Study at One of the Best Universities for Biomedical Engineering

Letter From the Chair

Portrait of Robert Kirsch

Welcome to the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Case Western Reserve University. I am proud to represent the faculty, students and researchers who comprise our dynamic department, which was founded in 1968 as one of the first biomedical engineering programs in the world. 

Our department pioneered rigorous bachelor's, master's and doctoral educational programs that have long served a wide range of career aspirations and prepared our graduates to be leaders in academia, industry and medicine. Home to approximately 500 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students, we continue to lead BME curricular innovation and provide cutting-edge research opportunities and hands-on translational research experiences. 

Our department has two homes—Case School of Engineering and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine—and is within walking distance of several nationally prominent medical institutions, including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. In 2018, we formed the BME Alliance with Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute to further advance research and education in biomedical education. 

Engaged in research collaborations and working in cross-disciplinary centers, our faculty are renowned as global thought leaders in artificial intelligence, biomedical imaging and analytics, biomaterials, neural engineering, metabolic systems and biosensors. We apply innovative ideas and ground-breaking tools to a host of clinical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, neurological disorders and musculoskeletal disorders. We aim to move research from the lab to the patient, with a center that is dedicated to technology translation and commercialization—the nationally prominent Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership

The medical and biomedical engineering fields are continually transforming as new ideas and technologies take off and take hold. Our department is committed to remaining at the forefront of education, research and innovation. We invite you to learn more about us online, connect with us on social media or visit us in person to discover what role you might play—student, faculty, research collaborator, alumnus or industry partner—in our continued success.

Robert Kirsch, PhD
Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor
Chair of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University


  • Top 25 medical school in U.S. by U.S News & World Report 
  • Cleveland Clinic is the #2 hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report 
  • Top 10 BME program by College Factual
  • Top 20 undergraduate and graduate BME programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 15 university in commercialization of research by New Brookings Institution
  • Top 50 best universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report  

Ohio Board of Regents Doctoral Program Biomedical Engineering

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote human health through education and research that bridges the gap between medicine and engineering. Our faculty and students play leading roles ranging from basic science discovery to the creation, clinical translation, and commercialization of new technologies, devices and therapies. In short, we are engineering better health.

Addressing the Needs of the State and Region

The BME PhD program has gained national recognition for developing visionary and innovative leaders and highly skilled workforce in biomedical research and biotechnology industry. Research breakthroughs and technology innovations have also led to the formation of new companies. The department has successfully attracted funding to establish programs of biomedical and biotechnology research in the areas of medical imaging, neural engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering, etc. Average research expenditure per tenure-track faculty was $704.574 in 2008. Many research projects are collaborations between CWRU, nonprofit research organizations, and Ohio companies, leading to commercialization and long-term improvements to human health and patient care.

National Recognition of Programs

The BME program at Case Western Reserve University has been recognized on the national stage numerous times, including:

  • Whitaker Foundation Integrated Program for Structural and Functional Cardiovascular & Neural Engineering, 07/1996-12/2009
  • NIH Integrated Engineering and Rehabilitation Training Program, 07/1999-06/2009
  • NIH Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, 08/2004-08/2009
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Biomedical Imaging Training Program, 09/07-08/13
  • Fellowship for Medtronic Scholars, 07/2004-06/2010
  • NIH Northeastern Ohio Animal Imaging Resource Center, 09/01/04-08/31/09
  • NIH Center for Modeling Integrated Metabolic Systems (MIMS), 07/2002-06/2008
  • Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program, 12/2005-12/2010

State Economic Development Grants

State economic development grants our department has received include:

  • Peckham, “Ohio Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation Partnership,” 07/2003 – 06/2007, $7,868,103
  • Peckham, “Ohio Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation Partnership Continuation,” 05/2006 – 05/2009, $7,999,998
  • Basillion, “Therapeutic DNA Nanoparticles and Molecular Imaging," 08/2008 – 09/2011, $3,976,689
  • Duerk, “Ohio in-vivo cellular and molecular imaging consortium," 07/2002-06/2008, $1,500,000
  • Wilson, “The Biomedical Structure, Functional and Molecular Imaging Enterprise," 07/2003-01/2010, $3,494,058

Admission Standards

Students admitted to our BME graduate education program typically have a BS or MS in engineering, natural sciences, or mathematical sciences. A minimal mathematical background includes calculus through differential equations. A minimal science and engineering background includes a combined total of three years of physical, chemical, and engineering sciences. Undergraduate course grades should average higher than a B or undergraduate class ranking should be in the top 20 percent. In previous graduate studies, course grades should average at least a B+.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Quantitative score should be at least in the 80th percentile or higher. For students whose first language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 is required for unconditional admission. Each year, selected students are invited to an open house in February/March where they can learn about the department, meet faculty members and students, tour the department and adjacent medical facilities, and be interviewed by faculty members. Acceptance decisions are made based on a collective evaluation by faculty members in the corresponding field.

Placement Objective for Students

Our objective is to place all our students in professional careers with the academy, industry, government agencies, or forming new companies through entrepreneurial activities.