Academic Credit for Research
BME students can earn course credit for academic. The research must be BME-related and an engineering project, but the research advisor does not have to be a BME faculty member. Students can conduct research for general credit that will not count toward the degree but will show on the transcript and count toward the GPA (BME/BMME 295), or students can conduct research that will count as a BME Specialty Elective (BME 498 or BME 495). UNC-based students can participate in a two-semester research experience (BMME 691H/692H) to graduate “with honors.” Specifics for each option follow, but all require approval of a research proposal submitted by the deadline in the table below for the Undergraduate Research committee:
|Spring (for summer or fall enrollment)||4 weeks before the first day of finals 04/05/2022||Before the first day of final exams|
|Summer* (for fall enrollment)||4 weeks before the first day of classes 07/15/2022||Before the first day of classes|
|Fall (for spring enrollment)||4 weeks before the first day of finals 11/02/2022||Before the first day of final exams|
*Students who need to know if their application is approved for planning purposes should choose the Spring deadline. Otherwise, there is no difference in the Spring and Summer deadlines.
To apply for research credit:
- Complete and sign the Independent Study Application
This includes contact information, project outcomes, a grading rubric, and a research proposal. Once completed, email the document to BME_Student_Services@unc.edu. Projects with a research advisor who is not a BME faculty member require a BME faculty member to serve as instructor of record. If the student is being paid to conduct research, an instructor of record different from the faculty mentor who will assess the work must be named.
- Students must contact an appropriate BME faculty member themselves; one will not be assigned.
- The Undergraduate Research committee will review the application and contact the student with a decision or, frequently, a request for revisions. In some cases, a BME 498 / BMME 495 proposal may be approved as BME/BMME 295 if the committee does not feel the project is independent or rigorous enough for elective credit unless the student has already previously completed three credits of BME/BMME 295.
- Once approved, students will be enrolled by the Student Services Coordinator.
At the end of the semester, students must submit a written paper in the format of a BMES or IEEE EMBS journal. Additionally, BME 498 / BMME 495 students must give an oral presentation at an approved venue, such as
- UNC Celebration of Undergraduate Research
- NC State OUR Undergraduate Research Symposium
- Appropriate national conference
- BME seminar
Grades are due the first day of finals exams, so work should be submitted to the research advisor before that deadline to allow sufficient time for grading.
BME/BMME 295 – Research in Biomedical Engineering
This course will appear on students’ transcripts and count toward the GPA, but it does not satisfy any BME graduation requirements. Students may take up to three credits total of BME/BMME 295. While this may be split among multiple semesters, typically it is completed in one semester. Students are expected to complete three hours per week of research for every credit hour.
Approval standards for BME/BMME 295 are less rigorous than for BME 498 / BMME 495. For example, students can perform data collection with a graduate student but not necessarily analyze the data. Students often use BME/BMME 295 as an opportunity to gain valuable research experience before designing an independent project for BME 498 / BMME 495 in a later semester.
BME 498 / BMME 495 – Undergraduate Research in BME as a Specialty Elective
This course will appear on students’ transcripts and count toward the GPA, and it can count as a BME Specialty Elective. It must be taken for three credit hours, and students are expected to spend approximately nine hours per week of research. This course may only be taken once.
BME 498 / BMME 495 is independent research on a novel topic that builds upon engineering topics taught in junior- and senior-level courses. While students may be under the supervision of a faculty member or graduate student, they are expected to participate in experimental design, data collection, and data analysis and interpretation. Prior work, either as BME/BMME 295 or informal research, can be incorporated into the project.
BMME 691H/692H – (UNC ONLY) Senior Honors Thesis in Biomedical Engineering
A Senior Honors Thesis is a two-semester independent, original research. As with BMME 495, it must use skills learned in junior- and senior-level courses. If taken after BMME 295 or 495, it must be an original and substantially different idea and not just a modification or simple extension of a previous research project. The Honors Thesis is part of Honors Carolina. More information can be found at <a href=”https://honorscarolina.unc.edu/research/senior-honors-thesis/”.
Starting in the summer or fall of the senior year, students work with a faculty member on a year-long research project. In the spring, students complete the research, write a thesis, and present the work to a committee of three faculty members, one of whom is the research advisor.
Students who successfully complete this program graduate with “honors” or “highest honors.” The designation of “highest honors” is reserved for students whose projects meet a publication-quality standard.
In addition to the written requirement, students must present their work at the UNC Celebration of Undergraduate Research in April or a national conference.
Students must have a 3.30 or higher GPA and must maintain this minimum GPA throughout your senior year. No exceptions to this rule. Students with a reasonable expectation of raising their GPA to a 3.30 by the spring semester may begin the program on a probationary status. Failure to meet the minimum GPA by the spring semester results in automatic removal from the program.