Wilkes University

Bioengineering 4 + 1 B.S./M.S. Program

Imagine yourself on the cutting edge of technology, a bioengineer designing the next generation of artificial limbs, building state-of-the art medical equipment, creating the next advanced therapies to combat debilitating diseases or using designs by nature to enhance environmental protection efforts.

The bioengineering 4 + 1 program at Wilkes University is a unique, accelerated program that combines four years of undergraduate study in biology, biochemistry, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering and one year of graduate study in bioengineering. The cross-disciplinary program includes concepts in engineering, biology, medicine, health and computer science. As a bioengineering student, you will choose from one of two tracks: biomedical engineering or synthetic biology.

Wilkes University’s bioengineering program prepares students for careers in a variety of fields, including research and development, academia, pharmaceutical manufacturing, health care, environmental remediation and genetics.

The 4 + 1 bioengineering program allows undergraduate students to earn a master’s degree in bioengineering one year after successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. With careful planning and consultation with your faculty advisor, you will take master’s-level bioengineering courses as an undergraduate, allowing these courses to count toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bioengineering employment is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the CNN Money “Best Jobs in America” rankings, bioengineering has remained one of the top occupations for the past five years and was rated as the number one occupation in 2012 and 2013.

Students must:

  • apply and be accepted to the 4 + 1 program before the start of their junior year and before they begin to take any bioengineering master’s degree courses. Students who wish to apply must request, complete and send the application to the graduate engineering admissions counselor, who will assist with the application process (applicants might be requested to provide letters of recommendation);
  • choose either the biomedical engineering (BMED) or synthetic biology (SynBio) track and work with the track’s program director as their primary or secondary advisor; 
  • take required bioengineering courses at the master’s level as undergraduates;
  • earn a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in each of their bioengineering courses;
  • maintain a 3.0 grade-point average;
  • strive to complete their undergraduate degree in four years.

Biomedical engineers design artificial limbs, joints, tissues and organs. They also design and build diagnostic equipment, monitoring devices and drug delivery systems, gather information on devices and work on software and automation for biomedical and biotechnological purposes.

Mechanical and electrical engineering students who meet all of the 4 + 1 program requirements will automatically be accepted into the biomedical engineering track of the bioengineering master’s program.

Coursework includes:

  • Biomedical Devices and Designs: Students learn about the latest instrumentation used in medicine and biotechnology.
  • Bio-Mechatronics: This course teaches how mechanics, electronics, computer science, molecular engineering and other life and engineering sciences work together to produce new, efficient and versatile medical monitoring and diagnostic devices.
  • Anatomy and Physiology: This course covers the essentials in biology as well as in 3-D models of organs and physiological systems in a manner based off of engineering standpoints and principles.
  • Biomedical Imaging: Students learn how imaging devices are used for diagnosis, therapy and surgery.
  • Biomechanics: Focus on the mechanical structure of humans and vertebrates, including the concerted motion of bone, muscles and joints as well as the stress and strain of human movements and motion. One example of a practical outcome of the course is the design of prosthetics.
  • Biofluidics and Microfluidics: Students learn to mathematically and quantitatively describe fluid flow throughout organ systems and biomedical devices. Also includes how flow correlates with diseases.
  • Bio-MEMS: Students learn principles of refabricating diagnostic devices from nanosized particles to produce enhanced monitoring properties for analyzing blood and other samples. Also covered are applications in implanted insulin pumps and anti-cancer drug delivery systems.
  • Thesis Research: Students will perform an original research project in bioengineering, present the results in the form of a thesis and defend their work in a public presentation.


Synthetic biologists create biological molecules, systems or even entire organisms, which are useful for medical applications or performing unique functions, such as detecting or detoxifying biohazardous chemicals.

Biology and biochemistry students who meet all of the 4 + 1 program requirements will automatically be accepted into the cell/metabolic engineering track of the bioengineering master’s program.

Coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Bioinformatics Applications: Introduces the ways computers are used to make sense of biological information, especially the data generated by genome projects, and to simulate biological processes.
  • Biochemistry: Provides an introduction to metabolism and how it is studied together with an introduction to the physical and chemical properties of macromolecules and their precursors.
  • Molecular Biology: An introduction to molecular biology and how it is studied. Topics covered include genome structure, transcription, translation, chromatin structure and its role in gene expression, and techniques for studying gene expression and genetic engineering.
  • Cellular Biophysics: Students will learn how to integrate physics, chemistry and molecular biology in understanding and predicting molecular and cellular processes such as protein-protein interactions, biofluidics, protein folding, diffusion and signaling and techniques used to measure them.
  • Practicum in Synthetic Biology I and II: This course sequence will introduce students to modern concepts and techniques in synthetic biology through a genuine research experience in bioengineering. Rather than following a set series of lectures, we will pick a bioengineering project and see where it leads us.
  • Thesis Research: Students will perform an original research project in bioengineering, present the results in the form of a thesis and defend their work in a public presentation.

You will work with expert faculty in the fields of medical device design, imaging systems, bioengineering and metabolic technologies. Guided by faculty mentors, bioengineering students benefit from hands-on, research-intensive experiences unparalleled at other institutions in the region. Lab and classroom instruction includes training in cell and molecular techniques, bioinformatics, 3-D imaging and design software, and instrumentation and other simulation technologies.



Abas  Sabouni, Ph.D.
Program Co-Director and Advisor, Biomedical Engineering Track
1-800-WILKES-U Ext. 4832

William Terzaghi, Ph.D.
Program Co-Director and Advisor, Synthetic Biology Track
1-800-WILKES-U Ext. 4762