Bioengineering Major Program

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2015-16 Bioengineering Undergraduate Program Requirements

  • Bioengineering Chair: Norbert Pelc,
  • UG Director: Karl Deisseroth,
  • UG Student Services: Teri Hankes,

Understanding and interfacing with complex living systems is at the heart of bioengineering with applications ranging from advancing human health to promoting environmental sustainability. 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.

Students who obtain a BS 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 begine to 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, government service, 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. While we offer advice regarding pre-medical requirements, it is important to schedule an advising appointment with a pre-medical advisor in Sweet Hall to learn more about how to best prepare for admission to medical schools and the MCAT


Our Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program offers Stanford students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and their research groups on advanced research topics during the Summer Quarter. Applications are due early February. Interested students should check the BioE website for announcements.

Components of BioE:

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 (28 units min):

MATH 41, 42 (or AP credit equivalent)
CME 100. Vector Calculus for Engineers (Recommended)
  or MATH 51. Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
CME 102. Ordinary Differential Equations for Engineers (Recommended)
  or MATH 53. Ordinary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
CME 104. Linear Algebra & Partial Differential Equations for Engineers (Recomm’d)
  or MATH 52. Integral Calculus of Several Variables
CME 106. Intro to Probability and Statistics for Engineering (Recommended)
  or STATS 110. Statistical Methods in Engineering and the Physical Sciences
  or STATS 141. Biostatistics

Science (28 units min):

  • Chemistry: CHEM 31A 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), 3 units

Engineering Fundamentals:

  • ENGR 80 (same as BIOE 80; required)
  • ENGR 70A (same as CS 106A; recommended)
  • One additional elective (see Approved Courses page for list of SoE approved courses; CS 106B or X not allowed).

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: Take four courses (12 units minimum) from those listed below:

BIOE 115 Computational Modeling of Microbial Communities, 4 units
BIOE 201C Diagnostic Devices Lab, 3 units
BIOE 211 Biophysics of Multi-cellular Systems and Amorphous Computing, 3 units
BIOE 212 Introduction to Biomedical Informatics Research Methodology, 3 units
BIOE 214 Representations and Algorithms for Computational Molecular Biology, 3-4 units
BIOE 220 Introduction to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy, 3-4 units
BIOE 222 Multimodality Molecular Imaging in Living Subjects I, 4 units
BIOE 223 Physics and Engineering of X-Ray Computed Tomography, 3 units
BIOE 224 Multimodality Molecular Imaging in Living Subjects II, 4 units
BIOE 227 Functional MRI Methods, 3 units
BIOE 231 Protein Engineering, 3 units
BIOE 244 Advanced Frameworks and Approaches for Engineering Integrated Genetic Systems, 4 units
BIOE 253 Science and Technology Policy, 3-4 units
BIOE 260 Tissue Engineering, 4 units
BIOE 281 Biomechanics of Movement, 3 units
BIOE 287 Introduction to Physiology and Biomechanics of Hearing, 3 units
BIOE 291 Principles and Practice of Optogenetics for Optical Control of Biological Tissues, 3 units
SURG 222 Biosecurity and Bioterrorism Response (same as PUBLPOL 222), 4-5 units

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 link on the UGHB Home page). 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 (BIOE-BS):

Declaring a BioE major consists of the following steps:

1) Login to Axess and request to major in Bioengineering. Do not choose the Honors option in Axess unless you have already submitted an Honors application to the department.
2) Print a copy of your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess.
3) Download a BioE program sheet from the School of Engineering UGHB web site ( You must choose a program sheet from a year you were enrolled at Stanford. Enter “AP” instead of a grade for any course waived due to AP credit. Please note: when completing the program sheet, include courses you plan to take as well as those you have already taken.
4) Design a 4-year plan based on the samples given on previous pages.
5) Take your unofficial transcript, 4-year plan and your completed Declaration Form to Teri Hankes in the BioE Student Services Office in the Shriram Center, room 119. The department will assign an advisor to you. The Declaration Form may be found online at
6) Meet with your assigned advisor to discuss the program, review your 4-year plan and have him/her sign your completed program sheet.
7) Bring the completed and signed program sheet to Teri Hankes in the BioE Students Services Office in the Shriram Center, room 119.
When your major is approved in Axess, you will be notified via e-mail.

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