accordance with the requirements of SACS that public institutions of higher education have a process to “review the quality and effectiveness of existing programs and for continuous improvement.”

    The last external review of the Joint Program in Biomedical Engineering for UTSA and UT Health San Antonio was published on January 30, 2014.

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