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Degree Options:

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Ph.D. Co-op Optional)

Biomedical Engineering

The Ph.D. degree is a thesis-based program where students are required to complete courses in addition to writing and defending a thesis.

Current Student Inquiries:

+1 905.525.9140 x 23486
ETB 406
Future Student Information


A minimum of two half-year graduate courses beyond the Masters Degree requirement.  For students from engineering backgrounds who have previously taken the core course, one course must be from Health Sciences offerings. If the core course is required, one courses beyond the core course must be from Health Sciences offerings.  Students completing a PhD will be required to complete 2 courses beyond the masters or 5 courses beyond the baccalaureate degree. One must be the core course and one additional course must be from the complimentary discipline from their background (Engineering students must take at least one 700 level Health Science Course, Health/Life Science students must take at least one 700 level engineering course). 

Core Course - Students with an Engineering background, must take BIOMED 706, while students with other backgrounds take BIOMED 701. 

Two courses in total are required (total of 6 units):

  • At least 1 from SBME (or cross listed as BIOMED)
  • At least 1 at 700 level (plus 1 a 600 or 700 level)
  • All course require consultation and permission of supervisor
  • Course selection depends on student undergraduate degree

Admission Requirements

  • Must hold an M.Sc., M.A.Sc. or equivalent with B+ minimum average in their final 2 years of study
  • Admission is very competitive, so meeting/surpassing the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to this program. Many variables are considered when the School of Biomedical Engineering is making a decision to recommend an applicant for admission, some of which include: research fit; available funding; the applicant's statement of interest; the applicant's specific industry/research experience outlined in their resume/CV; and the applicant's reference reports.
  • If all minimum requirements are met for admission to the Biomedical Engineering program, your application will be made available to all faculty currently accepting students.
  • Students showing outstanding potential and high academic standing may transfer from the Masters program without completing the Masters degree. They must have completed at least one year of the Masters program and must have completed the Masters course requirement with an average of at least B+. Transfer will be approved following success in an examination consisting of the preparation of a written report describing the student’s research since entering the Masters program, as well as an oral presentation of the report before a faculty committee to be appointed by the program Director.
  • Additional undergraduate coursework may be required for the Masters or Ph.D. programs on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Director and prospective Supervisor.
  • Please note a complete applications consists of the following documents submitted with online application.

    English Language Proficiency -Statement of Interest - CV - All undergrad and graduate Transcripts - Letters of Recommendation: 2 academic reference submitted electronically by referee


  • Please attached to online application
  • Transcript of academic work completed to date. If the final transcript does not show that a completed degree has been conferred, an copy of your diploma is also required.
  • Official copy of these documents will only be required if an offer of admissions is made.
  • 4-year degree or equivalent: B.Sc., B.Eng., B.A.Sc., B.H.Sc., D.D.S., M.D. with B+ minimum average in their final 2 years of study
  • 2 year Master's Degree with a B+ minimum average in their final 2 years of study

English Language Requirements (International applicants)

  • IELTS or TOEFL scores will be subsequently required by those receiving offers before attending studies at McMaster.
  • English language proficiency certification requirement. . You will be required to satisfy a certain level of English language proficiency (ELP) to gain admission to this program IF the following points are true for you:
    1. English is not your native language; and
    2. English is not the language of instruction at your previous institution.  Candidates must have the minimum requirements as stated below within 2 years of the application deadline.  We will accept one of the following:
    Test Minimum Requirement

    88 (iBT - internet based)
    213 (computer based)
    550 (paper based)
    *dept. code 69 - Engineering, Other

    IELTS 6.5 score overall
    5.5 minimum score in each section
    MELAB 85
    PTE 70
    CAEL Minimum overall 70, at least 60 per band

    *If English IS the language of instruction at your previous institution, you can be exempted from the ELP requirement by providing either:
    1. an official letter from your previous institution stating that the language of instruction is English; OR
    2. official transcripts which state that English is the language of instruction.

Letters of recommendation

  • Letters of Recommendation are submitted electronically. Please follow the directions that are provided once you have initiated your application.

Statement of Interest

  • Please attached to online application
  • Simply a few paragraphs indicating the type of research you are interested in pursuing.


  • Please attached to online application
  • In the same format as you would submit for an employment opportunity.

Program Structure

Seminar Requirement

Students must attend all seminars in the Biomedical Engineering Program seminar series. They must present one seminar on the research they have carried out while enrolled in the program.

Students will be encouraged to present their research at appropriate conferences in Canada and internationally. Faculty support of students for this purpose will also be encouraged.

Interaction with industry will be an important aspect of the School of Biomedical Engineering. Students will benefit considerably from these interactions. Some students will work on projects in collaboration with industrial partners with whom the School of Biomedical Engineering has research agreements.

