University of Washington Department of Bioengineering

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University of Washington Department of Bioengineering
William H. Foege Building
MottoInventing the Future of Medicine
ChairmanCecilia Giachelli
Academic staff
51 teaching and research core faculty, 51 adjunct faculty, 54 affiliate faculty, 53 senior fellows
Students209 undergraduates, 131 Ph.D. and master's students
Location, ,
University of Washington Department of Bioengineering logo.png

The University of Washington Department of Bioengineering (UW Bioengineering) is a joint department of the College of Engineering and School of Medicine, and is located in Seattle, Washington, USA.


The Department of Bioengineering offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in bioengineering, a field at the interface between medicine and engineering. As of 2010, the department includes 51 active core faculty, including six members of the National Academy of Engineering.[1] The faculty conduct a mix of basic and applied multi-disciplinary research; particularly in the following four areas: regenerative medicine & biomaterials, molecular & cellular engineering, imaging & image-guided therapy, and technology to reduce the cost of health care. In 2016, UW Bioengineering was awarded US$25.03 million in research funding, primarily from federal sources such as the National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Defense and National Science Foundation.[2]

In addition to the core faculty, the department comprises 51 adjunct faculty, 53 postdoctoral fellows, 131 on-campus graduate students, 209 undergraduate students, and a growing number of off-campus students through an online professional master’s program.

As of February 2011, UW Bioengineering is ranked #9 in the nation for its graduate program and #11 for its undergraduate program, according to U.S. News & World Report.[3][4]

Robert Rushmer


The UW Center for Bioengineering was founded in 1967 by Robert Rushmer as a joint research enterprise of the UW College of Engineering and the UW School of Medicine to study the cardiovascular system. A main focus was groundbreaking work on the development of quieter, portable Doppler ultrasound instruments for monitoring the cardiovascular system and fetal heart rate, building on work that Rushmer had begun at the UW in 1958.[5][6] These developments formed the basis for a strong local ultrasound industry that persist to this day.[7]

With the Center for Bioengineering, Dr. Rushmer aimed to develop a joint research enterprise of the UW College of Engineering and UW School of Medicine to study the cardiovascular system. As its research foci expanded, the Center received the ability to grant PhD degrees in 1984. Undergraduate courses were added in 1985. The Center became the Department of Bioengineering in 1997. Its undergraduate program was approved in 2000, which was accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 2008 (retroactive to 2006). In 2006, the department moved into the new William H. Foege Building, a 265,000 sq. ft. research facility on campus adjacent to Seattle’s Portage Bay that includes offices, laboratories, and support facilities.

Degrees offered[edit]

Happy UW Bioengineering Graduates
UW Bioengineering graduates

UW Bioengineering offers the following degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science (ABET-accredited)
  • Master of Science
  • 5 year combined Bachelor/Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
  • Master of Applied Bioengineering (MAB)
  • Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PharBE) - online professional master's degree program, offered in partnership with UW Professional and Continuing Education
  • Certificates in basic bioscience, translational pharmaceutics, and drug discovery and design, in partnership with UW Professional and Continuing Education.

Bioengineering students may also participate in the MD/PhD program, administered by the UW Medical Scientist Training Program.


Admission to UW Bioengineering is competitive.

Graduate programs[edit]

The total number of applications per year to the PhD program for 2010 to 2015 ranged from 423 to 601. The average acceptance rate during this period was 14%.

GPA/GRE test scores for the 2016 cohort are as follows:

  • Ph.D. program: (GPA): 3.74, (GRE V): 160, (GRE Q): 164, (GRE W): 42
  • M.S. program (GPA): 3.66, (GRE V) 156, (GRE Q) 163, (GRE W) 40

Undergraduate program[edit]

The Bioengineering Undergraduate degree is a cohort model, with students beginning the core curriculum typically in spring of their 2nd year. The BSE in Bioengineering is a capacity-constrained major and uses a holistic review process that examines grades in pre-requisite courses, cumulative GPA, research experience, and evidence of leadership and community service. For Spring 2018's sophomore cohort, approximately 25% of students who applied (between both admission cycles) were accepted. This is typical of previous years.

Commercialization (Technology Transfer)[edit]

Thanks to close association with the clinical departments in the UW School of Medicine, and strong local biomedical and biotech industries, the department has a long history of translational research. Today, as an active partner with UW’s CoMotion,[8] UW Bioengineering is continually inventing new technologies and moving them from the lab to the bedside.

As of 2016, commercialization efforts in UW Bioengineering have yielded 1,437 patents filed, 391 patents issued, 4 software copyrights, 99 active licences and 807 invention disclosures. 36 existing start-up companies have benefited from the intellectual property generated by the department.

In 2015, UW Bioengineering launched its UW BioEngage Program,. The BioEngage program aims to build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals, nonprofits, and industry in Seattle and around the world, and foster UW Bioengineering students' professional development and preparation for careers in biomedical industries.


External links[edit]