Graduate School Preparation Guide

Master of Engineering in Bioengineering at UIUC

If you are interested in Industry after graduating, you may consider pursuing a Master of Engineering in Bioengineering or the M. Eng. degree program. Most students use this degree as a stepping stone for industry or a Ph.D. degree. It is also a great way to gain business and management skills. The M. Eng. degree is a two semester (fall and spring) program concentrated in your choice of either Bioinstrumentation or General Bioengineering. At the end of your spring semester, there is also a Capstone project to demonstrate and apply your learning. The GRE is not required for admission for the M. Eng. program and the priority application deadline is March 31. For current undergraduate bioengineering students at UIUC only, letters of recommendation are also not required. Additionally, one perk of the program is that up to 8 credit hours taken during your undergraduate years that did not count towards your major or track elective can transfer to your masters coursework. As a result, there is more freedom for exploratory classes, TA positions or part time jobs. For added flexibility, there is also an online option for the M. Eng. program. The online program is a great option for those who want to work in industry and pursue their degree at the same time. In the online program there is more opportunity to break up your courses or take them at night, asynchronously. More information about the M. Eng. program and specific coursework can be found here.

Contacts for the M. Eng. Program are:

Master of Science in Bioengineering at UIUC

The Master of Science or M.S. program is geared more towards students pursuing careers in research. Both thesis and non-thesis options are offered, however, the thesis option is highly recommended. Within the M.S. program you may choose concentrations in either biomechanics or cancer nanotechnology. The deadline to apply is December 15 and the GRE will be required after the 2022 admission period. For more information about the M.S. program click here. There is also a new program that the department is introducing, called the M.S. in Biomedical Image Computing or (BIC). This degree is a 3 semester, non-thesis program (fall, spring, fall). It focuses on biomedical imaging modalities and machine learning. As of right now, there is not currently an online option available, but the program is looking to include this opportunity in the future. Courses for the M.S. BIC program are also not currently offered during the summer semester. Therefore, opportunities for internships or part-time positions are available. The priority deadline is March 31.

Contacts for the M.S. Programs are:

Ph.D. in Bioengineering at UIUC

For more information about our Ph.D. program and requirements click here.

Where Have Illinois Bioengineers Studied?

According the Bioengineering Annual Highlights Reports from 2018-2021, Illinois Bioengineers have continued their education at many universities including the following:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • John Hopkins University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, San Diego

GRE Exam

What is the GRE exam?

Similar to the ACT or SAT, the GRE is an entrance exam used by many graduate schools for admission. There are three sections: analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The analytical writing section consists of two 30 minute writing prompts asking to “analyze an issue” and “analyze an argument”. The Verbal reasoning section tests your ability to understand reading passages and vocabulary. Finally, the quantitative reasoning portion includes algebra, geometry and data analysis problems. More detail about the exam content and question types can be found here.

When do people normally take the GRE?

Ideally, people take the GRE their junior year before applying to graduate schools the fall of their senior year. However, there is no “right” or “wrong” time to take the test. Your GRE score is good for 5 years, so you could even take the exam your freshman year if you plan on graduating in 4 years and starting graduate school right away. However, most schools recommend recent scores. Most application deadlines for graduate schools are in December and January so plan for ample time to study and take the exam. The GRE is also offered year-round, and you are able to take the exam once every 21 days in a 1 year period.

Look online for free study materials! Sites with free online preparation guides and problems are: Princeton ReviewKaplanETS Powerprep, and the Manhattan Prep.

Letters of Recommendation

These are hugely important to your application and are required by almost all programs. Start forming relationships with faculty members from class or any research labs/RSOs as well as work supervisors from any internships early on so you can request a letter from them when you need it. A good letter testifying to your strengths can be a huge boost to your application, so make sure you have a good relationship with who you ask for a letter. It’s best to think of individuals who can attest to your skills and development in varying work, research, and academic environments. All that being said, a lukewarm letter of recommendation could also hurt your chances, so always choose carefully.

When requesting a letter of recommendation, you can either send an email to your recommender or approach them in-person if possible. Be sure to be as polite and professional as possible, and provide any additional information or documentation that can help them such as a resumé/CV. Know that they are doing you a favor, so it is imperative that you do everything you can to make this process easy for them.

Once they write the letter, they can easily send it to as many programs as you need. Be sure to communicate with your recommenders when you submit a recommendation request on their behalf so they will know to expect a letter submission email.