PhD Comprehensive Examination Requirement

PhD candidates are required to complete a comprehensive examination in the form of a research proposal on a topic related to but distinct from the student’s thesis topic. The written proposal will be prepared by the student and must include: 1) a critical survey of the directly related literature in the field, 2) an explanation of the relevant background, and 3) a research proposal related to the topic. The student will present the proposal at an oral examination conducted by an examining committee appointed by the Director of the program, consisting of the members of the student’s Supervisory Committee and at least one additional faculty member.

Thesis Requirement

PhD candidates must present a thesis that embodies the results of original research and mature scholarship. Before preparing the final version of the thesis the student must be authorized to do so by the supervisory committee. When a majority of the supervisory committee has approved the final version of the thesis, it may be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for examination. The oral defense will not be set-up until the report from the supervisory committee has been received and the date of the defense established.

The examining body will consist of the following members: the student’s supervisory committee, an external examiner, and two representatives of the faculty at large. The examiners will report to the Dean of Graduate Studies as to whether the thesis, and the student's defense of it, are satisfactory or not.

If major revision is not required by the external examiner, an oral defense will be convened by the Dean of Graduate Studies, chaired by himself or his designate and conducted by all members of the examining committee.

How to Apply


Academic Term Application Opens Application Deadline International Application Deadline
January February 15 October 31 July 1
September October 1 June 30 March 15

Applications will be processed and circulated to Faculty members once all documents have been received. All documents must be received by the specified deadline dates noted above for each session.

Application Checklist:

  1. Application for admission to School of Graduate Studies (SGS):
  2. Certified copy of transcript (1)
  3. English language proficiency certification requirement. Candidates must have the minimum requirements as stated in the Admission Requirements tab
    *please upload a copy of your Test Scores with your application package* 
  4. Statement of Interest (1-2 page document which indicates your interest in pursuing graduate studies with the School of Biomedical Engineering)
  5. Resume
  6. Application fee ($110 by credit card through the online system)
  7. Two confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work. Please note that McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. By entering the email address of your referee through the online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf. If for some reason you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference form here 
    References (Word) | References (PDF)

    "Recommendations must be provided directly from the instructors."


Note: Documents must be official and will not be returned to applicants. All documentation submitted in support of your application for admission becomes the property of the University. Applications from one year are not held over to another year. If an unsuccessful applicant wishes to reapply, a new application package, including supporting documentation and application fee must be submitted. If an applicant is not accepted, or fails to enroll following acceptance, the identifiable documentation will be destroyed at the end of the admissions cycle, in keeping with university policy.

Document Checklist

NOTEcomplete application is required for review; applications deemed incomplete will not be reviewed.  To ensure that your application is complete, please review this checklist of the required documents that you must upload into your application before you apply. Details on each item are provided below.

Official Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates

Statement of Interest


ELP (TOEFL/IELTS) Scores (if applicable)

Proof of Permanent Resident Status (if applicable)

*References (read carefully)

Official Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates

Electronic academic transcripts for ALL post-secondary studies completed or in progress at the time of application must be included in your application. Transcripts must show all courses and marks (where applicable), along with the transcripts' legends/keys/grading schemes. Transcripts from institutions where you completed courses on Letter of Permission and/or as part of Student Exchange Programs must also be included. 
Specific instructions for McMaster documents, documents from other Canadian institutions, and documents from recognized international institutions are detailed below.

Documents from Canadian institutions

Transcripts must be submitted electronicaly  (scanned final or in-progress transcripts that are uploaded to your online application); and

Documents from recognized international institutions

1. Electronic transcripts, degree certificates and ELP (TOEFL/IELTS) results must be uploaded to your application**Please ensure that scans of all original documents AND translations are included in your application; otherwise, your application may be deemed incomplete.
2. Official, FINAL hardcopies of transcripts, degree certificates and ELP results are not required until your arrival to McMaster University. Please do not mail incomplete or unofficial documents to the University.
Your official, hardcopy documents must meet the following conditions in order to secure your study at McMaster University:

  • Original degree certificates and/or transcripts produced in English MUST include the date of degree conferral;
  • **Original degree certificates produced in another language MUST be issued by the previous institution, bearing the appropriate seal/signature, and be delivered to our office (ETB-406) in a sealed envelope when you arrive; additionally
  • **Original degree certificates produced in another language MUST be translated into English by a certified translator and include the date of degree conferral and the name of degree conferred, along with the translator's seal;
  • **Original transcripts produced in another language MUST be issued by the previous institution and be delivered to our office (ETB-406) in a sealed envelope when you arrive; additionally
  • **Original transcripts produced in another language MUST be translated into English by a certified translator and include the translator's seal.

