Biomedical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Fancy Virus

Self-Designed Biomedical Engineering (SBME) Track
Classes of 2017 and Onward


The SBME track is aimed at helping highly motivated students who have a strong sense of career direction that falls beyond the scope of regular Biomedical Engineering tracks. Students are allowed to design the "track" portion of the curriculum in consultation with the faculty. Example themes include medical robotics, neural engineering, or computational biomedical engineering.


In addition to the Biomedical Engineering core requirements, students must take three (Classes of 2020 and onward) or four (Class of 2017 to 2019) elective courses of at least 9 units each. These elective courses must form a coherent theme that is relevant to biomedical engineering. In addition, at least one of the elective courses must be judged by the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Affairs Committee to have substantial biological or medical content.

Students may count EITHER Surgery for Engineers 42-660 OR Biomedical Engineering Research project, but not both, as one track elective. The research project (42-200/300/400 Sophomore/Junior/Senior Biomedical Engineering Research Project OR 39-500 CIT Honors Thesis) must be on a biomedical engineering topic supervised or co-supervised by a core or courtesy Biomedical Engineering faculty member and for 9 or more units.

Planning Tools

Petition Procedure

  1. Students wishing to pursue a self-designed track should first consult with the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Affairs Committee. Contacts for the Committee are Prof. Robert Tilton (committee chair), and Prof. Conrad Zapanta (Biomedical Engineering Associate Head).
  2. A SBME track proposal must be submitted electronically as a Word document to Prof. Conrad Zapanta at least three weeks prior to Pre-Registration during the spring of the sophomore year. The proposal must include:
    • The three (Class of 2020 and onward) or four (Class of 2017 to 2019) courses of the designed track, including catalog descriptions and when these courses are expected to be taken.
    • A justification of how these courses form a coherent theme relevant to biomedical engineering.
    • Two alternative courses that may substitute for one of the proposed courses, in case the original course is not available
  3. Once approved, the student must sign an agreement listing the theme and the four courses comprising the SBME track.
  4. In the event that issues beyond the student's control, such as course scheduling or cancellation, prevent the student from completing the approved course plan, the student may petition the Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Affairs Committee to
    • Substitute a course with another course that fits the approved theme, OR
    • Move to the GBME track (Classes of 2017 to 2019 only). The student must complete one of the regular track Gateway courses, otherwise completed SBME courses may count toward GBME requirements, OR
    • Complete one of the regular tracks (all classes)
Revised 08/24/2016