Bioengineering Major Program

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Bioengineers are focused on advancing human health and promoting environmental sustainability, two of the greatest challenges for our world. Understanding complex living systems is at the heart of meeting these challenges. The mission of Stanford's Department of Bioengineering is to create a fusion of engineering and the life sciences that promotes scientific discovery and the development of new biomedical technologies and therapies through research and education. The Department of Bioengineering is jointly supported by the Schools of Medicine and Engineering. The Bioengineering (BioE) major enables students to embrace biology as a new engineering paradigm and apply engineering principles to medical problems and biological systems.

BioE is an IDP, or interdisciplinary program, with its home in the School of Engineering. Students who major in BioE will obtain a solid background in the basic sciences (chemistry, physics and biology) and mathematics. They will take three engineering fundamentals courses including an introductory bioengineering course and computer programming. Starting in the sophomore year, BioE students will take a series of core classes to gain essential knowledge to pursue a career in bioengineering and will then have the opportunity to pursue elective courses suited to their own interests.

Bioengineering students have a wide variety of options upon graduation. Many will continue on to graduate school or medical school. Others will choose to work in the biotechnology, medical device, medical imaging, or other medical and non-medical industries. Other BioE graduates may choose to pursue advanced degrees in business or law or follow a different career path.

NOTE: Students intending to apply to medical school will need to take additional advanced science courses; see BioE 4-Year Plan #3 or #4 on the 4-Year Plans page for details.


All BioE students take courses to get a solid foundation to prepare them for the study of bioengineering. Most of the math and science courses are typically taken during freshman and sophomore year; see BioE 4-Year Plans for details

MATH 41, 42 (or AP credit equivalent)
Computational Mathematical Engineering: CME 100, 102, 104, 106

Chemistry: CHEM31A and B (or 31X or ENGR 31); CHEM 33
Biology: BIO Core 41, 42
Physics: PHYSICS 41, 43 (or AP credit equivalent)

Technology in Society (TIS):

BIOE 131(fulfills BioE-specific WIM)

Engineering Fundamentals:
ENGR 80 (same as BIOE 80; required) and ENGR 70A (same as CS 106A; recommended), plus one additional elective (see Chapter 3, Figure 3-4 for list of SoE approved courses; may not use CS 106B or X for elective).

BioE Core: All BIOE students are required to take a common set of depth courses:

Physical Biology: BIOE 41, 42.
Systems Biology and Physiology: BIOE 101, 103
Labs: BIOE 44, 51, 123
Senior Project: BIOE 141A, 141B (Capstone requirement)

BioE Depth Electives:
All BioE students are required to take four electives from the list of approved Bioengineering undergraduate courses (BIOE 212, 214, 220, 222A, 222B, 244, 261, 281, 311).

Honors Option
At the end of junior year students who qualify are encouraged to apply for the BioE honors program (see the Bioengineering honors section in Chapter 6 for details). Students who are accepted spend the senior year exploring a research topic in depth and writing an honors thesis.

To access BioE 4-Year Plans and Program Sheets, go to Navigation Bar at left; you may use a plan from any year you are enrolled at Stanford as an undergraduate.

Instructions for Declaring Major in Engineering: Bioengineering (ENGR-BS):

1. Gather information about the major by talking to students and professors.
2. Design a 4-year plan based on the samples on 4-Year Plans page.
3. Print a copy of your transcript from Axess.
4. Complete and submit the BioE major declaration form below to the Student Services Office in Clark S165; the department will assign you an advisor.
5. Download the BS-BIOE program sheet from the Program Sheets page
6. Meet with your assigned advisor to review the 4-year plan
7. Based on your plan, fill out your program sheet
8. Turn in your completed and signed Program Sheet, 4-Year Plan, and an unofficial Stanford transcript to Teri Hankes in Clark S165. You must then declare your major in Axess:
a. Select “Engineering” as your Major
b. Select “Bionengineering" as your subplan
c. Ask Teri Hankes at to approve your major in PeopleSoft
9. When your major is approved, Teri will notify you via email

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