**International students: If you are offered admission to the School of Biomedical Engineering you should be prepared to provide one original degree certificate (only if transcripts do not indicate a date of degree conferral) and one set of original, final transcripts to McMaster University when you arrive, along with a separate translation package; the translation package will NOT satisfy admission conditions on its own. Failure to provide all required documents upon arrival will jeopardize your study at McMaster University.

Statement of Interest

The statement of interest should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file; without it, your application will be deemed incomplete. This document should be a maximum of 2 pages and clearly communicate:

  • your research interests/focus, especially within the context of Biomedical Engineering.
  • how your education and experience aligns with research areas in the School of Biomedical Engineering;
  • any contributions you hope to make to research initiatives during your study and how you plan to make them (methods, approach); and
  • evidence of your ability to work collaboratively and independently.


Like with the statement of interest, your resume/CV should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file; without it, your application will be deemed incomplete.

English Language Proficiency Scores (if applicable)

Your ELP scores should be uploaded to your application as a PDF file. If you are an international student who would NOT be eligible for admission without these scores, your application will be deemed incomplete if these scores are not included. (Please refer to the Admission Requirements tab if you are unclear about your eligibility.)

Proof of Permanent Resident/Landed Immigrant Status (if applicable)

For permanent residents/landed immigrants only: if your VISA STATUS lists "Permanent Resident of Canada" or "Landed Immigrant", you must upload a scan of your permanent residence card (front and back) or Record of Landing (IMM1000), respectively, to your application.


Before beginning your application, you should obtain the consent of two instructors who are familiar with your academic work to provide confidential reference reports. You are not required to submit reference letters as part of your application; however, you must list your references and their contact information on your application. By entering the email address of your references through your online application, McMaster's Electronic Referencing (e-Reference) system will send your references an e-Reference request on your behalf.
IMPORTANT: the system will send the e-Reference request to your references ONLY AFTER YOU SUBMIT your online application. This means that you will need to have completed AND uploaded your scanned transcripts, degree certificates (if applicable), Statement of Interest, CV/resume, ELP results (if applicable), and proof of permanent residence (if applicable) to your online application BEFORE you can click “Submit”. 
References may require 3-4 weeks to complete a reference report. References should be allowed time to complete their reference report. Please keep this in mind when you are working on your application.

If, for some reason, you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can email and request a copy of the form.  Downloaded reference forms must be sent by the reference DIRECTLY to through e-mail (

Admissions Guide

The School of Biomedical Engineering admits new students for two term (Fall and Winter) with our largest intake being in September (Fall term). Regardless of the term in which you hope to gain admission, this guide can be used to navigate the admissions process that is outlined on our website.

  1. Determine if you meet our minimum eligibility requirements; you can do this yourself by reviewing the Admission Requirements tab.
  2. After confirming your eligibility, you are advised to review the Application Deadline dates for your chosen program.
    Caveat for international applicants: we recognize that you may need a number of months to obtain a student visa after a final decision of admission is made; therefore, we recommend that you take that timing into consideration when you apply.
  3. In preparation for your application, you should decide on a list of prospective supervisors (as the application will allow you to indicate up to three). 
    For applicants planning to begin in the Fall term: it is recommended that you review the bios and research of our faculty members before applying to identify Areas of Research and projects that align with your interests and experience. At this point, you may wish to reach out to your chosen faculty member(s) by email to generate their interest. In your initial communication with faculty members, you should offer a brief introduction sharing your research interests, and explain how you expect your education and experience will contribute to their research. It is recommended that you attach your curriculum vitae for reference. Electronic transcripts may be attached for further support.
    For applicants planning to begin in the Winter term: many of the previous recommendations apply, except that you will be required to generate the interest of a faculty member before your application will be reviewed.
  4. After you have decided on a list of prospective supervisors, area(s) of research, and term of study, you can start to prepare your documents for your online application. To ensure that nothing is overlooked, please refer to the Documents Checklist tab.
  5. You are now ready to apply! For instructions on how to construct your application, please see the How to Apply tab.

Application Status

After you successfully submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email from The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) within a few days. (If you do not receive this email, please email for assistance.)
The confirmation email will contain important information about how to access Mosaic so that you can follow the status of your application and your checklist of required documents. Typically, documents in the "Initiated" stage indicate that your application has not been marked as complete. This should not be immediate cause for concern, as Mosaic checklist updates are performed manually (not automatically); therefore--given the volume of applications received--you may need to wait up to a month to see a status update. 
If after a month from your application submission you notice that some documents have remained in the "Initiated" stage, you should understand this to mean that your application is incomplete. Prior to the application deadline, you may email the graduate administrator ( to gain clarity on any documents in the "Initiated" stage; however, any arrangements to receive supplementary documents are at the discretion of the graduate administrator (as all supplementary documents are supposed to be submitted together). 

Request More Information

Thank you for your interest in McMaster University Faculty of Engineering. Please fill out the form below, and we will connect with you to answer all of your questions. 

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